Delta CEO and Ellen DeGeneres weigh in on seat recline debate

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.

https://twitter.com/steelersfanOG/status/1226346795741143040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1226346795741143040&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.travelweekly.com.au%2Farticle%2Fwatch-plane-seat-punches-sparked-massive-online-debate%2F

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.”

Latest News

  • Cruise

Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

  • Cruise

Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

  • Destinations
  • Tour Operators

Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]

  • Hotels

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort unveils Coral Kids Club

On top of its US$85 million (AU$150m) transformation, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s new Coral Kids Club provides an engaging activity centre for kids. Designed for keiki (children), ages 5-12, the activity centre offers daily cultural workshops with hands-on activities rooted around the Āina Guardian workbook. It was developed by Candes Gentry, co-author of Eat […]

  • Hotels

Minor Hotels announces fourth franchised hotel

Minor Hotels has added to its portfolio of more than 500 hotels in operation after signing Oaks Melbourne on William Suites as its fourth franchised hotel. The 220-room apartment hotel is the third Oaks property signed under a franchise model after the Oaks Toowoomba and Oaks Townsville Metropole. The proven success of these properties highlights […]

  • Destinations

Phuket unveils cutting-edge medical facility

Minor Hotels has announced Layan Life by Anantara, a world-class medical wellness facility that is set to elevate Phuket’s reputation as an international medical wellness destination. The new facility is set across 1,767sqm within the grounds of Anantara Layan Phuket Resort and is set to open in Q3 of this year. It offers a blend […]

  • Events

Out West Piano Fest comes alive in Bathurst

The three-day symphony of the senses comes back to Bathurst, at picturesque Blackdown Farm, as Out West Piano Fest returns 25-27 October. Located just five minutes away from Bathurst NSW is a pastoral heritage, art, and culture. It was also once home to Australian artist, Tim Storrier. The extensive gardens in full spring bloom offer […]

  • Attractions
  • Cruise

Japan in Bloom with Cruise Express

Send clients out to experience the best of the Land of the Rising Sun with Cruise Express and their Japan in Bloom expedition, a 21-night adventure. As interest in Japan hits an all-time high, Cruise Express is pleased to announce its ultimate Japanese bucket list trip. This adventure is geared for Australians wanting to tick […]

  • Road & Rail

Explore Uzbekistan with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

Golden Eagle Luxury Trains presents an exclusive itinerary to Uzbekistan with ensuite cabins, a personal cabin attendant, and off-train excursions. Travelling aboard the opulent Golden Eagle train, with ensuite cabins, guests will dive deep into Uzbekistan’s spectacularly global cultural identity. A personal cabin attendant, all porterage and gratuities and all off train excursions are included […]

  • Destinations
  • Partner Content

Year-round beauty awaits you in the Emerald Ilse

Feel like you've been hard on luck lately? Perhaps a trip to the Emerald Isle could help you steal some off the Irish.

Partner Content

by Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly