Should you recline your airplane seat?
Sir, – Many airlines have eliminated reclining seats to avoid passenger disputes such as that described by Aimee Ortiz (“‘He was angry and punched it about nine times’: Should you recline your airplane seat?”, Travel, February 24th).
Ryanair removed the recline option on seats about 15 years ago, citing surveys showing that more people were upset when the passenger in front reclined their seat than were pleased by being able to recline their seat.
Similar surveys have been repeated by several other airlines and travel organisations and have consistently found that, given the choice between being able to recline themselves or to prevent the passenger in front from reclining, 60 per cent to 70 per cent of passengers will chose to fix all seats upright.
Reclining a seat on an airplane leads to a wave effect, in which the passenger behind the first recliner will also recline to reclaim their lost space, and so on, until the wave arrives at the last row, where seats against the bulkhead are often unable to recline. It is noticeable that the angry passenger recorded in the video was in a bulkhead seat.
Given the upset that reclining can cause, fixing the seats seems a perfectly reasonable approach to making short-haul flights as trouble free as possible. The recommended etiquette where seats do recline is that if the passenger behind asks you not to, then you should keep your seat upright.
If you ignore such a request, you should not be surprised if flight attendants and other passengers take a dim view of your lack of manners. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It’s the twits who keep adjusting their seats for the entire flight that raise the blood pressure. – Yours, etc,