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Kicked off a Flight for Ignoring the Safety Briefing

Kicked off a Flight for Ignoring the Safety Briefing
Jackie Reddy

A passenger was removed from an Air New Zealand flight to Wellington earlier this week after failing to observe the in-flight safety instructions. The incident occurred on Tuesday and involved a “wealthy-looking” couple seated in an exit row. One passenger was removed as a result of this incident.

A passenger was removed from an Auckland-bound Air New Zealand flight from Wellington earlier this week after they reportedly refused to observe the in-flight safety briefing, Stuff.co.nz reports. The incident, which happened on Tuesday, is said to have involved a couple and have occurred on Air New Zealand Flight NZ424.

The pair, who have been described as “wealthy-looking,” was seated in the exit row of the aircraft. However, rather than pay attention to the obligatory safety instructions that came with their chosen seat assignments, the outlet reports that the couple opted to ignore repeated requests from crew that they observe the in-flight video and read the safety card.

A passenger who had been on the flight told the outlet, “The video started playing and the flight attendant held up the card, but the woman started looking down at her book.”

The woman then began to use her phone and the male passenger is reported to have continued to have used his during the safety briefing.

“A flight attendant said very patiently ‘Can you please watch what’s happening because this is the exit row’,” the eyewitness passenger said, adding, “The flight attendant was super kind and kept asking her, but the woman put her fingers in her ears.”

The flight was delayed by 25 minutes due to the pair’s non-compliance, with other passengers on the plane becoming increasingly annoyed by their behavior.

“You’d think they’d be embarrassed or mortified, but they seemed quite chuffed about the whole thing,” the passenger said.

The plane returned to the gate and it appears that a single passenger was removed as a result of the incident. Speaking to The Guardian, a spokesperson for Air New Zealand said, “Police were waiting at the gate when the aircraft returned and the customer disembarked.”

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (18)

18 Comments

  1. secondsoprano

    May 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Well done Air NZ.

  2. N1120A

    May 8, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Absurd behavior by both the FA and the passengers. The FA was entirely too aggressive in demanding the passengers give into her demands to watch the lecture, while the passengers had no business acting like spoiled children in their response.

  3. IMissThe747

    May 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    Well done Air NZ. Flying is a privilege not a right, and flying in the exit row is a privilege that comes with extra responsibilities. If a passenger can’t comply with a simple request to observe a safety briefing in a low-stress situation, they have no business sitting where they may be responsible for other passengers’ safety in a high-stress evacuation situation. Though evacuation incidents are infrequent, they do happen.

  4. Great_circle

    May 8, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Very well done. It’s an exit row and that alone requires the passengers to pay extra attention. Also, the article describes that the flight attendant was very polite.
    Moreover, keep in mind that flight attendants have seen people from all walks of life, have heard every exuse and know exactly what type of passenger they are dealing with.
    Seems to me like the type of passengers that might very well evacuate from a burning aircraft with all their carry-on luggage at the expense of other peoples lives.

  5. EBiafore99

    May 9, 2019 at 6:36 am

    I disagree the FA was too aggressive. The witness stated the FA was polite. The exit row is a privilege, not a right. The privilege comes with responsibility. Kudos to the FA and NZ.

  6. mvoight

    May 9, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Does NZ law or Air NZ policy require passengers to watch?

  7. AanneSFO

    May 9, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Safety first. Sitting in the exit row brings responsibility for the safety of other passengers. It isn’t just a chance to score extra legroom. An airplane cabin is not a movie theatre or living room.

    In an emergency, seconds count. Passengers next to the exit doors need to be at the top of their game. This would include boning up on emergency procedures. (In fact all passengers should be paying close attention, but that’s another issue.) The FAA requires the briefing for a reason.

    So it’s not about the pair’s entitlement to be left in peace instead of listening to some boring briefing that they may have heard before. It’s about taking safety seriously — if not their own, then that of others. The FA would have been remiss not to insist that the pair read the safety card and watch the video. It’s part of the deal.

  8. greytop13

    May 9, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Hurrah for the FA and Air NZ!

  9. drphun

    May 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Come on. Once the FA calls you out for not paying attention, why wouldn’t you at least act like you were paying attention for the next two whole minutes?

  10. Daniel Keller

    May 10, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of people on this forum fly on a regular basis. Many of us even book an exit seat whenever we can. Do you honestly believe it’s necessary for us to watch the same canned safety video every time we get on a plane? Is there a chance I’ve somehow forgotten how to fasten my seatbelt or what my responsibilities are when sitting in an exit row? While I agree the couple were rude, the FA’s insistence that they pay attention was over the top. It’s my responsibility to know the safety procedures. That does not obligate me to sit at rapt attention through a refresher course every time I get on a plane.

