air new zealand
This photo shows an Air New Zealand plane take off from the airport in Sydney, Aug. 23, 2017. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

A “wealthy-looking” couple was removed from an Air New Zealand flight Tuesday after they refused to watch an in-flight safety video before takeoff. Due to their behavior, the flight from Wellington Airport to Auckland was delayed by nearly half an hour.

The man and the woman in question were sitting in an exit row on flight NZ424 when they were approached by one of the flight attendants, who requested them to watch an in-flight safety video and read a special instructions manual – a standard procedure on all airlines. However, the couple seemed disinterested in following protocol. Both of them chose to be occupied with their respective mobile phones and a book instead of focusing on the video.

"The video started playing and the flight attendant held up the card, but the woman started looking down at her book,” an unidentified passenger who witnessed the incident told local news outlet Stuff. “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 passenger added that the “high maintenance” couple “didn't seem to care. The passengers behind them were saying "'For God's sake, it takes two minutes to look at it, just look at it’... they seemed like they were too important for it."

As a result of the pair’s non-compliance, the pilot of the plane turned the aircraft around and returned to the gate. When the couple was told they would be escorted out of the flight by airport security, the woman, who was reportedly carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, pulled out her phone and started to book seats on a Jetstar flight.

“You'd think they'd be embarrassed or mortified, but they seemed quite chuffed about the whole thing... I just felt for the flight attendants, because they got abused,” the passenger said.

Another anonymous passenger, who was also present on the flight at the time, told Newshub that sometimes the length of the in-flight safety videos can cause some people to lose focus while watching them or opt out of viewing them all together.

“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 [a New Zealand super model] ice cream ad’ safety videos,” the passenger said. “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.”

A New Zealand Police spokeswoman confirmed the incident, although she mentioned it involved a single woman. “Police were waiting at the gate when the aircraft returned and the customer disembarked. The passenger will receive an infringement notice under the Civil Aviation Authority rules relating to use of a cellphone,” the spokeswoman said.

According to 9News, the couple had to pay an unspecified amount of fine as punishment for their behavior.