A passenger’s online confession about charging an overweight seatmate $150 for allowing the hefty flyer to encroach across the armrest, has garnered mainstream media attention and divided social media into two camps, with some commenters painting the put-upon-air-traveler as a hero and a master negotiator, while others see only a villain who is no better than a common extortionist.
Like the infamous dress that is either gold or blue (depending on the eye of the beholder) or an oft-shared audio clip that is clearly a voice saying, “Yanny” or absolutely, 100 percent, saying “Laurel” (depending on who is listening), the tale of the airline passenger who reached an unusual ad hoc settlement with an obese seatmate has ignited a debate that might never be resolved. Whether or not someone strongly views the flyer who confessed to charging his overweight seat mate $150 for lost personal space, as a hero or a goat, is another case of undefinable perspective in the digital age.
According to Fox News’ Alexandra Deabler, who first reported on the controversial and anonymous social media confession, the purported incident has “split the internet.” She writes that the notoriously definitive Reddit “Am I the A——?” community was even somewhat torn in evaluating whether or not the original poster was, in fact, the A——.
“This is ridiculous,” one user commented. “You made a scene and embarrassed the man and then made him pay you for a fraction of your seat. You are the epitome of an a——”
Other Reddit users, of course, disagreed. Some pointing out that the man’s actions were more akin to seeking fair compensation rather than blackmail.
“You compromised,” another redditor countered. “He compromised. It was an awkward situation of nobody’s making. I think half the cost of the flight was maybe a bit steep though, if he was only in a third of your seat. Having said that, five hours is a long time.”
The unlikely tale reportedly came to a head just prior to a five-hour-long domestic flight on which every seat was filled. While there is no airline on the planet that would allow one passenger to charge another passenger the use of a portion of a seat, in this case, it appears there was a private arrangement in which the flyer agreed to withdraw his objection to his seatmate spilling over the armrest in exchange for the cash.
“I told the guy, ‘Look, I’ll put up with this if you give me $150 — that’s half the cost of this flight and that would compensate me enough for the circumstances,’” the enterprising passenger wrote in his account of the transaction.
Unlike a disembodied voice saying, “Yanny” or “Laurel” or a dress that might be white-and-gold or black-and-blue, in this situation, there is perhaps a third possible viewpoint that all sides could agree on. The idea that airline seats should be large enough for most human beings to sit in comfortably remains remarkably uncontroversial.