There is not a lot of room in economy to begin with -- reclining makes it worse

There is not a lot of room in economy to begin with, and reclining makes it worse

I am a non-recliner and I am not afraid to admit it.

What does that mean? It means that when I am flying economy (and sometimes in domestic first or a similar product), I just do not recline my seat – by choice.

I get that we are all given the “right” to recline our seats (otherwise, they wouldn’t put the button there, right?), but part of me just feels it is rude – so I don’t do it. I feel guilty every time I try to recline and wonder what I am doing to the passenger behind me. Am I smashing their laptop? Am I going to knock over a drink? Or am I going to make them roll their eyes and sigh?

Am I crazy here, or are there other non-recliners out there?

ANA's economy product on the 787 has the option to slide out your bottom cushion

ANA’s economy product on the 787 has the option to slide out your bottom cushion, as opposed to reclining backwards

Some airlines make the choice easy for you – no one can recline their seats. Allegiant and Spirit are two that have disabled the ability to recline and I can’t blame them. Of course, they are looking to put as many seats into their aircraft as possible, but at least you know you will consistently have low seat pitch than have it change mid-flight.

Other new seats will not recline the back, but they will just push your bottom cushion forward, giving the sense of relaxation. I got to try these seats on one of ANA’s 787s and I have to say I both liked and disliked them.

I wasn’t a fan because it takes away your own legroom, but that is also the reason why I liked them. You are sacrificing your own leg room for your own comfort, instead of that of the person sitting behind you.

I hold less blame for recliners who upgrade to some sort of economy plus product. For many, a passenger is given some additional room, so you aren’t impeding as much on their personal space. You want the ability and space to recline; paying for it makes good sense.

I am bothered less by people reclining during a long international flight. I get having to move your body around to feel comfortable. But as silly as it sounds, I still won’t recline my seat during on international flights. It just doesn’t feel right.

No recline for you! Allegiant doesn't allow reclining

No recline for you! Allegiant doesn’t allow reclining – Photo: David Parker Brown

It just annoys me to no end when I am trying to get work done (maybe I even dropped $20 on inflight Wi-Fi) and the person in front of me reclines and takes away almost all of my ability to work on my laptop. Yes. I know I could pay to upgrade to more space or maybe lose a few inches around my waist, but when seeing that seat come down, I sometimes just want to scream!

Now, I am not one to get super angry if someone does choose to recline their seat. I will respect their decision and never interact with them or kick their seat or anything. I understand that they bought their ticket, which gave them the ability to recline their seat, but I just wish more passengers would be aware of the consequences of the seat recline.

Productivity can be hindered when reclining the seat

Productivity can be hindered when reclining the seat

Recently, a flight from Newark to Denver was diverted because of an argument dealing with seat recline. One passengers used a device called the “Knee Defender”, where you can lock the seat in front of you from reclining. The passenger who had their seat locked wasn’t too happy about the situation, a glass of water was thrown and then the flight crew decided to divert.  It should be noted that this actually occurred in United’s “Economy Plus” section, where those involved had an extra 4-5″ of pitch/legroom.

Now, I am not a fan of reclining seats, but products like the Knee Defender are much more rude. While, according to the FAA, they are legal and it is up to each airline to define their policies on using such devices, it doesn’t mean people should use them. I think I would be pretty upset if someone used that on my seat, even if I wasn’t going to even recline.

I don’t want people to get so upset about reclining seats that they get into fights, but I wonder how many actually think about the person behind them when they choose to recline. I would love to live in a world where no one reclined their seats, but am I in the minority here? How many other of you refuse to recline your seats? Or how many of you recline the second you can and don’t think twice?

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

http://www.airlinereporter.com
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136 Comments

I’m not much of a recliner either. I won’t say I don’t do it, but I usually do not, unless the seat behind me is empty, them Whammo!! Full recline! Woo Hoo Baby!

I’ve also been known to stiff arm a seatback when someone in front of me is reclining, usually I try to limit them to about half of the full recline distance. I think it is an artful compromise and have never gotten in a confrontation over it.

‘Gunner

I have done the stiff-arm to slow someone down in the recline and saving my computer/drink, but I always let them come back all the way.

David

donaldK

I am a recliner, but I do not slam my seat back like most do. If you do not want someone reclining into your space pay for a seat that will not have this problem.

Michael

I’m usually a non-recliner. It’s shared space so I try to remain respectful of my shared space. I usually try to prepare if the person in front of me chooses to recline, that’s their right. Also, being 5’1″ actually more comfortable upright.

You purchase a reclining seat and so does the person in front of you. You can choose not to recline, but have no right to prevent the person ahead from getting the privilege they pay for.

The problem is not whether we want to recline, but that the airlines have put is in this precarious situation for their own profit. They either need to add leg room or disable the recline of economy seats.

I’m a recliner. If I do, the person behind me also has the right to recline, thereby reclaiming their space. I fail to understand why people won’t recline or object to those who do, everyone has the same options.

“the person behind me also has the right to recline, thereby reclaiming their space”

I fully understand what Mike is saying, but he’s making a huge assumption that the guy/gal behind him *wants* to recline. Maybe I really want to work on my laptop in which case reclining is a bad idea. Everyone is on that flight for a different reason and we should be accommodating off all those considerations, not just Mike’s.

/s/ Another non-recliner!

You can still work on a laptop with the person in front reclined, most seat back trays slide forward to compensate for the tiny recline angle. It doesn’t matter if the person behind wants to recline or not, that is irrelevant. The space needed to recline the seat back really belongs to the person in front not to you. They paid for it, why is it a bad idea for them to use it? You may chose to forgo your right and privilege but don’t expect others to do so as well to accommodate you.

Peter Mensa

If there were the slightest bit of common sense in your point of view, then the vast majority of economy airline travellers wouldn’t want reclining seats banned.

Totally correct. You pay for the seat and the seat back.. End of discussion

I recline as soon as the wheels leave the runway. For me, it’s a matter of posture; the fixed reclines invariably are at a uncomfortable angle. I make a point of avoiding the seats in front of exit rows because they do not recline and on a trans-con, the discomfort is very–well–uncomfortable. The decreasing seat pitch makes it impossible to slouch–so, darn right: I’m a recliner.

If a person is going to recline, I prefer them to do it right away. Put it out there that this is happening and let me work around it. Instead of it sneaking up on me when I least expect it.

David

Alex de Vallette

Remind me Scott never to take a flight you are on!

Non recliner here, for the most part. Last recline was CDG-SLC in EC. Even in Domestic First I don’t recline.

Maybe recline wouldn’t be so bad if those who do recline did it slowly. I don’t begrudge those who do recline, but stop slamming your seat back. Take it back nice and slow so those that have a laptop out (which I don’t) can adjust.

Flying from DTW to SEA last week on Delta, in First, the guy in front of the seat next to me reclines about 2 seconds after gear retraction is selected. Not a massive problem as there is reasonable room.

Later in the flight he wakes up and decided to “fluff” his pillow by smashing his body back into his seat. The lip of the seat back video caught my neighbors laptop and sent the laptop flying into his coffee which ended up in his lap. The jerk in front didn’t even have the balls to apologize.

