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The internet is divided on whether this guy had the right to repeatedly punch a woman’s airline seat

'When you recline you’re invading the space of the other passenger and ruining their experience...'


Stacey Ritzen

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 13, 2020   Updated on Feb 13, 2020, 4:12 pm CST

We all get it. Airline seating sucks. Unless you’re fortunate enough to fly first-class or business (or lucky enough to get an upgrade), you can pretty much guarantee a cramped, uncomfortable experience. But just how cramped and uncomfortable you’ll be is often left to the mercy of those seated around you, as two recent American Airlines passengers can now, unfortunately, attest to.

During a Jan. 31 American Eagle (a subsidiary of American Airlines) flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, North Carolina, a woman named Wendy Williams became involved in a dispute with the man seated behind her. As you can see in the following video that she tweeted earlier this week, the unnamed man proceeded to repeatedly punch the back of her seat, which she had fully reclined.

“Here’s a great jackhole!” Williams wrote, tagging Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen’s expired Twitter account, for some reason. “He was angry that I reclined my seat and punched it about 9 times – HARD, at which point I began videoing him, and he resigned to this behavior.”

“The other jackhole is the flight attendant who reprimanded me and offered him rum,” she added.

Now, there are several things to consider, here. Just because you can recline your airline seat all the way back doesn’t mean that you should. And as you can clearly see in the video, the man behind her was seated in the very last row—meaning that he was essentially trapped behind her with nowhere to recline himself.

Williams continued, adding that the man had initially asked her to put her seat up at the beginning of the flight (“with an attitude”), however when he was finished eating she reclined her seat back down again. And that’s when the punching started.

When Williams got the attention of the American Airlines flight attendant, she was rewarded with a reprimand, while the man behind her got a free cocktail—a hero’s reward, some might consider.

It is odd that the man would first resort to punching instead of just asking her—with or without attitude—to put up her seat because she was making him uncomfortable. (It seems as though the “eating” excuse may have been a smidge passive-aggressive.) But also lady, just put your seat up. Furthermore, a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte is what, like, an hour and a half, tops? It seems as if both parties could have maybe benefitted from acting a little less like children.

In one of her initial tweets, Williams claimed that she’s since had to miss work due to horrible headaches and see a doctor about getting an X-ray. (Again, this all could have been avoided if she would have just put the damn seat up.)

In what will surely come as a huge surprise, people had strong opinions about the incident. And many of them were, uh, less than sympathetic to Williams’ plight.

“When you recline you’re invading the space of the other passenger and ruining their experience,” wrote one user. “You’ve had a shocker here Wendy.”

At least a few people were on Wendy’s side, however.

“I’m 6’2”, travel extensively, and always pay for the extra leg room,” added one user. “This boy is in the wrong, that’s assault. All the people tweeting ‘you should have asked to recline first’ – I have never seen someone ask if it’s okay.”

American Airlines has yet to comment on the situation, although it seems like it’s gonna take a lot of free rum to make this go away quietly.


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*First Published: Feb 13, 2020, 4:11 pm CST