Should airlines ban reclining seats?

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Okay, this is very divisive and controversial, I know!

But in an attempt at getting some discussion going on in this forum (and a few surprising responses agreeing with me on a recent question when I thought I’d get nothing but derision) I thought I’d start up a debate.

Are you – like me – one of those who believes that airline seats should never be reclined as they are far too cramped as it is and are not built for people of average height. There is of course the issue about personal space (and lack of it when the selfish person in front reclines) and the inability to use the TV screen or tray, but a lot of the time there is also the issue of actual physical pain and injury being caused by the reclining seats as knees get crunched and legs get squashed (and it isn’t just when the inconsiderate **** slams their seat back suddenly, once it is down the pressure is constant for some people.

Or are you one of those people who think that it is your god given right to recline the seat? That your comfort is more important than the discomfort or the pain of anyone else? Do you think that because you have paid for the seat that you also own the space around it and it is your right to use it? (Despite the fact that we have also paid for facilities such as the TV or the tray which we now cannot use)?

Since airlines flat refuse to use any common sense in this matter such as having a reclining section at the back of commoner class and a non reclining section at the front (for example), and have failed to take up the genius engineering design of Alireza Yaghoubi, a Malaysian student (see the link below), which even solves the problem of luggage compartment hoggers to boot, and flat refuse to do anything about the selfish attitudes of certain recliners, then is it about time we just had an outright ban?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2281186/The-revolutionary-new-design-airline-seats-make-economy-just-luxurious-class.html

What do you all think? C’mon guys, let’s get some discussion going in this forum!

Just added a poll on my Facebook page if anyone wants to join in! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bemused-Backpacker/439902059436308

Michael Huxley 14/05/13    Getting there Link Report

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Michael,

Actually your dream may come true, at least on short haul flighs. I took an Air France flight from Paris to Lisbon last month and to my surprise the seat backs were stationary. There was more room for my long legs, as someone must have gotten it finally! So maybe there is hope that other carriers will make the seats stationary.

There has been some talk about creating seating that is actually standing. I’m not sure where that came from, but if anyone figures this one out it will be the hyper-low service, on-time carrier in the U.S., Sprint. They even charge for carry-on, water, seat preference and I think they put a coin machine to operate the toilet (just kidding), but if anyone does it will be Sprint. Never had the pleasure of flying them and never will.

As for making some noise regarding airline policy or lack of policy you can count onn me to raise some hell. I’ll send e-mails, letters, sing petitions etc to get the airlines to listen. But I don’t think they give a rat’s tail!! It’s about money!!!!! Their atitude is who cares as long as our planes are full!!!! Will be stop flying? I think not! Like I said in my earlier post I take the train in Europe and Asia instead of flying and arrive a happy camper!!!!

Time of my life 15/05/13    Link Report

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I’ve heard that about a few budget airlines too Time, although I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing it myself! I’m hoping this is the start of things to come, but I’m not going to hold my breath either.

I think the standing room only was a story about our very own Ryanair, the nutjob owner Michael O Leary is forever coming up with hairbrained ideas like that, thankfully many of them don’t come to light but he has essentially single handedly created the new model that many airlines are following in terms of charging a supplement for every tiny incidental thing they can think of.

You are right about the airlines, they don’t give a rats proverbial. It is all about squeezing as many people in as possible into peasant class. Like you said they have us over a barrel. I wish wholeheartedly that a visionary would come along, do away with classes on planes and fill the entire carriage with seats like the ones that Malaysian guy came up with! (They would probably make a lot more money in the long run, selling it as business class comfort at slightly more than budget economy prices!

Until then ban the damn reclining seats!

Michael Huxley 15/05/13    Link Report

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I was on a flight last year, the seats did not recline. As it was a short distance it didn’t matter but – if I was on an eight hour flight, then I would want reclining seats. I couldn’t imagine sitting ram-rod straight for eight hours.

