An Air New Zealand flight sat on the tarmac for over an hour before an unwell passenger was taken off the flight.

A passenger on flight NZ678 told the Herald the flight was delayed before he arrived at Dunedin Airport this evening.

After boarding the Auckland-bound aircraft, he said the flight was stuck on the tarmac for over an hour before finally heading towards the runway.

"Within 30 seconds, there was some kind of strife with three passengers who were later taken off the flight," he said.


An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said a passenger on the flight became unwell and the plane returned to the gate so they could disembark.

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A witness said passengers a few rows ahead of him were crying after the trio left the plane.

"The passengers haven't been told a thing," he said.

But he said the inflight staff were "terrific", handing out extra snacks and offering more wine to the delayed passengers.

"The first mate mentioned the passenger was sick and assumed we'd all understand, which I think most people were able to do," he said.

"It sounded like quite a few passengers were getting international flights and may have missed their connection."

The plane was still sitting at the gate half an hour after the passengers disembarked, before finally leaving for Auckland 90 minutes later than originally scheduled.