Sacre bleu! DA says that French guy went into reclining-seat rage on his flight

A 61-year-old Frenchman found himself a guest of our justice system and Mass. General Hospital today after he grew très furieux when a woman in front of him reclined her seat on their flight from Miami to Paris, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

The American Airlines flight landed at Logan, where State Police charged Edmund Alexandre with interfering with a flight crew. They eventually took him to Mass. General for treatment of a pre-existing condition.

According to the DA's office, Alexandre just wouldn't shut up about the reclining seat:

When a member of the flight crew sought to calm him, Alexandre became more irate and then followed him down the aisle and grabbed him by the arm. An air marshal on board subdued Alexandre and handcuffed him while the plane descended to Boston.

The DA's office recommended bail of $500; a judge released him on personal recognizance. He is next scheduled for an appearance in East Boston District Court on Dec. 29.

Innocent, etc.



      Free tagging: 


      I can imagine how this reclining seat thing went down...

      By on

      and if my own experience is any indication, it's because French people still consider mealtime sacred, even on an airplane. Here's my story:

      I was on an Air France flight to from Logan to CDG a couple of years ago. The woman sitting in front of me (about 5'3") reclines her seat fully during the meal service. After the initial shock and cat-like reflex to prevent my (excellent) glass of wine from spilling on me, I resume eating T-Rex style (arms tucked up in front of me, with movement at the wrists and elbows only). It was uncomfortable, but being accustomed to on US domestic flights, and not wanting to initiate any potentially negative interaction with someone who is going to be my neighbor for the next six hours, I let it go.

      A passing Air France flight attendant, however, was absolutely appalled when she noticed. She immediately demanded (in French) that the woman put her seat up so that I could eat more comfortably. When the woman (who was, judging by language and accent, American from somewhere in the mid-Atlantic) made a gesture to indicate that she didn't understand, the flight attendant repeated, in beautiful English, "please put your seat up, you are ruining the meal for the gentleman behind you."

      Hence, I would not be surprised to learn that something similar happened to this guy and he (inexcusably) lost it. Of course, he could have just been on a bender and (inexcusably) lost it.

      [edited to fix the obvious syntax issue - seems like there might be some funky cut and paste issues happening - sorry]


      According to the many

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      According to the many articles on this incident, he was using his laptop not eating a meal. Good story though.


      That was the guy with a

      seat back lock on a United flight to Denver three days ago. He had the laptop. The French guy in Boston is a different incident.

      I blame the airlines for crowding in too many rows of seats so inclining is really intrusive.


      Trans Atlantic flights

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      I literally got kicked across the Atlantic by two kids from England. I just sucked it because dare some rude American complain about a proper English family...


      Doesn't surprise me.

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      I've been flying back and forth between Paris and Boston (4x / year for going on 10 years) with various airlines, both American and European. My opinions are:

      1.) When you're flying steerage, stuff sucks.
      2.) The French and the Icelandic flight attendants are the least professional
      3.) The worst steerage "b#tches" are over 40, white European males
      4.) You get bumped up to Business or First Class because some jerks didn't think ahead to reserve seats and Absolutely Insist on Being Together at the last minute, you're going to be treated like a prostitute by the jerk in the new seat next to you.

      This said: Flying from Boston to Paris via NWK, DUB, RKV is much easier than flying to New Orleans to take a cargo ship to Nantes, then fly / bus / train to Paris. (Not to mention cheaper.)


      The intricacies of airport codes

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      Newark Liberty Int'l is EWR - codes starting with N are mostly used for (current or former) naval air stations. NUQ, for example, is Moffett Field (formerly Moffett NAS) and NAS South Weymouth was NZW. According to IATA, NWK is unassigned. (Similarly, codes beginning with W or K are rare in the US to avoid confusion with radio call signs, which is why Worcester's airport code is ORH and Key West's is EYW.)

      RKV is Reykjavik's domestic airport; Icelandair's hub is at KEF (Keflavik).


      Most Canadian codes begin with Y (YYZ, YUL, etc). I'm not sure I ever figured out why, did you?

      Y not?

      By on

      Canada was allocated a subset of the C prefix for radio callsigns. CY and CZ were reserved for transportation use, so airfields got those ranges as their callsigns & ICAO codes (CYYZ, etc). As with the US mainland (ICAO codes are KBOS, KJFK, etc) the IATA code is almost always the ICAO code with the first letter CYYZ becomes YYZ.


      Thanks for the revisions

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      Am guessing if this renders my story untrue.

      In any event, you're probably a better judge than I on events: Was it Duck or Gander that my (Continental at the time, now United) flight got diverted to after both a "passenger incident" in Paris, and Stronger than normal headwinds, four years ago January?

      Probably Gander

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      Could be Goose Bay, could be Gander. Both have been used for transatlantic flight diversions or technical stops. (One of the early nonstop services was advertised as "No goose, no gander". :-)

      I suspect Gander is more likely -- it seems to be more commonly used than Goose Bay, though I see a number of FlyerTalk threads about CO diversions to both over the years. (Including a joke about them becoming new "focus city" mini-hubs.)

      ORH because of a W issue?

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      Really? I thought, and have been told by at least one former Airport Director of that facility, that it was given that code because the airport was built on the site of an orchard, and the other obvious codes were already taken.

      Have I been deceived lo these many years?

