Why an American Airlines passenger was abused after she reclined her seat

American Airlines, good name but the pretty average airline in reality. What is also good in theory is a nice old seat recline, it’s pure relaxation, however one woman on an AA flight had the opposite of a relaxing flight when the man behind her starting abusing her.

During a flight between Charlotte, North Carolina and New Orleans, Louisiana a woman by the name of Wendi Williams reclined her seat during mealtime when the man behind her asked her to put her seat back up, she obliged, however, it’s after the mealtime when things started to get messy. Williams reclined her seat again and the man got angry, he started punching the back of her seat which he did 9 times. After the initial 9 punches, Williams started filming at which point the man “calmed down” however he was still rocking Williams chair back and forth, seemingly quite violently. After this altercation, Williams called the flight attendant who served her with a passenger disturbance notice which stated: “YOUR BEHAVIOR MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW” while giving the apparent abuser some free rum. Presumably, Williams then put her seat back into the upright position after the same flight attendant threatened to escort her off the plane.

In order to be fair I should mention that the flight was a mere 1hr and 24min long, the man was in the back row so he could not recline. The thing I find weird though is the disturbance notice, in the U.S it’s apparently against the law to film on an aeroplane, which is weird because you have flight review channels doing it every day. All of this also makes me think there’s two sides to this story but I guess we will never know. The flight was operated by an E175 and Williams is now looking at legal action.


N410YX, the aircraft on which the alleged altercation occered on full image credit

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In my view I feel like it’s normal. Virtually everyone reclines on flights i have been on

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Really? I find it rude to recline in Economy when the flight is relatively short.

If you’re in extra legroom or first class, go for it.

Either way, the man shouldn’t have kept going. Just give it a nudge or so every so often, it would drive her crazy!

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Reclining does nothing for legroom. The problem is that the seats are too straight and it gets very uncomfortable after a period of time. Even moving the seat one little notch will help.

Turn around and look and ask “Do you mind if I recline a bit”. If they have a full office set up on the tray table, I probably wont. If they say yes, I go just a tad back and not all the way. Simple.

The guy was being a jerk. He had plenty of room since he was on his phone on a tray table. The seat wasn’t in his way.

If you dont want passengers to recline, take out the buttons.

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Depends, it’s never been an issue until now. Unless someone has a legitimate reason then I don’t see a problem. On a QR flight my sister had someone in front recline their seat, she then reclined hers as she needed space to do hand exercises after hand surgery demanding movement near impossible. The guy behind got pissed

You really hate to see it but unfortunately many dont take to kindly to a reclined chair.

Personally, the woman was well in her rights to recline her chair and the man was just being a jerk for doing that.

I don’t recline my chair at all wether a 3 hour flight or a 14 hour flight.

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That’s an absolutely valid reason.

I have no problem with that, just as a principle it isn’t always necessary.

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The main issue with this is that is is Republic airlines. Republic is just a regional operator for them, they have no holdings in them, so republic can do what they want to do. According to the interview I think the FA though she was just filming him randomly as she may have not seen it happen, but what bothers me the most is she never personally asked him to stop. If something is wrong ask the person bothering you first, the FA can’t do anything they are not police of the sky…
Plus like Chris said just ask the person behind you, riding in the back of the bus is never comfortable.

I don’t like to recline, because I don’t like it when others recline their seats in front of me. Simple. Unless I’m on the last row (which most of the time I am. I would)

I read an article where someone broke a passengers macbook because they reclined their seat, and the computer got stuck and bent.

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This is just a bunch of overreacting and hype.

First of all, the lady was not being “abused” because the dude was shaking her seat. That’s like saying a baby or child kicking the seat behind you is “abusing you”. Just a lady looking for attention.

Second, this guy is simply an entitled loser. You pay for the seat, you get the recline. The person behind you has no say in whether you deserve the “right” to recline. If he can’t act like an adult then maybe he should be sitting in a car seat.

Third, Republic/American screwed this one up, yet again!

Childish behavior all around here, like siblings bickering about nothing.
Moving on

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How? If you’re using the tray table like any other normal human being on this planet, the most that would have happened would it have tapped the back of the computer.

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Yeesh, like leave that passenger alone! She paid for her seat and has the right to recline!

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I can confirm it happened. The person had a large laptop (15in), and was in an economy seat.
They put the edge of the laptop right on the seat in front of them , so when it reclined, the edge bent along with the screen.

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Yes what the guy did wasn’t polite by any means but there are two things that might have changed the outcome.
1.) In the video it appears that the man was sitting in the last row where the seats don’t recline. Had he been sitting a few rows up where he could recline he may not have gotten angry
2.) The woman could have asked to recline as some of you had mention before.

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Asking to recline is really unnecessary imo. I never do it. If you feel guilty for reclining I guess you could ask, but it’s your seat, so you can recline if you want.

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I don’t think she should have reclined, but the guy didn’t have to punch the seat. A nice tap on the shoulder and nice request should do the trick.


This does remind me of the time a couple of years ago on a BA flight from Heathrow to Austin. I reclined my seat like halfway because my back was hurting and the woman behind my kept pushing my seat back up.

This doesn’t make any sense to me. The seats don’t recline that far back. Wouldn’t it just push the screen back towards the keyboard, as if you were shutting it?

No, the screen was wedged into a gap in the seat, and the screen itself was pretty flimsy I think.

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First world problems

Because he had the computer at a 130’ degree angle, so when the chair reclined it hit it at an angle where the computer was stuck and it cracked. And as said above, the computer was then pushed into a gap in the seat and tray table. Read more here:

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