A man’s personal drama on board a flight as recounted on social media elicited some 4,500 reactions and over 3,000 comments in about seven hours — with an individual describing an unfortunate “manspreading” situation and a confrontation with a fellow passenger, a situation that yielded little sympathy for him.
Fox News Digital reached out to an etiquette expert for comment on air travel issues such as the one articulated here.
A man describing himself as 26 years old said he was flying alone “on a long flight” of about six hours and was stuck in the “middle seat” on a plane between two women.
“I’m tall and am never comfortable on planes,” related the man, who went by the username of “Dr_Chekhov” on Reddit.
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He said, “My knees always dig into the seat in front and it can be quite painful. I usually try to take a walk around the airport before flights to stretch my legs, but neglected to this time.”
He reported that he was flying on Spirit Airlines, “so there was even less legroom than usual.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment.
He said that about “half an hour after takeoff, I found my left knee inching to the side for the sweet relief of open space — specifically, the no-man’s-land in between seats, level with the shared armrest.”
However, the man also said, “I wasn’t paying attention to my knee the entire time. I’ll concede it’s possible that at some point I was occupying space that rightfully belonged to my window seat neighbor.”
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He said that for about two hours, “all was well.” However, the period of “wellness” didn’t last.
He said that “the woman in the window seat called over the flight attendant,” and asked the flight staffer something like, “Could you tell him to keep his f—ing leg in his own f—ing seat.”
The man wrote that, in “horror, I understood she was talking about me. I instantly retracted my leg” in “shame,” he added.
In “horror, I understood she was talking about me.”
The man said there was further off-color commentary from the passenger in the window seat — “but she wasn’t speaking very clearly, and the flight attendant … didn’t seem to understand her.”
Eventually, the man related, “the attendant went away.”
The man described himself as “shocked into silence,” but said he then “frantically began to apologize. But she refused to speak to me.”
The man said that instead, the woman in the window seat began to “furiously” text on her phone.
Then, the woman on the aisle seat “said she had some extra space on her side I could use, but then promptly went to sleep,” the man wrote.
The man said he “started sneaking peeks at her phone.”
The man on Reddit said he “tried again to apologize” to the woman in the window seat, but “again she ignored me. I went from embarrassed to confused,” the man added.
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“I kept replaying it in my head, wondering why she didn’t simply ask me to move my knee instead of calling over the attendant.”
The man then said he “started sneaking peeks at her phone.”
In his “defense,” he added, “I was baffled by her behavior and wanted answers.”
He said the woman had “spent the last three hours of the flight watching TikToks about shaming obese people and texting someone she called ‘Papi.’ I didn’t see all of it, but a significant portion was definitely about me — she wrote, ‘Men really [are] too much sometimes’ with a laughing emoji.”
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The man concluded with, “She ignored me the whole rest of the flight and I ignored her.”
He also said, “I got a good but painful workout of whatever muscle it is that keeps your knees together.”
“The seats may be getting smaller by the day, but that doesn’t give you the right to spill over into someone else’s space.”
He asked people if he was in the wrong for “manspreading on a plane.”
In an additional comment he posted in response to someone else’s comment, the man wrote that he was not “acting agitated. If anything, I acted cold.”
Jacqueline Whitmore, a longtime etiquette expert based in Florida, told Fox News Digital that proper airline behavior means that you “keep your arms and legs to yourself.”
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She went on, “The seats may be getting smaller by the day, but that doesn’t give you the right to spill over into someone else’s space or put your head on another person’s shoulder — unless, of course, you know that person well.”
Added Whitmore, an author and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, “Never put your belongings in someone else’s overhead bin or underneath their seat.”
She added further, “If you’re in an aisle seat, keep your long legs and sharp elbows out of the aisle. And don’t even think about putting your food, drinks or trash on someone else’s tray table without their permission.”
Many on Reddit had big problems with the man’s story — with one telling him to buy a better seat in order to ward off exactly the type of situation he described.
“This is a known, recurring issue,” said one individual. “You KNOW you will feel better with more leg space. Stop pinching pennies and pay for an aisle seat or an exit seat. There are options!”
“She didn’t call the attendant to tell you to move — she called her to have an authority figure to help her make a point.”
The same commenter also said, “By wanting the woman to tell you if she is bothered by your invasion of her space, you make it her responsibility instead of just not doing it.”
This commenter went on with emphasis, “Women can feel too vulnerable to confront a tall guy (your own admission) by themselves, especially when they are stuck at the window seat and cannot exit if the guy gets angry. She didn’t call the attendant to tell you to move — she called her to have an authority figure to help her make a point.”
Finally, the same commenter had this to say to the man who shared his story: “Then there is the snooping” into the phone of the woman in the window seat.
“Seriously, dude? You thought what?” the person added. “‘Oh, this woman has already found me intrusive before — let’s double down?’”
That comment alone got more than 16,000 “upvotes” on the subreddit known as AITA.
Wrote another person, describing herself as “a small woman” and sprinkling her reactions with off-color language, “Keep your … body parts to yourself and don’t put me in the position of having to ask for basic personal space.”
Added another commenter about the “manspreading” issue, “Tall woman here. Can confirm. I’ve had men 2-3 inches shorter than me do this to me to mark their territory.”
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