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Reclining your seat all the way back on a day flight

Reclining your seat all the way back on a day flight

Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:05 AM
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Reclining your seat all the way back on a day flight

I’m from the Seattle area and had to travel all the way to Tampa Florida for a total thyroid removal.
I scheduled a day flight back home after my surgery. The guy in front of me, did the old booking trick of buying a seat for his son on the isle and his seat at the window, in hopes nobody would book the middle seat, his bet paid off. He then proceeded to recline his seat all the way back into my face. Not only could I not use my tray, I could not use the screen on the back of my seat. I was penned in and could not move. It set off one hell of a panic attack. Now, I realize he paid for his seat, but this is such undeniable rudeness!!!
People, it is ok to go back an inch or two, but unless it is a red eye flight, It Is RUDE to recline your seat all the way back! I’m not a large person at 5’5 125 pounds, but when someone reclines their seat all the way back and is basically in my lap and I’m penned in and can’t move, in my opinion means there is not enough room to be doing that! I could NEVER do that to the person behind me weather I could on not.
He was the only one on that flight who did that and he wasn’t even sleeping, it was just because he could.

Last edited by Moderator1; Jan 23rd, 2023 at 07:22 AM. Reason: deleted inappropriate language
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:20 AM
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Welcome to Fodors, I guess.

Uh
-- Did you ask him to raise his seat just a bit? Or did you expect him to read your mind? Plus 'all the way' on many planes is not all that far. You can ask cabin crew to request he raise the seat during meal service. You can also ask cabin crew to move you if there are other seats available.

Reclining a seat is allowed though.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:41 AM
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We tried, but this guy put his hoodie over his head and put earbuds in. It wasn’t until he put his arm around the back of my husbands seat and obscured his screen, that we touched his arm to get his attention. I think most people are good people, Like I said, he was the only one on that flight to do that.
I was in the back of the plane having a severe panic attack and told the flight attendant why, they just said I understand. It wasn’t until we were almost landing that the flight attendant came by and was concerned about my health. It is basic consideration to the person behind you, if you absolutely need to recline your seat ALL the way back, keep in mind the person behind you will NOT be able to use their tray or see their screen. At the very least, raise your seat so the person behind you can have time to eat, READ THE ROOM. Basic consideration takes no mind reading! The bottom line is the seat space is not large enough! It is what it is, it is your right, but MOST everyone knows it’s RUDE!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 08:29 AM
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Putting his arm in your space was rude.

Aa far as reclining the seat goes, blame the airline for not having enough space between rows.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 12:35 PM
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This is one of those things that could go either way. The person in front has a right to recline as far back as the seat allows. It has no consideration on the person behind so I do not recline even on overnight flights. I might go back a bit on occasion if the person in front of me does but it’s rare.

I do think it’s rude when people don’t put their seat upright to eat. Sometimes the flight attendants don’t help with that. You could have said you needed to use the restroom and grabbed his seat while hitting him in the head to get up and played dumb. I’ve pulled peoples hair that way and fully admit to being passive aggressive. Hitting the tray with every movement works too because it’s not my fault airlines don’t allow enough room.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 01:30 PM
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People, it is ok to go back an inch or two, but unless it is a red eye flight, It Is RUDE to recline your seat all the way back!

This so called day flight might have been the third or fourth flight on the world's longest travel day for the dude reclining his seat.

It's unlikely, but keep in mind that a day flight isn't the same for everyone. As someone who has flown from Australia or Asia to the US more times than I can count, that one last 'day flight', would have been my third of fourth after 48 hours or more of travel. And I'd probably recline my seat for fear I'd fall over if I didn't.

I get what you're saying though, it's happened to me as well and it isn't fun. But until the airlines stop trying to squish as many people as possible into tiny spaces in order to make more money, we all suffer.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 09:54 AM
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Pam, airlines have multiple seating options that you could choose from First class, premium economy, upgraded economy (like Delta Comfort or Economy Plus on UA, Main Cabin Plus on AA) which have more legroom (seat pitch) than regular economy seats. There are bulkhead and exit rows. Some airlines have rows that have limited recline.

Spirit has limited recline on most economy seats - the tradeoff being less legroom (about 3 or 4 inches less than regular economy elsewhere). I think it would be ok for a person who is 65 inches tall, like you, with the seat in front having limited recline.

IDK if other airlines offer seats with limited recline.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 01:57 PM
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I'm always hopeful that the person in front of me won't slam the seat all the way back and sometimes I'm lucky. But often I'm not. It's the nature of the beast, though I do wish there were a few basic minumum standards put into place, just for safety reasons if nothing else.

btw, good call about exit seats, etc though I think most other limited recline rows are at the very back of sections. Don't ever go for a limited recline row... lol... that means YOU can't recline, but the people in the row ahead of you CAN still recline all the way. First hand experience, it's the absolute worst.

I've never understood how exponentially more expensive seats are truly an "option", other than for the affluent. This is a lot like saying if you don't like your poor neighbourhood, just move to a much nicer one.

Airline travel is often not a luxury expense the way it once was and has, partly because of the squeezing and scrimping, become available to us all for a variety of humble reasons. It's essentially become a form of public transportation in the US (in particular) as one of the most mobile societies where moving for employment and education reasons is commonplace. Also for medical treatment these days, like the OP. Only affordable air travel makes this possible but it might be well to remember that for the vast majority of people, suggesting they could pay 3x to 10X the fare probably isn't very surprising or useful

Last edited by CounterClifton; Jan 24th, 2023 at 02:02 PM.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 03:16 PM
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Now you know OP. Pay the extra $40 to pick your own seat and use SeatGuru. Avoid the red seats. Which airline did you fly? Maybe there are better options for similar prices. Many of the super economy fares let you pick your seat when you check in 24 hours ahead. Of course, flying to Florida in the middle of snowbird season means the flights may be completely full. Why did you have to go all the way to Florida? Don't they offer that surgery in Seattle?

