It is not clear whether the courtesy card was used in this case.
how would you react?
I never recline my seat because it hurts my back, but I've been on the receiving end many times when I couldn't use my computer, eat my meal without fear that it would end up all over me, etc. I want the whole story -- how many times did she ask him to remove it before she threw the water on him?
I think it is actually a pretty creative use of $21. That being said the reclining jerk who puts the seat all the way back in front of you is the main reason I select the bulkhead on flights that do not have lie flat seats and your own little pod.
Since I seldom recline the seat more than a few inches I probably would not even notice the guy who spent the $21, but if I tried to move it and couldn't then we'd be asking the Flight Attendant to intervene.
As a rule, when travelling economy, I feel decent aircraft etiquette is to not recline the seats unless it's a long-haul flight and it's during the quiet period of the flight after meal-service. That being said, if some jerk used on of these things, I'd probably have to make a point, by first asking politely to the individual to remove the device, and if not successful, complain directly to a Flight Attendant.
I'm in favor of bolting the damn things upright on short-haul flights. I'm sure the sum of the annoyance caused by people reclining far outweighs the perceived extra enjoyment of those luxuriating in their extra 15 degrees of recline.
In other forums such as Flyer Talk, this is one of several threads that pop up every few months. Reclining seats. Hidden City ticketing. Mistake Fares. Changing seats. Etc.
And the consenus is always "I'm right and you're wrong, you snivelling moron!" Regardless of which side you're on.
I've only flown Coach a few times in the past decade, and only on real short flights (1-2 hours, max). I recline my seat if it reclines. I figure if the airline didn't want me to recline my seat they wouldn't have given me a button to recline it.
And if you disagree, see above.
sg1974, IAHFLYR I love this. I think these knee defenders are a perfect powderkeg and it's hilarious until it happens to me of course . I have to say, I do recline my seat. Sometimes the full amount, sometimes not, but since I am usually on flights 2 hours or less it's not that big a deal I don't think. The thing is, in this case, both people were already in Economy Plus. She should be able to recline her seat, she paid for it. The part I don't get, is since he was in Plus, he should have had enough space to work if she reclined or not. The issue I have is two fold. Once she asked about it and the FA told the guy to take them off and he refused, now he is choosing to willfully ignore the direction of a FA. That is breaking the law. Now for her to throw water on him is childish and stupid. Sometimes in life you can be 100% in the right and in that moment it will pay to simply "walk away" or in this case "let it go". No reason to get arrested over not being able to recline your seat. A truly great example of how two 48 year old people can act like total idiots and put themselves first over the entire plane. They inconvenienced all the other passengers because of their selfish petty actions.
wow i dont fly often but its good to know that reclining your seat is frowned upon by people. Now i know. Last time i flew was about 2 months ago to and from mexico and reclined my seat as soon i was able to. I didnt know it bothered so many people since it has never bothered me when the person in front does it. If it bothers people so much maybe they should pay the extra bucks and pay for 1st class or something. Why should someone be uncomfortable just so someone behind could be more comfortable? how about i stay upright but in return dont let you use the little tray that is purposely there to eat or to put your laptop because i cant recline my seat to make it even? It sucks for tall people or "larger" people but i think the seats are designed to be perfectly ok with the average person reclined or not (on the airline that i traveled). Thats my two cents.
I think the problem is that the airlines keep trying to fit more seats in a plane. This never used to be a problem.
I am not able to sit completely upright without being in pain. I need to recline the seat when I can to relieve back pain. I do try for Economy Plus and then there should not be a problem but this shows that is not the case.
Restating, why should one not recline their seat and be less comfortable or in pain so the person behind can be more comfortable. The seats should be designed for both. The airlines should give us the extra legroom that we used to have.
Walking down the narrower aisle is hazardous since so many extend their legs into the aisle. One could trip.
Flying is no fun.
I fully agree, Californian, that the airlines should keep both sets of passengers (front and behind) in mind when they design their planes (and they can design them however they want; these days they're designing them only to put max seats in a given plane). I am in the opposite boat from you; reclining makes my back hurt worse. So I only have to deal from that perspective with children kicking the backs of my seat. But I have had my face and knees practically smashed by a few reclines, and I'm always in Delta EC so I can sympathize with the other side as well.
They have some new seats that are lighter, meaning less padding and your bottom will know the difference, that instead of going back, the seat slides forward and so when pushing back, one eliminates some of their legroom as opposed to the person's behind. I really don't like these and find them really uncomfortable, even in first. It is a try for the airlines.
