After watching a film in screen 17, Mr Rafiq couldn't locate his phone or keys and suspected they may have fallen into his Gold Class seat.
Still sat in seat C5 with the footrest in an upright position, area coroner Emma Brown explained to the inquest what happened next.
'He got up off his seat with the footrest in the raised position and went under the seat,' she said. 'Very quickly the footrest started to come down on him.'
When she realised what was happening, his wife tried in vain to hold the footrest up.
After alerting staff, they tried for 10 to 15 minutes to free Mr. Rafiq from under the chair but they could not get the buttons which operated the footrest to work.
Paramedics arrived at 7.55pm and Mr. Rafiq was taken to hospital where he died on March 16 after suffering a hypoxic brain injury.
The Nottingham Post reported that during the inquest, Mrs. Sardar described how her husband had used her phone to search for his phone and keys.
'The footrest started to come down, trapping his neck. He called out in pain,' she said. 'I noticed his breathing was very bad. It appeared as if he was suffocating.'
By the time he was freed, Mrs. Sardar said he was breathing but his body was blue.
The inquest will be looking at the mechanical cause of how he became trapped, plus any adjustments or alterations that had been made post manufacture to the footrest.
Releasing a statement, his wife described Mr. Rafiq as described her husband as a 'loving father, son, husband and friend.'
'He was always happy and positive and took every day as it came. He had a brilliant sense of humour and the greatest of hearts. There is not a day that goes by when we do not think of him.'