I will admit that I almost never recline my seat. There has to be a better solution.

Oh man — that could have turned really ugly!

David

Alex de Vallette

the better solution would be a federal mandate to make the airlines provide more legroom. They can not regulate themselves so let Uncle Sam do it for them. Write to your congress man/women to introduce such a bill.

Another approach is to ask FAA to set seat standards.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

My issue with recliners are my knees, a 32″ or less pitch puts my knees hard against the seat Back. Reclining more than a few inches is iNconsiderate of others.

I never recline in coach. It’s not enough for me to get comfortable anyway.

When the person in front of me reclines, I usually ask if they will recline only partway so I can work on my laptop. Most times they are reasonable…we are meeting in the middle.

To the person that says I recline and it’s my space…go right ahead. I feel a cold coming on, and I’ll be coughing on your head the whole flight. Plus I will be pounding on my keyboard, and I’m sure I’ll be putting stuff in and out of the seatback the entire flight too.

You see…that’s MY space, and I’ll use it the way I want.

In other words, if you take my space by reclining into my face, then don’t be surprised if I don’t move all the way out of said space. Courtesy begets courtesy. I’ll work with you if you work with me.

Erik Nordheim

Oh man. Being asked not to fully recline would really upset me. I’d press the call button immediately if the person behind me wanted me to not recline.

I fly a 7pm departure to London just so I can sleep on the plane.

I agree with you, David. I’ve been traveling all my life and have seen the evolution of cabin space. There is less and less room all the time. I’ve flown about eight times this month and while Alaska and Hawaiian are better, I think United actually shrunk their seats and took away leg room following the sardine can theory of passenger comfort. I didn’t recline my seat on any of those flights because I would feel bad for the person behind me. And, well, it’s not like the seats recline that far to make much of a difference anymore anyway. Times have sure changed.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

John Bolka

I too am a non-recliner. The only time I have ever reclined my seat was in American’s Main Cabin Extra, when there was a lady behind me that had the whole row to herself and had decided to lay down across the entire row, so I felt like I could do it that time.

I also am a big fan of the pivot seats because if you choose to recline, you should loose leg/wiggle room, not the person behind you.

A great way to make sure no one reclines on you is to go for the exit row, because the seats in front have limited recline by law.

Antonio

I am 6 2″ so, as I do not like when the guy in front of me try to recline the seat and just manage to smash my knees, I think that also the guy behind me would not like me reclining my seat. That is the reason why if somebody is seating behind me I will not recline my seat. The pivot seat are a good idea but since I am 6 2″ I end up sacrificing the few millimeters of legroom that I have spare.

The only solution is premium economy with pivoting seats.

Non-recliners of the world unite!!!

Plane - Crazy Joe

David, Faux ( aka Fox ) News had a report, yesterday, about the ” Knee Defender ” fiasco you refer to herein. I was unaware of such a device and will check the web for details as to who sells it!

I, too, have endured the blatant INCONSIDERATION of the person sitting in front of me, SEVERAL times; including on LONG HAULS! This makes it difficult for me to CLEARLY see the in-seat IFE screen; on which I prefer to view the Flight Map & Details! ( Not everyone has perfect vision; eyes that function / perform as good as when younger!!! ) Furthermore, when the seat-back of the OFFENDER is mere inches from my face, my MOBILITY is RESTRICTED! It’s then difficult to do a Lav Run or have a walk-around the cabin to better circulate the blood in my legs!

One time, on a Long Haul, after the offender in front of me FINALLY returned his seatback to fully Upright, as the cabin was prepared for landing, I broke into a clap and let out a cheer! Hopefully, the MORON in front of me realized WHY I DID THIS!? However, I doubt it!

Arcanum

First off, stop PUTTING random word in upper case and USING inappropriate punctuation!?!

Secondly, as someone who reclines, I don’t think I would have figured out why you broke into a clap and cheer. I probably would have assumed you were a confused old man clapping because he thought we’d landed.

You might get better results by asking politely at the beginning of the flight instead of passive-aggressively clapping at the end.

Dear Plane-Crazy Joe,

For the sake of everyone on the plane, stop flying. If you know anyone like you, tell them to stop flying too. Everything from the Knee-Defender to you childish clapping reeks of a passive-aggressive child-man who no reasonable person would want to sit around.

And generally, people who call Fox News “Faux” News don’t actually watch it. Just one more way you managed to embarrass yourself in your post.

Stay on the ground.

captain d.

For the most part, Joe’s points seem pretty reasonable. Although passive-aggressive applause is basically completely unproductive, it’s seems less offensive than physically refusing back a recliner with a stiff-arm, or worse yet, throwing a drink in their face. I don’t find that Joe has much to be embarrassed about.

On the other hand, generally speaking, people who watch Fox News and don’t realize how “Faux” it is, are idiots. Luckily, those idiots usually have no shame so you probably need not fear being embarrassed about unintentional admittance of your low probably intellectual capacity.

Like Scott said, being able to recline takes the pressure off your neck and head that feel like they’re being pushed forward by the seat. What’s even better, though, are the head rests that articulate. Those help with the sore neck issue for me.
Just wondering, Peter Parker, when you fly Business Class internationally, do you still sit straight up and down in your comfy little pod? 🙂

With Business Class, if the seat is isolated from the other passengers, I get as comfy as I can get. But even in my Delta Economy Comfort seat from JFK-SEA after a 15,000 mile journey, I kept upright the whole time. 🙂

David

I almost always have to recline at least somewhat otherwise I wind up with a totally kinked up back or cramped leg, etc. Several airlines made the seat-back angle even more upright a few years ago so they could still say they gave the passenger “x” inches of recline while reducing seat spacing. Since Continental no longer exists as a separate entity, I can safely say they were one of these airlines. Sadly many of these seats are still flying and just as sharply raked (they feel almost less than 90 degrees) on the “merged” airline they became. There is nothing like the feeling of being FOLDED over by a seat. Also I cannot possibly even nap without reclining the seat somewhat. In my defense I will say that if there is an extra legroom seat available I always go for it.

If the passenger in front of me fully reclines, I have little choice but to recline some or all as well in order to maintain some space between my face and the back of that seat (especially if there is seatback video). Again I choose the expanded legroom option whenever available.

Once on a foreign carrier I took a non-stop LAX-CDG and virtually had the passenger in front of me in my lap the entire trip. It was almost impossible to get in and out of the seat as well because of this but due to the language difference there was no way around it. This is obviously even worse when the passenger has much different hygiene practices than you do… 🙁

Yea, that sounds like a bummer flight. I can get using the recline if you are not able to get comfortable otherwise, but I think it is about the courteous recline vs the IN-YOUR-FACE-recline.

David

It’s not an absolute-you can partially recline vs fully recline, you don’t have to slam back on a recline, and can ask if the person behind minds. At 6’3″ with millions of air miles I’d like more space but it becomes a domino effect with full reclines. apart from sitting 4 hours with pants soaked or busted laptop from a slamming recliner, I do respect the right to recline but it can be done thoughtfully.