I also agree that many airlines are trying to squeeze in too many seats leading to the discomfort and agitation of its passengers. Just last week I read an article that JetBlue was giving consideration to adding more seats to its aircraft. As this airline trend continues we will most likely continue to see the number of incidents like this increase. Personally I would like to see the US Dept of Transportation add a rule to the "Passenger Bill of Rights" that requires airlines to provide a specific amount of legroom for all of its passengers.
More joys of air travel to come;
Airbus filed a patent in December, 2013 for a new airplane seat design that would have travelers resting on bicycle-like seats for short-haul flights.
Woo hoo - having some fun now!
It's probably the full recline (especially the violent slam) that is frowned upon, so you're probably assessing that correctly. As one of the hotel industry's golden target audience, a much sought after Millennial, I'm glad you are part of this forum, it's a good way for others to learn where the travel industry is headed. I believe airline travel, similar to baseball (like when you hit a home run, you don't stand in the box admiring your blast) has several unwritten rules regarding code of conduct toward your fellow traveler (middle seat gets both arms, etc.- within reason).
I don't think anyone would begrudge a passenger a recline (especially in the case californian mentions, where it's required for tolerating the trip) but as oxymoronic so aptly writes, in many of these sardine cans they call planes nowadays, "I'm sure the sum of the annoyance caused by people reclining far outweighs the perceived extra enjoyment of those luxuriating in their extra 15 degrees of recline" and should at least be taken into consideration before banging your neighbors' knees (and no doubt a huge majority of us, feel that the guy with the gadget is breaking the 'code' as well).
Theoretically, one pays for phone service and therefore could speak as loud as possible, but often as a nod to the Brotherhood of Man/Woman (old fart theatrical reference, see we all share from our own perspective ) they take one for the team and balance the volume.
I appreciate your participation - keep on keepin' on.
My point about etiquette is just that. Be aware that reclining the seat can cause annoyance and to erc's point, it's typically the act of reclining without acknowledgment, the slamming of the seat into the knees, the spilt drink or the laptop knocked into your lap etc... that causes the annoyance rather than the reclined seat itself, just the lack of courtesy.
If, before reclining, someone, turns around, gives me an apologetic nod (silently acknowledging the unfortunate challenges of confined spaces), gives me fair warning, pauses a couple of seconds and then gently reclines I think that's reasonably polite. Common courtesy on my part, then requires me to nod and smile politely back .
Someone reclining their chair without consideration for those behind falls into the same category as those who don't hold doors open for those behind them. If it's just a lack of awareness but no harm done, it's just a little rude, but for those slamming their chairs back with a couldn't care less attitude, it's equivalent to slamming the door into the following person's face.
Just in case you didn't know all about the knee defender here is some more information!
Another incident to wrap up the week!
the joys of travelling by plane.
I guess I'll have to behave myself in the future. Just kidding! Either when on the few occasions I want to recline or those where I've been reclined upon, I have in case A asked the person behind me if it was too much and in the second asked the person kindly to move it just a tad forward. I found the passive-agressive knee bumps only got me bruises.
There was another almost incident of air rage yesterday -- by me. If I had caused a ruckus and been arrested the first thing I would have shouted is "I AM AN MRI!"
First of all Air France 747-400s in coach are awful. The seats are tiny, squashed together 3 x 3 x 3 with fairly narrow aisles. I get no preferred seating on AF as a Delta elite plus the AF agent at the transfer station in Paris the morning after I arrived kept my Platinum card! I was too tired to notice at the time, but this is the second time it has happened in a few months. Since I use it to get through Priority Screening lines and so they'll put my number on the ticket or status (which they rarely do), I usually have it with my passport and boarding card till I am safely settled on the plane, all kept in a safe place. She definitely did not give it back to me.
OK, that's small potatoes compared to yesterday. It started well. I went to the Alitalia club in Naples and despite having no card with my name or numbers on it (only the PLATINUM card that goes on luggage), I had saved my home printed boarding passes which listed both and more or less matched my AF tickets. He simply copied it down and said to enjoy my time there. (Long live Italy and Greece for not being nonsensical bureaucrats!)
