Aeroplane Seat Wars: The Passive Aggressive Guide To Dealing With Seat Recliners!

Reclining airplane seat

Everyone hates reclining seats and recliners on flights. It’s a fact. But how those of us who just want a little room to move without being crushed in our seats deal with them?

If anyone ever needs proof of how quickly civilisation will collapse in the event of a world ending natural disaster they only have to look at how passengers on long haul flights treat each other, and nothing is more likely to induce a vein popping ouburst of epic proportions on a plane than seat recliners. Earlier this week two flights in the US had to be diverted after rows broke out over reclining seats – one of them the United Airlines flight from Newark involving the controversial knee defender – and these incidents are far from uncommon.

Surveys by Skyscanner and others have shown the majority of passengers want rid of reclining seats, and to prove the point even further Monarch airways have recently refitted their aeroplanes with non reclining, static seats after a poll of their passengers showed an overwhelming majority wanted them. Yet on most airlines, recliners are still allowed to cause mass discomfort, pain, friction and arguments with no support or ruling from the airlines themselves to ease the situation or force some common manners and decency into the equation. (I mean really, is it hard to have a reclining section at the back and a non reclining at the front?) No, they prefer to just let us all argue it out amongst ourselves. Well I’ve had enough.

Recliners are selfish, inconsiderate, and apparently allowed to do whatever the hell they like!

So what do we do on our next flight to stop them from crushing us into our seats?

Let’s face it, the polite cooperation and the ‘we’re all in this together approach’ doesn’t work.

Pleading to their sense of humanity or consideration goes nowhere, as naturally these selfish, self centred egotists have neither. Being polite and asking for a little compromise is futile as it is often met with a snarling ‘it’s my god given right to recline, I’ve paid for this seat!’

Well I’ve paid for mine too, damn it!

But no one will listen. The flight crew are no help, at best you may get a sympathetic look and a helpless shrug of the shoulders as they scurry off somewhere trying to ignore any problem as much as possible. It isn’t their fault, they are in an impossible situation and are powerless to sort out a problem that the airlines are causing and are refusing to deal with.

You can’t get aggressive, obviously. Despite the fact that what they have essentially done is assault you by either crushing your knees, causing a hot drink to spill over you or even whacking your head with the back of the seat when you lean forward, you can’t do anything to retaliate. The fact that they have just cracked the screen on your laptop by forcing their seat backwards without any consideration would be criminal damage if you were on the ground means nothing in the air despite technically being criminal damage. Yet what can you do? You can’t smash a wooden chair over their kneecaps to see how they like it can you? You can’t take their belongings and smash them to pieces?

Oh no, apparently when they do it, it’s fine. When you retaliate, it’s assault! Apparently. Stupid laws.

If you respond in kind then you will be the one at fault, and even if you politely disagree with anyone there is a strong possibility of being hauled off the flight by 16 large police officers, an armed escort and an overzealous air marshal who thinks he’s a cross between Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson at the next city the airplane can be diverted to. So what do you do?

You get passive aggressive!

Cramped Airline seats

The air nozzle approach.

This doesn’t work on every aircraft obviously, but many do allow you to turn on the air nozzle and point it in different directions. So the next time some idiot reclines right into you, make sure they have a nozzle of cold air blowing on their head or down their neck for the entire flight. If they ask you to turn it off, politely remind them that they invaded your space and they are free to move back out of it at anytime. Or use their phrase, ‘I paid for the nozzle and I have a right to use it.’

The sick passenger approach.

If someone reclines right back so that you can see the top of their heads instead of the in flight movie you were just in the middle of watching, then make a point of coughing loudly all over them, sneezing if you can or make retching noises like you are about to be sick. Loudly state in apology that you get airsick very easily and might not have time to reach the bag. They’ll soon move.

The spine beater approach.

Now to be fair you will not have much of a choice in doing this, as odds are if you are tall you knees will be painfully pressed into the back of their seat and halfway to their back anyway. They must feel it in their back when you move, so make a point of it. Knee the back of their seat repeatedly, tap your legs as if you are listening to the longest James Brown track in recorded history, jam your knees into their back as hard and as often as possible. If anything is said, all you are doing is moving and trying to get comfortable, right? It isn’t your fault their seat is in your lap and they are fee to remove it.

