Traveling can be a wonderful experience, but sometimes the mode of transportation isn’t always the most glamorous.
Especially when the people around us aren’t considerate of others, added the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Dr_Chekhov was sure that most of his flight had gone well, including him relaxing his legs outside of his personal space in his seat.
But when his window neighbor complained to the flight attendant about him, the Original Poster (OP) realized the flight may have not been the most comfortable for everyone on board.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for manspreading on a plane?”
The OP was generally uncomfortable during flights.
“A few months ago, I (26 Male) was alone on a long flight for about six hours.”
“I had a middle seat between a young woman (20s Female) in the window seat and a woman (30s Female) on the aisle.”
“I’m tall and am never comfortable on planes. 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. It was Spirit Airlines, so there was even less legroom than usual.”
Unbeknownst to the OP, he was making someone else uncomfortable, as well.
“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.”
“But 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.”
“All was well for about two hours.”
The woman in the window seat called the OP out on his seat positioning.
“At this point, the woman in the window seat called over the flight attendant (FA).”
“She asked her something like, ‘Could you tell him to keep his f**king leg in his own f**king seat?'”
“With horror, I understood she was talking about me. I instantly retracted my leg in deep shame.”
“She added something about ‘his enormous d**k,’ my understanding being that it was meant to be a snide reference to the idea that spreading your legs is about male genital comfort.”
“But she wasn’t speaking very clearly, and the flight attendant (50s Female) didn’t seem to understand her.”
“The FA asked her some sort of clarifying question, but she didn’t answer, and eventually, the attendant went away.”
The OP attempted to further interact with the woman.
“I had been shocked into silence, but when the FA left, I frantically began to apologize.”
“But she refused to speak to me. She acted like she didn’t hear me.”
“Instead, she started furiously texting on her phone (yeah, texting during a flight, I thought it was weird, too).”
“The Aisle Seat woman said she had some extra space on her side I could use but then promptly went to sleep. Oh well.”
“I tried again to apologize to the Window Seat woman, but again, she ignored me.”
“I went from embarrassed to confused. 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 OP became more curious about who was sitting next to him.
“I started sneaking peeks at her phone. My defense is that I was baffled by her behavior and wanted answers.”
“I’ll admit that I was being judgmental, too. Here’s why: she spent the last three hours of the flight watching TikTok 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 do be too much sometimes’ with a laughing emoji.”
“She ignored me the whole rest of the flight, and I ignored her. I got a good but painful work out of whatever muscle it is that keeps your knees together.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed the woman could have responded more kindly, but with a caveat.
“ESH. She absolutely could have just asked instead of calling over the flight attendant.”
“But you were also taking up space that wasn’t yours.”
“‘All was well for about two hours’ in your mind, but not in hers. You were blissfully unaware of the situation, but for two hours she was putting up with you invading her space. There was probably a lot of side-eye you missed during that time.” – not_a_bad_egg
“While her cussing to the FA might not have been necessary, it is beside the point here.”
“You’re not entitled to use up her space, you’re not entitled to watch what she is doing on her phone (by the way, creepy and a red flag), and you’re not entitled to put the responsibility of correcting your behavior on other people.”
“She, however, is entitled to complain about your misbehavior to an authority figure, and she is entitled to express her anger and vent about it. She even did it in a way you wouldn’t have noticed if you had any respect for her privacy.”
“YTA.” – pr0bablethr0waway
“YTA. I’m a more average man at 5’11, and I always get an aisle seat or business class for the extra room.”
“The window lady called the attendant for her protection but also to shame you into compliance, and rightly so. You should be ashamed of your behavior.”
“It sucks to be in your position, due to airline passenger abuse, but you are knowingly doing so without improving your situation either, then imposing on those women.” – thenord321
“I defend my space. Cross my legs the other way and “accidentally” hit them with my knee or foot, or grab my carry-on from the floor and whack them with it as I set it on my lap. They usually end up apologizing and moving.” – XStonedCatX
Others were certain that the OP knew exactly what he was doing the entire time.