I have however, been on flights (Jetstar) where the minute the “seatbelts off” comes on, the person in front of me moves their seat back with the speed of light just as far as it can go. And leaves it there until landing. No thought to the person behind them (me), you can’t use your tray, because there’s no room and heaven help you if you need to use the loo! You can’t get out of your seat without putting your hand on the top of (their) seat and trying valiantly to haul yourself up. Of course this means that when you do, some of their hair gets caught in your fingers and you apologise profusely for pulling their hair explaining you couldn’t get out because their seat is so far back. These were four hour flights btw.

I did find (sometimes) that if you need to get up and use the loo a number of times during a flight, the selfish seat slacker in front will sometimes decide they’re sick of having their hair pulled and move it up a fraction.

I blame the airlines. They move the seats closer and closer together to get more passengers. Perhaps they should just make wider planes.

Another thing I have found, there is always someone who will complain about something.

Captain Courageous 16/05/13    Link Report

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No excuse for space hogs! When a 5’2″ passenger who can’t even put their feet on the floor slams their seat back as soon as the flight takes off is only concerned with themseves. I don’t care if it’s short-haul or long-haul. When I fly I always look behind me to see if the person is short or tall before I go back on the long-haul. If they are tall I never go back all the way! At least I look and make a decision based on concern for others. Have you ever had a seat with a 300 pound person in front of you? Ever try to grab that seat top and they almost end up in your lap? How about the couple who puts their seat back all they way and proceeds to make their seats into their own little love nest!

So I guess my thought is that a little consideration goes a long way. I am all for non movable seats for shot-haul. You do get more leg room because of the design.

My Air France flight from Paris to Lisbon had straight-up seating, but the leg room was more than enough that I coule slide down and get some confortable rest.

I cut rude people no slack! I cut the airlines no slack as they permit people to recline all the way even when it’s time to eat. It’s bad enough that I have to eat like a rabbit when I try to eat, even when the seat if upright, never mind trying to eat when the seat is reclined. Good thing for plastic forks on some flights as I probably woud have pierced my tongue and that does not make for pretty body art!

Cheers and happy flying!!!!!

Time of my life 17/05/13    Link Report

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Captain! Welcome! I can see your point of not wanting to imagine sitting ramrod straight for an eight or more hour flight because it is uncomfortable. Unfortunately I do not have to imagine actual physical pain for eight plus hour flights. I am 6″2, and have been on many flights where after the initial pain of having my knees physically rammed by the seat, I had to endure almost constant pressure on them (on top of having to endure the discomfort of having no space in front of me). Unfortunately that trumps mere discomfort.

I mean just imagine if I was allowed to walk up to a complete stranger in the street and whack a wooden chair over their knees before sitting so close to them they are pinned in somewhere? I’d be hauled away and locked up for assault!

I do agree wholeheartedly however on blaming the airlines. Until they start to maximise the space in scum class (which will never happen), build aircraft with seats like in the link above (unlikely to happen because it means they will lose roughly a row of seats per plane), enaction some common sense approaches to reclining (such as having reclining and non reclining sections or banning it completely apart from the hours of 0000 to 0600 for example), or even enforce some sort of ‘courtesy code’ on board then the whole practice should be banned completely to save us from the selfish ****s that are out there. They wouldn’t even have to spend any money, just order the stewardesses to side with us instead of forcing them to utter a banal ‘it’s their right’ (when I doubt they or the selfish recliners even have the capacity to define what an actual ‘right’ is).

Time, well said.

Slai, I could not agree more. I wish the British would lose the stiff upper lip and complain more often too!

