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Internet divided over unruly American Airline passengers

by Betül Duru
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 01:00 pm
A recording of a passenger on a flight punching the seat in front of him for reclining has the internet debating who is right and who is wrong.
A recording of a passenger on a flight punching the seat in front of him for reclining has the internet debating who is right and who is wrong.

On Sunday, Feb. 15, a video of a man vigorously punching the seat in front of him went viral on Twitter. The woman sitting in front, Wendi Williams, took the video of the incident and posted it online when she couldn’t get the reaction she wanted from the airlines. 

The unnamed man was sitting in the last row on an American Airlines flight that was traveling from New Orleans to Charlotte. According to Williams, she positioned her seat upright while he was eating, but when the trays were cleared out she promptly reclined her seat.

“At that point he started hammering away at me,” she wrote. “That’s when I started videoing and tried to call the FA [flight attendant],” according to The Washington Post. 

Although Williams called the flight attendant hoping she would intervene on her behalf, she didn’t receive the reaction she was hoping for. 

“When the FA came. She rolled her eyes at me and said, ‘What?’ She then told him it was tight back there and gave him rum!” Williams claimed via Twitter. “She told me I had to delete the video! It’s against the law to video on a plane. I asked her name and she gave me a Passenger Disturbance Notice!” 

Williams stated the reason she posted the video on Twitter was because she wanted the airlines to resolve the issue without having to involve the FBI in the process, according to Daily Mail. 

“After much consideration, and exhausting every opportunity for #AmericanAirlines to do the right thing, I’ve decided to share my assault, from the passenger behind me, and the further threats, from an American Airline flight attendant,” Williams said via Twitter. “She offered him a complimentary cocktail!” 

She has also asked for the flight attendant, Loretta, who sided with the man behind her be fired for being unprofessional and objecting to resolve the issue.  

“I want to know who he is, I would like to press charges against this man,” Williams said according to the Daily Mail. “I was assaulted on this plane. And I would like the flight attendant Loretta fired.” 

Twitter users were split on this issue; many people who believed the passenger behind her should have acted maturely in accordance with his age. 

“The puncher should be penalized,” @Ginger_Karyn said via Twitter. “The punchee should be compensated. And the airline should grow a pair and train staff to tell people to keep their hand to themselves bc reclining is 100% the prerogative of every passenger who pays for a seat that’s designed to recline!” 

Others thought she was being inconsiderate, knowing the passenger behind couldn’t recline as she was doing. 

“I’m tall and hate riding on airplanes because of women like this,” Patrick_Ingham said via Twitter. “The seat reclines 2 inches, I would countersue for being illegally filmed without my consent. Lol. But seriously airlines: get rid of reclining seats. I’m on your side sugar ray seat puncher.” 

Although many think they should have had a conversation among themselves, Williams stated she couldn’t have sat through the flight in an upright seat because of pain. 

“I’m in pain. I have one cervical disk left that isn’t fused — the first one which allows me some mobility,” Williams said via Twitter. “It’s scary bc it’s this the kind of injury that could do it in. I am grateful for the limited movement I still have and shouldn’t have had to endure the repeated blows #whiplash.” 

In reaction to the video, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, came forward and gave his two cents on the etiquette of air travel. 

“I think the proper thing to do is, if you’re going to recline into somebody, that you ask if it's OK first and then you do it,” Bastian said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” after being asked about reclining etiquette. 

Bastian later explained that airlines are reducing the recline option on Delta airplanes and claimed he avoids reclining at all times. 

“I think if someone knows there’s a tall person behind them and they want to recline in their seat I think the polite thing would be to make certain it was OK,” Bastian said to WRCB-TV. “I never recline because I don’t think it’s something, since I’m the CEO of the airline, that I should be reclining my seat, and I never say anything if someone reclines into me.” 

The guilty party in this situation seems to be the airline more than the individuals. Although they could have had a conversation rather than acting like children, it is obvious the space in airlines is limited and seems to decrease every year. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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