View Poll Results: What is your viewpoint on the Reclining Seats issue?

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  • Rude Rude Rude! Reclining is an invasion of personal space

    46 36.22%
  • It's a Right! The button is there for a reason, and by golly I'm gonna use it

    53 41.73%
  • Pity you poor people! I'll be in First Class and above all this perfluffle

    6 4.72%
  • Peace Love Granola

    22 17.32%
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  1. #1
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    Air travel: Is reclining your seat a right?

    Having just returned from a cross-country trip, the increasingly torturous task of traveling via airplane is fresh on my mind. Hotbed for cold and flu viruses. Lots of unmentionable odors. Dirty seat trays and pockets. Bad in-flight movies. (For chrissakes, why do I always get Julia Roberts movies?)

    My biggest complaint is that unless I luck into an empty seat beside me, my back ends up wrecked due to [first, my mother's old mattresses, but also] 1) the lack of good lumbar support in the seat backs, and 2) the fact that the now-usually 100% full flights mean there's a person in the middle seat who owns both his armrests. If he's not conducive to allowing me to squeeze my arm in (i.e. the case during both of my 4-hour flights on a 757 last week), I end up sitting off kilter, my homeless arm too close to my side, or what-not ... and lose proper overall posture. Ergo, my back is shot.

    The subject of this CNN article - Air rage: Is reclining your seat a right? is, alas, getting more attention than my issue.

    I "do" look back to ascertain whether the person behind me will be disadvantaged if I recline, and then I recline only about 50% of the would-be allowable. However, I've got to admit that if I've got someone behind me aggressively pre-preventing me from reclining (knees pushing so much that I'm piked forwardare), I will recline just for the principle of it.

    As for others, does the person in front of you generally slam back their seats the moment the "ding" sounds. Sometimes happens to me. Voila!, I've got a head in my lap! 'Sir, is this considered foreplay, or are you expecting a temple massage or something?'

    To those who are "no recline! not here! not ever!", I say "shut up!". Plane seats are generally much too upright for comfort (or slumber). A good -- and I'd think relatively low-cost -- remedy would be for airlines to adjust the reclining capability of its seats to something less intrusive to passengers' back neighbors. As for new planes, I'm over the airline cited in this article which "pre-reclines" its seats.

    What are your thoughts about the to recline or not to recline issue ... as they are?

  2. #2
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    As a frequent flier with elite status on United and American, I have priority for exit row seats, and in United's case, "economy plus" seats with lots of legroom or, better yet, unlimited domestic upgrades. If I'm stuck in coach, then depending on plane type, you can always find me in 11D, 16D, 18D, 21D, or 14D. With so much legroom, I don't mind if the person in front of me reclines.

    Anti-recline clips that work only if your tray is down:
    http://www.kneedefender.com/html2/buy.htm

    I usually don't recline unless it's an overnight red-eye, in which case everyone in the plane is reclining and snoozing anyway. In any case, I'll look back and see if the person behind me is already reclined or dozing off before reclining. If I see that the person is working on a laptop, reading something, or working on something, then I usually won't recline, or at least I'll make eye contact and ask first.
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 12-09-2010 at 08:06 PM.

  3. #3

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    I too like to recline, but not generally the whole way down. And I will try to ensure I don't inconvenience anyone behind me. That also means I sit up while food is being served and eaten. Nothing worse than having your meal under your chin! Thank heavens I mostly take 2 hour flights, and the much rarer long ones I've been lucky and had a wall behind me.

  4. #4

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    I generally don't recline because it bugs me when the person in front of me does. I figure it's more inconvenient for the person behind me if I recline, than it is for me if I don't. But I also don't understand why the seats have to be so tiny and close together. I can't afford first class, but would be willing to pay a little more, say $50-$100, if airlines took out a couple of rows of seats to make more room. I understand that would be a huge hassle, and is never going to happen though...

  5. #5
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    Beefcake - Next time check to see if JetBlue flies your route. They're a return to the days when flying was civilized. More legroom in all their seats (although they also have seats with "Even More Legroom"), their equipment is new and clean, and all their planes have leather seats so they don't get as disgusting as other airlines. And their fares are usually the least expensive, too.

    I used to fly United a lot, but their equipment is for the most part old and tired. Coach is like being in a sardine can, and their "first class" is little more than glorified coach these days.

    But to your question - yes, people have the right to recline if they so choose. I once almost got into a fist fight with an unruly (rude Euro ) passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight because he was trying to prevent me from reclining. Had to call the flight attendant.
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  6. #6
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    If I'm on a long flight and plan to sleep, I'll recline the seat a little, but not all the way unless I'm in the "extra leg room" seats and the person behind me has enough room to not be impacted. On shorter flights, I'm mostly reading and generally don't recline the seat.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post
    Having just returned from a cross-country trip, the increasingly torturous task of traveling via airplane is fresh on my mind. Hotbed for cold and flu viruses. Lots of unmentionable odors. Dirty seat trays and pockets. Bad in-flight movies. (For chrissakes, why do I always get Julia Roberts movies?)
    Four things:
    * Disinfecting wipes / hand sanitizer
    * Strong deodorant for yourself so you can hopefully ignore other's odors
    * Bose headphones and your own entertainment / reading
    * Eye shades / ear plugs

    If it's a longer flight, especially an overnight flight where I plan to get some sleeping done, I'll make a grand production of disinfecting the tray, the seat, the seat belt, and the overhead vent nozzles/light buttons.