Michael Huxley 17/05/13    Link Report

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Autolykos, what they don’t tell you in those glossy adverts is what happened to that sleeping kid when the idiot in front of her slammed his seat back and crushed her spine while she was cuddling up to her mum!! ;D

Michael Huxley 17/05/13    Link Report

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Rules may be rules, but consideration for others should have some value? So I guess it’s OK just as long as you are comfortable and make the flight miserable for others, because you want your space? Just the way you want it! Then I would say that the rules say one carry and not 4? Again the 4 bag carry-on passenger has no consideration for anyone other than for himself. As for flight attendants doing their job, many are lazy and let the inconsiderate passenger do as they wish to avoid having to speak to them. If the flight attendants called the inconsiderate passengers on their behavior then maybe it would be a pleasant flight for all passengers. So you get the combination of the lazy staff, not enforcing the rules and inconsiderate passengers flaunting there ill-mannered behavior. The affected passengers (which are many) are putting up with bad behavior or lack of consideration for anyone other than the space hog. I’m for non-reclining seats on all flights, then the space hogs would have their space and not mine!!!!! I’m also for enforcement of the 1 carry-on (7 kg) rule and no exceptions. If the airline sends your bag to Rio and you are in Madrid just follow the rules and go to the counter for lost luggage. Afterall rules are rules!!!!! Should there be exceptions for inconsiderate passengers?

Time of my life 18/05/13    Link Report

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Autolykos, I disagree wholeheartedly.

First of all these are ‘rules’ that were in place when the airlines didn’t squeeze as many rows into the space as possible and back when the average height was at least a foot shorter than it is now! These ‘rules’ have absolutely no place on modern aircraft.

Second of all, by your very same logic, those airlines also provide ME with a tray and often a TV screen, which I have paid to use and have – in your parlance – a RIGHT to use, therefore your act is impinging on MY rights. You say I should not stop the seat from reclining, but why should you stop the function of MY tray table and screen?

Oh and as for the flight attendants, almost every one I have spoken to (and know personally) HAVE to take the side of the recliners yes, but most almost universally disagree with that and many I know hate the boorish attitudes of the recliners and secretly sympathize with the squashed passenger in the back.

Finally just because I CAN do something, does not mean that I SHOULD! I can spend the entire 12 hour flight heavily adjusting my screen or slamming my tray up and down so you get a jarring thud in your back every 5 seconds if I like. There are no rules to stop me and the function of those things allow me to do that. I can do so many unpleasant things in a confined space that technically have a RIGHT to do. But SHOULD I do these things? No of course not, I’d be a complete ****. So by the same measure you shouldn’t automatically use the mechanical functions of your seat just because you can!

Time is absolutely right, consideration of others HAS to come above technical ‘rules’!

Michael Huxley 18/05/13    Link Report

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I have been fortunate enough that even with the person in front of me reclined I can still eat from my tray and watch the TV.

anneJordan 27/03/14    Link Report

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Well said Michael!

Time of my life 18/05/13    Link Report

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And that’s exactly how selfish recliners get away with their obnoxious behaviour. Any hint of complaint and all of a sudden the accusations of air rage start.

Michael Huxley 20/05/13    Link Report

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Seems that playing the “Air Rage” card is an excuse for bad behavior! When another flyer infringes on the personal space of other passengers we have the right to voice our opinion regarding “space hogs”. What would we call a “space hog?” A “space hog” is someone who has no concern for anyone other than themselves. The attitude of “I paid for a ticket” provides an excuse for poor manners. We all paid for a ticket and if we all had the same bad behavior as the “space hogs” it could make for an equally miserable flight for all. “Space hog’s” are probably in the same category as those who cut into a boarding line so that they can board first, because they paid for a ticket. Have some consideration for others and stop being the boorish “space hog” that continues to be a poster child for bad behavior. Air rage it is not! Bad manners it is!!!!! I fly again tomorrow and I’m sure I will run into “space hogs” which will cause me to complain if the person in front of me enters my space personal space. I do not sit anymore and take bad behavior as part of my flying experience. I’m always polite to the flight attendent, but I will make my point by complaining about any ogre who seems to think he is entitled to make my flight more difficult than it already is.

