Airplane 'note war' goes viral on Twitter

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by Gillian Mohney

ABC News

Posted on December 1, 2013 at 5:22 PM

(ABC News) -- It's never wise to get into a feud with another passenger during a cross-country flight, especially over the holidays.

One Los Angeles man figured this out when his "note war" with a fellow passenger ended up with him getting slapped.

Elan Gale was traveling home to see his family for Thanksgiving, when he got into a "note war" with a fellow passenger who had been complaining about the flight being delayed.

Gale, who is a producer for the ABC network shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," initially started tweeting about a female passenger identified as "Diane." Before the flight even boarded, Gale started to tweet that she was complaining about the delay. (His full account can be found here.)

Initially Gale seemed content to write about the woman, who was complaining about possibly missing her connection, on his Twitter feed. But then Gale heard the woman snap at a flight attendant.

After the flight took off, Gale decided to deliver a message by having the flight attendant bring the woman a drink with a chastising note.

According to Gale, the woman did not appear to appreciate the note which read in part, "It has come to my attention that today is your Thanksgiving!! It must be hard to not be with your family! Please accept this glass of wine. It is a gift from me to you. Hopefully if you drink it, you won't be able to use your mouth to talk. Love Elan"

After overhearing the woman angrily complain to the flight attendant, Gale left two bottles of vodka on her tray himself. She responded with a note of her own.

Rather than stopping the war of words, Gale continued, and even tweeted at US Airways offering to buy her ticket if that meant she would be thrown off the flight.

Eventually, Gale wrote a second note, this time delivered without wine and with approximately two hours of flying time to go.

"The person who lacks compassion is you we all want to get home particularly the nice men and women who fly your lazy ass around and serve you drinks. (You're welcome,)" wrote Gale, who finished his note with an insult that we can't include here.

It's unclear if any actual words were spoken. But the woman responded with another note, this time threatening to call law enforcement.

Gale, apparently unfazed by her threat, wrote one more note that basically reiterated his insult from the previous letter.

As Gale documented his escalating feud, his Twitter feed went viral. According to Buzzfeed, he had 35,000 followers on Twitter when the flight began, but quickly gained many more and now has more than 140,000 followers.

Many of his followers, old and new, appeared glued to his feed as he landed and the fight escalated from notes to alleged assault.

Gale wrote that the woman was so infuriated by his final note, she hit him.

Gale declined to talk to police about the alleged incident.

The woman did not make her connection.

But Gale did give the woman a final note, this time with his Twitter handle, @Yearofelan.

"Look me up online. Read every tweet. Read every response. And maybe next time you'll be nice to people who are just trying to help," Gale wrote.

While Gale had plenty of support from online followers, after his story went viral others started to criticize him for escalating the situation.

After his flight, Gale took to his blog and said he was especially bothered when the woman was complaining to the flight attendant.

"I know I can come across as abrasive. I know I can seem harsh. But what I've never done is be unkind to a person in a service position," wrote Gale, before writing about his work history at a video store and as a caterer. "I don't care what's going on with you: Don't be rude to people who are doing their job."

Gale was not immediately able to be reached for comment.

US Airways said it was investigating the possible incident and talking to crew members, but could not yet confirm anything from Gale's Twitter feed.

For more from ABC News, click here.

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