Do you recline your seat? Is reclining a right that comes with your ticket?
The line is clearly divided between two camps. There are those who firmly believe that reclining is a right that comes with your flight ticket but there are those (myself included) who believe that reclining is impolite and that it just makes the whole economy experience worse for everyone.
The Problems That Make It Worse
1: Airlines are getting more cramped
5+ years ago, seat pitch (distance from headrest to next headrest) of airlines was 33-34″. That average number now sits at 31″. To compensate, airlines have made cushions thinner to keep your legroom the same.
So where have the extra inches gone? To more seats of course. More rows get added to planes every year to compensate for rising fuel costs.
2: People are getting fatter
It’s no secret that the average weight of western populations is rising. So what does someone who’s sitting in a cramped seat do to get more comfortable? Recline of course.
3: Seat comfort is highly dependent on height
If you’re short, flying economy isn’t so bad. It’s no luxury ride but it’s no different than sitting in a mediocre seat for a few hours and eating bad microwaved food.
If you’re tall, flying economy is punishment for previous crimes to humanity. At 6″ you will have their knees touching the back of the seat in front of you, just pray the guy in front doesn’t recline. If you’re even taller than that, forget about non extra legroom seats unless you want to sit duck legged for the entire flight.
Do you care about the guy behind you?
That’s the real issue. Everyone I’ve talked to fits into one of these categories:
- I always recline. Why not make myself more comfortable? It can’t be *that* bad for the guy behind me.
- I never recline. It’s a horrible experience already and I don’t want to make it worse for anyone.
- I never used to recline but then the guy in front of me kept doing it, so I started reclining as well.
The problem lies in that everyone has a different experience of air travel. The medium sized traveler doesn’t know how much economy class can suck for taller travelers, so why should he care about not reclining. He may not even realize just how bad it can be for the 6’3″ guy behind him. Well… that or he really doesn’t care about the guy behind him.
My take on this? I hope they just take out reclining all together and it will stop this whole issue. I just hope that most airlines don’t get greedy by decreasing seat pitch from 31″ to 28″. *cough* Spirit Airlines *cough*
As a favour to me, next time you think about reclining… don’t!
What about you? Do you recline? Why / Why Not?