Karen M.

I too choose not to recline my seat because I think it’s rude to people behind you. If they are going to make things so cramped on planes that it doesn’t really work anymore, then they should just take the feature out for everyone.

What do you think of the movable armrests between seats? If I am in my seat first and it’s up, I put it down. If someone comes and sits next to me and asks if they can put it up, I say it’s okay. But I do not like it when people come and put that armrest up without even asking if it’s okay. They wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t intend to encroach on your space. That is more of an issue to me than the reclining seats.

Hmm. I never had someone ask if they could raise the arm rest. I don’t know if I would say yes. I like having that division between me and my seatmate.

David

Alex de Vallette

encroachment on neighboring seats is problem, especially when that person flops his greasy head on my shoulder or snores with bad breath

Pago Pago DAWG

As an airline retiree, I never put my seat back.

Alex de Vallette

as a retired Pan Amer I do not recline my seat without asking the person me if that would be OK and never the full recline.

G J Galik

Gee – I can’t tell if I’m reclining or not – everything so cramped. I find cocktail therapy helps me adjust to my surroundings.

I usually do not recline while flying because I am comfortable without doing it. However, if the person in front of me reclines, I may recline a little bit, but only after checking behind me and/or asking the person behind me if I can recline a little bit.

I don’r recline my seat for the same reason the author doesn’t recline his sear

Peter Mensa

I carry a Knee Defender with me on most flights, but as yet, I haven’t had cause to use it. I came very close one trip when Air New Zealand refused to wake the fully reclined passenger in front of me while meals were being served on a long-haul flight, because the passenger was sleeping!

I think the more people that complain/fight or cause planes to divert, the sooner airlines will stop all seats reclining. I wonder if some whizz USA lawyer has actually looked at the legal side of paying airline passengers, and how much space and what type of space they’re paying for and are entitled too. There must be some legal rights to keep a passenger in a healthy seating space for long-haul flights. Maybe a class action against airlines, similar to those against banks for their excessive fees, may assist in speeding up the process to stop seats reclining on all airlines in the economy section.

Before going class action, why not try the regulatory route? A lot cheaper, faster, and it works. (No lawsuits were needed to liberalize the rules on personal electronic devices.)

If you want more legroom and wider seats, just let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Doug,

Which one of your many comments should I reply? First off, probably should simmer down on the comments. I am going to let them all post, but I think you have made your point.

Maybe I am wrong here, but you have “cpa” in your email address (don’t worry, your address is not public, just I can see it). That would maybe make me assume you are a CPA and one of those wonderful “bean counters?”

So, what if the FAA mandated more seat-pitch? Then airlines would have to take out seats and airfares would rise. Do you not think at that point consumers would complain about not being able to visit Uncle Tim for less than $800? Passengers want lower fares. They have shown that over and over again by making airlines like Spirit and Allegiant successful. By offering lower fares, more and more people (lower middle class) can now travel via airlines, which they have never been able to do before. That is a good thing. But one cannot expect having low fares and high-end service at the same time.

If you want more legroom and you want wider seats — you have that option — pay for first class. Or even economy plus. Space costs money and most consumers choose to spend the least amount of money possible and get the least amount of space possible. Heck, when I am paying for my own tickets I typically go for the cheapest fare. But if I have had a long and stressful trip, I am going to pay more (or use miles) for space and upgrade to economy plus or first class domestic product.

To put it in simple terms (and really, this is pretty darn accurate), take a look at this: http://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/04/the-five-stages-of-flying-an-ultra-low-cost-carrier-epic-comic-style/

Cheers,

David
(Editor-in-Chief – AirlineReporter.com)

Yes, I am a bean counter, so let’s count some beans! How much would airfares need to rise if we took out one row out of ten, and gave everyone 3″ more legroom? 10 rows @ 28″ seat pitch = 280 inches; divide by 9 rows and we get 31″; and a lot fewer crunched knees. 10 rows @ 6 seats (narrow body) equals 60 seats, 9 rows @ 6 seats equals 54 seats. Now, take 60 seats @ $ 100 you get $ 6000, divide by 54 seats and you get $ 111.12, or 11% more. If your average ticket is say 300.00, it would have to rise to $ 333.33, for an increase of $ 33.33, in order to generate the same revenue on a full flight. Hardly anything to worry about, and a lot better deal than a set of knee defenders.

Suppose we combine this with wider seats, 5 across rather than 6? 9 rows @ 5 seats per row = 45 seats. Divide the $ 6000 above by 45 seats and you get $ 133.33, a 33% fare increase. The average fare would need to increase from $300 to $ 400. Considering that airfares can vary at least this much normally, I don’t think this would be an issue. It would certainly be less than many of the upgrades you mentioned, and a better for everyone.

Whether airfares would increase that much (if at all) is another question. Fares are driven by market forces, and airlines are going to charge whatever the market can bear all the time. From the cost side, airlines would benefit from reduced weight and fuel burn.

Having adequate seats for today’s public is not “high end”, it is common sense. Minimum standards for passenger space are nothing new. Congress found it necessary to set similar standards for sailing ships 200 years ago. Ship owners were pulling the same shenanigans back then as airlines are today; cramming as many passengers into a vessel as possible, without regard to passenger comfort. (This still happens in parts of the world; we hear about it when an overloaded ferry capsizes.)

The key point of my comments, however, is that passengers do not have to meekly accept whatever the airlines give them, or fight with each other over recline space. They can focus their complaints, not on each other, but on the airlines, through the existing regulatory process. We can ask the FAA to set standards, and we can have a say as to what those standards will be.

Right now there is a proposal for the FAA to regulate seat size, something it does not currently do. I’d like to see everyone who voiced a complaint about overcrowded seats and crunched knees tell the FAA their view of the matter – good, bad or indifferent. http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

However, if you like matters the way they are, do nothing.

I am glad you wrote back Doug :).

An increase of $33.33 or $100 might seem small, but they make a huge different to most consumers. All they care about is the bottom line. Especially if you are flying with a family of five, those numbers get pretty big quite quick.

Most are not going to care if it is 28″ or 31″, they want to save that $33.33.

I see it that passengers have already voted. They are willing to take smaller seat size for a lower fare. The free market has shown that.

The airline business is way too regulated as it is. The FAA does not need to get into the business of requiring seat-pitch or seat width, they need to say in the business of keeping passengers safe.

If you are a passenger and don’t like the way that things are, then show it with your pocket book. Don’t fly airlines with small seat pitch. Don’t fly ones that have 777s with a 10-abreast config.

Airlines don’t operate in a vacuum and hell, they have one of the worst profit margins in business. But why the ULCCs are doing so well is because passengers want CHEAP fares. Even Ryanair, who crams them in, needed more and help introduce the 737 MAX 200 [http://www.airlinereporter.com/2014/09/boeing-ryanair-launch-737-max-200/]. More airlines will do the same.

David

Sahir Siddiqui

I’m a recliner. Why not?
I chose to fly an airline and aircraft with seats that recline.
The seat reclines. I paid for the seat. I will recline if I choose to.