The tray table fiddler approach.

Okay, so you can’t use the damn thing properly anymore because the selfish idiot in front of you has made it impossible, but what you can do is keep letting it drop slightly then pushing it back into it’s closed position. Repeatedly. Hard. Just keep pushing it up and down more times than the pants of someone with Delhi Belly, you can be damn sure their backs can feel every single shove. Hey, you paid for it, it’s your RIGHT to use it, right?

The frustrated drummer approach.

Well you can’t watch the in flight movie anymore because the low angle makes everything look like a damn negative, so you have to entertain yourself somehow right? Start drumming your hands on the top of their headrest! Don’t worry if you aren’t musically inclined, the more out of tune it is the better! As long as it is the headrest you are drumming and not their head, it isn’t assault!

The weak bladder approach.

No, this isn’t what you are thinking. When someone reclines into your lap develop a sudden need to get up and go to the toilet as much and as often as possible. Make sure when you do you pull, push and shake their seat as much as humanly possible to assist your contortionist like attempts to get out of such a cramped space. Extra points for the infamous headrest catapult technique! (There is a special place in hell reserved – right next to the recliners – for those people who do this when the seat in front is fully upright!)

The slightly modified weak bladder approach.

If you are in the middle seat or by the window, it obviously isn’t fair to your fellow passengers sat next to you if you want to get up and come back every few minutes, so just do the exact same thing but stay in your seat and say you are just trying to get comfortable.

The devil child approach.

This will obviously only work for those who happen to have the double whammy of having a recliner in font and a child at the side of you, and you will obviously have to have the okay of the parent, unless you want to end up on a certain list when you land. But if you can, swap seats with a child and make sure you have a stash of sweets with you in your carry on. Fill the little brat up with e numbers and bribe them with more sweets for every five minutes they spend gleefully kicking the hell out of the back of the recliners chair! (Again, get permission from the parent, maybe bribe them with sweets too!)

The new best friend approach.

Well, if they must invade your space and press the top of their heads right up against your face they must want to be friends right? Best friends! So why not lean over and have a little chat? About anything. It doesn’t matter. Talk about your endless fascination with rocks, or maybe about who is doing who on that vacuous reality TV crap that gets shoved down everyones throats, just make sure that you stare at them throughout with a slightly manic grin. A few nervous high pitched giggles and a rant about how they took your rope, gaffer tape and huge stash of hard core magazines off you at customs wouldn’t go amiss either. My bet is they will want to sit up as far away from you as possible pretty quickly!

So is this approach immature? Probably. Is it wrong? Maybe. Is it needed? Absolutely!

Recliners are showing absolutely no consideration for you, and if they don’t care about courtesy, manners or your health and comfort, why should you give a damn about being polite or reasonable with them?

Let’s face it people, there is no such thing as compromise in the face of such overwhelming selfishness as seat reclining. We’ve tried compromise. We’ve tried putting up with the status quo for years! Yet all we have got for those efforts are flights that are more stressful and uncomfortable than ever, all we have got for trying to compromise is the threat of constant discomfort and pain for the entire flight and the ever present chance of air rage breaking out over knee defenders! The airlines who are forcing this issue are on the whole refusing to do anything about it, the selfish idiots who put their own minimal comfort above anyone else have refused to be reasonable, the recliners have no respect or awareness for you or your comfort or wellbeing, so why should you feel any guilt or transitory shame for doing to them what they do to you? They don’t care about your feelings or comfort, why care about theirs?

So on your next flight, the next time some insensitive sod decides it is okay to sacrifice your comfort and wellbeing for a marginal increase in their comfort, get passive aggressive!

Obviously this article is (mostly) meant in jest, with tongue firmly in cheek and I am in no way actually suggesting you do any of these things (for the most part anyway)!

Did you enjoy this article? Do you think these actions are reasonable or do you think they are over the top? Are you a dreaded recliner? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

Related Articldes

10 Commandments Of Jetiquette. (Or How To Behave On A Flight!)

Is It Time Airlines Banned Reclining Seats Completely?

The 10 Most Annoying Things About Flying.

Michael Huxley is a published author, freelance travel writer and founder of Bemused Backpacker. He is also a charge nurse by vocation with an interest in emergency nursing and travel medicine, but his real passion is travel. Since finding his wanderlust a decade ago in South East Asia, he has bounced from one end of the planet to another and has no intention of slowing down.

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74 comments on “Aeroplane Seat Wars: The Passive Aggressive Guide To Dealing With Seat Recliners!
  1. Shikha says:

    This is hilarious! I’m probably more middle of the road when it comes to recliners but I do think in this day and age, there is no excuse not to have 2 different sections on a plane catering for both! I actually don’t think that the recliner makes it any more comfortable anyway really!

    • Thanks Shikha! 🙂 I don’t think it does either. Sure there may be the tiniest fraction of an improvement in comfort, but that’s nothing compared to the discomfort and actual pain they are causing others. As you say, there is absolutely no excuse for the airlines to continue using them without at least implementing some system to balance it out. Thanks for the comment.

  2. sandalsdownunda says:

    Oh, you are pure evil!! What a great chuckle I’m having while on the bus heading home. My fellow passengers think I’m nuts…which makes me think of an addition to your list… get drunk on free wine and put the comedy channel on through your headphones. You may not be able to WATCH your screen, but you can HEAR the radio channels. Laugh as loud as humanly possible (don’t forget to snort!!) right in the selfish bastid’s ears. 😆

  3. bcre8v2 says:

    Well, Michael, I have really mixed feelings about this issue. I agree with you that the airlines have left it up to us–the paying customer–to fight it out. Not cool. And, if they don’t want you to recline the seats, let’s make them so they can’t be reclined. (First, I hope you are referring only to those who fully or almost-fully recline their seat and not those who recline the seat back just a millimeter or so to ease pressure on their lower back.) That said, here goes. At the risk of banishment and scorn, I confess to being an occasional recliner. However, I usually make sure the person behind me is not eating, using his or her laptop, or watching a movie, and I only do this on long international flights when I know that I simply have to get some rest and sitting bolt upright isn’t doing it for me. On my next international flight in a couple of weeks, I will definitely take into consideration the feelings of people who may consider me one of the self-centered idiots. I’m not. Truly. I will be more careful, promise! Better yet, I may luck out and get a kind person behind me who understands my need to ever-so-slightly recline my seat after the food is cleared and the lights are dimmed. They understand we’re all in this together, and each one of us is simply trying to get through the flight safe and sound. The key to all of this is that we all try to understand the other person’s point of view. Not all seat recliners are insensitive morons with the agenda of tormenting the person behind them. And, I assume that the person behind me is not an intolerant tightly-wound bonehead. I’m hopeful there’s a middle ground where compassion, tolerance and common courtesy have a place. Thanks for addressing this issue and entertaining a point of view from an occasional, courteous recliner.

    • Of course there is always room for negotiation, I’ve written about it many times. But only if those in front are willing to negotiate. If all recliners asked first and only reclined to the point just before the pressure got painful (which literally is just beyond a slight touch for me) there wouldn’t be much of a problem. I think the fact that this IS one of the primary causes of air rage and trouble between passengers on flights just goes to show that the middle ground of compassion, tolerance and common courtesy has long since disappeared. Since recliners aren’t willing to take others discomfort or pain into consideration and airlines refuse to do anything but make the problem even worse by shrinking seat pitch beyond the capacity of average height, I say that is reason enough to have the option removed altogether. (Thankfully some airlines are finally starting to take note of this. As I said, the problem is most don’t take others into consideration. The majority of recliners ARE the insensitive morons who will screech ‘I have a right to recline!’ Yes well I have a right to walk off the plane without injury when it lands.Those intolerant tightly wound boneheads as you put it have a right to be a bit wound up when they are in physical pain, don’t you think? We all have lower backs that don’t find it very comfortable to sit upright for 8,9, 10 plus hours or whatever it is. I can imagine sitting bolt upright for whole international flights doesn’t do it for many of us either. I know I don’t particularly enjoy it, that’s why I go the loo and stretch. The difference is some of us intolerant boneheads are courteous enough not to inflict even more discomfort – never mind pain – on the people behind us. We are all in it together it seems, as long as recliners get to recline and sod the rest of us?

