reclining seat
Kiwi Shane Diedrichs became angry after the passenger in front refused to move his seat forward Getty

A New Zealander has been find AU$600 (£290, US$447, €404), following an "air rage" incident after a fellow plane passenger refused to move his reclined seat forward.

Shane Diedrichs, 38, received the penalty at Brisbane magistrates' court after admitting offensive and disorderly behaviour aboard a flight from Wellington to Brisbane last November.

The court heard how Diedrichs got angry at the man in front after he moved his seat back shortly after take-off and refused to put it forward.

Witnesses described how Diedrichs kicked and kneed the back of the man's seat as well as making "violent gestures" towards the passenger.

After moving seats, Diedrichs hit the back of the man's headrest and later returned to verbally abuse him further.

The passenger in the reclined seat claims the force of the blow to his headset left him with whiplash.

Diedrichs was fined the AU$600 and told he was lucky he did not face an assault charge as a result of the incident.

Speaking outside the court, he said he only reacted in the way he did because the passenger was rude to him.

"It's a short flight, no one reclines their seat between here and New Zealand," he told the Associated Press. "I did ask nicely and it was the response I got, that's what fired me up. I'm not a violent person, I'm not an angry person, it was just bad timing."

Last year, two US flights had to be diverted in the space of a week as a result of passengers getting into heated arguments over reclined seats.

Last August, an American Airlines flight from Miami to Paris had to be diverted to Boston after Edmond Alexandre reacted angrily when a women in front reclined her seat. He was arrested for "interfering with a flight crew" after allegedly grabbing an arm of an air stewardess who attempted to intervene.

The row follows a similar incident on a United Airlines Flight from Newark to Denver after a 48-year-old woman threw water over a man who prevented her from reclining her seat by attaching a "knee defender" device to the tray in front to give him space to work on his laptop.