The real problem came after I got on the plane in Paris to Boston. I got an aisle seat 22J and had a very nice couple on the inside of me. Well, first of all, as I said these are some of the tiniest seats I've ever flown in. I don't know whether the man behind me had a wedge thingy or not, but I could not recline my seat at all. (I usually don't anyway as I've said before.) However, the obnoxious woman in front of me reclined fully back so that her head was practically on my chest. I asked her very nicely if she could move it up a little. She said no, because the man in front of her had reclined fully (I looked and he had not -- about halfway). As the flight went on and I got more and more scrunched -- the couple next to me were rolling their eyes), my back, shoulders, arms hurt so that I didn't know how to manage. Then meal service. The purser actually asked people to put their seatbacks up to accommodate the meals. The obnoxious woman did not and I asked again. Same answer. While I did not kick her seat back, my knees were pressed hard against the seat back (not even very intentional -- I had NO space). Then the kicker. I got one of the little bottles of red wine after the main meal and had it sitting on my tray. She managed to go back even further, and got my bottle caught in the working parts of the tray table -- literally hanging. The people beside me were incredulous. I then told her please to move forward because her recline had caused the bottle to become trapped in my tray table. She said she couldn't, I insisted, liberated my wine bottle without spillage, and as soon as it was out she reclined all the way back into my lap again.
I SO, SO MUCH WANTED TO POUR THAT RED WINE ON HER! (I hope she is an MRI and reading this -- in case so, lady, you were using up your seat of 21J and most of mine). I think because the airlines are getting so stingy with seats, this is going to happen more and more. The plane was packed completely full, so asking to be moved was impossible, and since she didn't even listen to the purser at meal service, complaining to the flight attendants probably would have made her even more aggressive.
The worst was to come. While every part of me hurt, I had trouble walking through customs, which I thought was a little weird. When I sat outside Logan waiting for the bus, I looked at my ankles. My L one was almost the size of a grapefruit from swelling, the right the size of an apple. Having worked for a vascular surgeon for many years during college, I know that isn't good. I got home around midnight and did have trouble getting up my stairs. The swelling is better this morning but not gone. Alas, I have advising and teaching all day.
Never again a 747 on AF with me. And I hope some future passengers dumps a WHOLE bottle on that woman, since I doubt it is her first aggression.
you weren't the only one getting a bit irritated!
the problem will only get worse as airlines try to squeeze as many people as possible into confined spaces.
next we'll be strapped to the wings or in the hold for a bit of space.
To add my two cents, I feel that it is just simply beyond ignorance for someone to not bring their seat up to the full upright position during meal times (especially on long flights) and also to not keep their seat remained in the upright position until the F/A's have removed the food trays from the row behind (situational awareness). A good F/A will make this happen.
I also think it to be common courtesy to provide a heads up to the passenger sitting directly behind that you are intending to put your seat back (even if just a glance or a nod), so they can prepare for it if necessary, plus it also it opens up the potential for any needed dialog and communication about it (on some flights, the seat config is so tight, that if you are sitting in the window seat and have to get up to use the loo and all of the seats in front of you are reclined like the lady's in front of the professor, it can be downright difficult to get out of your seat. I'm sure not all would agree with this however, but it's what I do. I also just pay extra now for the additional leg room, if those seats are available. It can be pricey for transoceanic flights, but it makes a big difference and is a good bang for my buck (much better ROI than paying for F or B, JMO).
Common courtesy, common sense, do unto others, we're all in this together, etc. etc. etc. wins the day in my book, but some folks just aren't team players.
The unfortunate thing is that if you buy your ticket on Delta (which up till 2015 I have to do) and you end up on an AF or KLM flight, you CAN'T upgrade -- even for money. Because I definitely would have done so. AF has several different seat categories, and apparently their premium economy is really significantly better than typical Economy Comfort. But the plane was entirely full in any case. It was one of the worst flying experiences I have had (and I still hurt really badly) and I am only thankful that I was flying from Paris on the second leg and not straight from Athens or Rome or further away. 9 hours of agony was enough!
seems like the recent stories have caused people to complain and think its ok to disrupt a flight and throw a tantrum causing everyone to be late just because they dont get what they want. Obviously there are two opinions on the subject whether it bothers you or not and if you recline or not. Are they recently doing this to "make a point"? If they think the person in front is being inconsiderate then i consider them hypocrites. We get that you are uncomfortable and probably so are the other passengers but we ask that you do not make a scene and cause the flight to be longer than necessary lol
I asked extremely nicely if the woman in front of me would move her seat up a little -- she refused on multiple occasions, always citing the man in front of her as having reclined all the way (and it was obviously he had not). I was jammed into an extremely uncomfortable small area where I could not recline at all and the woman refused to accommodate me in the least (or the purser who made the announcement about seatbacks up during meals). Since I do not know whether the man behind me had a gadget to prevent my reclining, I did not ask.