You’re paying for your seat – you decide whether you want to recline or not.
If you’re paying for MY seat, you can tell me what to do.
Until then, stay quiet.

Alex de Vallette

that’s pretty selfish Sahir. But I guess your culture does not give a damn to other people!

John Cannon

Alex, that’s pretty rude – bringing other people’s culture into the debate, when it is the AMERICAN people’s culture that’s being debated! Funny…

The rest of the world is looking at in amusement at these Americans quibbling “Mommy, he’s putting his seat back and I don’t have space to watch my movie”.

Enjoy!

Peter Mensa

Another fight broke out today over reclining seats on a US flight. One passenger got handcuffed by air marshals, removed from the plane, after it was diverted, and arrested. It’s getting out of hand! It’s a bit like non-smokers who put up with smokers for many years, but eventually voiced their concerns and pressured airlines (and everyone else) into banning smoking. With luck, reclining seats will be banned next, without the need for class action lawsuits. If enough people voice their displeasure, the airlines will get the message.

Alex de Vallette

No Peter they will take a hint or get the message. The bean counters of the carriers are running the show not marketing. But remember when they fly on their carrier they fly free in first class.

Jackson

Some genius intern out there, is going to think of a way to monetize this reclining thing altogether. Heck, its as simple as an airline putting seat defenders on ALL their seats as standard practice. Then, a passenger can then pay a nice little fee to unlock this privilige that was otherwise free before!

Airlines need to hire me asap.

Today’s “Economy” seats are tighter than ever and ‘seat pitch’ often seems like a negative number. That said, I do not recline unless I have a seat that does not impact anyone behind me. If the rude AH in front of me pushed more than one notch, I *politely* ask them to revise a bit. Period. Frankly, the reclining function of cattle-class seats should be disabled. Frankly, that airplane is not a five star hotel; buck up a bit and get from A to B safely. If one really needs the stretch room, buy a “J” seat and enjoy the ride. And, in most cases, the “Economy Plus” offerings are a genuine waste. Where possible, bit the bullet and buy a Business Class seat; you won’t regret it.

Alex de Vallette

My son recently flew Spirit airline DFW to ORd. No reclining seat at all, three hours sitting straight up. He will never fly Spirit again and he must travel a lot

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Johnny B.

How come I just don’t believe you guys who claim to be so considerate? Being a frequent flyer, I have to say that my experience is that the person in front of me always reclines the seat – and that’s part of the economy class experience. If you’re too tall to sit behind a reclined seat there are many options: buy a business class ticket, select an emergency exit seat, take a train, drive your car or stay at home. Or you can ask a cabin attendant if there are any seats available behind a vacant seat. Don’t blame the passenger in front of you for reclining, and don’t try to interfere. Whether you decide to recline or not doesn’t make you a hero or a villain. Appreciate that air travel is a safe and cheap form of transportation, but not necessarily perfectly comfortable all the time.

@Johnny B: I cannot speak for the other cattle-class flyers (including those in flip-flops, shorts and unwashed t-shirts, but ride behind me, in an aisle seat if you can get it, and I won’t shrink your precious space. I say again, the recline function should be disabled and cattle class. -C.

Alex de Vallette

buying an upgrade to Bus. Class or First class for most people is not an option. And why having to stay home or drive just to make some boorish individual comfy?
What ever happened to gracious air travel, when people dressed properly and enjoyed friendly service instead of cattle car class.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

I almost never recline my seat. The exceptions are when the seat in front of me is reclined too much or on a long night flights when it makes sense to try and get some sleep. But I usually check what’s behind me to avoid upsetting someone’s drink or notebook.

My kids call my wife and I considerate recliners. We try to check the seat behind us before we recline, and then it’s only a partial recline.

But we only fully recline when it’s an overnight flight. Daytime flights it’s a very slight recline if we do.

I am also constantly aware of the possibility of a reclining seat in front of me. Only to ensure none of my things go flying off the tray. The stiff arm is a fantastic method to control that, and I’m never annoyed for anyone choosing to do so.

I agree with Patrick. Same here.

I am 6’6″ and plant my knees into the seat in front to prevent reclining. I do pay for premium/first class whenever possible. The person in front of me has to realize my legs only bend in one place. I have had to ask flight attendants to ask the person in front to stop trying to put their seat back.

Alex de Vallette

good luck Tom. If the pass.in front does not feel like it he/she will not recline the seat back. I had a flight attendant ask the pass. in front of me to move the seat back a bit forward, which he refused to do and he was an airline employee flying for free

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

At 6′ and not an otherwise small guy I will NEVER recline my seat unless forced to by the person in front of me taking all my room and the airline i’m flying on at the time having ridiculously small seats to begin with. If I’m in an economy comfort seat most of the time I will not recline even when the person in front of me does since i have a little more breathing room there.

Honestly I do not feel there should be any recline option in Economy domestic, if you cannot sit for five hours without reclining like you are on a lazy boy then you should find some other form of transportation!

Here is another option to getting rid of the recline option:

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Peter Mensa

Extract from the UK Telegraph August 29th
Knee Defender causing chaos on flights:

“Sales of the knee defender have rocketed … its website crashed as travellers flocked to buy the gadget.”

“The issue prompted Telegraph Travel readers to air their views. An online poll attracted more than 18,000 votes, with almost 70 per cent of readers – 12,632 people – in favour of banning reclining seats on planes.”

I think it’s only a matter of time before the airlines take notice of what the vast majority of economy passengers want. Common sense has to prevail at some point in time, and ban seats from reclining.

Carol Mello

I do not fly frequently. I fly maybe twice a year on vacations, usually to visit my husband’s family, who live on the other side of the country. When I was working, I got maybe one business trip a year. I have two trips with flights to be endured this fall and I am dreading both of them. By the time I get off of an airline flight, I usually have a migraine, aching limbs, and a sore throat.

As a rule, I do not recline. Upright sitting seems to be better for my lower back aches. If I want to sleep and the headrest is adjustable I will bend the sides to cradle my head. Also, since I have always hated having the seat in front of me reclined into my face or spilling my drink, I do not recline as a courtesy to the person behind me. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. It’s called the Golden Rule.

My size: I am 5’7.75″ tall when barefoot. With shoes, even flats, I am taller 5’8″. Not as tall as most men but tall enough to be uncomfortable with the leg room available on airlines. I have been various weights during my life. When I was younger (20s-30s) my weight varied from too thin (overactive metabolism, not anorexia) to perfect weight for my height. By middle age (40s-early 50s), I was overweight. By retirement, I was and am fat. I still fit in my seat. Barely. I prefer the armrest down and not raised. I need my space at my weight and I want my space defined by the armrests.

My opinion: I want reclining seats removed from all airlines. I am tired of getting drinks spilled on me. I am tired of having the head of the person in front of me inches from my face. I am tired of suffering for hours the bad hygiene of the reclining person in front of me. I am tired of my reading glasses getting knocked on the floor and being unable to retrieve them.

Airlines are nothing more than flying buses and flying mass transit. There are no reclining seats on city buses or mass transit. If people get a neck ache from the seat back then fix the darn seat back so it does not bend the head forward. The airlines claim they make all the money on each flight from the small number of people in FC. If that is true, then why do they cram the economy people in like sardines and try to fill every single seat? Why do they treat us like steerage?

BTW, the last row in each plane cannot recline. So reviewing the argument of the pro-recliners, what should the people in the last row do when you recline the back of your head into their face? If you want to recline so badly, if you want a seat that is a bed, YOU pay more money for FC. Don’t act like a personal space rustler among the long suffering steers.

Getting rid of reclining seats is one option. Here is another. Tell the FAA how you feel.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

keith philpott

Your anger at reclining seatbacks should be directed squarely at the airlines. They are the ones stuffing in extra rows then cramming every seat with passengers on every flight. They are very clever to have passengers fighting among themselves because it takes the spotlight off them. Unless you’re a shareholder, domestic air is a disaster.

But see, I don’t fully blame the airlines for the extra rows of seats. They are just responding to consumer demand for the lowest price possible for tickets. The way to get the prices lower — more seats. If you want more room, you are able to pay for it with prem economy or first/biz.

David

I do blame the airlines for the extra seat of rows. Even in the 1800’s there were laws passed to keep ships and coaches from being overloaded with passengers and/or baggage. FAA does not regulate seat size, seat pitch, or recline – and they should.

The more space between rows, the less of a problem with the recline feature. I’d definitely complain about the passenger in front of me reclining if I had only 28″ of seat pitch; but if I had 36″ of seat pitch, I don’t think it would make a difference.

Passengers should think twice about asking airlines to ban reclining airline seats. The airlines would love to grant your wish – on their terms! Check out the skyrider seat, or the proposed vertical seat. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1311875/Skyrider-saddle-seats-revolutionise-air-travel.html

The real answer is to set minimum standards for seat width and seat pitch. The FAA has the power to do so.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Michelle

I have metastatic cancer in my spine. When I purchase an economy seat with a reclining option, it is sufficient to meet my needs provided I am ‘allowed’ to recline my seat. I am 5’1″ and 112 pounds. So if someone who is 6’6″ has purchased the seat behind me and will be uncomfortable if I recline, should I sit bolt upright in agonizing pain to accommodate someone who has purchased a seat that does NOT meet his needs?

Peter Mensa

Airline travellers with ‘special needs’ should have ‘special needs’ seating available to them at an appropriate cost, but it should not be at the expense of another passenger on the plane.

Obese passengers who would infringe on the space of an adjacent passenger should be required to purchase the adjacent seat to cater for their extra size. Similarly, any passenger who wishes to recline their seat and infringe on the passenger’s space behind should also be required to purchase the seat behind to cater for their needs.

Any passenger with special needs or desires can always elect not to travel, or they could pay extra for seating that would accommodate their needs. It’s unreasonable to expect the adjacent passenger, or the passenger behind, to be inconvenienced in order to accommodate the needs of another passenger.

Michelle

I don’t have a special need. The seat I purchased with ability to recline meets my needs. What part of that is not clear in my original post?

Peter Mensa

I don’t think you fully understood my comments, but in any event, you answered your own question.

Reclining is a privilege for all, it is not at the expense of someone else. You have a mistaken sense of entitlement over what you think is your space on an EC seat. The purchase of a seat includes the right to recline, what is so hard to understand about that? You may be annoyed that someone in front of you has reclined but that is only due to your misguided conception of what you define as your space. The space needed for the seat back in front to recline is not really yours, it belongs to the passenger in front, they paid for it, just as you paid for yours.

Peter Mensa

Your response is so full of errors it’s difficult to reply meaningfully, or perhaps you just prefer to ignore the facts and reality. Firstly, reclining is NOT a privilege and IT IS at the expense of someone else. The purchase of a seat does NOT include the right to recline, it is ultimately at the discretion of the flight attendant. The space behind the “seat back” does NOT belong to the passenger in front and the passenger in front has NOT paid for it. If you disagree, then perhaps you could print some factual extracts from your favourite airline’s policy showing the opposite.

In the meantime, if there were the slightest bit of common sense in your point of view, then the vast majority of economy airline travellers wouldn’t want reclining seats banned.

A survey of 1,000 passengers by SkyScanner last year found that 91 per cent of passengers would like to see reclining seats banned, while 60 per cent of cabin crew said they had been involved in or witnessed an argument between passengers over reclined seats. An online poll (UK Telegraph) which attracted more than 18,000 votes, recorded almost 70 per cent of their readers (12,632 people) in favour of banning reclining seats on planes.

Your misguided conception clearly reflects a deep misunderstanding of the facts and reality. There is also growing evidence that economy airline reclining seats are become dangerous and unhealthy for the travelling public. Reclining seats has nothing to do with privilege, but it has very much to do with poor “economy cabin” design and a misguided perception by airline marketing, which flies in the face of what the vast majority of airline travellers want.

“he purchase of a seat does NOT include the right to recline, it is ultimately at the discretion of the flight attendant.”

It’s pretty clear that the discussion is specific to normal cruise conditions (majority of flight time) not during take off or landing. During a typical cruise it is not up to the flight attendant to let you recline or not, nor does any one need to ask permission to do so – so why make a claim like that? It is a red herring argument it is also misguided. Indeed the seats are engineered and ergonomically designed to recline, the space consumed while they recline is taken into account in the anthropometrics and human factors that goes into the design. The envelope of the seat in all its possible recline angles comprises the space of that seat – it’s just common sense stuff. Sorry if you do not like that. Just make sure you choose seats at the back of the plane by the toilets and let other flyers have the recline privilege they paid for OK? Cheers

http://www.businessinsider.com/american-airlines-we-arent-changing-reclining-seat-policies-2014-9

Peter Mensa

You obviously didn’t understand my comments, however, that said, I think it’s great to have airline travellers like yourself as it highlights the attitude and behaviour of people who believe that they have the right or privilege to recline their seats irrespective of others. This behaviour will ultimately speed up the process of reclining economy seats being banned on all airlines and improve air travel for the mast majority. Keep up the good work!

http://news.yahoo.com/no-longer-safe-recline-airplane-seat-170518610.html

Passengers should think twice about asking airlines to ban reclining airline seats. The airlines would love to grant your wish – on their terms! Check out the skyrider seat, or the proposed vertical seat. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1311875/Skyrider-saddle-seats-revolutionise-air-travel.html

The real answer is to set minimum standards for seat width and seat pitch. The FAA has the power to do so.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Michelle

You stated ‘Similarly, any passenger who wishes to recline their seat and infringe on the passenger’s space behind should also be required to purchase the seat behind to cater for their needs.’ I would not be infringing on anyone’s space as I’ve purchased a seat that reclines and the passenger behind has no right to take that option away from me for their own comfort. They have also purchased a seat that reclines and is free to use it. If they don’t want the passenger in front to recline, they have the option to choose a bulk head seat or an airline that doesn’t offer passengers the option to recline. I purposely choose an airline with reclining seats. My needs met.