    • stephanielathom says:

      Bcrev82 I am not singling you out for banishment and scorn but I do absolutely have issues with your points. How about we compromise that the seats stay upright so we are all in the exact same position then? Rather than making someone else’s situation worse? Or is compromise only valid when it helps you out to recline and steal someone else’s space for your comfort? I’m only 5’5, a wee shorty, and I find it cramped and uncomfortable when someone reclines so god help those who are taller. I agree with Mike that reclining seats should be banned.

  4. stephanielathom says:

    Hahaha, you are still having problems with recliners then? I have read all your posts on this issue and they have all made me laugh hard, probably because they all had more than a ring of truth to them (I know this was meant in humour, but you are absolutely on point!) Recliners are the worst sort of people and they do deserve all of this and more!

    • Thank you Stephanie. Yeah, there will always be problems as long as the airlines keep shrinking the space and recliners still insist on making that space even smaller! I can’t magically make myself shorter! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  5. Snoopy says:

    So you think nasty acts like this will improve the situation? I can tell you it won’t stop me! I paid for my seat and if I want to recline I will! If that makes you uncomfortable, tough! You can always go first class if you want leg room? If they let you in acting like that?

    • So I guess you missed the ‘in jest’ part of the post then? I’m not surprised. It is that exact selfish attitude I am talking about. You can always pay to go first class if you want to lie back on a long haul flight?

  6. princessemri says:

    some people want to sleep in the plane that is why they recline their seats. If they don’t want it to be recline then they can try to be civilize and just tell the person in a good way that they are being crushed. (not everyone is huge just explain your situation nicely) =) If they can’t agree about the situation just exchange seats then. problem solve ^_^

    • Thanks for the comment princessemri, I really appreciate it, but I have to disagree.

      I want to sleep too, and I don’t recline. It isn’t ideal sleeping sat up but it is manageable, and I’m not making things worse for the guy behind me. THAT is compromise, THAT is being polite and civil and everything else you recliners expect.

      And I have made that polite, civilised request. Plenty of times, most people refuse, some get really belligerent about it. Some even get really angry and argumentative (hence the news story about the flight that got diverted). Being polite and just asking selfish passengers not to recline does not work for the majority of travellers.

      And I’m sorry but if you think exchanging seats is the answer then there is no hope. So you want to recline, but you are not only making life hell for me by doing so, but some other guy who will magically switch with me? That will not happen! Switching seats just isn’t an option on most (extremely full) flights now, and the plane would end up in chaos as everyone tried to switch every time some selfish idiot decided to recline!

      Not everyone is tiny, so just don’t recline! Problem REALLY solved!

      • princessemri says:

        aww that is a different story if you already talk to them and they still recline their seat T_T. I do recline my seat but if ever the person at my back is crushed and talk to me about it, I would gladly bring my seat up again with no hesitation. ^_^ What I mean about exchanging seat is that you tell the person in front of you to exchange place you so that he can recline his and not bother you at all since you will be in front. >.< but of course some of the poeple really won't care at all and yeah it will be hard to exchange seat with them. Hopefully airlines will come to address this issue soon ^_^

      • Ah I misunderstood slightly. Swapping with the recliner would be great for me if travelling solo. Still, changing seats isn’t ideal for people travelling with partners/family etc. But I wish more recliners were like you and sat back up when asked. If you are willing to do that then I can be completely reasonable too, I wouldn’t mind at all if we came to a compromise were you reclined a little so the seat isn’t crushing me too much. Like others have said it is all about compromise. Unfortunately the absolute majority have no interest in compromise.

        As you say, I really hope all airlines address the issue too.

  7. Claudia says:

    I am a recliner. I must admit it. Then again I am 162 cm tall, so I have no appreciation for those who need room for their legs 🙂

  8. wanderlustem says:

    Loving the “new best friend” approach! I’m flying to Australia soon so these tips may come in very useful indeed! 🙂

  9. mytanfeet says:

    Well I do have to say that I’m not very tall so I don’t have too much of a problem with someone reclining. Plus I’m Asian so I like to curl in a ball in my seat haha but I do have a friend who is almost 7 foot tall and bless his soul poor guy needs to recline a bit. I think as long as you’re not pulling it back all the way and you do take note if the person sitting behind you is … of a slightly larger size, it’s all about consideration. I personally hate people who constantly kick and push the back of my chair more. Now that is freaking annoying!

