A Viral Video Has Reawakened The Great Airplane Seat Reclining Debate

The people of Twitter were at it again this week, this time debating the age-old airplane quandary over whether to recline or not recline. The conversation came up thanks to a now-viral video posted by Twitter user Wendi Williams who, on a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, experienced incessant tapping from an aggrieved passenger who wasn’t here for her recline-on-a-short-flight shenanigans. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t condoning this dude’s behavior in the slightest, or minimizing it. He’s for sure an ass who is taking a minor inconvenience too hard, but let’s keep things completely transparent here, in the video — dude isn’t punching. More like annoyingly tapping.

Wendi posted the video of the incident to her Twitter at the top of the week and since then she’s been in an active battle and dialogue with Air Travel Twitter. According to her tweets, during a return flight from a teacher’s convention in New Orleans on American Airlines, Wendi reclined her seat and was asked “with an attitude” to put her seat up by the man sitting behind her who was in the middle of his meal. She obliged and reclined again once he was finished. Then the man began “hammering” away at her seat, which she caught on video. Wendi complained to a nearby flight attendant who reportedly “rolled her eyes” and ended up offering the man some rum. Nicely handled American Airlines!

Now Wendi wants the FBI to investigate the man… Look, let’s put things into perspective here for a second. The guy sitting behind Wendy is in the dreaded final seat making him unable to recline. That’s his problem. If he wanted more room he could’ve bought another seat (though the fact that the entire airline experience is priced piecemeal is part of the issue). Having said that, the average flight from New Orleans to Charlotte North Carolina is about two hours. So Wendi, we get it, being a teacher is rough, but you don’t really need to recline on a two-hour flight, especially when you know the person behind you has the misfortune of sitting in the final seat (although if you apply that logic forward the seats would un-recline like reverse dominoes and beg the question: when the back seat can’t recline, should anyone be able to? etc.).

So go ahead, go off Air Travel Twitter!

During an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box with Delta Airlines CEO, Ed Bastian, the now-viral story came up briefly and Bastian was asked to weigh in on his opinion.

“I think customers have the right to recline.” Adding that if the person behind you is particularly tall, “the polite thing is to make certain it was okay. I never recline… and I never say anything if someone reclines into me.”

There you have it, folks. Straight from the CEO of an airline that reports incredible profits by maximizing every square inch of space on their planes! This irony was certainly not lost on people, especially our travel editor Steve Bramucci.

Check out how Air Travel Twitter feels about the seat recline issue below: