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postwhileworking Dec 13th, 2003 04:10 AM

Are people who recline their airplane seats all the way back selfish?
Recently I was on a long cross country flight and the guy in front of me reclined his airplane seat back as far as it would go. It pushed into my knees and reduced my personal space in half. I asked him politely if he could compromise and move his seat up a few inches. He refused, using a number of choice words and went to sleep.

I went back and asked the flight attendent for help and she refused. She stated that the airline allowed their seats to go back to a certain point so the passenger in front of me was in his rights. I sat there uncomfortable for the next five hours! Where there any solutions?

Dan Dec 13th, 2003 04:43 AM

Obvious troll post, but this is very simple. Of course he was within his rights to recline the seat. You could do the same to the person behind you, if you wish.

Besides, coach seats don't recline THAT far.

travleis Dec 13th, 2003 06:25 AM

A really tall person sat in front of me at the movie theater blocking my view. I asked him politely to move. He refused. How rude!

I was in a restuarant in France and a guy at the table next to me was smoking non-stop, ruining my meal. I asked him politely to stop until I finished my meal. He refused. How rude!

(I know this is just a troll post but it's a pretty weak one).

Poppa96 Dec 13th, 2003 06:58 AM

go to www.kneedefender and buy yourself will restrict the how far back the seat will go.

LLindaC Dec 13th, 2003 07:31 AM

Well, it may be a troll post, but this happened to my husband on our trip to S Africa. We're talking a 13 hr flight and this person had it back the ENTIRE time even when she got up to use the bathroom. That www.kneedefenders is for real, LOL and I think I will put them in my husband's stocking! Ho ho ho.

Ani Dec 13th, 2003 07:39 AM

ALthough I, of course, think everyone has a right to put their seat back all the way for any amount of time...I will say that it SUCKS when you are stuck with a seat that does NOT recline. That happened to me once.....ONCE.

Nikki Dec 13th, 2003 07:49 AM

After reading the many threads on this topic, I am finally posting the thought I have every time. There are people who can only be comfortable when they are reclined, and there are other people who can only be comfortable when they are upright (that would be me). If the passenger in front of me reclines, I am absolutely miserable. I can not make myself more comfortable by reclining my own seat.

People here get into shouting matches. "You intruded into my space!" "I was only trying to get some sleep!" "But I can't sleep with you in my lap!"

They are all right.

Solutions? Got me. Make the seats farther apart. Won't happen.

Owen_ONeill Dec 13th, 2003 07:52 AM

If people didn't have the right to recline the seats the seats would not be made to recline. I sometimes need to do work on a notebook PC when flying and the reclined seat in front of me makes it difficult to use my PC, if in fact I can use it at all. I've never complained about it nor have I asked anyone to put their seat back up. By the same token, I reserve the right to recline my seat when I want to.

If it's an issue, just fly on American Airlines - their "more room in coach" campaign is not marketing hype - there's about an extra 8" of legroom between seats - it makes reclining seats a non-issue.

Grasshopper Dec 13th, 2003 08:05 AM

I've ridden on 1st class trains in Europe where when you recline your seat the bottom cushion slides forward. You give up some of your knee room to recline. This seems to me to be the obvious answer..... you want to recline, you give up your own knee space.

Are airlines going to redesign all their seats? No way. But I keep sending this suggestion to my pals at the airlines.

scubatv Dec 13th, 2003 08:09 AM

At cruising altitude, I reclined my seat into the legs of a very tall person, he was adamant about keeping his knees firmly dug in to the back of my seat.

I asked him to move his legs and he said something like, I?m tall, there is no place for my legs to go.

I immediately called the flight attendant and pointed out that the reclining area was my space, not his, I pay to have the option to recline my seat.

They quickly moved him to another seat.

Also, little people, (children) that love to wiggle there little legs and kick the back of my seat. It seems their legs are the perfect length to bang on the back of an airplane seat.

Harder to justify, people that used the back of your seat as a handle to get up or walk about the plane. It?s quite a shock, when someone grabs your headrest and yanks it back.

Ahhhh, the joys of flying coach.

almesq Dec 13th, 2003 08:28 AM

Do people have the right to recline their seats all the way--yes. However, I would think that considerate people would check behind them to see who is there and whether they might be disturbing someone else. I always do that on the unfortunate times when I must fly coach (and I'm tall). There is a word for people who simply enforce their rights without consideration for the world around them--rude.

jacketwatch Dec 13th, 2003 09:24 AM

Agree with Almesq. You do have the right but be reasonable. Also some of this depends of how the seats are configured. On some airlines you are so packed in it doesn't take much recline to space encroach, so to speak. We took ATA last July and I had 11.5 inches (as measured by the fl. mag) between the seat in front of me and ME!