    Although there was one trip I took when I was in college when I was stuck in a 747 middle seat (in a row with a gazillion other seats to jump over) in cattle class from Chicago to Hong Kong, and back, and both ways it was a non-stop Julia Roberts movie marathon. Let's just say I've had enough of her nose and bony face.
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 12-10-2010 at 04:26 AM. Reason: three things were really four

  8. #8

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    I have arthritis and it kills me when people recline their seats. Airplanes are so small that even reclining slightly makes things grossly uncomfortable for the person behind.

    There's a major problem in the design of the planes. Obviously, the aim is to pack in the maximum amount of passengers, but I did once have a deep vein thrombosis scare after I was stuck on a flight with little leg space.
    Now I have to wear those ugly socks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by triple_toe View Post
    I can't afford first class, but would be willing to pay a little more, say $50-$100, if airlines took out a couple of rows of seats to make more room. I understand that would be a huge hassle, and is never going to happen though...
    United Economy Plus isn't just limited to elites like me.
    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1314,00.html

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    Three things:
    * Disinfecting wipes / hand sanitizer
    Yep, a staple in the Beefcake beauty case
    * Strong deodorant for yourself so you can hopefully ignore other's odors
    no no no no no no! Please don't do this, folks. Strong deodorants and other perfumes and ointments are the very smells I cannot take at those close quarters. Makes me dizzy and gives me Abbott face. Perfumes and other beauty products are the reason I worry more when a woman sits beside me than even a too-wide guy.

    Oh, and also on my list -- smelly, gross, carry-on food from the airport! A woman last weekend actually very disgustingly ate baby back ribs in the seat behind me. I abhor the look, sound, smell, and thought of ribs for a meal. Worse, this on a redeye trip! Big Bertha began eating these ribs at 11:30 PM.

    * Bose headphones and your own entertainment / reading
    Yep. I seem to catch up on my Money Magazines when I fly.

  11. #11
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    Well, OK, I meant "strong enough" or "sufficient enough" deodorant so that it doesn't overpower others, but at least you, um, notice yourself first, before noticing others.

    And what's wrong with snuggling up to someone who's hot and also smells nice? Mile High Win-Win Situation!

  12. #12

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    I do not recline unless there is no one behind me. I have stuck to that even when almost every other person has reclined. There is nothing I can't stand more than someone reclining into my space, so I do not do it to others.

  13. #13
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    I don't recline all the way, just a bit...but I don't fly much either.

  14. #14
    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    Anyone who wears perfume, aftershave, cologne or really smelly shampoo/moisturizer when travelling by air should be pushed out of the plane.

    As for the seat reclining, I often do a little bit, occasionally all the way. I do understand that sometimes it impacts the person in back of me - but for most people, a slight recline isn't really going to affect them. It doesn't impact me when the person in front of me uses it unless they slam the seat all the way back.

    What I hate is when people don't manage their stuff that's supposed to be stowed under the seat and it ends up in my foot space. One time my neighbor's toddler ended up under my feet for half the flight
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  15. #15

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    My poor mum once almost got left on the plane because the person in front didn't sit up once landed. She was tiny and couldn't get the guys' attention.

  16. #16
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    With people being packed like sardines in the economy section, especially on airlines runs by the U.S., I think all the airlines should either have all the seats permanently fixed in their upright positions or modify the seats to only allow a very limited range of reclinability.

    I'm average height, and it gets uncomfortable for me when the person in front recline his seat fully or almost fully. I can't imagine what that would feel like if I was a tall and/or heavy person.

    When I book a flight, I always pick the aisle seat and hope that the seat next to me will either be empty or will be occupied by a skinny b*tch .

  17. #17

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    I'm reclining if I want to

    Flying is bad enough; I can't imagine having to sit up the entire time.

  18. #18
    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatieC View Post
    My poor mum once almost got left on the plane because the person in front didn't sit up once landed. She was tiny and couldn't get the guys' attention.
    How did the guy get away with having his seat moved back during landing?
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  19. #19
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    I have no problem with people reclining if there is no one behind them or if they are considerate about the reality that you may not be able to recline very far. It really depends on the height of the person behind you, as well as if they are engaged in any activities that you would be infringing on (such as typing on a laptop).

    That being said, I am all legs. Nearly literally. I have a 36" inseam and I'm 5'10". It's very difficult as is for me to fit comfortably in a coach space. I also had to have half of the bone in my knee removed, which means I can't stay in one position for long peroids of time.

    I think it should be obvious for the person in front of me that they can't recline without physically touching me with their seat. If you recline, you darn well better not be actually touching me with the seat. Especially when it's very clear my knees are already in the back of your seat unintentionally. I've had idiots who just automatically slammed the seat back as soon as they could. I did get them to move when I started crying because they hit my knee as I hadn't had time to move out of their way.

  20. #20
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    I think reclining is a completely right. I don't love it when the person in front of me does it, but, like the poll says, if the button is there, then it's there to be pressed. I actually had a 'confrontation' with a girl when my friend and I were traveling by bus in Spain, and I decided to recline my seat so I could sleep. Well the girl behind me started violently shoving at my seat and telling me that I had no right to do that, that I had hurt her legs, and even tried to reach for the button to make my seat go upright - clearly I had no interest in discussing the matter after this and told her that I had the right to recline my seat.

    This same friend also told me that her brother in law is really tall (over 6') and when he and her sister travel, the sister tends to tell people sitting in front of them, that they can't recline the seat because he needs his space. *shrug* We both agree that her BIL should purchase an economy upgrade or something (like United offers) because telling people they can't do something like that, when it's within their right, is just not fair!

    That said, at 5'4, it's not overly comfortable for me when someone reclines, but I recognize it's within their right and if I want to change it, I should upgrade. I think either the system changes where we get more leg room, or we deal with it (ie upgrade and recline, etc).

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