    • So is having your legs crushed, believe me! The problem is seat pitch has been shrunk so much now that when someone fully reclines there is no room! By reclining you have taken up a vast chunk of the personal space of the person behind you, so you are going to get the back of your seat kicked and pushed every time they move or need to get up. It is as simple as that.

      It’s nice you are short and can curl up. Unfortunately some of us don’t have that luxury. And the ‘of slightly larger size’ is generally average height now.

      I agree that it is all about consideration, but as has been proven time and time and time again, there IS no consideration from recliners! When people want to recline, they recline, and damn everyone else. Is it any wonder someone invented the knee defender? Is it any wonder rows keep breaking out?

  10. 2foodtrippers says:

    I have several flights booked for the next couple weeks, one of which is an overnight international flight. Hopefully no altercations will ensue.

  11. Axelle says:

    Hahaha awesome post but very realistic too! I As I studied tourism I know how to deal with these inconveniences but I can imagine the struggle, not fun at all!

  12. Linda Anderson says:

    HAHA this post is just hilarious! I had the best time reading it! Luckily I never had a problem with reclining seats, but I would just politely inform them that I often get sick on flights and would advice them not to recline as I might get sick on them otherwise…this way you only piss of the person in front of you instead of everyone around you 🙂

  13. Anne Klien says:

    The reclining and spine beating is the worse and I hate it most , especially when you’re in a long haul flights, trying your best to be comfortable and those annoying passenger are just getting into your nerves.

  14. Emily Luxton says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Mike! 🙂 I also really enjoyed the comment from Snoopy, haha! I think in his case it would be justifiable to skip all the passive aggressive steps and just just smash his belongings into pieces. Of course it’s your own fault for not paying the extra few thousand dollars to fly in first class, you poor person!
    Another tip is to lean over and see which inflight movie they’re watching, then tell them the ending. Bruce Willis is a ghost!

    • Hahaha, I love that one! It’s definitely getting added to the repertoire! And thank you I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think Snoopy is pretty representative of many of the selfish recliners who have made the call to ban reclining seats necessary!

  15. WembleyPete says:

    Notice how it’s always the recliners who are calling for compromise and consideration? How about you consider NOT reclining and we wouldn’t have this problem at all!

    I’m 6″3 and am sick and tired of being squashed back into my seat. The airlines have created an intolerable situation and people who recline are just making it infinitely worse for everyone else because they only care about their own comfort and their own needs.

    Well if you want to be like that, then I’m happy to call for a reclining seat ban too! Then you don’t get the option of hurting or inconveniencing the people behind you.

  16. adrianstraveltales says:

    I am sure that everyone has seen some very rude passengers, on both sides of this story. I’ve seen small Asian women recline as far back as possible on large Western men. I’ve also seen aggressive passengers push/hit back on the seats of those in front of them. Normally, I’ve found that if you talk with someone, they are willing to compromise, but I’m sure there are those out there that are just mean. Great post! 🙂

    • Thanks Adrian, glad you liked it. I’d love to be as optimistic as you about the compromise but being the tall (average height really at 6″2) western man on the receiving end of reclining seats, and trying every polite request, talk and compromise I can think of, I have found that the absolute majority aren’t willing to compromise at all. There are definitely some who do of course, and that is great as we can both make the best of a bad situation, but most don’t.

      And I have to agree about the tiny women too, the amount of short women (and men to be fair) I have come across on flights who pay no regard to anyone because they have enough room infuriates me sometimes, especially if they are sat in the seats with extra legroom or in the front row! It really is a case of ‘I’m alright Jack, so screw you!’

      And I have every sympathy for those passengers who push/hit back at the seats too. Usually they have just been assaulted by a seat crashing back or had their laptop nearly smashed or something!

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  17. alliblair says:

    LOL too funny, Mike! I laughed out loud at “the next time some idiot reclines right into you, make sure they have a nozzle of cold air blowing on their head or down their neck for the entire flight.” Touché! I do agree in that it is super annoying when someone reclines all the way in front of you (ESPECIALLY when I have my food tray down!!!) Although I do recline my seat a cm or two. However I always look behind me and make sure someone doesn’t have their tray down or anything, and I always ask if they mind if I put it back a bit. 😉 I do wonder if airlines would ever go as far to remove the recline altogether!

