A couple was removed from an Air New Zealand flight after they refused to listen to the safety briefing on Tuesday.

NZ424 from Wellington to Auckland was forced to turn back to the gate to offload the passengers, who were seated in an exit row. The plane was met at the gate by airport police who removed the passengers. One passenger was issued an infringement notice for use of a cell phone.

A passenger contacted Newshub and said, “I have to say that if watching the safety video is so crucial and you can be escorted off the plane, maybe Air New Zealand should stop making ‘Rachel Hunter ice cream ad’ safety videos. Just make a short video that is compulsory to watch and let people know if they don’t watch the video, the police will come and take them away.”

Another passenger told Stuff NZ, “the video started playing and the flight attendant held up the card, but the woman started looking down at her book.” The passenger and her male companion then looked at their phones. “A flight attendant said very patiently ‘Can you please watch what’s happening because this is the exit row?’ The flight attendant was super kind and kept asking her, but the woman put her fingers in her ears. The passengers behind them were saying ‘For god’s sake, it takes two minutes to look at the card, just look at it,’ they seemed like they were too important for it.” The witness also told Stuff that when the passenger was informed they were going back to the gate and the police were waiting for them, that she loudly tried to book a flight with Jetstar on her phone.

Those seated in exit rows are required to pay attention to the safety briefing, and get an additional safety briefing on operating the exit doors.

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