A video viewed more than 600,000 times has set parts of the internet ablaze with the eternal burning question regarding airplane etiquette: Is it ever OK to recline your seat?
On Feb. 8, Twitter user Wendi Williams posted a video of a male passenger behind her repeatedly tapping her seat with his fist (is it a punch, is it a fisted tap...).
Williams says he started doing this after she reclined her seat. When she brought it up to an attendant on the American Airlines flight, Williams said she was reprimanded and the man received a complimentary drink.
@BravoAndy Here’s a great jackhole! 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 @AmericanAir flight attendant who reprimanded me and offered him rum! pic.twitter.com/dHeUysrKTu— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 9, 2020
“Here’s a great jackhole!” she wrote on Twitter. “He was angry that I reclined my seat and punched it about 9 times — HARD.”
Williams joined Twitter seemingly to get her version of the “assault” out. She alleges the tapping was stronger before she started filming and that the man only subsided after she began to capture footage on her phone. She claims they were strong enough that it might have caused her whiplash and that she had headaches for a week. She also says she missed work for doctor’s appointments.
There have been hundreds of replies to her version of events with many siding with both parties. It appears the man was seated in the final row of the aircraft, making it impossible for him to recline his own seat. He also apparently asked Williams not to recline her seat while he was eating. The footage we can see shows the man watching something on his phone, flat on his tray.
While some said there was no reason for the man to be that aggressive, others believe Williams — and all flyers — should never recline their seats on tiny airplanes anyway.
He’s clearly a giant person. She should never have reclined. I’m not saying he’s acting reasonably but she isn’t either. Look around, see if you’ll be hindering before you recline. I can’t think of the last time I reclined unless there was an empty 💺 behind me. And I fly weekly.— Shannon (not a medical doctor) (@Shann_ME) February 13, 2020
Some were confused about why Williams would post the video to begin with, since it paints her in “such a bad light,” clearly siding with the man here.
It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. I completely disagree that it puts me in a bad light. My opinion is that hitting other people is wrong; it’s only resilience if you’re in a boxing match. Keep on admiring him... and troll on! 👏 https://t.co/VM1JehTNGT— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 13, 2020
One person on Twitter offered a different piece of advice: shell out for the emergency-exit row for extra leg room.
I never recline but I also get annoyed at people that get mad when people recline. If you’re giant, spend a few bucks like me to grab that exit row or suck it up— baseballdo (@BaseballDo) February 13, 2020
Others still decided to take no side — instead casting blame on both parties who behaved in a “rude and unneighbourly” way.
Because I don’t accept that she is a victim. I think that this was a conflict between two people who both behaved in a rude and unneighborly way. He, I think, was MORE unneighborly in his response. But she does not seem to me to be a powerless, innocent victim.— Why we can’t have nice things (@KatherineKello7) February 10, 2020
Yahoo Canada readers on Facebook had lots to say about proper airplane etiquette, with many chiming in on this reclining seat debate.
But just what are the rules about reclining your seat? It would seem most people agree to extend common courtesy. Flights in economy are seldom comfortable, so why make it worse for yourself, or others, if you can help it?
A rule of thumb is to communicate with the person behind you when you can; never recline your seat during meal times; and recline slowly.
So, whose side are you on? Vote in the poll above and sound off in the comments.