Internet Debate Over Seat Etiquette on Erupts

Tomas Urbelionis /
Tomas Urbelionis /

As anyone who has ever traveled via airplane, or really any other form of public transportation, be that city bus, subway, etc., knows there is a certain etiquette that is usually observed. A recently videotaped and rather out-of-control argument on a flight has seemingly sparked a national conversation on just what that etiquette should be.

So, let me explain the video.

A woman is sitting on an airplane in front of a man. She has her seat leaned back, trying to relax. But the man behind her is left with next to no room and is getting squished. When he gets tired of it, he apparently begins kicking the woman’s seat, undoubtedly in the hopes that she will realize her seat position is inconveniencing him, and politely return it to the upright position.

She doesn’t, though. Instead, she grows quite frustrated at his kicking.

What ensues is an all-out screaming match at the other’s audacity.

Naturally, once the video was posted on social media, everyone and their mothers have been commenting on who actually had the right to be angry.

Some side with the man, although not necessarily with his kicking. As conservative pundit Matt Walsh says, “Putting your seat back in coach is sociopath behavior. You’ve made it so the person behind you can’t use their tray table and can’t move their legs. Yes, you’re allowed to do it, but you’re an asshole if you do.”

Others agreed, noting that it is a form of “social politeness to leave your seat as is.”

Of course, others sided with the woman who was noted to have yelled, “I’m allowed to put my seat back.” The argument here is that aircraft manufacturers make airplane seats to recline, so why not use that feature?

Yes, it may be annoying when the person in front of you puts their seat back, but as several people say, that’s the price you pay for flying coach. Just suck it up and deal with it, in other words.

Of course, there are other ways to deal with either side’s anger at the other.

What’s your opinion on the matter?