    • Thanks Alli, I’m glad you liked it. Some airlines are actually beginning to see the light! Monarch airlines are introducing fixed non reclining seats (that are proving pretty popular) and Singapore airlines are increasing seat pitch on their planes. I know which airlines will get my custom and loyalty when the choice is there!

  18. Sandra says:

    I have used the “air nozzle approach” a lot and it only worked once. Last week I flew from Ahmedabad to Doha with the front guy almost sleeping on my chest! And after politely asking for him to move he did not! I dream of the day I can afford my own plane…

    • I absolutely hate that, the absolute arrogance of some people to think it’s okay just to sacrifice your comfort for a minimal increase in their own. But that’s why you now have a whole list of tactics to choose from when the air nozzle approach does fail! ;D

  19. Brianna says:

    You could also title this “Ode to the tall traveler”.

  20. The Bohemian Diaries says:

    This is hilarious! Luckily for those sitting around me I’m not too bothered when people recline their seats in front of me but now I have a little more sympathy for those behind me when I’ve reclined mine. Although I quite enjoyed your humorous plots for revenge, I’d hate to have any of them directed at me so next flight I may just turn around and ask before I recline! Great post!

  21. Jon says:

    Great post Mike! I find the knee in the back trick works better on buses, haven’t tried it on a plane yet. The most annoying thing is when someone reclines when I’m watching something on my laptop – it’s felt like they were going to snap the screen off a couple of times.

  22. Jules and Christine says:

    Haha. These are hilarious! My last flight was perfect, I was in the back aisle but I could still recline my seat. No one to piss off! This is a funny article!

    • Thanks, my last ones were perfect too, I managed to bag the front aisle so there was no selfish ‘person’ in front reclining! An entire flight with enough legroom to move and no one crushing my knees! It is absolutely shocking the difference it makes to the flight experience.

  23. Elaine says:

    I’ve seen so many news articles about arguments over reclining lately! I’m not a recliner because I find it really uncomfortable when people move into my space and it’s frustrating not being able to work on a laptop but I guess you’ve just got to roll with it! Have taken note of your suggestions for future flights 😉

    • That’s the fundamental thing recliners just aren’t getting, is that when they recline they are stealing someone else’s personal space! It’s just selfish. And to hell if I’m rolling with it! I’ve had enough! ;D

  24. Margherita says:

    This is such a cool post, it made me laugh out loud thinking that I’ve tried pretty much all the approaches you listed! (not the air nozzle one – saving it for my next long flight to Oz). How about the armrest hoggers? Another bad breed! I had a particularly bad one next to me as I was flying back from Madagascar. Not only did he hog the armrest and half of my legroom, he also refused to stand up to let me go to the loo, I had to walk over him!

    • Oh the armrest hoggers! I hate those! How hard is it to understand that the person in the middle seat gets both armrests, and those on either side gets the other? That’s the rule! The guy next to you sounds like a total **** I would have physically shoved him out of my leg room space when sitting down and ‘accidentally’ stood on his feet every time I had to move past him!

  25. Bianca Malata says:

    Haha I love the devil child approach! I dont normally have problems with recliners but should the opportunity arise I will be sure to put my duty free pass to good use and buy up a whole shelf of sweets just for this alone.

  26. aluxurytravelblog says:

    I don’t really have a problem with recliners. If their seat reclines, they should be entitled. I’d sooner they only do it long haul, but I would never challenge someone if they did it, simply because they’ve paid for a reclining seat and should have every right to use the facilities of THEIR seat.

    • Ah, okay. I was waiting for someone to bring up this argument. What about the facilities of MY seat? When someone fully reclines I can no longer use the table at all, and I can no longer see the headrest screen properly without contorting into an unnatural position made impossible by the vastly decreased seat pitch. Never mind the fact that I can barely use the seat – that I have paid for just as much as they have – in it’s most basic function. As a SEAT. So recliners are denying me my right to use the facilities of MY seat that I have paid for. So why should they be able to do that? Does the purchase of my seat mean any less than their purchase? Have I not paid for the facilities of my seat just as much as they have?

