The flight from Australia to the United States is one of the longest in the world, and feels even longer in a middle seat.
It turned out drastically shorter for one passenger, whose profane complaints grounded his flight and led to his reported arrest after a few hours in the air.
Described by authorities as a 42-year-old American, the man boarded a United Airlines flight on New Year’s Day — due in San Francisco more than 13 hours later, along with 251 other passengers.
He was seated between two of them, and didn’t like their cross conversation, other passengers told KRON 4 in San Francisco.
Nor could he find relief in a glass. “They wouldn’t let him have alcohol,” said KRON 4 reporter J.R. Stone.
A passenger told the New Zealand Herald that the man “exploded into a fit of rage” after 40 minutes in the air. He cussed, demanded beer and tried to swipe a soda off the trolley cart, according to the news outlet.
Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, he took to his feet and voiced his ire — as a passenger recorded the scene.
“If you see two last names the same, don’t put someone in the middle of them,” the man says, waving his hands at a flight attendant. She folds hers and asks for calm.
“I’m as calm as can be!” the man says.
“You’re yelling at me,” the attendant says.
“Do you want me to [expletive] yell?”
“Do you want me to call the captain?”
“Do you know how cool it would be to have the airplane turned around because of me?” the man says.
“You do that,” he dares, then calls the flight attendant fat as she walks away.
The plane diverted to Auckland, New Zealand, that evening. Another video shows police standing watch as the man collected his things and vacated his seat.
A United Airlines spokesman didn’t provide any details about the passenger or his fate.
The New Zealand Herald reported that he was arrested at the airport, refused entry into the country, and was being held by police until he could fly home.
Some of the other passengers, meanwhile, spent the late hours of New Year’s Day drinking in an airport bar.
The flight crew needed a rest before they could continue the journey, the airline explained.