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Woman Involved in Reclining Seat Controversy Threatens to Sue American Airlines

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 2/16/2020 Rich Thomaselli
a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Chicago O'Hare International Airport © gk-6mt/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Chicago O'Hare International Airport

The woman whose viral video of a man punching the back of her seat triggered a national debate about reclining airplane seats – again – is now threatening to sue, according to reports.

Wendi Williams said she feels slighted that American Airlines told TMZ that by reclining in her seat she knocked over a drink the man behind her had.

Williams claims the statement is false, defamatory and that the flight attendants were rude to her.

“Please refrain from placing any blame about what happened to me on your awful airline with your rude flight attendant!” she tweeted. “And if I inadvertently spilled a drink on the “man” – I had NO idea that happened.”

Williams was flying from New Orleans to Charlotte on Jan. 31 when she reclined her seat. The passenger directly behind her was in the last row of the plane and therefore could not recline his seat. He began punching the back of her seat repeatedly; Williams took out her phone and began to take video of the incident.

She uploaded the video on Feb. 8 to her Twitter account after, she says, multiple attempts to have American Airlines “do the right thing.” Williams, who claims she was injured in the incident, apparently was seeking compensation and was infuriated when the man was given a free drink and she was handed a “passenger disturbance notice” when she refused to stop filming on her cellphone.

After uploading the video, a national debate ensued. Both sides weighed in, with many saying the woman had every right to recline her seat while many sided with the man behind her, saying his space was limited because his seat, against a wall, could not recline.

In fact, even Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian became involved in the argument while being interviewed on CNBC.

Related video: Viral video of seat-punching passenger sparks debate over reclined seats on air planes (Provided by CNBC)

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