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Woman Calls A Flight Attendant Over To Tell A Man To Not 'Spread' Into Her Space – He Wonders Why She Didn't Just Ask Him Herself

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woman staring with indifferent expression, man looking shocked, airplane seats

"A few months ago I was alone on a [six-hour] flight. I had a middle seat between a young woman in the window seat and a woman [in] the aisle," a man wrote in his confessional, posted to the subreddit "r/AmItheA--hole" (AITA).

The subreddit is an online forum where users try to figure out if they were wrong or not in an argument or situation that has been bothering them.

In his Reddit post, he wrote that, during his flight, the woman sitting in the window seat beside him decided to take up her grievances about his manspreading with the flight attendant instead of with him.

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The woman sitting beside him complained about him 'spreading' his legs into her space to the flight attendant.

The writer of the post explained that before his flights, he will usually walk around to stretch out his muscles as he's quite a tall person and usually becomes uncomfortable on planes. However, before getting on this flight, he wasn't able to do so.

After takeoff, he noticed that his left knee was cramping up, and decided to stretch it out to the side a bit to get some relief. "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."

Just two hours into his flight, though, he heard the woman sitting in the window seat call for one of the flight attendants. When asked what was wrong, the woman asked, "Can you tell him to keep his f-king leg in his own f-king seat."

The man, horrified, realized that the woman was aggressively complaining about him and his knee taking up space. "I instantly retracted my leg in deep shame," he recalled.

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When the flight attendant left, he began apologizing to his seatmate.

Thoroughly embarrassed by the woman's loud complaint, he began profusely apologizing to the woman sitting beside him. His apologies didn't deter her, and she continued to ignore him. 

After issuing multiple apologies, he explained that his embarrassment quickly morphed into confusion. "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."

For the remainder of the flight, he admitted that he kept "sneaking peeks" at the woman's phone, who was texting. He claimed that he was "baffled" by her behavior and wanted to learn why she'd gone to the flight attendant instead of asking him to move his leg.

"I'll admit that I was being judgmental, too," he continued, adding that he noticed she was watching fatphobic TikTok videos and texting someone, where the majority of the messages seemed to be about him. At one point, he noticed that one of her messages read, "Men really do be too much sometimes."

"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."

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Under his Reddit post, most people sided with the woman and pointed out that she had a right to complain.

While assumed that he would be met with comments from people siding with him, that was not the case. Most comments criticized him for both manspreading and then snooping through her phone.

"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," one Reddit user wrote.

"Why did she react so harshly? Maybe she has had enough, maybe she had problems on her own, maybe something had happened to her previously? We will never know."

They continued, adding that he should hopefully have learned his lesson. "Leave women alone, book a seat upfront if you are tall, [and] ask for permission before spreading out." Another Reddit user agreed, writing, "You knew you were in her space and hoped she’d say nothing and make herself smaller and uncomfortable so you’d feel better."

"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." A third user chimed in, telling the man that if he wanted more room on the flight, he should just pay for extra legroom. "You need to be more mindful of those around you."

"The snooping is bizarre as well," a fourth user remarked. "Did she handle it great? No, but she should not have had to."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics.