Plane seat reclining dispute escalates to new heights

The woman who claimed a man assaulted her while she filmed him continually pushing her seat on an aeroplane says she is going to pursue legal action.

Wendi Williams, or @steelersfanOG on Twitter, shared a now viral video last week of an interaction she had while flying from New Orleans to Charlotte.

Speaking with Fox and Friends, Ms Williams, who uploaded the video on social media, confirmed she is now corresponding with an aviation attorney and discussing the steps she could potentially take.

In the video the man is seen continually prodding her chair which at the time was reclined, and on Twitter Ms Williams said she was “petrified”.

Speaking about the January 31 incident on Fox and Friends, Ms Williams explained she was leaving a teachers conference and as soon as the plane took off, she reclined her chair.

Pictures show the man hitting Wendi Williams' chair on the plane.
Wendi Williams shared the video days after the incident took place. Screenshots from the video shows the man repeatedly prodding her chair on a the flight. Source: Twitter/steelersfanOG

According to Ms Williams she was asked by the man behind her to put her seat back up while he ate, and she said she complied with his request.

Once the man finished eating, she put her seat back down, and that’s when he started “punching” her chair “really hard”, speaking to TMZ before her Fox and Friends interview, she alleged the man was “assaulting” her.

“I was trying to get the flight attendant’s attention and she wasn’t responding so all I could think to do was video the guy, I thought that would stop him,” he said on Fox and Friends.

When Ms Williams got her phone out, the man behind her asked what she was doing, reiterating he asked her to put the seat up while he ate. She alleges there was not conversation between her and the man from when she put the seat down after he finished eating to when he started hitting her chair.

Ms Williams also said what the man was doing in the video was “nothing” compared to how viciously he was hitting her chair previously, she also alleges the flight attendant didn’t do anything to stop the man initially, and when she did, she had an “attitude” towards Ms Williams.

The flight attendant also told Ms Williams to delete her video.

Wendi Williams featured on Fox and Friends to recount the ordeal and explain she is considering legal action
Wendi Williams confirmed on Fox and Friends she was considering legal action following the ordeal. Source: Fox and Friends

An American Airlines spokesperson previously told Yahoo News Australia it was aware of the dispute that occurred 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.”

On Fox and Friends Ms Williams said she did try to deal with this issue over email with American Airlines, and she did hear back from them, after the video went viral.

Ms Williams has been talking to a few US-based media outlets since the video divided the internet, however she does not know who the other passenger is, but wants him to be identified.

Concerns over possible vertebrae damage

According to TMZ, Ms Williams said she was concerned the repeated hitting could have caused damage, especially given she has had multiple back surgeries and titanium fused to her spine.

She believes the constant hitting may have caused vertebrae damage and TMZ reports she wants the airline to cover the medical costs.

Ms Williams also said she wanted the flight attendant to be sacked due to the way she handled the situation.

The internet was divided over the viral video. Although many could not condone the constant hitting of the chair, some people argued it wasn’t respectful for Ms Williams to recline it. Some other people were angry she decided to film the ordeal.

“Consideration goes both ways. Unless you are on a flight that is 10 hours or more you don't need to recline,” one person tweeted.

“How about you think about your actions in the future and how they affect others.”

In a poll conducted by Yahoo News Australia, 37 per cent of respondents said it was acceptable to recline your chair on an aircraft, as the person behind you has the same option.

Yet, 37 per cent also said it was inconsiderate to recline your chair, while the remaining 26 per cent said it’s only okay to do so on a long-haul flight.

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