Long coach rides are a nightmare, and when you're riding for 40 hours or so, there are times when seats need to be reclined. I always try and get an alley seat, but once I was stuck against the window for a Ukraine-Paris trip beside a woman who was of Tarasovian proportions, and with a Tarasovian dress sense. She turned out to be good fun though, so the trip wasn't so bad after all.
I strongly disagree that technical possibilities should not be considered "rights" or be used when they cause discomfort to others. I'm always baffled at the inconsiderate nature of people who just recline the seat all the way back without caring.
The worst discomfort I had in a plane was when I was seated directly in front of a teenage girl listening to a comedy show on an mp3. She laughed hysterically in burst, very loudly, and right into my ear for about half an hour before I finally caved in and asked her to be more discrete.