Have you ever wondered, “How can I stop the person in front of me from reclining their seat on a plane?” One internet user posed this question, sparking a flurry of responses from pilots to frequent fliers, each offering their unique perspective on this age-old air travel dilemma. Here are ten thought-provoking answers that just might change the way you approach your next flight.
1. The Reclining Space Behind Your Seat is YOUR Space
One internet user, a pilot, gives a unique perspective on this issue. He maintains that the space behind your seat, which is affected when you recline, is your space to use as you see fit. He also points out a key industry fact: when American Airlines removed six rows from its planes to create more room, the public was unwilling to pay the extra cost.
The pilot concludes that passengers, eager for more affordable fares, have contributed to the tight spaces they often complain about. As a result, many are considering private flight options where seating is more spacious and comfortable.
2. The Price of Quick Travel
Another user suggests that the discomfort of reclining seats is the price we pay for the convenience of air travel. When we buy a ticket, we’re essentially renting a small space and all its functionalities, including the reclining feature. While acknowledging the struggles of taller passengers, this user suggests that the trade-off is fair, considering we’re able to cross thousands of miles in mere hours.
3. Find a Compromise or Don’t Fly
The third user offers a more pragmatic solution: if you don’t want a seat reclining into your space, book a seat immediately behind a bulkhead or by an emergency door. He argues that reclining seats are a basic feature designed for passenger comfort, and adults should be able to navigate this minor inconvenience maturely. His advice? Communicate with the person in front of you and seek a compromise.
4. A Matter of Courtesy
A user recalls an article on flying etiquette that suggested passengers should refrain from reclining their seats in economy due to limited legroom. However, if a passenger must recline, they should notify the person behind them first, especially to avoid disrupting those with laptops or food on their trays.
5. Unspoken Rules of Long-Haul Flights
One user shared the unspoken rules of long-haul, overnight flights. The seats stay upright until after meal service, which allows everyone to eat comfortably. After that, the cabin lights go out, signaling ‘bedtime’ and the acceptable time to recline your seat for a nap.
6. The Case for Fixed Seats
Another user believes airlines should install fixed seats in the economy section to avoid complaints and arguments about reclining seats. By removing the reclining feature, passengers would have a more predictable amount of space for their journey.
7. A Tale of Polite Requests and Compromise
One user shared a funny incident that highlights the importance of politeness and compromise when dealing with reclining seats.
“I was in the aisle seat 7B with free seats in front and behind me. I reclined my seat when the seat belt sign was switched off, as did the passengers in the window seat, 6A, ahead of me as did 7A beside me.
7A requested 6A to not recline the seat.
6A was kind enough not to recline his seat.
The person in 8A then required 7A to not recline the seat.
7A replied that he was sorry, but he needed the extra space because of his big size.
This developed into a bit of an argument in which 6A joined in, saying, ‘I also need the extra space but I was being polite to you. If you are not going to be polite to 8A, then I will also not see any reason to be polite.’
This attracted the attention of the Cabin Service Director, who ruled: Either everyone reclines or no one reclines!! 7A got voted out 3 to 1 (including me), in favor of everyone reclining their seat!!”
The story serves as a reminder that while every passenger has the right to recline their seat, a little courtesy can go a long way in maintaining harmony on board.
8. Recline Slowly and Considerately
One user suggests that the problem isn’t so much with the act of reclining, but with the manner in which it’s done. He recommends reclining slowly and considerately, so as not to startle the passenger behind or potentially damage their belongings.
9. Recline or Not – Consider Your Neighbors
While it’s completely within a passenger’s rights to recline their seat for comfort, another user reminds us to be mindful of the person sitting behind. Their comfort is equally important and deserves consideration.
10. Negate the Impact by Reclining, Too
The final user believes that it’s not possible to ‘stop’ someone from reclining their seat, but suggests mitigating the impact by reclining your own seat as soon as the person in front of you reclines. This simple act of adjustment can make the journey more comfortable
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This article was produced by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos.
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.