Soo Kim, The Daily Telegraph, February 21, 2014
The reclining plane seat should be banned altogether, according to Richard Moran, a San Francisco-based frequent business traveller who posted a detailed rant against it on the social networking site Linkedin.
He highlighted several examples where it was an annoyance for him and other passengers in the past.
He recalled one incident where two fliers were locked in a fistfight after one of them reclined his seat unexpectedly. Another time, his colleague was forced to buy a new computer after his laptop monitor was shattered when the woman in front of him reclined her seat.
On a flight to New York, Moran once paid the man sitting in front of him $20 to keep his seat upright and felt it was “worth it” but added “the airline should pay me back”. He also suggested that airlines should provide a standard note to all passengers saying something along the following lines:
Dear Person in Front of Me,
I don’t know you but the back of your head is now four inches 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 aeroplane 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.
The Panicked Business Traveller Sitting Behind You
Comparing buying an airline ticket to buying property, he wrote “I buy one half of the armrest although I often cede it to the big guy sitting next to me. And I buy seven inches between my knees and the seat pocket in front of me."
“But after takeoff the person in front of me steals half of the space in front of me. Those seven inches were mine a minute ago, now it’s down to three. Now I can’t use my laptop. Now I can’t move. I am a prisoner in a space the size of a small dog crate.”
Moran isn’t alone in the battle against reclining seats. A poll last October by the flight search website Skyscanner indicated that nine in 10 plane passengers would like to see reclining seats banned.
The moment the seat in front tips back onto your knees was voted one of the most common causes of mid-flight anger and 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, according to the survey.
A separate survey for CabinCrew.com said the majority of international cabin crew had witnessed a dispute between passengers over reclining seats.
However, an online poll run by Telegraph Travel suggested that the issue was not quite so clear. Almost half (49.61 per cent) of the more than 2,000 respondents said they would put a stop to reclining seats on all flights. Slightly more than a fifth said it should be banned only on short-haul flights, while 15 per cent dismissed the call for a ban altogether.