Fierce debate erupts on Twitter over passengers’ right to recline plane seats

Cathy Adams
Footage of a woman being 'punched' by a male passenger onboard an American Airlines flight has gone viral: Twitter.com/AmicaAli

Fierce debate has erupted over whether it’s acceptable to recline your seat on a flight, following a viral video that shows a man repeatedly punching the back of a woman’s seat.

Footage shows a man banging the back of the seat of passenger Wendi Williams over and over again after she reclined her seat on an American Airlines flight from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Charlotte, North Carolina, last week.

As a result, her aisle seat can be seen shaking back and forth.

The incident has sparked a debate about whether it’s ever acceptable to recline your seat on a flight, with an Independent Twitter poll split almost evenly.

According to the Twitter poll, which had more than 2,500 votes this afternoon, the majority – 37.6 per cent – said reclining your seat was “a bit rude but allowed”.

The results were then almost evenly split between “absolutely” and “unacceptable”, with 33.1 per cent and 29.3 per cent of votes respectively.

Journalist Sally Davies tweeted: “Another question might be ‘how far into the flight does seat reclining become acceptable?’ People who do it the second the seatbelt sign goes off should be on a list.”

User Rufus added: “If you have a problem with the person in front of you reclining their seat, politely ask them to move it. Society has completely lost the art of clear communication.”

Matt went as far to say that: “If everyone reclined their seat the world would be a better place.”

Others suggested that for short flights, reclining the seats shouldn’t be an option. Many budget airlines with short-haul schedules typically don’t allow the seat to recline.

“Any flight that is less than three hours should have its seat locked in the upright position to avoid confrontation,” said Glenn Robertson.

Alice came up with a neat solution: “I think the planes should cater to reclining on one side and non-recliners on the other. That should put an end to this mess.”

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Should you recline your seat on a plane?