An unruly passenger caused turbulence on a flight from Vancouver because he didn't get the meal option he wanted, according to other travellers.

The passenger, who claimed he can't eat meat or wheat, was livid when he learned there were no more fish meals available in business class on Saturday, according to a witness who does not wish to be identified.

"He was very belligerent, very rude to the flight attendant. The flight attendant was very polite, she offered him several choices," the witness said.

The witness said the man was swearing and verbally abusive to the staff members.

CTV News also talked to two other passengers on the flight from Vancouver to Toronto who corroborated with the witness.

The witness said the man didn't appear to be intoxicated or slurring his words, but seemed to be composed.

"He was very calm and was like, 'If I don’t get fish, there will be a problem. One way or another, I will get my fish, either you serve it to me or I will serve it to myself.'"

The witness explained flight attendants were taking meal requests from business class passengers prior to take off and the plane was still on the tarmac when the incident was unfolding.

The plane returned to the gate and the passenger was eventually kicked off the flight.

The witness said because of this commotion, it caused a further delay.

"The pilot came on the radio and said, 'Due to this delay of having to come back to the gate, the co-pilot and I have tapped out on our hours and we need to get you new pilots to get you to Toronto.'"

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Air Canada confirmed the AC118 flight returned to the gate because of a "disruptive passenger."

The airline said the original crew members were nearing their duty day limit and the flight needed to recrew.

The flight was supposed to take off from YVR at 2 p.m. but was already more than an hour behind schedule when #fishgate happened.

After the unruly passenger was removed from the flight, the other air travellers had to wait until 7:30 p.m. before they could finally board and head to Toronto.

Several passengers said they were frustrated and had to cancel plans because the man was insistent that he have the fish meal.

"We were all inconvenienced because this guy had a hissy fit over not being able to get fish," said the witness.