Kiwi man avoids jail after drunken attempt at opening Malaysia Airlines door mid-flight

A New Zealand man has narrowly avoided prison time following a drunken attempt at opening a Malaysia Airlines door mid-flight. 

Harry Frazer Cranwell, 32, was on a flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur when he was caught handling an emergency door mid-flight and attempted to open it, Malaysia national news agency Bernama reports. 

The Kiwi had consumed five cans of beer and another glass of alcohol on flight MH0130 on Sunday night before he was spotted by an air stewardess standing next to the aircraft door, a Malaysian magistrates court heard Wednesday (local time). 

Cranwell was moved to another seat and the flight's captain was notified, Bernama reports. 

The Auckland restaurant manager was then arrested at Kuala Lumpur airport and charged with endangering an aircraft and the lives on-board in his attempt to open the aircraft door. 

Cranwell pleaded guilty to the charge laid, which under civil aviation, carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. 

He was given a warning by magistrate Mohamad Izwan Mohamed Noh to never repeat his actions again, to which Cromwell replied, "I promise, sir". 

The court heard that Cranwell - who appeared wearing an orange prison jumpsuit - was apologetic about what had happened. 

His lawyer, Zalfee Pakwanteh, said he was travelling to Vietnam with friends for a holiday. He said the man's time in police custody "really taught him a lesson". 

Cranwell has been fined 6000 Malaysian Ringgit ($2226) in default of 12 months' jail.