Bob Jones ejected from Air NZ flight as fellow passengers applaud
Property magnate Sir Bob Jones was ejected from a domestic Air New Zealand [NZX: AIR] flight after refusing to take instructions from cabin crew.
The 75-year-old Hutt Valley resident had boarded flight NZ421 from Auckland to Wellington when cabin staff attempted to instruct him in his duties as an emergency exit row passenger, where he was seated in row 12, in a window seat.
Jones kept reading when the staff member sought to deliver him and other passengers a routine safety briefing and became argumentative when asked to stop reading, again refusing to be instructed on emergency procedures.
Told he could be moved to another seat if he was unable or unwilling to assist in an emergency, he refused to be moved and asked to be left alone, according to passengers in the same row, who witnessed the incident.
Two Civil Aviation Authority staff were summoned to the plane to escort the former politician, sometime author and boxing enthusiast, who owns a suite of commercial and industrial properties in New Zealand and Australia, which the Robt Jones Holdings website says is valued at more than $1.5 billion.
The flight was delayed some 20 minutes, prompting an apology from the flight's captain, who said "no matter who you are," passengers had to obey CAA regulations, which included paying attention to safety briefings.
An iconoclastic newspaper columnist with a penchant for thumbing his nose at authority and any and all manifestations of the "nanny state," Sir Bob is fabled for striking television journalist Rod Vaughan who tracked him down to a remote fishing spot after the 1984 general election, attempting to evict the Fijian High Commission from his buildings during one of the Pacific nation's coups, and launching baroque legal actions involving traffic offences and former employees.
(Pattrick Smellie was on the same flight as Sir Robert, sitting one row ahead - Editor.)