Police arrest 'disruptive passenger' at Christchurch Airport for spitting at Air New Zealand crew member
Police have arrested a passenger for assault after she spat at a crew member on a flight from Auckland to Christchurch.
Another passenger on the flight said the woman rolled a cigarette and waved it around after "nutting off", and stood in the aisle while the plane landed saying "go faster".
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A police spokeswoman said the woman was abusive towards passengers and crew during the Air New Zealand flight, which arrived about 6.30pm on Wednesday.
Police were called to meet flight NZ559 as it landed in Christchurch.
The 32-year-old woman was charged with assault and issued a Civil Aviation Authority infringement notice for failing to follow the instructions of the flight crew, the spokeswoman said.
The infringement is an instant $500 fine. The woman was in custody at the Christchurch Police Station.
Justine, a passenger on the flight who asked for her surname not be published, said she first noticed the woman complaining to staff about where she was seated.
"I was busy, head buried in a book, and didn't really notice anything. I started hearing from behind me this really loud voice – someone swearing."
Justine said the woman became abusive towards the flight's air hostesses "and calling them all sorts of names and just going mental".
She said she saw the woman holding a rolled cigarette and "waving it around as if she was going to light it".
"She wouldn't sit in her seat and she was just being completely disruptive and disrespectful . . . It got to the point that everybody, even the air hostesses and staff, had to buckle up and sit down.
"She was literally standing in the aisle as the plane landed and going 'Woohoo, go faster, go faster'."
Another passenger said she saw the woman "clearly under the influence" and lying on the floor at the Auckland airport departure gate before boarding.
"She was yelling abuse at people . . . she was incoherent. She was yelling but you couldn't actually understand what she was saying.
The passenger said the woman who committed the assault "should never have been allowed to board the flight".
"The whole thing didn't need to happen. [They should have] stopped her from boarding and questioned her behaviour in Auckland, because clearly she was under the influence of something."
Both passengers said the people on the plane clapped as police and aviation security removed the woman after landing.
A passenger on another departing flight said they were delayed for almost an hour during the incident.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the return flight to Auckland, NZ570, was delayed by about 50 minutes.
She could not comment further while police dealt with the matter.