When you are about to catch a flight, the last thing you want is to be seated next to, or close to someone that makes you nervous. There is already so much stress that goes into air travel, like being on time, ensuring you are at the right terminal and remembering to pack your Chapstick. This is even more stressful when you are traveling alone because there into one to give you those handy, yet sometimes annoying, reminders. For Wendi Williams, her flight was made into a traumatic episode thanks to the man who was seated behind her.
All She Did Was Recline Her Seat
Enjoying a flight is entirely dependent on what seat you get on your flight. You could be wedged between two burly humans and left without any elbow space. You could get the aisle seat and have your toe run over by the food cart, or you could get the seat that is right at the back of the plane that cannot recline as everyone else’s does.
In early 2020, Wendi William was on board a flight traveling to Charlotte in North Carolina from New Orleans. She had attended a conference for teachers and was on her way home. There was a man with a beard seated behind her. At some point during the flight, Williams wanted to relax a little so she reclined the seat. The man behind her quickly asked her to return it to its upright position because he was trying to eat his meal which was not enjoyable feeling all squashed. Williams understood, and she obliged, according to an interview with Williams later on.
“I was leaving a teacher’s conference and we got onto the plane and the man behind me, as soon as we got in the air, I reclined and he asked me if … I would put my seat back up while he ate, which I did,” said Williams.
The man’s Reaction
About 10 minutes later, She noticed that the man had finished his meal and she promptly reclined her seat again. She explained to the reporters on the news that she was sharing her story that she has “fused vertebrae” and this is why she needs her seat to be reclined, otherwise her back is in pain.
The man was suddenly furious that she had once again reclined her seat. She told the reporters that, “About 10 minutes later, he was done and I put my seat back down at which point he started full-on punching the back of my seat really hard that I was flying forward.”
Of course, the first thing you should do is alert the flight attendants and ask them for help. But this was to no avail. Williams realized that the flight attendants had actually chosen a side already (if that is even allowed) and it wasn’t her side. They refused to help her. What’s worse, is that they actually issued her with a passenger disturbance notice, and it was clear her position on the plane was on thin ice.
She decided to keep her phone recording the entire fight through. If no one was going to help her, she was determined to help herself. The video was posted as soon as she landed, and it has since gone viral. Many people shared her view that she has the right as the person who paid for her ticket to recline the seat she was issued. But, other people thought that she was being unfair and encroaching on the space of the man seated behind her.
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Unruly Passengers are becoming more Common
As the years go by, it seems we are becoming more and more demanding as a species. When it comes to unsavory passengers on flights, there has been some research was done that shows how difficult they have become. 5000 flight attendants completed the Association of Flight Attendants’ Unruly Passengers Survey. The survey found the following.
“85% percent of respondents reported having dealt with at least one unruly passenger so far in 2021. 58% percent reported handling at least five incidents. And a shocking 17% reported a physical confrontation with a passenger.“
According to Sara Nelson, the president of the AFA-CWA, “This survey confirms what we all know, the vitriol, verbal and physical abuse from a small group of passengers is completely out of control, and is putting other passengers and flight crew at risk. This is not just about masks as some have attempted to claim. There is a lot more going on here and the solutions require a series of actions in coordination across aviation. It is time to make the FAA ‘zero tolerance’ policy permanent. The Department of Justice to utilize existing statute to conduct criminal prosecution. Also to implement a series of actions proposed by our union to keep problems on the ground and respond effectively in the event of incidents.”
Watch the video above and let us know what you think in the comments! Who was justified?
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