Peter Mensa

You say: “ … I’ve purchased a seat that reclines and the passenger behind has no right to take that option away from me …”

Smokers of the past used to have the same attitude as people today who wish to recline their seats. “I’ve purchased a seat that allows smoking and any passenger nearby me has no right to take that option away”. However, we all know what happened to seats that allow smoking and people who wish to smoke on planes.

I totally agree with you that the passenger behind has no right to take that option away from you. It’s up to the airline(s) themselves to take that right away from you (and everyone else) and ban all economy seats from reclining.

Clearly as time progresses there will be more and more passenger disagreements, fights and diversions over this issue, which will ultimately cost the airlines dearly. The solution is simple, ban all economy seats from reclining and let common sense prevail, which is also what the vast majority of passengers want.

Yes, the airline has the right to remove that option, but until your prediction that they do so becomes a reality, you do not have a right to demand that I do not recline and it is inconsiderate to do so. And the smoking analogy is apples and oranges. Passengers smoking on an airplane has a negative impact on all passengers. I have never encountered any conflict onboard regarding seat reclining so clearly the impact is only on a few passengers and the airlines have already provided alternatives for those passengers (economy plus and first class – or as seems to be the tall passenger’s choice, refusing to pay a premium for comfort and expecting fellow passengers to give up their comfort for them and STILL complaining about their sore knees). Oh, and having read many of these forums in the past couple of days, some of which include ‘polls’, the consensus seems to be that the vast majority of passengers are satisfied with the status quo.

Peter Mensa

Extract from the UK Telegraph August 29th
Knee Defender causing chaos on flights:

An online poll attracted more than 18,000 votes, with almost 70 per cent of readers – 12,632 people – in favour of banning reclining seats on planes.”

And this is just from one poll!

I think it’s only a matter of time before the airlines take notice of what the vast majority of economy passengers want. Common sense has to prevail at some point in time, and ban seats from reclining.

I fly internationally at least once per month – and I never recline my seat unless I am in Business Class. Why? It annoys me when the person in front of me reclines their seat and hits my laptop, or causes me to spill my drink, or smashes into my book or newspaper. I don’t want to be “that guy” who reclines his seat recklessly. Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to.

As long as you don’t use a knee defender and trample on the privileges of others it is ok if you want to forgo your right to recline and fly like a stiff. I have never had any one make me spill a drink or smash my laptop or book or iPad or whatever when they reclined, neither have I see anyone have that happen to them and I have been flying for over 20 years. Most modern seat trays can slide forward to compensate for the tiny recline angles anyway. It is your privilege, use it.

Peter Mensa

Reclining seats has nothing to do with privilege, but it has very much to do with poor “economy cabin” design and a misguided perception by airline marketing, which flies in the face of what the vast majority of airline travellers want.

A survey of 1,000 passengers by SkyScanner last year found that 91 per cent of passengers would like to see reclining seats banned, while 60 per cent of cabin crew said they had been involved in or witnessed an argument between passengers over reclined seats.

You might change your perspective when someone throws some water on your face too and teaches you a lesson. Cheers.

http://www.businessinsider.com/american-airlines-we-arent-changing-reclining-seat-policies-2014-9

Peter Mensa

Another fairly recent behavioural study (I’ll let you Google the details yourself) regarding airline economy seat travellers had some interesting observations, results and conclusions. The study was quite comprehensive but one of the conclusions was noteworthy. Perhaps you should give some thought to the following.

“Passengers who reclined their seats or believed they should be able to recline their seats, without consideration of the passenger behind, tended to have personality characteristic profiles that included above average rage, above average violent behaviour … and below average intelligence”.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the observation is an accurate assessment of your own behaviour in the real world, but perhaps your comment “You might change your perspective when someone throws some water on your face too and teaches you a lesson” will assist you to decide.

Clearly as time progresses there will be more and more passenger disagreements, fights and flight diversions over this issue, which will ultimately cost the airlines dearly. The solution is simple, ban all economy seats from reclining and let common sense prevail. Maybe a class action against airlines, similar to those against banks for their excessive fees, may assist in speeding up the process to stop seats reclining on all airlines in the economy section. I think it’s only a matter of time before the airlines take notice of what the vast majority of economy passengers want. Common sense has to prevail at some point in time, and ban seats from reclining.

I think it’s great to have airline travellers like yourself as it highlights the attitude and behaviour of people who believe that they have the right or privilege to recline their seats irrespective of others. This behaviour will ultimately speed up the process of reclining economy seats being banned on all airlines and improve air travel for the mast majority. Keep up the good work!

Passengers should think twice about asking airlines to ban reclining airline seats. The airlines would love to grant your wish – on their terms! Check out the skyrider seat, or the proposed vertical seat. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1311875/Skyrider-saddle-seats-revolutionise-air-travel.html

The real answer is to set minimum standards for seat width and seat pitch. The FAA has the power to do so.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Yes. Just one poll. One unscientific, online poll. I’ve seen many with the opposite results. The results will vary depending upon the website and/or article conducting the poll and the type of visitor that site attracts. Those who are in support of reclining seats are less likely to visit a site with a lead article opposing reclining seats than those who oppose them. Those who are unhappy with reclining seats will, in general, be more likely to choose to participate in some of those polls. As I mentioned, I’ve seen polls with the opposite results and have never, not once, spoken with anyone who opposes them. If and when the airlines conduct a scientific poll with randomly selected participants and the results actually reflect the poll you referenced, perhaps the airlines will remove the reclining seats. Until then, I reserve the right to use the reclining function I paid for on my seat.

Peter Mensa

You have an interesting analytical logic (or perhaps illogic) in order to justify your position. Basically it boils down to “let’s ignore or dispute or discredit all facts, opinions and results that disagree with your point of view”.

You first mention that you cannot sit upright in an economy seat without experiencing agonizing pain unless you recline your seat. Much as I sympathise with your medical condition, you are a “special needs” passenger but you refuse to accept that because the airline system currently allows passengers to recline their seats, which just happens to alleviate your condition.

You reject the analogy of smoking inconveniencing passengers as comparing apples with oranges, because more passengers are affected by smokers than recliners. Are you suggesting that if a passenger inconveniences several people then that’s a problem, but if he/she only inconveniences one passenger by reclining, then that’s alright? What about obese people infringing on the space of just one passenger, or is that also just apples and oranges?

You say “Oh, and having read many of these forums in the past couple of days, some of which include ‘polls’, the consensus seems to be that the vast majority of passengers are satisfied with the status quo”.

But, not only don’t you provide any reference material to any of these forums and polls (scientific or otherwise) so that your comments can be confirmed. Instead, you decide to dispute the opposite findings of a statistically significant public poll as unscientific and reject their findings outright because that suits your argument.

Perhaps you can see why there is likely to be more and more disagreements amongst passengers over reclining seats, which will almost certainly cost the airline industry dearly, and ultimately lead to a banning of reclining seats in economy airline travel.

And NOT special needs…. As mentioned earlier, my needs are easily met with an economy seat that reclines as offered by many/most airlines at the moment. If and when the airlines choose to remove the reclining feature from their economy seats, I will purchase a seat that meets my needs in economy plus or first class…. Simple. I don’t understand your inability to understand. Clearly you refuse to accept that the airlines currently offer me exactly what I need, I see no purpose in continuing this dialogue.