People are entitled to recline, whether you think it's "rude" or not. You have the option to chose an aisle seat if you are subject to panic attacks.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 24th, 2023 at 03:19 PM.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 02:09 AM
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The guy in front is at liberty to recline his seat if he wants to. If it made the meal service difficult, you could ask the crew to ask the guy to raise his seat during the meal service.

If you have had surgery, then maybe you could have booked into another class that offers more room for you or to pay for emergency exit seats (depending on what surgery you have as emergency exit seats need to have able bodied persons sitting there in case of an emergency to open the doors) or something like that. It is always a risk in economy that you get someone in front who reclines their seats, you can also recline yours.

Otherwise do as suggested by sassy27.

I had the opposite experience on a flight once, someone behind me put something somewhere behind my seat which prevented me reclining my seat at all which wasn't great as the person in front of me reclined theirs so I was bolt upright, a bit uncomfortable. So I got the crew to sort it out.

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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 06:03 AM
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Now that you are home, Pamela, I hope your recuperation from the significant surgery is going well. And I hope your next trip will be infinitely more comfortable.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 12:33 PM
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Alaska and Delta have nonstops SEA-TPA. Took a look at Feb 22 and Alaska has a basic economy for $139 but it is a redeye.

It is 5h 25m on a nice Delta daytime flight for $279, but pay $40 more to choose a seat. Pay $120 more for exit row 17, so plenty of legroom but no recline because the row behind is also an exit row. Better, just choose exit row 18 and get some recline, That is around $440 for those options.

Or just pay $469 for a Comfort+ seat with more legroom and go for the bulkhead row 10 to guarantee no recliner in front of you, even though it is a yellow seat at seatguru.

SeatGuru Seat Map Delta
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 07:39 PM
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I am wondering what airline even has economy seats that "recline all the way back" -- seriously?? We usually fly United, and their seat backs have about a 2-3" space to "recline" at most -- there are no issues w screens not seen, nor trays not able to come down. As soon as we reach climbing altitude, I push my button to give me another 2-3" away from my screen which is way too close anyway. It doesnt touch the person behind me's knees. And yes, we frequently on long flights book aisle and window with the hope for empty middle seat. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This Fall on a non-stop Newark to Zurich, the airbus was jammed so we ended up with someone in the middle seat. So what?! There is such a tight space on planes these days, I need the couple extra inches anytime I can get it. I get more annoyed with passengers who close the shades on the little windows even if it is not sunny! I like looking out always, but hey, it's their prerogative, not mine, and I've yet to have any passenger ask if it's ok for them to do so. By the way we do have recliners in our TV room that do "recline all the way back" but they've never reminded us of airplane seating. Suck it up!
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 06:40 AM
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With your medical needs you should have paid more for a better seat option. Some people need to recline the seat due to their medical conditions such as back surgery.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 07:01 AM
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The fault is with the airline - they shouldn't make the seats recline so far. I had a similar situation once on a European flight too - but I always ask the attendant for their view if I feel penned in, I think you were super unlucky with your fellow passenger. Hoping your next flight is more comfortable!
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 10:38 AM
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Domestic flights DON'T have full recline seats anymore. That's why some of us are curious about what airline the OP was on. Unless she was stuck in the very last row where the seats don't recline, there is something fishy about her tale. She could have reclined her own seat the same few inches to increase the distance. The issue IMO is that she was in a window seat. It can be hard to get out of those in economy, even when the seats in front are pulled up all the way.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 10:52 AM
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Newly registered poster, was on fodors for all of about 40 minutes a few weeks ago and hasn't come back....

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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 10:54 AM
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I guess the seat could have been broken and reclined too far back! That is what happened to me once in Europe. But yes also the very last row could be an issue,
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Old Feb 2nd, 2023, 10:30 AM
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Passengers are allowed to put their seat backs all the way back. It is nice to warn the person suiting behind you when youíre doing that. And maybe the person putting the seat back has recently had back or neck surgery.
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Old May 24th, 2023, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pamelamccormick6992
We tried, but this guy put his hoodie over his head and put earbuds in. It wasnít until he put his arm around the back of my husbands seat and obscured his screen, that we touched his arm to get his attention. I think most people are good people, Like I said, he was the only one on that flight to do that.
I was in the back of the plane having a severe panic attack and told the flight attendant why, they just said I understand. It wasnít until we were almost landing that the flight attendant came by and was concerned about my health. It is basic consideration to the person behind you, if you absolutely need to recline your seat ALL the way back, keep in mind the person behind you will NOT be able to use their tray or see their screen. At the very least, raise your seat so the person behind you can have time to eat, READ THE ROOM. Basic consideration takes no mind reading! The bottom line is the seat space is not large enough! It is what it is, it is your right, but MOST everyone knows itís RUDE!

First of all, I hope the surgery went well. (Iíll admit Iím surprised you flew cross country for whatís generally a minor procedure; I had it a few years ago). A couple questions:

ó What exactly do you mean by tried to ask?

ó Did you specifically ask the flight attendant to ask him to move his seat up a little?

ó If the flight attendant and other passenger ignored your request, did you follow up and explain to both of them why you were asking?

ó Why not book premium economy for a few hundred more? (For the record, Iím more than a foot taller than you. I donít make a ton of money. And I ALWAYS make sure I have the extra room.)
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