The airplane seat recline controversy heats up again

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MARC Rider

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Surprised no one has commented on this yet:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/travel-news/sns-nyt-debate-rages-over-airline-seats-20200218-xq62vfb5cnbadnmabkziikx7ta-story.html

It was an 80-minute flight (so seatbacks had to be upright for at least 20 minutes of that time, anyway).
I saw the video, in my opinion, the guy banging on the lady's seat was being a jerk. Apparently, the flight attendant sided with the man, and even gave him a free cocktail. If I had been the flight attendant, I would have told him to suck it up, act like a man and tolerate the situation. If I had complete control over the aircraft, I would have diverted the plane to the nearest town with an Amtrak station, kicked the guy off the plane, bought him an Amtrak ticket and told him he'll have all the legroom he wants.

By the way, the problem with the seat recline isn't the actual legroom, it's that you can't lower the tray table down when the seat in front is reclining. The villain isn't people who recline seats, it's the airlines, who insist on cramming more seats into the available space. But then, I guess everybody wants cheap airline tickets. This is what you get, and I see no reason why the needs or desires of the man behind the recliner supercede the needs and desires of the person in front reclining their seat.

I guess we're going to have to wait for the first crash where people die because they can't squirm out of their overpacked seats in time to escape before we will get sensible regulation on this matter.
 
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Whenever I am on a train and want to recline my seat, I check the seat in back of me--if there is someone in it, I always ask if they would mind if I reclined my seat just a bit.

Nobody has ever said no, but a lot of people have been amazed that I asked and thanked me for asking and said how kind I was to do so.....[halo over my head!:):D]. They must all be so used to the rudeness in the air that polite train people really surprise them!
 

Barb Stout

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Someone did bring this reclining chair video up on another thread. I think it was Quapla on the Why Trains Instead of Planes thread. I would have done something bad to that guy.
 

crescent-zephyr

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It’s really strange that the flight attendant sided with the guy punching the seat. I’m pretty sure that intentionally punching the seat of someone else could count as assault legally.
 
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jis

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The airlines could opt for seats like in the Brightline cars and eliminate the seat recline problem entirely. The seats are a little heavier than the bare bones seats used on airliners, but they could possibly come pretty close if CF could be used cost effectively for the rear panel I guess.
 

crescent-zephyr

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over on flyertalk.. apparently this happened in first class as well. Really odd. Even if there is more to the story, I can't imagine anyone siding with a man punching a seat vs. a lady filming a man punching her seat.
 

20th Century Rider

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Airline travel is simply not fun and very stressful. Airlines get away with it because LD travel with time constraints limits choices they can squeeze in more seats and more fees and increase their profits at cost to the passenger. All that said, Amtrak’s downgrading of meals and services on the one nighters is worrisome… but unlike air travel, passengers who take the train for a positive experience can go elsewhere.
 

jis

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American has both mainline and American Eagle flights (flown by Republic Airways) between MSY and CLT. This was an American Eagle flight, so the aircraft was most likely an ERJ-175 - just as background info. The mainline flights have Airbus A319s, A320s and Boeing 737s.
 

Dakota 400

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Airline travel is simply not fun and very stressful.
Travel, in general, becomes increasingly stressful as one becomes increasingly Senior.

Even when I fly First Class, I rarely recline my seat. I don't feel the need to do so with the amount of leg room that exists.

the problem with the seat recline isn't the actual legroom, it's that you can't lower the tray table down when the seat in front is reclining.
Not necessarily so depending upon the aircraft on which one is flying. Once, on a Continental Airlines flight in Economy from Rome to Newark, the passenger sitting in front of me (in a window seat), fully reclined his seat as soon as he could do after we left FCO, went to sleep, and left his seat in that position until the seat had to be returned to its upright position for landing at EWR. Lunch (and even a snack before landing) was served and I was able to lower the tray table in front of me for the Flight Attendant to put the meal tray on. Admittedly, there wasn't much room between the edge of the tray table and my abdomen.