Peter Mensa

Perhaps you might like to review these more significant results:

Reclining seats banned by Monarch Airlines:
Monarch Airlines is latest operator to dump reclining seats after a survey found 90 per cent of passengers want them banned.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/10865861/Reclining-seats-banned-by-Monarch-Airlines.html

A survey of 1,000 passengers by Skyscanner last year found that 91 per cent of passengers would like to see reclining seats banned, while 60 per cent of cabin crew said they had been involved in or witnessed an argument between passengers over reclined seats.

Nine in ten plane passengers would like to see reclining seats banned, according to a new survey.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10349612/Nine-in-ten-want-reclining-seats-on-planes-banned.html

Should reclining seats be banned?
Following two in-flight incidents, is it time for airlines to scrap reclining seats? An online poll attracted more than 18,000 votes, with almost 70 per cent of readers – 12,632 people – in favour of banning reclining seats on planes.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/11062960/Should-reclining-seats-be-banned.html

With luck, reclining seats will be banned without the need for class action lawsuits. If enough people voice their displeasure, the airlines will get the message.

Ah the old appeal to authority ad hominem attack, never fails. Nah I don’t think I’m an angry person. Someone using a knee defender is an angry person and does deserve to be put in their place. If for whatever reason I assess that I shouldn’t recline then I won’t but for 99% of the time I will, it’s my privilege. Maybe this is a sensitive topic with you because you are a 400 lbs woman (or man maybe) or are just really big in that case I would probably not recline out of consideration but I’m not going to give up my privilege to recline and endure back pain so you can go on your laptop. You can sit at the back of the airplane by the toilets too if you don’t want to recline of course you can always pay for first class as well. Sounds good?

Must say peoples opinions are volatile as well. Recliners do seem to be an angry bunch. Have to admit that reclining seats are not a good idea. Too many people getting upset. I rarely recline my seat and never all the way.

I see Monarch airlines has recently dumped reclining seats on their flights because an internal survey showed that 90% of passengers wanted them banned.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/10865861/Reclining-seats-banned-by-Monarch-Airlines.html

Music to the ear’s of a budget airliner who wants to cram in more rows of seats – and permanently upright seats would enable just that. Makes you wonder if the ‘internal’ survey is not just a marketing campaign or stunt to give them positive PR for cramming in more seats under the guise of this survey.

Peter Mensa

Or perhaps music to the ears of the vast majority of economy airline travellers who want reclining seats banned. With luck, reclining seats will be banned without the need for class action lawsuits. If enough people voice their displeasure, the airlines will get the message.

Mary McMillan

I read that about Monarch. Here’s what their MD said “The new non-reclining design gives our customers far more ‘living space’ than traditional seats, without the fear of the person in front impinging on their personal space.”

Ray Foggarty

I travel a lot by air and a lot of long haul as well. I’ve got one of those knee defender gadgets which I often use and only once I had to remove it due to a complaining passenger. I’ve also got another homemade device which works really well and I carry that as a backup device. Here’s the thing though. If the knee defender is not illegal according to the FAA and if a flight attendant doesn’t tell you to remove it, then a passenger is perfectly entitled to use it to stop the seat in from reclining even if it annoys the passenger in front. That’s no different than a passenger being legally allowed to recline their seat even if it annoys the passenger behind. Nobody’s going to cramp my space which I’ve paid for.

You should pay for a first class seat then instead of trampling on the privileges of others for your own personal gain. The person in front of you paid for the right to recline their seat, it is their privilege as much as it is yours. You may choose to not recline but that is your choice. And to correct you, one does not pay for ‘space’ on a flight you pay for a seat, the ‘space’ that you claim is yours does not include whatsoever the space needed for the front seat to recline, that’s not yours, that is something someone else paid for that you are robbing from them with those stupid knee defenders. You convinced your self (erroneously) about what is really your ‘space’, now you are annoyed by recliners simply because you have a mistaken sense of entitlement, if you changed your perspective you would probably stop using the idiotic gadget.

Peter Mensa

Your response is so full of errors it’s difficult to reply meaningfully, or perhaps you just prefer to ignore the facts and reality. Firstly, reclining is NOT a privilege and IT IS at the expense of someone else. The purchase of a seat does NOT include the right to recline, it is ultimately at the discretion of the flight attendant. The space behind the “seat back” does NOT belong to the passenger in front and the passenger in front has NOT paid for it. If you disagree, then perhaps you could print some factual extracts from your favourite airline’s policy showing the opposite.

If there were the slightest bit of common sense in your point of view, then the vast majority of economy airline travellers wouldn’t want reclining seats banned.

If you want to use that device on my seat, go right ahead. Then we can switch seats. I’m sure you won’t mind, because you never recline, right?

Chorus: What, never?

Captain: No, never!

Chorus: What, never?

Captain: Well, Hardly ever!

Peter Mensa

Momentum ‘against’ reclining seats certainly seems to be building.

http://news.yahoo.com/no-longer-safe-recline-airplane-seat-170518610.html

The more public awareness of the issue the better if it leads to the prevention of seats being declined.

Alex de Vallette

My wife and I were on a AA flight to ORD, the flight was light with many empty seat, including the row in front of us. After take off a young man decided to change seats and he popped down his seat back right into my lap.I emitted a loud “ouch” as my knees were crushed, he looked around with no apology and settled in the seat. I could not display the tray table at all.
I asked the flight attendant to ask him to adjust his seat which he refused to do. From the conversation I gathered that he was flying free as an AA employee. I never flew AA again.

I have often thought that many of the inconveniences we passengers suffer would be mitigated if only:

All airline employees (except those on active flight status, traveling on company business) are required to fly coach and cannot upgrade until after the aircraft doors are closed.

Once those beancounters get a firsthand taste for last class, their paradigm might just change.

Heh-heh

Not a chance – the bean counters crunch the numbers, but the decisions are made by management. Bean counters are used to doing without. You can always tell a bean counter’s office from others – it’s the one without any carpet!

Better idea – The FAA can set minimum seat standards:

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

I recline all the way baby! And for as long as I can. In the era of having to pay for everything except the air you breathe inside the cabin I’m not giving up the one last modicum of flying comfort left. I’m not flying like a stiff if I can help it. Let’s keep some perspective here, the recline on a typical EC seat is actually a very small angle, we are not talking Lazy-Boy recline here. The seat tray advances forward on most modern seats to compensate so anyone behind can still use a laptop or their seat tray.

Why give up a privilege you paid for? I hope non-recliners also make the choice to take last row seats next to the lavatories that do not have recline – isn’t it just as rude to take a perfectly good seat that can recline away from someone who would want that feature?

Peter Mensa

Your misguided conception clearly reflects a deep misunderstanding of the facts and reality. There is also growing evidence that economy airline reclining seats are become dangerous and unhealthy for the travelling public. Reclining seats has nothing to do with privilege, but it has very much to do with poor “economy cabin” design and a misguided perception by airline marketing, which flies in the face of what the vast majority of airline travellers want.

