Days after a video of an American Airlines passenger repeatedly punching a reclined seat in front of him kicked an international debate, Ministry of Civil Aviation of India issued a guide to "Etiquettes of Flying" on Twitter on Saturday.
"A little bit of basic good manners and respect are always worth a thumbs up. Your seat is not a sleeper berth. Don't be inconsiderate of other people's space," read the tweet of Civil Aviation.
Urging passengers to be more "careful" about reclining their seats, the ministry wrote:
"With the limited space you have, if you must recline, do it carefully. Always think about the people around you because no one wants your head in their laps."
Some flyers on Twitter, however, weren't convinced by the Ministry's advice. Reclining seats were meant for reclined, they argued.
Recliner seats are meant for reclining. Either increase the space between two rows of seats by reducing total seat capacity or do away with reclining totally at the cost of passenger comfort. Suggest authorities to look at making air travel more comfortable in economy class.— P.K.R Nair (@NairPKR) February 22, 2020
Are you travelled with your Mom with age of 70 for 18 hrs flight ??? Then you will change the opinion— Girish V Nair (@GirishVNair1) February 22, 2020
A recliner is meant to recline and have not seen a seat recline to the extent your image shows. If airlines has taken care how much to recline, and the passenger knows when to recline, then it's a period and no dramas.— Ambarish S N (@ambarish_sn) February 22, 2020
Instead of teachin etiquettes to passengers, why dont you make technical regulations so that you control reclining and space between seats?— MarathiNagrik (@meetmeat05) February 22, 2020
While others agreed with the Ministry's take on the seat reclining to some degree.
Absolutely Right ! Thanks Ministry of Civil Aviation authority. I really felt sorry for the Traveller sitting behind was so uncomfortable.— Nashville Krug (@KrugNashville) February 22, 2020
It's not about how much. Even if its 10 degrees, you can suddenly smack the guy behind you right in the face!The one reclining, needs to let person behind them know, before moving an inch!!— Anistone (@Anistone6) February 22, 2020
On February 8, Wendi Williams, a teacher from Virginia Beach, tweeted about her ordeal when she took a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte on January 31. She wrote that a passenger sitting behind her punched the seat several times after Wendi reclined it. To add to it, she also complained about the flight attendant’s response to her troubles.
@America34365159 After much consideration, and exhausting every opportunity for #AmericanAirlines to do the right thing, I’ve decided to share my assault, from the passenger behind me, and the further threats, from an American Airline flight attendant-gave him a complimentary rum— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 8, 2020
In a series of tweets, she wrote, “He punched my seat about 9 times then I started videoing. The flight attendant didn’t look at the video and took his side. She gave me a passenger disturbance notice & threatened to have me escorted off the plane! My crime was reclining my seat.”
He punched my seat about 9 times then I started videoing. The flight attendant didn’t look at the video and took his side. She gave me a passenger disturbance notice & threatened to have me escorted off the plane! My crime was reclining my seat.— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 8, 2020
She also pointed out that when the man asked her to straighten the seat so that he could eat, she agreed. However, when she reclined the seat after he was done eating, it resulted in the punches from the co-passenger. As a reaction, Wendi decided to film the complete incident.
On an American Airlines enquiry, Wendi gave information about her flight and seat. She also revealed that she has lost time at work, and took several visits to the doctor.
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 31st.” The airlines said that they are looking into the matter.
Here's the viral video from the incident: