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An airline passenger has sparked a conversation online about the etiquette involved in reclining one’s seat – after posting video of a man punching and pushing the back of hers in economy.
Wendi Williams was traveling from New Orleans to Charlotte, North Carolina, on an American Eagle flight operated by Republic Airways on Jan. 31 when the episode occurred.
“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,” Williams wrote on Twitter.
“The other jackhole is the @AmericanAir flight attendant who reprimanded me and offered him rum!” she added, calling the man’s actions as an “assault.”
The clip showing the bearded, bespectacled man has since gone viral, with more than 2.4 million views.
“After much consideration, and exhausting every opportunity for #American Airlines 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 wrote on Twitter.
“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! She told me I had to delete the video! It’s against the law to video on a plane. I asked her name & She gave me a Passenger Disturbance Notice!” she said.
Williams also channeled Gloria Gaynor, apparently revising the lyrics to “I Will Survive” to describe her ordeal.
“First I was afraid, I was petrified. Kept thinking he was gonna kill me with those crazy eyes. But I took so many hits and I thought how he did me wrong and grew strong! I learned how to tweet along. He hit my back – so many times so I’ll recline! I will recline! Hey hey!” she wrote.
Williams said the man had asked her to put up her seat while he ate. She said she obliged, but reclined her seat again once he was finished.
“At that point, he started hammering away at me,” she claimed, prompting her to notify a flight attendant, whose response infuriated her.
“It was scary and very painful” she said, claiming she lost time at work, had to receive X-rays and suffered headaches because of the incident.
“I’m in pain. I have 1 cervical disk left that isn’t fused – the first 1 which allows me some mobility. It’s scary bc it’s this the kind of injury that could do it in,” she said.
“I am grateful for the limited movement I still have and shouldn’t have had to endure the repeated blows.”
She said she was contacted by American Airlines, which “apologized but really didn’t accept any responsibility for the flight attendant’s actions.
“I will be calling the FBI to press charges against the ‘man’ who mistook me for a punching bag. Anyone who doesn’t like it, I don’t care!” she wrote.
In a statement, the airline said it was “looking into the issue. The safety and comfort of our customers and team members is our top priority.”
Since footage went viral, some social media users have argued that Williams was in the wrong for invading the other passenger’s personal space.
“This video has the internet legitimately divided. Dude is in the last seat on the plane. Seat doesn’t recline. Hers does. And she reclines. He’s upset, and is punching her seat incessantly— so she records,” user Marina Marraco tweeted.
“Who is right?! Who is wrong?!”
Another user, Heather Egan, wrote that they were “both in the wrong.”
“But reclining your seat when you are flying coach is literally the most selfish inconsiderate thing a person can do. It literally ruins the travel experience of the person sitting behind you,” she said.
“You are just as bad if not worse then (sic) him,” Egan added.
Others stuck up for her.
“It’s ridiculous for ppl to say you shouldn’t recline your seat. It’s an option for a reason. You’re fully within your right,” Melissa Graver wrote.
“If he needs more room, he should have gotten a seat that accommodated that. Why should you be inconvenienced? You paid for your seat.”
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