An American Airlines customer was on a flight to remember last month thanks to a seemingly enraged passenger who aggressively punched the back of her seat throughout their trip.
Passenger Wendi Williams took to Twitter this week to share footage of her Jan. 31 flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, North Carolina. The shocking 44-second clip shows a man striking her reclined seat over and over again with his fist. Williams says the episode lasted much longer than what the footage shows.
After raising the issue with a flight attendant, Williams accused the crew of ignoring her complaints and even offering a drink to the man, who was seated against a wall in the last row of the plane.
“After much consideration, and exhausting every opportunity for American Airlines 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.” Williams wrote in a tweet. “She offered him a complimentary cocktail!”
“Look at his knuckles,” she added. “He was PUNCHING me prior to the video! It was scary and very painful!”
The flight was operated by American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the company said they are aware of the incident and are “looking into the issue.”
“We are aware of a customer dispute that transpired on American Eagle flight 4392, operated by Republic Airways on January 31,” a spokesperson for American Airlines said. “The safety and comfort of our customers and team members is our top priority, and our team is looking into the issue.”
According to Williams, the incident began when the man became angry after she reclined her seat. She complied after he asked her to put the seat in the upright position while he ate. But when he finished the meal, Williams reclined her seat again, and that’s when she says the man punched the seat “hard” nine times. This is what prompted her to begin filming.
Williams claims the man’s repeated jabbing during the flight left her with lingering pain.
“I’m done being quiet! I’ve had extensive neck surgeries – my cervical spine is completely fused, except for C1,” she wrote.
The viral video sparked discussion on social media about reclining seats, and whether they should be allowed on flights.
“Why were you so inconsiderate?” one Twitter user wrote to Williams. “Reclining airline seats is such a dud move.”
“Doesn’t matter that she had her seat reclined,” responded another. “He had no business beating the back of her seat. She made it clear that her seat was up while he ate.”
Williams, though, seemed unfazed by any criticism.
“It’s an airline issue,” she wrote. “Everyone is losing their minds, saying crazy things to me, [because] I reclined my seat, which is — [say] it with me — reclinable!”
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