Peter Mensa

90% of airline passengers want reclining seats banned!

FOX News
Nine in 10 airline passengers want reclining seats banned, poll shows

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/10/02/nine-in-10-airline-passengers-want-reclining-seats-banned-poll-shows/

A massive 9 out of 10 travellers want to see an end to reclining seats on planes, according to our latest international survey.

http://www.skyscanner.net/news/calling-time-reclined-airline-seats

The fix news report refers to the skyscanner poll in your second link and has been referred to earlier in the comments. It is the ONLY poll I have seen that favors banning reclining seats.

Fox*

Peter Mensa

Try Google, there are plenty of polls available at your fingertips that want to ban reclining seats.

For example, as previously posted earlier:
Extract from the UK Telegraph August 29th 2014

Knee Defender causing chaos on flights:

“Sales of the knee defender have rocketed … its website crashed as travellers flocked to buy the gadget.”

“The issue prompted Telegraph Travel readers to air their views. An online poll attracted more than 18,000 votes, with almost 70 per cent of readers – 12,632 people – in favour of banning reclining seats on planes.”

I think it’s only a matter of time before the airlines take notice of what the vast majority of economy passengers want. Common sense has to prevail at some point in time, and ban seats from reclining.

Why ban reclining? The airlines simply need to give back the legroom they’ve taken away.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Kal Hygeia

I would be happy to pay a little more to cover the costs of having economy cabin seat pitch of a humane 36inches.

Since it costs the airlines approx $35 per seat per flight hour (on most current equipment), I’d be willing to pay double that to have an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience- even if they do not serve any “food”. Just water would be fine with me. Otherwise, passenger eruptions as a result of this cramped cabin nonsense is just going to get worse. and I am sure airline senior management is smart enough to figure out how to make this happen.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

Airline seats were made to recline, which was ok when there was enough space between rows. (seat pitch) Unfortunately, airlines have decreased the space between rows so much that it has become a problem for many passengers.

As a practical matter, when the flight attendants dim the cabin lighting, maybe it’s better to put away the laptop, relax, recline a bit, and get some rest. Tray tables were never designed for laptops. Use a tablet or smartphone (airplane mode, of course) if you must.

If you want more legroom and wider seats, let the FAA know:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0663-0001

B777James

A couple of years ago, the wife was downgraded to economy (staff travel) and when she reclined, her seat was pushed and pushed by the lady behind.

You should have seen the lady’s face when I stepped back into the cabin in full uniform to visit the missus!

Let’s just say my wife’s seat wasn’t touched again!

All I want to say is, whether you are recliner or non-recliner or whatever, be considerate of people around you and just simply communicate to ask for a favor. And just be polite when you ask/are asked.
Is it that hard?

I recline, slowly but I do. IF it’s a short flight and packed, sure, I can understand that. But more than 2 hours? I do a lot and I mean a lot of airline travel. Most of the time in Economy or even pay for the extra Economy Plus. I need to get where I’m going rested as much as I can. I make very sure I pick my seats early, and get the seat I want. It’s about comfort.

If everyone reclines, there’s no issues.

Reclining seats has been around since………. well you know the answer to that… Stop trying to be so PC and just deal with it. It’s the way it is.. I hate complainers…

I never fully recline unless there is noone behind me. Sometimes I will recline just bit to ease back stiffness by changing position slightly, but I try to be aware of the person behind me. I move the seatback as slowly as possible, and I return it to full upright after a while. Just one thought to consider, a person stuck in a middle seat has more need to recline the seat a bit as he/she has nowhere to lean to sleep, especially on a long or international flight.
Actually, we would not need to be discussing this issue if the airlines would stop squeezing us into smaller and smaller spaces. The FAA should set minimum seat width and seat pitch regulations that are much roomier than what we are currently getting.

At 6’8″, my knees automatically go into the back of the seat if they choose to recline. Because I’m this tall, I should have to pay for Economy Plus or Business class as a once or twice a year traveler? Unlikely. Recline at your own peril I say. I’m with you David – a non-recliner. Thanks for all your great articles.

I always recline my seat due to neck, back and tailbone issues. I usually try to fly first class because of my pain. I don’t appreciate a passenger kicking my seat because I use the recline when traveling regular coach. It seems to me it is the person that want s to be on his or hers computer and finds everyone that would just like to relax and recline rude. If I was tall I would go for first class, bulkhead or aisle seat. We all have rights, vote for less seats not less comfort for all. We all have different needs tall, pain, comfort, but if the seat reclines the passenger does have a right without feeling bad about using it for whatever reason it is. Complain about the overcrowded conditions, lack of food, cost of luggage. I you remove the reclining seats, you are removing one more thing from flights that are already becoming bare bone. Only the airlines win, you won’t have more space, just more seats with less legroom. People like me will no longer be able to fly because of the pain. If I could purchase a seat that was a full recliner I would gladly. So please have regards to the rest of us, I sympathize with your needs.

Bruce Boylan

I have never reclined on a plane,bus, or even in my own home. We bought recliners and I soon forgot they were even there. I do not find it comfortable to recline. If you recline in front of me don’t ever give me the ugly eye when I am trying to get out of my seat to the aisle.
The “I paid for the right to recline and I am going to use it” argument works two ways.
I paid to place my carry on under the seat in front of me, and I want to be able to get to my bag. If you must recline, at least have the decency to restore it when you are not even using it, or when you leave the seat.

Try flying in economy class with only one leg. I’m disabled, and for me, being able to recline and take some of the pressure off my lower spine is very important. I take medication to relieve some of the pain, but even that isn’t always enough. The last time my wife and I flew, we were squashed into seats in row 34 of an A320 for up to six hours. While she could use the lavatory, I couldn’t, because I couldn’t get out of my seat, since I was trapped. Luckily for me, there is a product on the market which alleviates the need. While I appreciate others’ views on not reclining their seats, it’s important for me to be able to recline, even though I don’t want to intrude on the space of the person behind me. From now on, we will travel in first class and pay the exorbitant fare.

Are you kidding me? I didn’t even know this was an issue since the seats recline about 1 inch. Get over it or buy a better ticket.

Everything about Economy Class is an issue for handicapped passengers: uncomfortable seat cushions which feel hard as a rock after a couple of hours, no ability to recline enough to ensure freedom from pain in the lower spine, and treatment of physically handicapped passengers in putting them all the way to the rear of the plane simply because of their condition. I couldn’t even use the lavatory during my last flight from Atlanta to San Jose! Thank God for adult diapers.

Anne, you missed my point completely. No further comment is necessary.

The concept of right and privilege does not trump common courtesy. Purchasing a seat does not mean it is okay to talk loudly, drink to excess, eat sardines from a jar, change a baby diaper on the seat, use vulgar language, take off your stinky shoes, kick the seat in front of you, drum on the tray top or whatever you want to do in your purchased space.
An aircraft is a confined space with life support and requires a certain amount of consideration for others.
If you want to fully recline stay home in your lounger, take a ship, drive a car or otherwise don’t foist your inconsiderate self on the rest of us.

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