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Southwest plane passenger sparks debate for sitting right behind passenger on near-empty flight

There is no better feeling than getting onto an aircraft and seeing rows of empty seats; you have beaten the packed-out planes and are able to have some peace and quiet away from the melee of a fully booked flight.

But what happens when you are one of a handful of people, spreading yourself across the plane, when a fellow passenger comes and sits directly behind you?

This exact scenario has sparked debate after a post on X, depicting a man sitting in an almost empty plane with another passenger right behind him, went viral, gaining around 37 million views.

The post was put up by Anthony Thomas, a successful chef, but it is unclear if it is actually him in the picture.

“Imagine having the luxury of boarding a flight with only two passengers on it. Of all the seats on the flight, look where he decided to sit,” he captioned the picture.

Many X users seemed to agree. The comment section was flooded with people bewildered by the other passenger’s decision to sit right behind the other man.

One user likened the move of sitting very close to another passenger to being similar to when someone parks right next to you in a parking lot with loads of available spaces, while another said it happens to them all the time on trains.

Another user said that the other passenger, whose head you can see rows into the back of the plane, “got the memo.”

However, others were on the side of the anonymous passenger. One user said that he may have just been waiting to take off; “I go to my assigned seat before I start looking for an empty one that might be more comfortable,” they added.

In this instance, however, it appears to be a Southwest flight from the picture, which operates an open seating policy, yet other airlines may still require you to pick an assigned seat.

Another user said that the passenger might not particularly like flying, speculating that the passenger could have “anxiety when it comes to planes/flying & being near someone else gave him a sense of safety/security.”

While all airlines work differently, those who pick their seats online before jetting off may have chosen it for a reason.

“I pick my seat when I book the flight. If it happens to be an empty flight and I’m right behind you, it ain’t going to change the fact that that’s the seat I wanted,” one user said.

While the debate in the comment section over whether the passenger had correct flight etiquette raged, one user focused on other things they may try and do that come with having an empty flight.

“I damn sure wouldn’t be sitting in economy. Would’ve asked them to let me sit in First Class.”

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