Last updated: 04:33 PM ET, Thu July 09 2015

Man Fined $400 for 'Disorderly Behavior' Toward Reclined Passenger

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | July 09, 2015

Man Fined $400 for 'Disorderly Behavior' Toward Reclined Passenger

With adequate legroom often tough to come by on today's flights, it's no wonder reclining airline seats have become such a polarizing topic of conversation.

But regardless of whether you prefer your fellow passengers to keep their seats in the upright position for the duration of the flight, patience prevails. Unfortunately for 38-year-old New Zealand native Shane Mathew Diedrichs, he learned that lesson the hard way.

According to the Courier Mail, Diedrichs was fined $400 after pleading guilty to offensive and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident aboard a Virgin Australia flight last November. 

Diedrichs became upset when the passenger reclined in the seat in front of him on a flight from Wellington to Brisbane refused to sit up. "No one reclines their seat between here and New Zealand," Diedrichs told the Courier Mail. "I'm not a violent person. I'm not an angry person. It was just bad timing."

Diedrichs claimed that he asked nicely and said the passenger's response is what angered him.

Commonwealth prosecutor Rebecca Blaszczyk read witness statements in court on Thursday that said Diedrichs was "pushing, kicking and kneeing" the back of the passenger's seat before striking the headrest with his hand while passing by. 

The victim, a doctor, claimed to have suffered whiplash as a result. 

Magistrate Bronwyn Spinger acknowledged that Diedrichs was remorseful but felt it necessary to penalize him. "Being in an aircraft, it’s a confined space, it can get out of control," said Spinger via the Telegraph. "People’s emotions have to be kept in check."


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