Airplane flights are generally unpleasant even without having the passenger next to you sending nasty text messages to their friends about your appearance.
Well, that was plus-size model Natalie Hage’s awful experience aboard an American Airlines flight last week. She was on her way to a photo shoot and posted the entire ordeal on her social media pages.
In an interview that aired on "Good Morning America" Hage stated, "I noticed immediately that the man to my left at the window was huffing and sighing incredibly loud, like obviously loud and pointed.”
She also mentioned how she saw him irately texting and then turning the phone away from her. Hage said that when she peeked at his phone, she saw that "not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly."
The man was texting his friend about Hage, and his friend said, “Hopefully she didn’t have any Mexican food,” and then he responded with, “I think she ate a Mexican.”
Then he went on to complain in his text messages that he basically was being crushed up against the wall of the plane because Hage was taking up too much space. Hage also said in her interview that what happened “just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.”
Hage captured the text exchange and posted it and her thoughts all on Instagram.
i'm shaking right now. i'm on a flight to LA right now on @americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i'm extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i'm almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named 'linda' chiming back with shaming retorts...someone who can't even see the situation. if you can't read the texts, it says 'hopefully she didn't have any mexican food' and his response is 'i think she ate a mexican'. then he proceeds to say he's leaving a 'neck mark on the window' because he's so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i'm not in his space. he's even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side...which is in my seat. his next text to her was 'if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.' another i see later? 'if these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter.' and that's just a few of them. there were several more. i didn't do anything to him. i'm in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i'm just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he'd switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that's fine, it's not his issue. this is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still fuck with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven't done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.
Hage told ABC News that she had felt uncomfortable throughout the entire flight, and decided to confront the man, who is identified as Eric, in a video she posted to Facebook. This video has more than 1 million views.
At first, the man actually tried to deny the entire thing, but once the model started quoting the messages he sent, he explained that his rudeness was because he was drinking and offered an apology.
Even after the apology, Hage didn't let up and told him, “You made me so uncomfortable to exist in this seat. I didn’t want anything from you.”
Eric then interrupted Hage and totally passed judgment on her physical conditions when he started questioning whether or not she should even be sitting in an emergency row because if there was an emergency, she would have to help other passengers.
Toward the end of their conversation, Hage told him, "Don't ever treat somebody like that again," to which he replied, "You are absolutely right, Natalie."
Then, to make it up to her, he invited her to dinner, and of course, she turned him down. Below is the video of the entire confrontation.
"This is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane," she wrote to her more than 100,000 Instagram followers. "You can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still ... try and hurt you."