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!
I was returning from a teachers’ convention. The man asked me, with an attitude, to put my seat up because he was eating. I did. I then reclined it again when he was finished. At that point, he started hammering away at me. That’s when I started videoing and tried to call the FA.
— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 8, 2020
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— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 13, 2020
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.”
"I think customers have the right to recline." $DAL CEO Ed Bastian shares his seat-reclining philosophy: If there's a tall person behind you "the polite thing is to make certain it was okay. I never recline … and I never say anything if someone reclines into me.” pic.twitter.com/JJw5DVH4QG
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) February 14, 2020
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.
2019 pre-tax income = $6.2 billion. Earnings per diluted share = $7.30. Up almost 30% from 2018.
But srsly guyz, just be nice to each other while we squeeze more and more people into every square inch.
Late-stage American Corporatism at its finest. https://t.co/Cn3xSGEizo
— Steve Bramucci (@stevebram) February 14, 2020
Check out how Air Travel Twitter feels about the seat recline issue below:
Very inconsiderate to recline a seat when the person behind you has nowhere to go. Inconsiderate to bang the back of someone’s seat in front of you. You 2 look like inconsiderate a-holes that deserved to sit with each other tbh
— Isabel ReyesBercasio (@Luckeel8ee) February 13, 2020
I always check that my seat reclines as soon as I sit down, in case passenger behind me puts on the locking device…some of us have bad backs…fliers on air lingus really hate it when I recline the seat… sorry but not sorry..
— Liberalarmy (@NealPeterson13) February 8, 2020
It's inconsiderate to recline a seat on an airline to begin with. You both deserve each other!
— America First Always (@America1Always1) February 14, 2020
WTF is he doing and why? That looks horrible.
— Sheena Queen of the Jungle (@texdakota) February 8, 2020
I'll have to ask, what started this? He didn't simply start tapping your seat for no reason did he? Were you reclined, knowing he'd be crammed in with no room? Or were you upright and he was nutso? What? NOT condoning him, but Back story please!
— Lisa NMI Watson (@LisaNMIWatson) February 9, 2020
Maybe taker a closer look and note that he is against a bulkhead, so he cannot recline his seat back further. So what little space one gets on an airline, he now has even less. You try and be cramped up and see how you like it. Maybe you could have swapped seats with him.
— Mark O'Mullane (@MajomaMark) February 13, 2020
I would want that flight attendants name. This guy obviously has major issues. He needs to fly first class if he can’t fit in a regular seat. The seats are made to recline and no one has the right to bully someone like this on a flight and be rewarded for it!
— Jayne kaye (@Jaynekaye7) February 13, 2020
The reality is you are inconsiderate for declining. (During the day on probably not even that long of a flight at what 5 foot 6?) I don’t stand in front of short people at a concert. It’s “my right” to stand anywhere but unlike others I am considerate to my fellow humans
— Neal McColvin (@NealtheWheel) February 13, 2020
I fly and have a severe back problems ,but I never recline my seat because The seats are to close together and who w to have some ones head in there area where you can’t even use you table for your https://t.co/m7qVdtsqXx are the typical I am special narcissist passenger
— Pamela (@Pamela53647311) February 14, 2020
My husband is 6'4", which is tall but not unusually tall. His legs don't fit in many airline seats. If he spreads his legs and one of them goes into the aisle it gets hit with a cart. Ask before you recline and respect the other passenger's wishes if they ask you not to!!!
— T D (@Truth1T) February 14, 2020
6’0” female here. Flying is uncomfortable for everyone, especially tall, long legged people, but no one has a right to behave like that man did. I probably would’ve turned around and cold clocked that asshole, so good for you for having self restraint.
— Pspielha (@pspielha) February 13, 2020
I agree that it was wrong what he did but wanting to call the FBI is just weird. It’s probably the police you should be calling. I think the FBI has more important work to do. But you did the right thing. Many People would have yelled at him or something, hope you are allright
— Christian Clausen (@Misterclausen21) February 14, 2020