According to Hage, the man took his armrest and hers, yet he texted his friend that he was so squashed he left a neck mark on the window.
The model fumed, "[He was] coming into my space and digging his elbows into my side, which is in my seat ... 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."
At the end of the flight, Hage confronted the man — on camera.
"Hi, my name is Natalie," she said politely. "I couldn't help but notice before we took off you were sending really horrible text messages about me."
"No, I wasn't," he lied.
"I have photos, yes, you were," she told him.
Hage repeated Eric's texts back to him and he copped to it — "I apologize, I was drinking" — and then he went back to being offensive.
ERIC: "Did you notice that I was nice to you in the air? I put my thing up for you, I gave you part of my table."
HAGE: "I didn't want part of your table. You made me feel so uncomfortable to exist in this seat that I didn't want anything from you."
ERIC: "In fairness, you probably shouldn't be sitting in an exit row seat. When they ask if you're willing and capable to assist people in getting off the airplane in an emergency, do you honestly think you are?"
HAGE: "That's funny because I work out about five times a week ... You know nothing about me from the size of my body ... Making a quip like that after you've apologized makes you an extra asshole ... Are you a doctor?"
ERIC: "That's none of your business."
HAGE: "My body is also none of your business."
"Don't EVER treat somebody like that again," she said before getting up and leaving.
Hage's Instagram comments are flooded with plus-size people who've been treated rudely by other airline passengers.
Her calm tone and refusal to let Eric evade the truth of his behavior is empowering to those who've been treated the same (or worse) but were afraid of making a scene.
"You, my dear, didn't just stand up for yourself. You stood up for every person who has ever been a victim of someone else's ignorant judgements. Thank you," wrote one commenter.
We also thank you, Natalie.