Users on the Reddit social media site have come to the defense of an airline traveler who informed a tall passenger during some apparently tense moments on board that he should have purchased additional legroom to accommodate his size — rather than infringing on others around him.
A Redditor who goes by the user name “Itchy-Smell8152” recently asked others in the subreddit “Am I the A*****e” (AITA) for their opinions about how he handled a tricky travel situation.
In essence, he was not permitted to recline his seat on an airplane because the passenger behind him was too tall to accommodate it.
“Me (32M), I am 5’10, and I check into my flight the night before,” the Redditor wrote in a post called “AITA for telling a 6’8″ giant to upgrade his seating?”
The person continued, “I wanted a window seat, so I chose a window seat. It was not extra, but I had seen that the cost for extended legroom was about 20 euro” (or about $21).
The Reddit user said his flight was about 90 minutes long — and was a flight “between two major European cities.”
“This was a larger plane,” he wrote, “so each side of the aisle had three seats — so window, middle and aisle. I didn’t feel the need to get more space because I intended to sleep and it’s [generally] sufficient space” to do so, he said.
During the flight, however, the person in front of him reclined his seat — so he, in turn, reclined his seat.
The man sitting in the middle seat said he was “too big and the chair reclines into his legs.”
But the man sitting in the middle seat behind him said he was “too big and the chair reclines into his legs.”
“This man seated in the middle is extraordinarily tall, and seated in the middle, so his knees extend into the space of both the aisle and window seats,” the Reddit user wrote.
So “Itchy-Smell8152” agreed to not recline his seat — but he did chide the tall man for not picking a seat in the aisle or paying extra money for additional legroom.
The man replied that normally, flight attendants upgraded his seating to a location with more legroom — but for this flight, they did not.
Reddit user “Itchy-Smell1852” then wrote, “I respond that it isn’t the airline’s responsibility to give him a seat, and if he knows he doesn’t fit in a middle seat he could have chosen an aisle, as there was no charge to choose an aisle seat (I had seen the option the night before) or he could have upgraded for extended legroom seating for an extra 20 euro.”
“He says he didn’t have the 20 euro to spend (mind you he is flying to one of the most expensive cities in the world),” the user also wrote.
The tall man then called the Reddit poster “selfish.”
The Reddit poster pushed back. “I said choosing an aisle option is free, to which he says he didn’t have that choice and that I am being selfish,” the Redditor wrote.
“I respond by saying, ‘I’m not being selfish, I’m fine with having less space so you can be more comfortable, but pointing out that you’re the selfish one for not taking responsibility for others space and depending on flight attendants to put you in better seats.'”
The two passenger then “exchanged fake smiles” — and sarcasm.
On the AITA subreddit, Redditors can reply to posts saying that the poster is “NTA” (“Not the A*****e), “YTA” (“You’re the A*****e”), “NAH” (“No A*****e Here”) or “ESH” (“Everyone Sucks Here”). Users can “upvote” responses they think are helpful and “downvote” ones that are not.
“We are all responsible for our own burdens.”
Comments on the Reddit post were overwhelmingly in support of Itchy-Smell8152 and his uncomfortable situation.
His post was eventually tagged with “NTA,” meaning that most people who replied to the post believed he was in the right.
The top-upvoted comment put the blame on the airlines — not on the original poster — for cramming so many seats onto a plane and for the passenger’s behavior.
One user noted that “we all have our own burdens — for him it’s being well above average height.”
“We are all responsible for our own burdens. Whether or not it’s his fault that he’s tall, it’s his responsibility not to expect five other people to give up some of their comfort to improve his comfort,” wrote Admirable_Ad5250.
“He should absolutely pay for additional legroom,” wrote a Redditor named PeonyPegasus.
“As it stands, he is expecting everyone around him to settle for less space because he is unwilling to pay for more,” this user also said.
“It sucks for him that he can’t be comfortable on planes without paying extra, but that’s a fact of life — just like how I can’t reach high shelves without using a step stool.”