My girlfriend and I returned yesterday from NYC to Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic in Premium Economy.
We had a nightmare situation with the couple seated in front of us. They were seated in the window/aisle bulkhead. I've been obsessing over this all day, trying to figure out if we were the jerks or if they were, or perhaps were we all just being jerks.
Shortly after takeoff, the woman (seated in front of my girlfriend) slammed her seat back and continued to push back as if she was hoping for another inch of recline. This is just a bit rude, and not really offensive. So we just shrugged it off. Shortly after this, the man threw his seat back into my knees. I'm not really tall, just about 6 feet, but there was no place for my knees to go except into the back of his seat.
They both put their feet up on the bulkhead and reclined until dinner service. I suppose this is what bothered me most, and I have to admit that I wasn't shy about shifting my knees around and visibly disturbing the gentleman's rest. After dinner service, they both slammed their seats back again. The lady did the extra pushing back of her seat as if to say, 'This is MY seat'. It was while she was pushing further and further back on her seat that I pulled it back further and let it go slingshot style. That was of course, intentionally rude, and is where things probably escalated.
She complained to her boyfriend/husband who turned around and asked me to stop kicking his chair. I explained that I didn't have enough room to move my legs, and said I should recline my seat if I wanted more room. I said that I didn't want to be rude to the person behind me and he said this is what everyone does.
I asked if he was perhaps handicapped and needed not only the full length of the bulk head but also my personal space. He said he wasn't handicapped, and turned around and put his feet back up on the wall of the bulkhead.
When we touched down, my girlfriend and I passed them and didn't look back. That was until we got out of the terminal into the smoking area - which there were at. The woman wasted no time and confronted my girlfriend in a very aggressive manner and accused her of kicking her seat and talking during the whole fight.
I did not witness my GF kick the lady's seat at all. The only possible explanation to trigger this lady's rage was that my GF might have pressed the buttons on the seat back controller hard enough that she could feel it. My GF said she only pressed the controller softly, but it had to have been something. This lady's first seat back rage attacked happened shortly after takeoff.
So a big shouting match erupted between the four of us, disturbing (or perhaps entertaining) fellow passengers in the smoking area. It was just ridiculous. The lady was raging.
And regarding the 'you were talking the whole time' comment, my GF and I had one single 5 minute conversation during the whole flight. My GF did watch a movie and laughed a few times. Then she went to sleep for the last 4 hours of the flight.
I take pride in being a courteous passenger. I've filled 3 passports in my lifetime. Granted, in this case I did 'retaliate' and somehow fueled a bad situation. But should I have just let it go and allowed them to dump on us? I don't know.