Nikki Dec 13th, 2003 11:12 AM

Scubatv says it is harder to justify using the back of the seat in front of you as a handle to get out of one's seat. If a seat is reclined into my lap, it is physically impossible for me to get up without holding onto the seat in front of me. I can literally not straighten my legs and stand. I have bad knees and need the leverage and balance. I try to do it in as unintrusive a manner possible, but believe me I am not doing it to be mean.

I have flown American, and it does make it somewhat better, but that is not always an option. Additionally, American recently advertised that they are adding the rows they took out back into most of their planes.

Little_Man Dec 13th, 2003 11:16 AM

This may be a troll, but I'm surprised more people don't think it's REALLY RUDE!!!
There are plenty of times on a plane that I'd love to recline, but I don't because it would cause discomfort to the person behind me...
but I guess in this world its every man for himself...

gyppielou Dec 13th, 2003 12:18 PM

Very funny post! I find that if you recline slowly and gently and politely, you fit into society just fine. The problem lies in those who slam the seat back with jetforce and keep pushing hoping to gain another millimeter. These are usually the same people who trash other peoples carryons to fit their oversized bags where they don't belong, again with the same slamming motion of the overhead bin doors. They also tend to shove old ladies out of their way to get off the plane first...

mms Dec 13th, 2003 12:40 PM

Frankie...I completely agree with you!

kaos Dec 13th, 2003 12:53 PM

You can always offer free dental work for those tilters!

Ani Dec 13th, 2003 03:14 PM

If I sat in my seat fully upright the entire flight (or more than 20 minutes) my neck would kill me as would my back and shoulders. I would be miserable. Sorry people, I'm not going to be miserable for hours-the chair is going back.

scubatv Dec 13th, 2003 03:37 PM

What fun.
Here's another point of view.

When I decide to recline my seat, other than a looking back and offering some friendly comments to alert the person seating behind me, I move that seat without any worries.

Unlike other viewpoints so wonderfully expressed here, I am not at all concerned about the person sitting behind me regarding, if I will or will not recline my seat.

Ambiguity plants the seeds for discourse, but I don't see the gray area here. Every passenger can choose to give up their space to others, but the person sitting behind, should clearly understand that the space provided for the reclining seats, is the persons in front space.

There is no ambiguity regarding reclining your seat, the airlines have established the rules. If we all had our own interoperations of these rules, there would be no rules. Imagine our flights attendants trying to decide who gets to put the seat back and who does not. Maybe, no one should be allowed to put their seat back?

We are having a fun time here trying to figure out everyone positing on the reclining seat subject, imagine trying to work this out on a plane.

Fortunately, we don't have to, you can choose to accommodate the person behind you. Yes, it's wonderful to make people happy. But, you should not feel like a jerk for using the reclining space that your airline has decided it will provide for their passengers.

It's a huge challenge trying to workout conflicts with your fellow passengers, misinterpretations are rampant. Perhaps, armed with this knowledge, some passengers would not get quite as upset when people recline on top of them. If passengers knew, coming into the game, that the reclining area is provided for the persons sitting in front, (flight attendants will always support the recliner) maybe the commutation between conflicting passengers would take on a different tone.

Am I dreaming here?

I work very hard while flying to give others their airline defined space. I try my best to never touch the seat in front of me. Gingerly, putting down my tray table and totally contorting my self when I get up from my seat.

I especially take pride in not touching their headrest. I find if you grab on to your arm rests with both hands, lift your butt off the seat and do some Cirque du Soleil type movements, you can maybe just escape touching the seat in front.

But, please, don't make me feel bad about using the reclining space.


AAFrequentFlyer Dec 13th, 2003 04:08 PM


Your statement about American putting rows of seats back on most of their planes is wrong. Only 2 models will get extra seats back, the Airbus300 and Boeings 757. All the other models, their workhorse the MD-80, Boeings 737, 767 and 777 will still have MRTC, at least for the forseeable future. The Airbus300 is used mostly in the Caribbean and Central American routes and the 757 will be used mostly on AA's leisure/vacation routes. 767 and 777s are used for trancontinental, European, South American and Japan routes, which makes the AA planes on long routes a very attractive option if you must fly in economy.
As far as the "kneesaver" gadget is concerned, it's basically a waste of money. Some airlines already banned their use, and in most cases the FAs will ask you to remove them if the person in front of you requests. Save your money.

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