I am NOT a hypocrite, nor did I disrupt a flight or throw a tantrum. I did not even complain to the flight attendants, though the couple next to me could not believe what was happening (the people in front of them had reclined halfway, which would have been fine, even without an ability to recline on my part). No one was late because of me, though I am in pain with seriously swollen ankles and an out-of-joint back. Maybe you did not mean this towards me, but it felt like that.
I would also add that my personal response (even though I did not communicate it to anyone but my seatmates and my nice requests to the woman in front of me) would have been MUCH different had I been flying JFK-ORD, BOS-DTW, etc. But this was a flight that lasted over 9 hours from takeoff to disembarking.
This was a general response to the events, i apologize if you thought i was referring to you. I was referring to the people throwing tantrums and getting themselves kicked out. As for the hypocrisy statement, I too referred to the extreme passengers who cause a huge inconvenience for the entire flight having to make the flight longer or redirected because of the "inconsiderate" person in front or behind them. You would fall under my last statement and appreciate anyone who although is uncomfortable much like several other passengers is able to keep their cool and not cause a scene unlike the people getting thrown off. If the plane is not full and there are open seats available, i would suggest asking the flight crew for a possible seat change if the person refuses to put their seat up. I would think the flight crew would rather have two happy passengers than a brawl break out in the middle of the flight.
Thanks for writing this, jm! Yesterday, after being up 24 hours and having that flight and still hurting today was a nightmare. A big part, as others have said, is that the airlines are jamming seats together AND making reclines too deep. I really meant it when I said I will never fly an AF 747 again (at least in coach) because I've had some of these problems, although not so severe, before.
My basic feeling, to use a long ago quote, is why can't we all get along? Perhaps I should have asked the man behind me if he had one of the wedges, but that seemed like it would have been an escalation to me. I tried my best with the woman in front of me, but she was the real problem given the seating of AF. I did almost lose it when she reclined so badly that the tray table literally snatched my wine bottle in its grip. (Again, the couple beside me were almost beside themselves, not knowing whether to laugh or cry on my behalf.) And Lady X, as I shall call her, didn't even care about that except that I said she HAD to move the seat or the wine bottle could not be released from the tray.
I do my best under bad circumstances to try to be nice -- unfortunately my mother taught me on some occasions to be TOO polite. I'll end the comment with the hope that karma is real .
Sorry if I reacted so strongly. I was and am in serious pain, just when I need to start teaching.
Maybe all MRIs (including me, even though I don't like to recline, though would've gladly yesterday) should resolve to HALF RECLINE on all flights. If all of us did it it could be like people acting (strangely) normal in traffic situations. I realize this would not affect non-MRIs, so we would have to use charm. (Okay, I take back the whole email -- politeness and charm are lost arts.)
Discomfort of flying: I recently was on a 6 hour flight on United and in Economy Plus. The seat was so uncomfortable that even if I reclined it, I was in pain. The pain continued to get worse as time went on. I was in pain for a couple of days after till I got a massage.
The way I see it, is the airlines want to make money and till they started to charge all the extras, they lost money consistently. Some of the now first class seats are what one used to get in coach on the old 747s. The leg room that we don't have without paying extra is what we had for the ticket price. They take what we used to have in the ticket price and charge extra. They must have found that people look for cheap tickets but will then pay for extras. That is how they make money. As Pluto said, purchasing the extra legroom seats can help.
Marriott and other hotels are doing the same. Taking what used to be included and charging extra.
profchiara, You acted that way because you are a GROWN UP and not a child. That's what being an adult means, evaluating a situation and taking the right course of action. Obviously the right course of action could include many different actions, but none of those include throwing a temper tantrum like a child and having the plane make an emergency landing to remove you. I applaud your attitude and considerate actions and if there were more folks like you in the air, it would make flying more enjoyable for everyone.
Do you have any others to add to the list?
Here's another viewpoint:
Frankly, I think the argument in that article is backwards. The upright position on most airline seats is designed to facilitate quick entry and exit from the seat during boarding and disembarking. We are told to keep the seats upright during take-off and landing so that if there is an emergency we can evacuate the plane quickly. This is also the reason why the seats in front of the exit rows do not recline.
The upright position is not intended as a seating position, and on some planes it seems to be set at less than 90 degrees. From my perspective, on domestic flights everyone on the plane should be REQUIRED to recline their seats simultaneously. What tall passengers really need is a higher seat, and an adjustable headrest, like we have in cars.
