New Zealander convicted of racially abusing flight attendant

The G-EUPH British Airways Airbus A319-131 makes its final approach for landing at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, France, March 20, 2019.   REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Photo credit: Reuters

A New Zealand business class passenger has been convicted of racially abusing a flight attendant and demanding he be served by a "white girl".

Peter Nelson, who moved to the UK to work as a consultant, was on an 11-and-a-half hour British Airways flight from London to Rio de Janeiro when he became infuriated at being woken up by cabin crew.

"You Asians think you are better than us, I don't want to be served by you lot, I've paid your wages for the last 20 years," he said, according to The Telegraph.

Appearing in court, the jury heard how he "shouted very loudly" at Sima Patel-Pryke and another crew member, to the point crew got a restraining kit ready to use on him.

"Nelson subsequently demanded services in the future only from the white member of the crew," said prosecutor Michael Tanney.

"He accused the defendant of shouting very loudly to add to the menace that he was exuding. All deliberate say the Crown. That was when the white girl reference was allegedly made.

"It's no trifling complaint that one has misbehaved on an aeroplane at 30,000ft to the extent that a restraining kit has been made ready."

Following his conviction, Judge Edward Connell said Nelson's actions were "completely unacceptable".

"It was thoroughly unpleasant period of conduct by you; such was your conduct that members of staff were called to deal with you and they had cause to contact the pilot," The Telegraph reports him as saying, adding that the abuse reduced Patel-Pryke to tears. 

Along with his conviction, Nelson has been forced to pay compensation to his victim. According to his lawyer, he's also lost his job and is considering moving back to New Zealand with his family.