  11. simpleflyer

    May 11, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Daniel keller

    Were I sitting in the exit row you can bet I would watch if for no other reason than possibly nervous flyers are watching me. They will likely feel a lot better if they feel I am taking my position seriously

    When I watch a safety video, even if for the zillionth time, I remind myself of where alternate exits are. I put my head in the game. Two minutes I can spare. And if I can reassure the fa in any way by watching I am happy to do so.

    We all fly as a team, or we should.

  12. chavala

    May 11, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Do they still have that same safety video with that creepy transgender kid singing? I would put my fingers in my ears too if I ever have to see/hear that again

  13. scfw0x0f

    May 12, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    Well done ANZ! And to those who say “we’ve seen it all before”–so what? Does it really kill you to pay attention for a minute to something that could literally save your life very shortly?

    The worst are the pax who not only ignore it, but chatter through it so that those who’d like to pay attention can’t.

  14. zitsky

    May 15, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Chavala, what’s creepy about a transgender kid?

  15. c502cid

    May 15, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I try to watch the safety video and/or presentation every time I fly out of courtesy. However, the pretend putting on the mask on the face, and even worse making puffing motions at the inflatable vest doesn’t do much for safety instruction. Do it right to help those who haven’t seen it before.

  16. IanFromHKG

    July 31, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    N122A, the idea that an FA is being “entirely too aggressive” in politely (according to the report) asking exit row passengers to pay attention to the safety demonstration is so utterly and obviously absurd that I will make no further comment

    mvoight, I do not know much about NZ aviation law, but I would be surprised if it deviated from the general international norm that crew members are entitled to give, and passengers are required to follow, instructions affecting the safety and security of the aircraft and passengers

    Daniel Keller, the FA is not in a position to know whether you are familiar with the safety procedures. It is entirely reasonable, and in no way “over the top”, for the FA to proceed on the basis that passengers have zero or little knowledge and, when they are situated in an exit row and may be responsible for opening emergency doors and ensuring the safety of dozens or even hundreds of passengers, to require that they are demonstrably informed about what they need to do and that accordingly they pay attention to the safety demonstration

    I have flown some three million miles, most of it long-haul, on which the varieties of aircraft are fairly limited. I know them all quite well. But I always (and insist that my family) pay attention to the safety video, especially regarding the location of the lifejackets (which varies considerably) and how they are fastened (which also varies considerably). I check that my lifejacket is actually there (so far, 100%, but on some routes and airlines this isn’t a given). I check where the exits are. Anyone who doesn’t is, in my humble opinion, at best taking an unnecessary risk, and (if I’m being frank) reckless. Which is fine, up to a point. Feel free to endanger your own life, but don’t endanger mine, the lives of my family or, frankly, the lives of anyone else.

    One of the standard features in any safety demonstration is a warning that passengers should not remove items from overhead lockers in an emergency evacuation. I *do* understand that in a panic situation people can automatically try to treat it as a routine situation. However, if people have not had the reinforcement of listening to the safety announcement, they are more likely to try to revert to type (as if they were deplaning normally) and take their hand luggage. This is extraordinarily dangerous. Anyone who takes luggage from an overhead locker in an emergency situation should, again in my humble opinion, be prosecuted for endangering life and, if loss of life actually ensues as a result, for manslaughter.

    Personally, I keep a small “grab-bag” (actually an old amenity kit) at my seat containing my wallets, passport and essential medication so that if the worst comes to the worst I can deplane holding nothing more than that.

    I don’t often get into this sort of “rant mode” but really, some of the comments on here are, at best, ill-thought-through. We each have a responsibility for our own safety which we are all free to abdicate. Endanger yourself as much as you like, feel free! However, we do NOT, in a civilised society, have the right to endanger others.

    I don’t care how many times you have seen it before, I don’t care how boring it is, I don’t care how know-it-all you think you are, I don’t care how any times you’ve flown this route / aircraft / airline / whatever before, or indeed any other pathetic excuse you might invent for not paying attention. For me, my family, and your fellow passengers, put your ego, arrogance, laziness, disinterest and everything else to one side for the two or three minutes it takes to listen to the safety demonstration. It just might save a life.

  17. Mediaink

    October 25, 2019 at 9:02 am

    If NOTHING else, common courtesy would dictate that you do as requested when you’ve opted to sit in the emergency exit row. Based on 99% of the comments here, we all agree. For the ones who don’t, I hope I’m never seated next to you. We all know what it’s like to be seated next to that one *** who thinks none of the rules apply to them.

  18. ella0429

    October 31, 2019 at 5:25 am

    I am a flight attendant,and have had to stop my safety briefing at the emergency exit, and on a few occasions,I had to stop,and tell passengers sitting in these seats,,,to stop talking to each other in a very loud manner,where other pax’s were finding it hard to hear me,safety is first and foremost part of our job, people don’t realize if a incident was to happen,it would be on take off and landing,that’s what these pax’s help would be invaluable,I wish more airlines would impose these rules,if you don’t pay attention,then remove them to another seat,the exit row,should not be treated as a perk,for the extra leg room, you don’t listen,then remove them.

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