      The thing is, they haven’t paid for a reclining seat at all. They have paid for a SEAT, nothing more, nothing less. The functionality of that seat is what is in question. If the reclining function denies me the option to use the seat I have paid for without pain or severe discomfort then what right do people have to use it? It is a fundamental principle of our legal systems that no one has the right to anything at the expense of another persons rights. So if a recliners ‘right’ to recline, or their ‘right’ to use the function of their seat impinges on MY right to use a service without being injured or put in severe discomfort with numerous negative health risks, or impinges on my right to use the facilities of MY seat, then that means it isn’t a ‘right’ doesn’t it?

  27. sammiegan says:

    I love this 🙂
    I am short, and am probably the only adult in history who can stretch her legs out fully in any airplane seat- as long as it’s up right, but still. I enjoy this 😀

  28. John says:

    Totally right! Recliners should be banned!

  29. Will says:

    Hahaha!! Love this! Hate those seat recliners!

  30. Chris says:

    I had this issue going to Turkey and I ended up just punching the bold headed bustard in the back of the head!

  31. maninahuff says:

    How have I not come across this before? This is hilarious and you are bang on my friend! I’m about the same height as you (6 foot 2) and am in hell on long haul flights when the selfish ******** in front recline all the way. They deserve everything they get and should be banned from all future flights for being inconsiderate *****! I think the airlines should all go the way of fixed seats, they are thinner, cheaper and lighter (therefore using up less fuel) than traditional reclining seats anyway, so they save money, everyone gets more room and no one can recline! It’s a no brainer!

  32. maureen100 says:

    I left a comment but can’t see it so apologies if it appears twice.

    Today I arrived back to the UK on a 13 hr flight from Singapore. I took 3 other long haul flights on this trip with no issue. Even if people reclined I still had room. However, this last flight was a different aircraft, a new A350-900 & the seats in economy reclined back way too far. I couldn’t get into my bag under the seat , watch my screen comfortably or use my tray. After several hours of the passenger in front lying right back almost in my face, I politely asked him if he could move it a bit so I could access my tray & bag. He immediately started to give me verbal abuse & swear at me. I was very upset as I would never speak to people like that so I went to the back to get cabin crew. The head one went to confront him & he sat there ignoring them & refused to answer. I got moved to business class thankfully & he got a warning that if he did it again they would get the police to meet them on landing.
    I have friends & family in Australia & New Zealand & want to visit again but now a lot of airlines are buying these A350-900 planes & I don’t want this situation again. I am only 5ft 2 & was cramped. For a tall person it will be hell. I wouldn’t have minded if it was just reclined halfway but the new recline on these seats is far too much. I am going to have to check the aircraft type before I book flights again but then the airline can change it anyway. Do you have any tips on how I can avoid such a situation again?

    • You’re right about the different plane layouts and it is absolutely true that airlines can swap them out at the last minute, so even if you think you are flying on a particular type there is never really a guarantee. And yes many airlines are buying up planes with much smaller seat configurations, in fact many are reducing the seat pitch in newer planes specifically to get more seats in! There are some airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates that offer planes with larger seat pitches than many, but it depends on where you are going. Good job on getting the upgrade at least, I’m genuinely surprised they bothered to do anything at all. Unfortunately as I have said there is no real way to avoid the situation, the airlines are basicaly just shrugging their shoulders and saying it is down to passengers, and when half of those passengers are selfish idiots, is it any wonder so many people are getting annoyed?

      • maureen100 says:

        Mine was on Singapore Airlines. The B777 was fine but their new A350 was horrible. As well as having the seat recline in front going much further back than the 777, I had very tight space under the seat too as my bag struggled to fit whereas it fitted under the other aircraft’s seat easily. This shows that they are now buying these new planes with less space in economy class. There aren’t many reviews of the A350 yet as it’s so new. I think they moved me to stop things escalating because he was so abusive.

  33. Sarah says:

    Hahaha yes! Love this! Recliners are the absolute devil.

  34. Amber says:

    Hahaha I love this, u are SO right! I hate it when someone reclines into my space. So selfish!

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