Aviation

Delta CEO and Ellen DeGeneres weigh in on seat recline debate

An airline CEO and a TV talk show host have taken sides on the aviation debate that has divided the internet this week.

What started off as a question of if it’s okay to punch the seat in front of you (it’s not) morphed into a divisive debate over if it’s okay to recline your seat in economy class, and boy do people feel strongly about this one.

It was sparked when Twitter user Wendy Williams posted a video of the man behind her repeatedly punching the back of her chair because she had reclined it in economy class.

You can read all about the incident here.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has thrown in his two cents, claiming he never reclines, but customers do have the right to.

“The proper thing to do is, if you’re going to recline into somebody, you ask if it’s ok first,” Bastien told CNBC.

“I never recline, because I don’t think it’s something as CEO I should be doing, and I never say anything if someone reclines into me.”

It’s worth noting that Bastien was the highest-paid airline CEO in the US for the past two years if you take into account compensation, racking up a total of around $22.5 million in 2018.

So it’s not clear just how often the CEO actually flies economy.

On the other side of the fence, Ellen DeGeneres devoted her opening monologue on Wednesday to the incident.

“The man couldn’t recline his own seat because he was in the very last row by the bathrooms – which, in my opinion, should be free but for some reason they cost the same as all the other seats,” she began.

“So he asked the woman to put her seat up while he ate because he had very little room which there is on the planes like that. So she put her seat up but then when he finished eating, she reclined it then he started a boxing match with her a seat.”

DeGeneres said she can’t believe anybody is taking the man’s side.

“Because to me, the only time it’s ever okay to punch someone’s seat is if the seat punches you first. Then I think you can punch the seat back,” she said.

“She has a right to recline her chair. And I get it: there’s not a lot of legroom (and) you’re frustrated, you’re hot because of the beard. But you’re also an adult and you have to act like an adult on a plane. Don’t pick on her like a third-grader punching the back of a seat.

“I can’t believe anybody would think that’s okay.

“If you’re ever unsure on how to behave on a plane just remember what I say at the end of every one of my shows: recline to one another.”


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