Being in a window seat in such a situation with a fellow traveler in an aisle seat next to me sleeping most of the time, I felt "trapped". That was the last time I purposely booked a window seat.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The problem with the seat recline isn't the actual legroom, it's that you can't lower the tray table down when the seat in front is reclining.
In my case the lack of sufficient legroom is indeed the problem. As the passenger ahead of me pivots their weight and pushes against the cushion it crushes my kneecaps against the hard plastic and metal bars of the seat back. That's an extremely painful experience and if not resolved quickly it can leave me unable walk or even stand on my own.

It’s really strange that the flight attendant sided with the guy punching the seat.
It makes me wonder what we missed that wasn't included in the short video.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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It makes me wonder what we missed that wasn't included in the short video.
Me too. Flyertalk mentions the lady being asked to put her seat up for a meal (but on a short flight was there a meal? Maybe it was the cheese plate service or something...). I’m wondering if the lady didn’t have an attitude about that in front of the FA. Still... she just reclined her seat and he was punching the seat.
 

flitcraft

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The incredible shrinking legroom has made flying worse and worse, even for smaller sized folks. In the past few years, the pitch between economy class seats has shrunk considerably. Also, the Recaro "slimline" seats have stripped out a lot of padding, again, to cram in seats more tightly. I remember the first time I sat in one was on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong--it was horrible to be pinned into that hard seat for so long. I vowed never to fly them again till they replaced those seats with normal ones. Well, that resolution didn't last because it couldn't--the 'slimline' seats are now standard in most airlines.

I never recline, partly because there is no lumbar support if you do, and partly because I hate having the person behind me suffering. Internationally, premium economy is like economy was a decade or so ago, so I pay to upgrade to that if I can.
 

SarahZ

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Whenever I am on a train and want to recline my seat, I check the seat in back of me--if there is someone in it, I always ask if they would mind if I reclined my seat just a bit.
I don't ask, but I always use one hand to hold the headrest while using the other to push the lever. That way, I can control how far and how fast the seat reclines.

I never recline more than a couple inches, and by controlling the speed with my hand, I prevent the person behind me from having their lunch/drink/laptop shoved into their lap. I've seen people lose drinks on both trains and airplanes because the person in front didn't realize (or didn't care) that their seat had converted into a slingshot.

I don't think I've ever reclined on an airplane. I'd hate to make someone feel even more crammed in.
 

Tom Booth

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Surprised no one has commented on this yet:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/travel-news/sns-nyt-debate-rages-over-airline-seats-20200218-xq62vfb5cnbadnmabkziikx7ta-story.html

It was an 80-minute flight (so seatbacks had to be upright for at least 20 minutes of that time, anyway).
I saw the video, in my opinion, the guy banging on the lady's seat was being a jerk. Apparently, the flight attendant sided with the man, and even gave him a free cocktail. If I had been the flight attendant, I would have told him to suck it up, act like a man and tolerate the situation. If I had complete control over the aircraft, I would have diverted the plane to the nearest town with an Amtrak station, kicked the guy off the plane, bought him an Amtrak ticket and told him he'll have all the legroom he wants.

By the way, the problem with the seat recline isn't the actual legroom, it's that you can't lower the tray table down when the seat in front is reclining. The villain isn't people who recline seats, it's the airlines, who insist on cramming more seats into the available space. But then, I guess everybody wants cheap airline tickets. This is what you get, and I see no reason why the needs or desires of the man behind the recliner supercede the needs and desires of the person in front reclining their seat.

I guess we're going to have to wait for the first crash where people die because they can't squirm out of their overpacked seats in time to escape before we will get sensible regulation on this matter.
No, the problem with the reclining seat is the legroom, or the total lack thereof. I would never even think of relining my seat in an airplane and I'm over 6' tall. The fault lies in both the airline and the reclining passenger.
 

crescent-zephyr

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This was first class. It’s extremely common to recline your seat in first class. I’ve done it on this exact style of airplane.
 

Tom Booth

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My mistake. I'd assumed the whole controversy involved airplane economy/coach seating. Though I don't know how tight it might be on that particular first class.
 

