The issue of reclining seats on planes is one which has been a constant source of irritation for me, and you can check out my other articles on this insidious practice especially `Ban Reclining Seats On Planes’ and `Hail the Non-Reclinable Airplane Seat’.
Let me make it clear, my views on reclining seats refer just to the back section, in the area the airlines call either economy or coach, depending on which part of the world you travel.
Business and First Class sections, and also Premium Economy, have allowed plenty of space for seats to recline, so it is not such a problem in those sections.
For me, that selfish oaf in front of you who simply reclines their seat without any thought to the person behind them is simply a mindless, uncaring space invader. A real life Depth Vader. Because they arrogantly take up the space that the passenger behind has paid to occupy.
However, I don’t blame those arrogant space invaders because it is the airlines that are at fault for installing seats which create a high degree of unsociability.
Back in the days when flying was glamorous, reclining seats weren’t much of a problem because there was enough room on planes for passengers to be only slightly inconvenienced by them.
These days, in an effort to squeeze more passengers on aircraft, airlines have greatly reduced the pitch between seats. That is the distance between to back of one seat and the front of the seat behind it, or to be more accurate, Seat Pitch is the distance from any point on one seat to the exact same point on the seat in front or behind it.
Once, flying was quite comfortable, now it is akin to being squashed in a sardine tin.
So, why would airlines reduce pitch, yet still allow seats with narrower spaces to still recline? To be fair, not all airlines are guilty, as Spirit Airlines, in the US, is getting rid of its reclining seats and Southwest is looking to follow this trend.
A recent Skyscanner survey released recently has revealed that 91 per cent of passengers say that seat reclining should be banned, or at least allowed only during set times, on flights.
Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman says that there are generally two personality typed when flying.
“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,” she said.
A separate survey for CabinCrew.com said the majority of international cabin crew had witnessed a dispute between passengers over reclining seats.
I have a solution that would guarantee airlines taking passenger discomfort seriously.
Governments should legislate to put a meter on each seat.
The person behind each seat would swipe the meter with their credit card, and each time it was reclined the meter would start ticking away, refunding part of the inconvenienced passenger’s fare for each minute the seat in front was invading their space.
With that system in place, I would imagine that we’d see the end of the reclining seat almost overnight.