      Aging Europigs

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      3.) The worst steerage "b#tches" are over 40, white European males

      WORD! I made my husband sit in the center seat and he "didn't see what the problem was". The problem was that the assholes next to him would not take the space of an adjacent male, but would happily jam their goddamn elbows into the ribs of any woman sitting in that already space-deprived seat, and get huffy when said elbows were removed to their side of the seat rest by shoving them back. I'm talking elbows shoved into my space nearly to my navel!

      Yes, older Euro men need to be directly confronted about their piggish behavior on these flights.


      Older Euro men

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      3.) The worst steerage "b#tches" are over 40, white European males

      Yes, older Euro men need to be directly confronted about their piggish behavior on these flights

      Mon Dieu! 40 is older?

      You're not surprised? I'm surprised, but at something else.

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      I am a little surprised to hear this - Okay, I am very surprised to hear this about French and Icelandic crews. I would just as soon take a US carrier on a flight to Europe as I would take the cargo route via New Orleans and Nantes. A 757 from BOS-CDG on AA instead of an AF A340 or 747? Really? (Apparently, I wasn't the only one who objected to this - that flight seems to have been discontinued over the last few years)? BA to LHR has always been great, and Lufty and Swiss are the only way to go to Germany and Switzerland, respectively.

      I could understand the Icelandair 757 to KEF, but no further. Then again, I usually don't fly connecting routes to CDG and would certainly never do so via any NY area airport (risk of delay is far too great in the congested NY airspace). I've heard nice things about Aer Lingus' A330 to DUB, even after they went low-cost.


      By on

      You get the right to recline with your seat. Sorry! Those of us with back issues cannot get through a flight unless we do recline some. Tall men don't get special rights.


      That's unclear

      You get the right to recline with your seat

      Legally? Morally? Ethically? According to the rules of courtesy?

      The problem is, of course, that the airline has sold the same space to two different people, each of whom thinks he has the right to occupy it.

      There's no universal principle that mediates between the right of the passenger in front to recline his or her seat, and the right of the passenger behind to use a laptop, eat a meal, etc.

      Personally, I never recline my seat if the seat behind me is occupied. That doesn't necessarily mean I think that people who do recline their seats are jerks, but each of us can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

      Those of us with back issues cannot get through a flight unless we do recline some. Tall men don't get special rights.

      Tall men and people with back issues have exactly the same rights.


      I can't tell if this was directed to me or not but,

      By on

      what if I'm a tall guy who has had back issues since my early teenage years?

      At all events, I think that the point that the flight attendant was making was that your "right" to recline your seat is limited during the 45 minutes of the flight during which dinner is being served. That did and does seem reasonable to me.


      During the 2012 campaign

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      During the 2012 campaign Romney got in a fight with a guy who was reclining back when he was being "man of the people Mitt" and flying commercial airlines. He put the guy in a headlock but of course he was never charged. I miss his little tweets about how much he loves Southwest and saving money on cheap flights....why not tweet now about the gulfstreams he is flying? I guess if he runs again he will "Mitt" back to thrifty everyman Romney.


      Romney put someone in a headlock?

      By on

      Hell, if that's true, they should have trotted out some photos of that during the waning days of the campaign. It would have energized the hell out of the base.

      I believe there was a headlock

      When he forcibly cut that guy's hair in prep school.

      ...Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. ... a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

      The guy has always been a dick.


      Seats should not recline into space of other passengers

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      Too many people don't understand the difference between a seat being able to recline and the propriety of actually reclining it. I get it, you paid for the seat. You didn't pay for the right to shove it into the face of the person behind you.

      The solution is seats that recline without moving back. They recline by having the bottom of the seat slide forward. The pod at the back doesn't move. The passenger behind the recliner can then still, eat, work, read a newspaper and even see the LCD screen on the seatback in front of them.


      so, first class then?

      That's a great solution provided you want to pay more for a ticket.

      I've been flying for 30+ years and only in the last year or so have people become so indignant about the unwritten, unspoken rule that of course a passenger shouldn't use a feature of the seat they bought. I understand that it's exacerbated by the shrinking size of seats, but people are reacting like this is so obvious that only the worst human on earth would do this.

      Like the great housing cost debates* on uHub, you can have things which are cheap or things that are nice generally, not both.

      * not that great

      More people should realize

      More people should realize that the best parts of the plane are the bulkhead and very rear. Rear has most privacy and quickest access to the bathroom and more freedom to recline (when it can go all the way back) without disturbing anyone. Bulkhead for best knee room. I don't know why people hate either of these seats.

      My reasons:

      Bulkhead: no under-seat storage, so EVERYTHING has to go in an overhead bin for takeoff and landing. Unless you have priority seating status, good luck finding that space before it's taken up.

      Rear: where to begin? "Most privacy" surprises me-- this is the part of the plane where anyone needing to use the bathroom or see a flight attendant needs to pass through, and usually they stand in a line. Right next to you. With nothing to look at but whatever you're reading/playing/watching. Or listening to your conversation. Etc, etc. I find that it is the LEAST private part of the plane. Plus you get that lovely aroma of bathroom smells throughout your flight.

      As a frequent flier (around 50k miles a year) my go-to seats are usually the last row in the exit aisle area (so that the seat will recline; any row that backs into an exit row/area doesn't in order to keep the space clear) or any seat within the first few rows other than the bulkhead so that I can get on and off quickly.