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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Recline or don't recline? Viral video of man punching seat stirs debate

It happened as Wendi Williams was flying from New Orleans to Charlotte.
American Airlines main cabin interior. (American Airlines)

CHARLOTTE (WTHR) — There is a debate going on right now about airline etiquette after a viral video was posted of a man punching a woman's seat.

It happened as Wendi Williams was flying from New Orleans to Charlotte.

She was seated in economy and said she reclined her seat. When the man asked her to put it up while he ate she did. When he was done eating she reclined it again.

That's when she said he began hitting her seat almost non-stop. Wendi then got out her cell phone and recorded the man punching her seat and make comments to her.

Williams said that when she notified the flight attendant, they apologized to the man and offered him a complimentary alcoholic beverage.

Williams said she tried to resolve the issue with the airline, and said she was told there was nothing they could do. She was advised that she could try to file a report for assault and needed to contact the FBI.

She posted about the incident online and it quickly went viral. Williams said she saw a doctor afterwards because of headaches and pain she had from it. She said she's had extensive neck surgeries in the past.

There has been a strong reaction with people supporting her and others blaming her for reclining her seat. Williams has responded to some of them directly on her Twitter page.

In a statement obtained by NBC News, American Airlines said a team was "looking into the issue.”

"The safety and comfort of our customers and team members is our top priority," the statement said.