“YTA. Pay for extra legroom. Having some random guy pressing his leg against me is enough to make me get up from my bus or train seat because it creeps me out. I don’t like being touched, and I make sure I always try to avoid it. You need to be mindful of those around you.” – Downtown_Tomato5600
“He is both somehow wedged into the seat in front because he’s tOo tALL, but not actually so wedged that his apparent lack of muscle control can stop them from spontaneously wandering around?”
“Also, he doesn’t even acknowledge it directly; he just says he ‘wasn’t paying attention’ and ‘concedes the possibility’ that he might have, only ‘at some point’ mind you, actually been taking up as much space as he d**n well pleased without any consideration for the people beside him.” – amboogalard
“YTA. You knew you were in her space and hoped she’d say nothing and make herself smaller and uncomfortable so you’d feel better. She probably paid extra for the window seat so she could be comfortable, and you felt entitled to occupy her space.”
“I’m a super small girl who travels a lot, and men do this to me all the time, and I have to scrunch myself up in my seat so I’m not touching them.”
“You could have asked if it was alright for you to spread out. I’ve had tall men ask me before, and that super small gesture makes me feel so much better. I’m never going to say no. I’ve even switched seats. Yes, she handled it poorly, and she might be an a**hole too, but YTA.” – suki_sapphire
“Classic situation here:”
“Woman in her 20s books the window seat to have a quiet time during the six-hour flight.”
“Woman in her 30s knows better and books the aisle seat just in case people next to her might be annoying.”
“Dude (26, tall) still hasn’t realized women want to be left alone. Spreads out on the wrong side towards the younger woman where there is already less space than on the other side. Does not ask for permission and does not confirm with her that it’s okay. Apparently doesn’t realize that he makes her uncomfortable with his knee going ‘unsupervised’ for two hours and is ‘surprised’ that she complained.”
“Once she has complained, instead of leaving her alone, he even further starts talking to her invading her private space by checking what she is doing and what she is texting about.”
“Why did she react so harshly? Maybe she has had enough, and maybe she had problems on her own. Maybe something had happened to her previously. We will never know.”
“Lesson to learn: Leave women alone, book a seat upfront if you are tall, and ask for permission before spreading out. YTA.” – CoconutAlert932
Some particularly took issue with the OP peering at the woman’s phone.
“It’s especially weird how OP is sharing all of her business as if that’s supposed to change the situation. How does her having a contact saved as Papi make her the AH in this situation? Feels kinda like s**t-shaming, to be honest.” – eggofreddo
“It sounds vaguely racist to me. Just a few tiny details if you read carefully. The ‘Papi,’ the ‘didn’t speak clearly,’ the ‘men do be’ exact phrasing. I could be totally making these into something bigger than they are, but they are so entirely unnecessary to the story as to be suspicious.”
“Like, are we supposed to feel some type of way about her texting someone called Papi?” – PainterlyGirl
“OP was probably snooping most of the flight.”
“She knew he was reading what she typed and watched, but he didn’t grasp the message.” – One2manylads
“The peering is not even a gender thing but adds to the creepy factor. No matter gender or sexual orientation, I’d say someone watching another person’s phone activity while they are stuck in a corner… That’s not anything to do with the male agenda. That’s serial killer stuff.”
“It’s literally a movie, ‘Red Eye.’ Cillian Murphy is a perfect airplane creep that definitely wants to wear your skin.” – hey_there_kitty_cat
The subReddit was suspicious that the OP had written this incident in a way to lead his fellow Redditors to empathize with him, but they were not fooled by his depictions of the woman in the window seat or his feelings of being shocked.
Rather, they believed he knew what he was doing and were more surprised that someone had finally spoken up, likely after a regular pattern of taking up unnecessary space on flights or public transportation.