A plane on its way from Sydney to America had to divert after an angry passenger swore at a flight attendant and called her a ‘fat arse’.
Other passengers filmed the encounter as the man was abusive to staff, ranting: ‘I’m not yelling at you – but do you want me to f*cking yell?
When warned that his behaviour could lead to the plane being turned around, he responds: ‘Do you know how cool it would be to have the airplane turned around? You’d do that?’
He then continues: ‘I’m getting so impolite aren’t I? Fat arse.’
Video from the cabin shows the argument, as well as the consequences when police arrived during the aircraft’s impromptu stop in New Zealand, so he could be arrested.
Anjou Ahlborn Kay, a passenger, shared the footage on Facebook where she described the man as ‘bigoted’ and ‘disturbing’.
He allegedly became angry when two passengers who knew each other were seated either side of him, and started having a conversation over him.
The two passengers were described as being of Indian or Pakistani descent, and the man was accused of racism as he had a problem sitting with them.
‘If you guys treat people right on these things, you see two last names the same don’t put someone else in the middle of them,’ he tells the flight attendant in the video.
— Brendan Grainger (@S118869) January 1, 2017
The United Airlines flight had been bound directly for San Francisco on New Year’s Day, but had to make the unscheduled stop in Auckland.
All 252 passengers on board had to be put up in hotels overnight.
A witness told the New Zealand Herald: ‘The rant progressed from cursing Indians to Asians to Muslims to non-whites in general and calling flight crew f****** and fat asses,’ he said.
‘He was subdued after the pilot announced the diversion to Auckland.’
Police said the man, aged 42, was arrested on arrival before being referred to immigration.
National border manager Senta Jehle told the paper that the man was an American national.
‘He was refused entry to New Zealand as he did not meet entry and border requirements,’ he said.
‘He is now in police custody while arrangements are made for him to board a flight back to the United States.’