GO
Loading...

Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

To Recline or Not Recline

"Ladies and gentlemen, we invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy your flight."

first-class-passenger-sleeping-200.jpg
Jason Hetherington | Stone | Getty Images

That's a very common announcement heard throughout airline cabins shortly after takeoff and it encourages everyone to get comfortable. But many travelers today balk at the idea of their fellow passengers sitting in the row ahead and reclining their seat.

For those sitting in first class, it's not so much of an issue given the seat pitch — the amount of space between rows — is generally enough to negate any encumbrance of personal space. But for the rest of us traveling in coach, it might make for an uncomfortable flight.

There have been air rage incidents in the past where flights had to be diverted due to passengers getting into altercations over this very issue. But does it really have to come to that? If the seat has a button allowing you to recline, isn't it an unspoken right?

Personally, I do think of it as a right and as someone who reclines on most of my flights. I do it with conscious consideration of the person sitting behind me.

Before pressing the button, I take a glance behind me to see if my fellow traveler is doing anything that might make reclining my seat uncomfortable for them, such as working on a laptop with their tray table down or holding an infant. The mere action of taking such a glance provides the person sitting behind you a fair warning that you might be ready to recline and I feel it's an appropriate first step.

If the coast is clear and I decide to settle back, I do so slowly to avoid the person behind me having to suddenly adjust what they're doing to accommodate my seat intrusion. Once reclined, I pause for a moment to gauge any reaction from them and if there is none, I'm satisfied I've been successful and happily settle in.

Many people disagree with me and feel airline seats shouldn't recline. There are even companies out there that sell devices to prevent the person ahead of you from reclining, but I think that's just a bit too passive-aggressive and inappropriate.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Travel

  • New startup takes 'lug' out of luggage

    Bill Rinehart, DUFL founder and CEO, explains how his new app can help you plan a luggage-free trip.

  • Delta private jet

    Delta Air Lines will soon begin offering a new upgrade option to select fliers, a seat on a private jet.

  • Hot luxury hotel trends

    Herve Humler, Ritz-Carlton COO, discusses Ritz-Carlton topping JD Power guest satisfaction list, and weighs in on the building boom in luxury hotels. Humler also comments on the pulse of luxury spending in China.

U.S. News

  • Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee July 16, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

    The Fed is expected to point to a growing U.S. economy and stronger job market as it sets the stage for a possible interest rate hike in September.

  • For Americans who have become used to flat or even falling prices, an unfamiliar sight has emerged in the economy: Inflation is ticking up.

  • Health care costs

    By 2024, national health expenditures are forecast to be $5.43 trillion annually, according to a new estimate.