A video taken on an American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Charlotte shows one passenger repeatedly punching the seat of the woman seated in front of him.
In the video, the man, seated on the last row, could be seen punching Ms. Williams’ chair as he watched something on his phone. Ms. Williams’ reclined seat was shaking because of the hits.
Ms. Williams’ stated that this was “assault,” but many on social media disagree. They asked why she did not ask him to stop, or pull up her seat.
She said that the man had asked her to pull up the seat as he ate, and she complied.
She added: “When he finished eating, I reclined it again. Then the barrage of punches came. I didn’t know you can’t recline your seat! Why do they recline? Everyone else had theirs reclined.”
In her Twitter comment, Liz Lischillina stated that the man’s behavior was “rude and aggressive.”
@ladytinab commented: “It is considered bad manners to recline more than an inch. I am guilty of getting angry when someone does that when I’m stuck in economy.”
“I will be calling the FBI to press charges against the ‘man’ who mistook me for a punching bag. My only crime was reclining my seat,” Ms. Williams wrote on Twitter.
An American Airlines spokesperson told The Independent: “We are aware of a customer dispute that transpired on American Eagle flight 4392, operated by Republic Airways on January 31. The safety and comfort of our customers and team members is our top priority, and our team is looking into the issue.”
The recline or not recline debate has been particularly controversial, and two law professors, Christopher Buccafusco and Christopher Jon Sprigman, proposed a bargaining system.
They carried out a study asking people how much they would pay or want to be paid – to recline their seat or stop someone from reclining.
They found out that on average, passengers were willing to pay $12 to the person behind them so that they could recline. However, those in the seat behind wanted $39 from the person in front.
Passengers would pay $18 to stop the other person from reclining, but the person in front would accept $41 to refrain from reclining.