Dakota 400

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Internationally, premium economy is like economy was a decade or so ago, so I pay to upgrade
Domestic or internationally, I don't see much difference when I am on the planes between the seats or legroom between the Premium Economy area or the Economy area. Service and amenities: yes, there is a difference. Is it worth the difference in price?

Need to visit the restroom? Makes no difference if one is in First, Business, Premium Economy, or Economy Class. It just seems to me that the larger the planes become, the smaller the restrooms become.
 

crescent-zephyr

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My mistake. I'd assumed the whole controversy involved airplane economy/coach seating. Though I don't know how tight it might be on that particular first class.
Yeah I didn't realize it was first until I went over to Flyertalk. I've flown 1st in this type of aircraft, pretty similar to BC on amtrak with the 2-1 seating. Imagine someone punching your seat for reclining on the Wolverine for example...

To be fair... the 1 time I flew in this aircraft I was in the very first row, so no seat in front of me so I can't really comment on how the seat reclines into the people behind.
 

andytiedye

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Economy class on a plane is uncomfortable enough without having to sit bolt-upright for the entire flight. I recline my seat unless the passenger behind me objects.
There is room to stretch out by putting my legs in the space under the seat in front of me (moving the carryon back if applicable).
It has never been an issue for us on JetBlue, which is our preferred airline these days.
If possible, I travel business or first class, preferably on a plane with sleeper seats. These recline forward and down, so seat position has no effect on the passenger behind me.
seatguru.com is useful for finding out seat pitch, width, and everything else about the aircraft you will be flying on.

Of course, I'd rather go by train. Reclining the seat has never been an issue there.
 
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Some of the budget airlines, such as Ryanair, in the EU/UK have solved the problem of potential disputes by using fixed seating which is fine for short flights. Medium to long haul I will no longer fly economy since a Boston/Heathrow experience when the guy in front dropped his seat back immediately after takeoff and then braced against the seat in front of him forcing his seat back even further. I am not big but had no room to use my table and couldn’t move my legs without bumping my knees on his seat whereupon he had the brass neck to accuse me of kicking him! If I’d had the room I would have but I didn’t! In modern planes there simply isn’t the room to allow seats to recline without unfairly restricting the space of those behind
 

Tom Booth

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Some of the budget airlines, such as Ryanair, in the EU/UK have solved the problem of potential disputes by using fixed seating which is fine for short flights. Medium to long haul I will no longer fly economy since a Boston/Heathrow experience when the guy in front dropped his seat back immediately after takeoff and then braced against the seat in front of him forcing his seat back even further. I am not big but had no room to use my table and couldn’t move my legs without bumping my knees on his seat whereupon he had the brass neck to accuse me of kicking him! If I’d had the room I would have but I didn’t! In modern planes there simply isn’t the room to allow seats to recline without unfairly restricting the space of those behind
Well said. Just because one can recline doesn't mean one should recline. Too often of late people are just into their own little world of what they have a right to do. We all need to think of the other guy or gal a bit more.
 
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20th Century Rider

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OVERLOOKING THE OBVIOUS: Seat design should be compatible with the basic medical definition of acceptable ergonomics that allows one to sit on a seat for the length of a few hours. That there is so much debate, upset, anger, and confrontation between passengers defines the the problem. Certainly there is enough entrepreneurial talent on the planet to come up with a workable compromise that allows airlines continued profitability and at the same time affords their clients ‘reasonable’ comfort.
 

jis

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It seems to me that seat design is compatible with exactly one thing in addition to meeting basic safety requirements, and that is what the customers are willing to tolerate for paying an even lower fare.
 

SarahZ

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OVERLOOKING THE OBVIOUS: Seat design should be compatible with the basic medical definition of acceptable ergonomics that allows one to sit on a seat for the length of a few hours. That there is so much debate, upset, anger, and confrontation between passengers defines the the problem. Certainly there is enough entrepreneurial talent on the planet to come up with a workable compromise that allows airlines continued profitability and at the same time affords their clients ‘reasonable’ comfort.
Wider seats with deeper pitch = fewer seats per plane = higher ticket prices to maintain profitability = fewer flights to choose from since a plane can now only hold half the amount of passengers.

You seriously think the sweatpants brigade is going to go for this?
 
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