A woman was removed from a flight in China after she opened the emergency exit for "a breath of fresh air" just moments before the flight was supposed to take off, local media reported.

The incident happened on Xiamen Air flight MF8215 from Wuhan to Lanzhou, which was scheduled to take off at 3.45pm on Monday.

Cabin crew had already briefed the woman about the rules when sitting next to the emergency exit.

She was told not to touch the button that opened the emergency doors, but instead she ignored the warning and pressed the button when flight attendants had their back turned.

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The woman explained she needed fresh air.

She was taken away and the flight was delayed for an hour.

Opening the emergency exit can be deemed to be disturbing public order in an aircraft, which is punishable by police detention and a fine.

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It's not the first time a passenger has had a run-in with the emergency door.

Last July, a woman who was flying for the first time mistook the emergency door for a lavatory door before her plane took off in Nanjing. The emergency slide was released and the flight was delayed for two hours. The woman was detained for 10 days.

In June, a man from Hubei who was returning to China from Bangkok on a Thai Lion Air flight opened an emergency exit before take-off.