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Is It Rude To Recline Your Seat On An Airplane? Redditors Weigh In
Kelsey Marie • Oct 19, 2022
Do you recline your seat while on flights? If so, you may be seen as rude by fellow passengers.
The debate has recently resurfaced with both views on the issue having valid points.
To recline or not to recline?
Reclining your seat on a plane can be seen as inconsiderate.
Passengers lose legroom space when the seat in front of them is reclined.
On the contrary, some travelers believe that if you paid for your seat, you have every right to recline it.
How the controversy resurfaced
In a recent Reddit discussion, a user named u/cherryham123 shared her experience when flying from the U.S. to Australia. During the 14-hour flight, she reclined her seat to sleep.
She then asked in the Reddit post, “The girl behind me poked me and told me to not recline my seat because she was uncomfortable. What is the etiquette here?”
The user, Ree Winter, shared more of her experience with Fox News Digital. The Australian traveler says, “I was flying to America to see my partner. It was a flight to LAX [Los Angeles International Airport]. After the woman behind me poked my seat repeatedly, I turned to look at her — and she then told me that she was trying to watch a movie and I shouldn’t recline my seat.”
Winter continues sharing her experience saying, “It’s a 14-hour flight, so you really want to be able to sleep through some of it! When it was obvious that this woman thought she was in the right and was going to continue to annoy me, I called a flight attendant, explained the situation and asked if I could move seats.”
The flight attendant allowed Winter to switch to a vacant seat on the flight.
“I’ve never been on a long-haul flight where the person behind me was so aggressive about seat recline. I get [that] it can be a little uncomfortable because I’ve had it happen to me, but you either adjust your screen or also recline your seat,” she shares.
Redditors weigh in
Of course Redditors weighed in on Winter’s experience with their two cents. Some people left comments like “Recline the seat. She can deal with it.” Others left comments similar to this one: “Reclining when someone is behind you…suggests my comfort is more important than your space. Regardless of flight length, I don’t do it when someone is behind me unless I’m in a premium cabin where folks have plenty of room.”
A commenter even weighed in sharing how the topic may affect people of various heights differently. “As a tall person, what happens when the person in front of me reclines, yet my knees are pretty much already in their seat back before they recline (also, how do they not feel my knees)?,” they said.
Tips for travelers who need to recline their seat on a flight
If you must recline your airplane seat, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure the experience is courteous and respectful to the passenger behind you.
- If the person behind you is tall, or has long legs, consider not fully reclining.
- Give the person behind you enough time to adjust by reclining slowly.
- When it’s meal time, bring your seat forward.
- Look back before reclining. You never know if the person behind you has their laptop open or are eating.
If the person in front of you is reclining their seat and you’re eating or working, kindly ask them to raise their seat slightly.
The best rule of thumb is to recline your seat when it’s absolutely necessary and consider the person behind you when doing so. Kindness goes a long way when traveling.
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