Airline captain weighs in on viral plane seat debate following chair recline row

14 February 2020, 19:12 | Updated: 14 February 2020, 19:37

An airline captain has given his two pence in an online debate about reclining plane seats that has taken over the internet.

Umesh, calling LBC from Watford, told LBC today that some passengers behaved "entitled" and that he would not have accepted such behaviour if it happened on his flight.

His comment comes following a viral video that shows a man repeatedly punching the back of a woman’s plane seat because her seat was reclined.

The video was taken by another passenger and shows the man, seated in the last row of the plane, banging the back of Ms. Williams’ chair while watching something on his mobile phone.

Her aisle seat can be seen shaking back and forth as a result.

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty today, the pilot said: "Things like this started to become a daily occurrence and worldwide actually."

When asked for an example, he said: "I've had passengers complain that they paid for a seat which they didn't get when it turned out they hadn't paid for it.

"And unfortunately, it seems to be more of the case. Now, when people get on a plane, there's a sort of entitlement, which they seem to forget. It's actually an aircraft in the air many kilometers in the air.

"Rather than actually just jumped on a bus, or getting into an Uber and going down to the shops."

Ms. Williams later said that the incident was an “assault”, although some social media users agreed, others asked why she didn’t ask him to stop, or just pull her reclined seat up.

The video has divided Twitter with some saying that Ms. Williams was guilty of "bad manners" for reclining her seat "more than an inch".

Southwest Airlines Boarding
Plane boarding . Picture: Getty

The pilot then went on to explain: "At the end of the day, the lady was entitled to push her seat back from what I could see and if he didn't like it, he could have asked her and I'm sure if he had spoken to the cabin crew, they could have moved into another seat if there was one available.

"So there are other ways to deal with it. The cabin crew are trained to actually deal with situations like this."

On her Twitter page, Ms. Williams added that, when she complained to a flight attendant, the man was offered a complimentary cocktail.

On the topic, Shelagh asked Umesh: "Was giving him alcohol never a good idea? "

He answered: "No. I mean, if someone like that is purely, it became like that they are openly showing that they are unable to control their emotions. Therefore, I don't think alcohol would have helped regardless whether this person was under the influence or not."

The airline captain concluded: "If that would happen on my flight and I was made aware of it by my cabin crew I would not accept it."

In a statement, an American Airlines spokesperson said: “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.”