Passenger's angry rant at seat recliners

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 11:58 25/02/2014
Recline airline seat
Getty

UPTIGHT VS LAIDBACK: A fed-up passenger has called for a revolt against seat reclining on planes.

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A San Francisco-based business traveller has fired the latest high-explosive round in the raging debate about reclining seats on aircraft.

Richard A Moran's article on social networking site Linkedin is called Airline recliners: Cease and Desist.

In it, Moran said he had seen two men "beat[ing] the daylights out of each other" after the one in front reclined unexpectedly on a flight.

In another case, a colleague was working on a laptop computer. The laptop's screen shattered when the seat in front "flew back".

Moran said that on one flight he paid the man in front of him US$20 to not recline. It was worth it, he said, although the airline should pay him back.

He suggested airlines should provide a standard note for passengers being reclined upon to pass to the person doing the reclining.

It could go something like:

Dear Person in Front of Me,

I don't know you but the back of your head is now four inches [10.2 centimetres] away from my face. I can smell your Head and Shoulders shampoo (it's not working). This might all be a little too intimate for strangers. When this airplane lands I have to give a PowerPoint presentation. I have not done it yet. I was planning to do it on this flight but because you are now almost in my lap, my laptop doesn't open and I cannot work. This is going to create problems for my career. Would you mind scooting forward?

Thanks so much.

Sincerely,

The Panicked Business Traveller Sitting Behind You

Pro-recliners have not taken the attack on their reclining rights lying down (so to speak).

Mark Edgson said the article was the "most ridiculous" he had ever read on Linkedin. He always reclined his seat because it was significantly more comfortable.

If someone behind him "expected me to sit bolt upright for however many hours because he/she hadn't done a PowerPoint presentation before flying to deliver it, rather than me being able to lean back comfortably and read a book or watch a film I would struggle not to laugh at his/her arrogance as I reclined my seat", Edgson said.

Hank Yeomans said he had "zero empathy" for anyone working on a flight because they could not get their work done.

Chris Burnett suggested a solution could be a kind of articulating seat being adopted by many carriers. It worked by moving the seat of the recliner forward, so it was the recliner who lost knee space, rather than the passenger behind. The person behind did have a slight intrusion at laptop screen level, but not nearly as much as with a standard seat.

Other commentators suggested people wanting to work on a flight should use a tablet rather than a laptop, while Joseph S Buono said people working on laptops also had something to answer for.

"It's just as annoying having some heavy-handed typist plugging away while you can feel every keystroke through the back of the seat as well as hear the incessant clicking," Buono said.

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"Let's face it, we are all inconsiderate and then amplify it by crowding us like sardines in a plane for hours on end and there will be trouble."

The website for online travel community FlyerTalk said the issue of reclining seats on commercial aircraft had been one of the most controversial topics on the website for years.

It noted the issue was actually one of class, as it usually did not spill over into more expensive premium seating.

What do you think? Should reclining seats be banned? Do you have a reclining seat horror story? Leave a comment below.

- Stuff

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