A man has been arrested after he allegedly launched into a racist tirade and verbally abused cabin crew on a flight from Sydney to San Francisco.
The United Airlines flight on New Year’s Day was forced to divert to Auckland due to the incident.
Witnesses said the American passenger, 42, became angry when two men seated on either side of him, who were described as being South Asian, spoke to each other over him.
A video of the incident, which was uploaded to Facebook, showed the man yelling at a flight attendant who attempted to calm him down.
“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 said.
“I’m not yelling … you want to hear me f***ing yelling?
“Do you know how cool it would be to have the aeroplane turned around because of me? You are going to do that? You do that? I’m being so impolite aren’t I? Fat ass.”