Is it okay to lean your seat back on a plane? | The Tylt
Is it okay to lean your seat back on a plane?
There's nothing wrong with reclining your seat as long as you are cognizant of the people around you. Leaning back a few inches doesn't have to invade another person's space or catch them by surprise if done right. Smart Traveler recommends the following tips before leaning your seat back:
A glance behind you does three things:
1. Lets you make sure you’re not going to break anyone’s nose or kneecaps 2. Gives some warning that the seat is on its way 3. Lets you find out exactly who is behind you; if the person back there is 6’9″ and all legs, you might show some mercy.
Furthermore, if you're on an international flight or a red-eye, you're only doing yourself a disservice by not reclining your seat. According to Smart Traveler, everyone should collectively recline in these scenarios:
In my opinion, it is our inalienable right to attempt to get comfortable on a red-eye flight. Reclining, even full reclining, should be mandatory cabin-wide. I say equip planes with a third light next to the 'seatbelt' and 'no smoking' lights: 'Seat backs down.'
But some people feel that no matter what the circumstances, reclining your seat on a plane is an invasion of space. When the person in front of you chooses to recline, you too are faced with a choice: Do you recline in order to gain back the space you lost? Doing so would mean committing the same offense to the person behind you, passing the choice on to them, and so on.
All of this can be avoided if no one reclines their seat in the first place. As one writer puts it for Skyscanner:
'They should completely remove that function from all chairs. I never ever recline. It is extremely inconsiderate and I don’t care if it’s a long flight or not.'
It's only logical to lean your seat back when the person in front of you does the same. Why can't everyone be comfortable? The Telegraph's Annabel Elliott writes:
What sort of self-flagellating martyr sits like a plank for hours on end, ignoring the only button at their fingertips which provides respite, in fear of annoying a stranger? Why is their comfort any more important than mine?
It all comes down to indisputable science. The passenger who reclines is only cutting into the space of the person behind them if this person doesn’t also recline.
And for some, leaning back your seat is necessary to survive a flight. Imagine being over 6-feet-tall on a plane; it's not pleasant.
It doesn't matter how tall you are. Leaning your seat back is like casting an Unforgivable Curse; there is no worse offense. According to the Telegraph's Hugh Morris:
One person’s freedom only extends so far as it restricts another’s.
Perhaps this is what annoys me so much about the person in 18B to my 19B when they lunge a seat into my personal space: the return on their seating position is so minimal as to be realized only in the mind. No one feels waves of relaxation wash over their being when they steal those three degrees of recline, they just enjoy the sensation of knowing they can. This could be because at 6’2”, it takes more than a slight lean for me to find solace.
As made clear by this video, an invasion of space can make some snap. Passengers are better of keeping their seat upright: