He was too late to check in for his flight, been told to pay another $100 for another and he was not happy - so Edward Christopher Wycherley threatened to hijack the plane.
But it was a threat the 25-year-old would instantly regret.
And although he was discharged without conviction, the ruling comes with a warning from a judge: don't make stupid remarks in airports.
On December 30 last year, Wycherley and his brother arrived at Auckland Airport to get fly to Wanganui but were told by Air New Zealand staff they were too late to check in and would need to pay an extra $100 each to get the next one.
According to court documents, this made the salesman "very angry" and he started telling the check in staff that he and his brother were "high priority customers".
"I am so pissed off we spend millions of dollars every year."
Wycherley's brother paid for the transfers, but he got more agitated then approached one of the check-in staff and said: "This is shit, I'm going to hijack the plane."
Police and aviation staff were called because the check-in workers were so concerned about the comments.
However, when he was spoken to by police Wycherley said the remark was stupid and that he was just angry.
He was charged with communicating false information but was eventually granted a discharge without conviction at the Manukau District Court on October 18 by Judge Richard McIlraith.
However, the judge said he knew the threat was a "one-off" and that he would warn others about making "stupid remarks in airports".
Wycherley's lawyer, Anjeet Singh, said a conviction would affect his client's work and ability to travel in the future.
She submitted the comments were made out of frustration, "were stupid and were inappropriate" and there was not really any risk the threat was valid.
Police opposed the application, saying the threat to hijack a plane was very serious and if people who behaved in that way escaped consequences it would undermine airport staff and security's efforts to ensure the safety of travellers.
I know ... you will tell many people about the importance of not making stupid remarks in airports.
They also said if people to be granted a discharge without conviction for hijack threats, airport staff in the future would not know if someone had made similar remarks previously if another situation arose.
Judge McIlraith said he didn't want to belittle the serious offences.
"You can only imagine the decree of comfort to other people flying on a plane where someone has made that sort of a threat, even if it appears the threat was made in a joking fashion."
In his judgment, Judge McIlraith said he accepted it was not one of the worst examples of hijack threats and that a conviction would affect his employment and ability to travel, especially internationally.
The judge said he granted the discharge without conviction because of how seriously Wycherley had taken the situation, that he was never in a position to carry out the threat and because he'd taken steps to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
He also said he could see they were "stupid comments" people could make in the spur of the moment.
But he didn't want to belittle the seriousness of the offending and said he had sympathy for airline staff.
"It used to be ten years ago you could make that comment and everyone would assume you were making a joke and no one would react, but due to the nature about the world we live in things have unfortunately moved a long way beyond that."
After granting the application, Judge McIlraith issued a stern warning:
"I know this will be a one-off and you will tell many people about the importance of not making stupid remarks in airports."
Wycherley told the Herald, through Gill, he sincerely regretted his "momentary lapse of judgment" and said he'd apologised "unreservedly" to Air New Zealand, the courts and the police.
"He has learnt a salutary lesson."