In a viral video filmed by a passenger, surnamed Zhao, the man is seen surrounded by a group of people including flight attendants, security guards and passengers, as he rages against them.
“Stop swearing at me. You have no right to do that,” he bellows.
When a male passenger attempts to point out the airline’s policy, the man becomes furious and turns on him. A security guard tries to intervene and calm the situation, but the man will not be subdued.
“What gives you the right to order me about?” he yells.
“You’ve wasted too much of our time and we won’t tolerate it any longer,” a woman passenger shouts back at him.
Zhao said the quarrel began at 11am when the man’s two-year-old son, who was sitting next to him in the first class cabin, started to cry.
The child had originally been sitting in economy class but the man demanded the crew upgrade his child’s seat to first-class.
When his request was denied he became angry. No matter how many times the cabin crew explained the airline’s policy to him, the man was adamant he was in the right and that he was entitled to an upgrade.
Eventually, the police were called and the man was escorted off the plane at 2pm.
Zhao said the 300 other passengers were annoyed that their time had been wasted and that they all had to rebook their flights.
Mainland social media has been abuzz over the dispute, with many people criticising the behaviour of the man and also the cabin crew.
“The man is so selfish,” one person said.
“Keeping the quarrel going for hours? The problem-solving skills of the crew are poor,” said another.
Stories about flight disputes often make headlines in China.
In July last year, an elderly woman triggered a heated public discussion after she yelled at a young man who refused to swap seats with her on a Jiangxi Airlines flight.
A month earlier, a Chinese transgender woman in Shanghai shared a video online in which she claimed unfair treatment by flight attendants who failed to use her proper pronouns.