A woman who recently flew on American Airlines is calling out the company for not properly reacting to another passenger who repeatedly punched the back of a seat that she had reclined.
Meanwhile, the video she tweeted of the incident set off on Twitter the age-old jetiquette debate about reclining your seat.
Wendi Williams said that on Jan. 31, she took a flight on American Airlines subsidiary American Eagle from New Orleans to Charlotte, North Carolina. That mean’s she’s probably on a 50-70 seat plane. During the trip, when she first reclined her seat the man behind her asked that she wait to do so until he was done eating.
She accommodated the man and then reclined the seat after he was done, according to a Fox News story. So for a minute, things were civil. Then, it happened. She said the man reacted to her recline by repeatedly punching the back of her seat, which she captured on video.
As a crewmember, when I flew for Virgin America we had this issue. Row 26 didn’t recline, we always apologized to the passengers seated there. Although, in Virgin’s defense, those seats weren’t bookable in advance. That row was blocked for use at the airport to ensure families, friends, etc. sat together. But of course they were always told the seats didn’t recline.
The man repeatedly punched and pushed the back of her seat in protest of her reclining the seat and making his space even smaller. However, she never brought her seat back up and instead recorded the incident.
After posting it on Twitter and starting the age-old “recline or not to recline” conversation she added that the flight attendants actually offered the man a free drink (I assume before the pushing?) because of the lack of space; something I did all the time at Virgin. It helped in “service recovery” for passengers in those seats. When Wendi started recording the incident a flight attendant supposedly informed her that it was against airline rules to record video (each airline has a different rule/regulation for this). Then Wendi said:
“I was contacted via phone by American [Airlines,] they apologized but really didn’t accept any responsibility for the flight attendant’s actions,” she charged. “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!”
What exactly would the man charged with? Anyway.. though some Twitter users showed sympathy for Williams’ situation, others were more curious of her version of events. Critics countered that it was “unfair” and “mind-boggling” that she would recline her seat against his wishes and invade the man’s space in the first place.
Personally, I believe you have a right to recline your seat and be more comfortable. However, whether you should or not in a specific situation is another matter. You should always be considerate of those around you. If your recline would impact the person behind you, try to work out a solution together. Is that really so hard?
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Survey Highlights Coronavirus Changes Airline Passengers Want
A recent survey of business and leisure airline passengers highlighted the guidelines and health-related equipment travelers are looking for when boarding a plane during and after the coronavirus outbreak.
According to information from Honeywell, around 72 percent were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport, which only saw 28 percent of respondents voice the most concern.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents also cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of those surveyed cited air quality (51 percent) and personal protective equipment such as masks (47 percent) as top priorities.
“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” Honeywell vice president Kevin Suits said in a statement. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers.
“We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft,” Suits continued. “We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”
In terms of in-flight amenities most-desired by passengers, masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes top the list. Travelers also revealed that cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60 percent) the most important way to provide confidence.
A portion of surveyed passengers also thinks that providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger would help ensure confidence in the cleanliness of the cabin.
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