International long-haul flights can be a bit different, because some of those seats really can recline so far that they do interfere with the ability to eat a meal on the tray table, and one has to exercise moderation. However, the minimal recline that you find on newer planes for short haul or domestic long-haul flights does not really interfere with the person behind, and that recline is necessary to have a reasonable seating position for the person in front.
After being on four airplanes on our just returned from trip and reading all this today I am even more convinced and glad we are able to get seats in First or Business Class and at the bulkhead just so I don't have to deal with these type of inconsiderate folks who all look like Jack in "The Shining"!!!
If passengers would rise to the task of courteously communicating and compromising with one another, many disputes could be avoided. As for the knee defenders, good, bad, right, wrong, however clever or cool, banned aboard an aircraft means just that.
If reclining seats are provided by the airlines, then the option to recline in those seats is inherent. In cabins that provide the reclining seats, ALL have the option, whether we like it or not, agree or not. It's how we go about the business of it that can make all the difference, or at least ease the irritation of it (like possibly accommodating the professor's request to only partially recline). If I turn to the passenger sitting behind me on a long haul flight and inform them that after the first meal service is complete and the trays have been removed, I intend to recline my seat back for some shut eye, but will make sure that I don't do it abruptly, while they may not be happy about it, it at least gives them some knowledge as to whether they might need to adjust their activities accordingly (if they need to use their laptop or get up for a bathroom break for instance, they might decide to do it in the first couple of hours of flight rather than after the meal, etc.) and also it lets them know my intentions and that I am at least being mindful of them, as well as giving them an opportunity to express any needs and concerns that they might have, thus opening up a dialog of negotiation and compromise. If then, someone were to successfully make a case that their need of the space is greater than my need of it, I would hope that I would be willing to at least have an open mind.
Obviously if two parties are going to be insistent upon getting what they want (which in this case happens to be the same thing - space), there is going to be a problem. I think we all have a choice to either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Civility rules aboard any aircraft. Well, except when it doesn't.
I fly short haul flights frequently, long haul flights infrequently, mostly all flights in economy (only option in short haul) or economy comfort (medium/long haul).
Excellent post, Pluto! I think the only solution has to come from the airlines. I suspect with all the attention, these incidents will escalate, with each side thinking they are in the right. (I really do think I was [haha] since I had no options except to be crushed. This doesn't seem like a big deal for me for the airlines, because the recline level doesn't change their cost value for the way they determine seating. I think seats should not be able to recline more than about a 45 degree angle (the woman in front of me was, as I said, practically snoozing on my chest before the tray captured the wine bottle -- and even then she literally would not give an inch). I honestly cannot take another flight like that. Most have never come close to such a situation even with avid recliners. I think 747s are a big part of the problem, because in coach (at least on AF) they are also very narrow with little leg room. But the couple beside me, who also had recliners in front of them, had about 5" less of seat-in-front imposed on them. They were probably the only thing that kept me from screaming (or dumping my wine on the female version of Jack Torrance aka Jack Nicholson). No, of course I couldn't really do it, but I wish I could. She was beyond obnoxious.
I tend to keep the seat up or slightly recline. On the longest of flights, if I find myself starting to doze, I will on occassion recline about halfway. I always look behind me first to see what is happening..ie. empty seat? person snoozing? are they reclined? size of the individual..etc.
I have been seated behind folks that recline to the utmost. It's not good.
Until the airlines (don't hold your breath) make decent legroom the norm, these battles will just intensify..IMO.
From what we have seen, the airlines will offer these for a price. There are some seats that don't recline, usually in exit rows. Those have a premium price. They may increase the price for the seats behind them and make others. I don't think we will se much given for free.
From what I observed, most planes have 12 seats that do not recline in a configuration of 3 - 3. To sit behind a seat that does not recline, 6 would be a premium in an exit row but the ones immediately behind are usually regular seating. I guess till the airlines figure our they can charge and people will pay.
it's just a case of if you don't want to be reclined on, boom early and pay extra for the exit row (if there is 2 exit rows in (say rows 18 and 19 are both exit rows) always go for the 2nd one (row 19 in this example) . usually the first row can't recline as if it did it would be blocking the second exit row. XD
seats are like $49 more.
I'm not a recliner on planes unless it's business or first class, as I find the recline doesn't really do anything. it's like 1 inch. not comfortable. I do like a window seat so I can lean on the wall, but I also pee every 20 minutes so it's a trade off. lol.