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Nine in Ten Want Reclining Seats on Planes Banned

October 2, 2013

Photo by Joanna PoeNatalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2013

Nine in ten plane passengers would like to see reclining seats banned, according to a new survey.

The moment the seat in front tips back onto your knees has been voted one of the most common causes of mid-flight anger.

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Now it seems the vast majority of passengers would rather lose the right to recline than put up with having their table and leg space compromised by someone else.

Results of a poll of 1000 fliers for Skyscanner, a flight search website, found that nine in ten travellers wanted reclining seats banned or at least restricted to set times on short-haul flights.

It also revealed that young female passengers were the most likely to be considerate when reclining.

"It's partly because there are two general personality types while travelling," said Dr Becky Spelman, a psychologist from the Private Therapy Clinic in London, examining the psychology of so-called reclining seat rage.

"There's the 'altruistic soul', who is considerate of others, and the 'selfish ego', who will look to increase their own comfort at the expense of others."

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The results showed that, if reclining seats were an option, 70 per cent of passengers admitted to being selfish and said they would recline while sitting in front of a pregnant woman. Another 80 per cent said they wouldn’t care if the person behind was frail or elderly.

The most likely passengers to be “altruistic souls” - those you should ideally aim to sit behind - were women aged between 18 and 24. Men over the age of 35 were the most selfish.

Nearly one third of those questioned said they had experienced major discomfort on a flight due to a reclining seat.

A separate survey for revealed that more than 60 per cent of international cabin crew had witnessed an argument between passengers over reclining seats.

Telegraph Travel readers wrote in with their views on the issue earlier this year. Opinions were mixed.

David George said: “At 6ft 2in tall you can guess that I absolutely hate having seats reclined on me and in turn, I never recline seats no matter how long the journey. People are so inconsiderate suddenly crashing their seats back with no warning.”

On the other hand, Gerrie Bruce argued that, as a frequent traveller, he often needs to get some sleep on the plane. He said it was “very distressing when the person behind pushes the seat back or deliberately tries to cause discomfort to the person in front.”

Another reader praised the seats on Cathay Pacific, which appeared to recline into their own shell, thereby reducing discomfort for others.

Photo by Joanna Poe​

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