Man questions plus-size model on why she's seated at emergency exit row

What's the best way to deal with a hater these days?

For a plus-sized model who was humiliated for her size onboard a flight, the method is to shame the fat-shamer online.

On June 29, Natalie Hage, a model from Texas, was on an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles for a photoshoot when she noticed the man seated beside her was sending out insulting texts about her.

In an Instagram post, Hage recounted how the man huffed and sighed loudly when she first sat next to him.

When she peeked over his phone later, someone had texted the man "hopefully she didn't have any Mexican food", to which he replied "I think she ate a Mexican".

Further hurtful remarks were also made, such as him leaving a neck mark on the window (presumably because he was squashed against the side of the plane), and that the flight wouldn't take off because of Hage's weight.

Hage kept her cool throughout the flight, but decided to confront the man upon landing.

The man initially denied sending any insulting texts, but apologised when Hage revealed that she took photos of the texts. He then explained that he had consumed a few drinks before the flight.

But his apology wasn't entirely sincere, as he later began to question Hage for sitting in the emergency exit row.

"In fairness, you probably shouldn't be sitting here at the exit row seat," he added. "Honestly thinking, are you really capable of assisting people in getting off the airplane in an emergency?"

In her own defence, the model revealed that she "work(s) out five times a week" and that she had been tweeting American Airlines throughout the flight to report the man's doings.

Hage had also recorded their conversation and posted it on Facebook, which has since garnered more than 1.4 million views.

In her Instagram post, Hage admitted that she had paid almost US$70 (S$96.7) extra for the exit row seat as she knew she needed the extra leg room.

She also claimed that she is "extremely flight anxious", and she only had the choice of taking the exit row seat as only middle seats were left.

While the incident may have left Hage enraged and upset, positive comments poured in from netizens who viewed her video.

However, some also criticised Hage for shaming the man publicly online.