To recline or not to recline on flights? Airline CEO says ask first!

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Recline on flights? Delta CEO says ask first!

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

To recline or not to recline – that debate has come center stage again this week after a woman's viral video showed a man repeatedly punching the back of her seat while on an American Airlines flight.

“He was angry that I reclined my seat and punched it about nine times -- HARD, at which point I began videoing him,” the woman said in the post she put on Twitter.

It has gotten to the point where the incident is now being called “recline-gate.”

During an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Friday, Ed Bastian, CEO of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, said people should ask first if they are going to recline their seat.

"The proper thing to do is, if you're going to recline into somebody, you ask if it's OK first," Bastian said. "I never recline, because I don't think it's something as CEO I should be doing, and I never say anything if someone reclines into me."

For years, airline customers have complained about shrinking leg room on airplanes, leading to incidents similar to this week’s.

Bills have even been introduced in Congress to set minimum seat sizes and making sure there is enough legroom to get out of a plane.

Bastian said Delta has made strides to improve leg room.

“We’ve been adding a lot more pitch and a lot more seats with more space on our aircraft,” Bastian said. “We ask all of our customers to do the very best to show respect to their fellow customers. We want all of our customers to have a great time.”