The Ryanair passenger who launched a tirade at an elderly woman has denied he is a racist, insisting he merely lost his temper in an argument over seats.
David Mesher, who is understood to have been disowned by many family and friends, said that the dispute with Delsie Gayle began over getting to his allocated seat.
He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I probably lost my temper a bit and ordered her to get up."
Asked if he regrets his language, he replied: "Absolutely. I'm not a racist person by any means and it's just a fit of temper at the time, I think.
"I apologise for all the distress you've had there and since."
Footage posted on social media appeared to show a plane passenger calling Delsie Gayle an "ugly black b-----d" and telling her "don't speak to me in a foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow".
But Ms Gayle and her daughter Carol Gayle rejected the apology over the language used on the plane from Barcelona to London on October 19.
Asked if she accepts the apology, Delsie Gayle said: "I don't think so. You must forget and forgive but it's going to take a long time for me to get over what he has done to me."
Her daughter added: "He says he wasn't racist, he wouldn't be saying words like that if he wasn't racist."
The incident took place on Ryanair flight FR015 at Barcelona Airport on October 19, before it left for London Stansted.
Mr Mesher was was questioned by police for the first time on Wendesday as officers visited the 75-year-old at his home in Birmingham as part of a criminal investigation into the incident.
Officers spent just under an hour at the sheltered housing flat before leaving without him.
Before his retirement Mr Mesher is understood to have worked as a train announcer for London Midland Railways, and as a booking clerk at Waterloo station.
He has never married, and lived with his elderly mother until her death in the late 1980s.
On Wednesday night a relative, who did not wish to be named, said he hoped Mesher would be sent to prison if found to have committed a crime.
“I saw that video and I would have stepped in to help that woman,” he said.
“Someone on that plane should have done something. I don't care if he's blood. He should be put in a Spanish jail, I reckon."
However a former colleague said Mesher’s outburst was out of character for the man he knew.
“David worshipped his elderly mother, so he was always respectful and polite to older people,” the former railway worker said.
“I can’t understand why he’s done this.”
Barcelona city council has said it will report the incident as a possible hate crime.
Ryanair has been criticised for its handling of the incident as Mesher was not kicked off the flight. Instead, Mrs Gayle was moved to another aisle while Mesher was allowed to stay in his seat.
Earlier this week, Mrs Gayle, 77, from east London, told ITV: "I feel very low. He pays his fare, I pay mine. So why did he abuse me for that? Because of the colour of my skin.
"If I had done that to him, I'm sure they would have called the police."
Ms Gayle is due on Good Morning Britain to respond to Mr Mesher's apology.
Ryanair issued a lengthy statement on Friday making a series of points to "clarify the following facts, to prevent any further inaccurate and/or unfounded media reportage".
The airline defended its response, saying it "has a long record of not tolerating disruptive or abusive passenger behaviour".