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Should you recline your seat in economy?

Photo: StelaDi/Pixabay

For those of us not lucky to travel in business or first class, we are fully aware that more and more airlines are trying to cram as many people into their jets as possible. Just ask United and American Airlines.

As a result, recline room in regular economy has become virtually non-existent, and someone reclining their seat could easily mean you losing out on space to work on your laptop or eat a meal. This brings us to the age old question: “Even with the option, should you recline your seat?”

We will present different sides of the story, and we would also like to hear from you as to which is acceptable.

In favor of reclining

Passengers can easily argue that with tighter seat pitch, reclining might be one of the very few remaining options available to survive medium to long trips. At the end of the day, if the airline offers the option to recline, then why can’t I recline if I am paying for the seat?

There generally are not any set guidelines about whether passengers can recline or not, but depending on the airline, the flight attendant may ask that you return your seat to the upright position during meal service. Otherwise, passengers are generally not restricted from reclining even if it makes for a tighter squeeze for those behind.

Today’s airline seats are designed so that the tray tables do not move even when the seat is reclined, but for those who want to work on their laptops or get in and out of their seats, it can be a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately, not all airline seats are set up like this, and someone slamming their seat backwards could mean someone else getting knocked in the knees.

Even with that in mind, some passengers still choose to exercise their right to recline.

Against reclining

Switching to the other side of the fence, there are passengers that detest when others recline in some circumstances. Whether it be on a short flight, or even before taking off, someone reclining their seat can be a point of contention. As mentioned before, reclining takes away from room to enter and exit the row, as well as from workable space to return laptops on.

It can be argued that there is no need to recline on a 2 hour flight or when you’re still parked at the gate. Reclining during meal service is a definite no-no, but that was already covered above.

So what do we do? Here are some simple rules

There will never be a general consensus as to whether we should recline or not, but there are some personal guidelines we can follow out of care for our fellow passengers.

  1. Always look back when reclining and ask or let the passenger know that you are going to recline.
  2. Recline slowly and use only what you need (not like there is much to work with these days anyway).
  3. Do not recline during meal service.

Whether you choose to be headstrong about your opinion of reclining, just remember that it’s an option to be used, but we should consider our fellow passengers. There’s not simpler than using a few words to settle a difference of opinions.

Let’s hear your opinion in the comments below.

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