Time of my life 21/05/13    Link Report

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Autolykos,

Since you are from my home country, I can say that your attitude is one of entitlement. Living on the other side of the world and have for a number of years, I can see a segment of the American population like yourself, that seems to think it’s all about “ME” a bit more clearly. Maybe a few lessons beyond your comfort zone of traveling just in Western Europe may provide you with a very different perspective regarding long haul flights and personal space. I travel very often and I stay away from American air carriers, as they seem to populated with people with your attitude. I’m sure that you’re probably the kind of traveler that brings your American attitude with you, when you travel. Loud, obnoxious, and it has to be your way. Travel is not like “Burger King” and you can’t have it your way. Try traveling to places where you don’t see another white person, or westerner for weeks. Where the site of an American is a source of curiosity. As Americans in foreign palces we need to set an example as to what is good about America, not bring along your bad manners for the world to see. It appears that you seem to think you have the right to infringe on others space and just because you buy a ticket it doesn’t entitle you to be obnoxious, which in many parts of the world is the impression of the loud mouth, self centered American. So if you venture out into the world like a traveler and not a tourist, you may learn to think about others besides yourself.

Time of my life 21/05/13    Link Report

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I think we scared autolykos off Time?

Michael Huxley 22/05/13    Link Report

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I hope so Michael!

Time of my life 22/05/13    Link Report

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I think it is a shame, I wanted a debate like that on here with opinions on both sides. I think it proved my point because the more he argued the less valid the reasons for reclining became in my opinion, mostly because of the reasons you outlined, but still.

Anyone else have any thoughts on reclining airplane seats and those who recline? What do you think of the amazing designs in the link above? Would they revolutionize peasant class or will it never happen because the airlines won’t spend the money or sacrifice a row of seats to accommodate them?

Michael Huxley 22/05/13    Link Report

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I am one of those who recline their seats. I worked for the airlines, and fly at least one a month. I think we should stop getting annoyed at each other and more at the airlines for making these spaces so tight in the first place. I am one of those people who needs to recline their seat because of my bad back. Much like tall people, it’s a matter of comfort, and I have been made to put my seat up in the middle of a long haul flight because the person behind me didn’t like the seat being down. I will say this, you’re just as uncomfortable with my seat down as I am with it up. In the end, you get the stewardess to agree with you because I am not going to go as far as to take out my X-rays to prove my needs. I think it crap the airlines have put us into such small confined spaces, especially flights over three hours. No one enjoys flying, period. As well, everyone has the ability to recline (save a few seats). If you need more space and the person in front is reclined, simply recline your seat. You pay for a seat, and what that seat is able to do.

anneJordan 27/03/14    Link Report

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I agree with Michael and Pirate! If this site is going to be source of value it needs a varierty of input from more people. I know that there must be others out there that have significant experience in travel that I would hope is open to sharing. RG has been around a long time, but I agree that it is the marketing of this site that must be the catalyst for growth. The word needs to be out there, otherwise it becomes a non-entity of value. I love reading what others think about a particular travel question or an issue that sparks passion in travel. I have a lot of travel under my belt and God knows I have a lot of opinions, but Michael, Priate, staff and I are the folks responding in general. I want to see this site work and I will keep posting hoping that it will catch on. People have to know it exists! I have a background in making the unknown, known and divine intervention just ain’t going to do it! This is prime travel season and people just need to know that there is RG, besides TA, LP and some other sites that exist. So what are we to do?????

Time of my life 24/05/13    Link Report

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Reclined seats are best for long travel but some situations mentioned like baby’s spine injury happened due to sudden unnoticed change in seat are not worth it.. very bad

Fretina Paul 24/05/13    Link Report

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Reclined seats are comfortable for long travels and for aged persons. But at the same time Bbay’s spine injury is not acceptable because of ones irresponsibility. He/she must be careful in such things…

Fretina Paul 24/05/13    Link Report

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Time I agree completely. I am as passionate about travel as you and hope this site grows too. But as you say, divine intervention isn’t going to do it!

I know what you mean Fretina, extreme example but still. Recliners are oblivious to the discomfort and pain they cause to others.

Michael Huxley 25/05/13    Link Report

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