If you recline your airplane seat you are a terrible person

It has come to my attention that my posts may not be showing up in some of your readers. Please let me know if you are experiencing this bug.  Unfollowing then refollowing will often fix the problem. If this does not work, please let me know, and I will get in contact with WordPress. Thank you.

As fans of The Weekly Show know, I try to keep the site as rant-free as possible. While the occasional insane paragraph may pop up from time to time, I do my best to play it PG (this is a family show, after all). There comes a time, however, when things become so outrageous that the blogger has a civic duty to yell at strangers on the internet. I am referring, of course, to the jerks who lean their seats back on a seven-and-a-half-hour flight.

First things first: nobody likes flying. Flights are always delayed, security is rude and intrusive, and by the time you touch down your luggage is likely halfway to Siberia. But these pale in comparison to the worst part about airplanes: the discomfort. Crying babies and sick passengers aside, the seats are so cramped and offer so little leg room as to give Shaq nightmares. In fact, airplane claustrophobia is so common that JetBlue recently unveiled this ad campaign to distance itself from its overcrowded competitors.

Given these conditions, it follows that anyone who intrudes on another’s space for his own comfort is a jerk. No, scratch that: a total dick. Think about it like this: each person has enough space to awkwardly hold a book or laptop in front of them. Leaning the seat back not only creates a claustrophobic shit show behind you; it also prevents someone from entertaining herself for the mind-numbing duration of the flight. These trips are miserable enough without some jerk lying on top of you.

Let me explain what inspired this rant. On my flight back from Berlin last week, two men wearing matching outfits decided it would be nice to lean their seats back—for seven and a half hours. These jerks ignored my family’s polite requests to stop crushing our legs, including during mealtimes when the angle of their seats made it next to impossible to use our tray tables (the flight attendant did not help with this either, refusing to become involved and acting as though we were wasting her time—isn’t that part of her job?). On top of this, the men spent the majority of the flight leaning forward on their tray tables. These jerks made those hours feel like weeks.

Flying Airline Plane Airplane Cramped Recline Seat Terrible Person Rude Uncomfortable Knee Defender Weekly Show

The increased personal space after they adjusted their seats at the end of the flight.

Some proponents of reclining claim they are not as horrible as I make them out to be. According to them, their behavior is acceptable because it is not against airline rules. Wrong. Just because my company does not require me to shower doesn’t mean I should go to work sweaty and disgusting. The same logic applies to the cabin—sacrificing others’ personal space for your own makes you a jerk, regardless of whether you are following the rules.

If you have ever reclined your seat, there is still hope for you. Be sure to keep your seat in the upright position, and do not let friends engage in such dickish behavior. As for all the polite fliers out there, remain vigilant. Keep an eye out for that smug bastard who reclines his seat at the beginning of the flight, and stay as far away as humanly possible.

Cramped Seat Airline Airplane Plane Passenger Coach Most SkyRider Awful Weekly Show

This was almost the future of flying. (But actually–check out the link below).

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any stories like this? Any that could top this? What do you think about seat reclining? I hope to hear about some crazy flights! As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. That small click really helps me out. Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday! IT’S FREE!

Click here for last week’s post: Budapest: City of Wonders and Flooded Subways!

Other related articles:

The Top Ten Gross Things People Do On Airplanes (Jaunted)

World’s Most Cramped Airline Seat to Launch Next Week (Wired) [Story from 2010 but so crazy I’m including it]

How to Avoid That Cramped Seat (New York Times)

Deranged Blogger Declares Death to All Bunnies [My first rant!]

Don’t Click This Link


Comment question of the week

Do you have a similar travel story? Any that can top this?


11 thoughts on “If you recline your airplane seat you are a terrible person

  1. You are the first person ever to have said this. Of course, it should be a common courtesy thing before leaning your seat to ask from the person behind, or at least look back to see if they already had their tray open or something. Many times chances are that they are already asleep leaning back themselves. I don’t ask in that case, but I always look back to make sure. I think the airplanes are designed in a way which allow people to lean back and still have enough space to sit and eat on the tray table.

      • I’ve looked into Disqus and am interested in trying it, but it is currently not compatible with WordPress.com. I’m considering switching the site to WordPress.org, which would let me switch the comment system, so I might do it then. Thanks for the advice.

    • First person ever? I’m not sure about that. You can find people angry about just about anything on the internet. I agree, asking should definitely be a common courtesy before leaning back. It’s always an unpleasant surprise when people don’t. As for whether planes are designed to accommodate leaning back, I’m not so sure. When I fly Lufthansa, for instance, the flight crew asks people to bring their seats up during mealtimes so people can eat. I also think tray table room is prioritized far behind maximizing the number of seats, so I can’t imagine too much effort goes into ensuring appropriate room to eat. Flying is certainly not a comfortable way to spend a night! Thanks for the comment, Piyush.

  2. You know, I’m not exactly short (5’7″) but I’ve never once been bothered by someone reclining their seat, so–very tall passengers aside–I’ve never understood why it’s such a big deal. I’ve always been able to easily eat my food and access my bag under the seat, no matter the seat back position. And if my fellow passenger ahead is a bit more comfortable for it, great. So, I check behind me to make sure the person’s knees aren’t already squished up against the seat and if not, I have no guilt about reclining.

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Ltheramin. It seems you’ve had some good flight experiences even with reclining. Which airlines do you tend to fly? I need to start traveling with them!

      I’ve had much more negative experiences with seat reclining. Whenever the person in front of me leans back, it becomes difficult (if not impossible) to use my tray table, reach my bag, or get in and out of my seat, not to mention the fact that my legs are crushed. Moreover, it irks me that someone would be so happy to sacrifice someone else’s comfort for his own. That is my biggest grievance against seat reclining.

      Kudos to you for making sure you’re not hurting anyone’s legs. While reclining may still make them uncomfortable, looking back still earns you points in my book! I can’t say the same about reclining, though. Thanks for the great comment.

      • I fly whatever’s cheapest! Where I live, that usually ends up being Delta. I guess I just have it reframed in my own mind a bit–I assume others will recline and don’t see it as them intentionally cramping me. I kind of figure, we all recline our 3 inches (barring human skyscrapers behind you) and then any discomfort evens out and the only problem seats are the poor bastards in the last row against the wall. However, I’m sure I’d feel more like you if reclining caused as many problems for me as you’ve encountered!

        • I’ll have to try out Delta then! I usually fly American, which is quite bad, though the culprits in this post were Lufthansa and Air Berlin. I can’t recommend either. In fact, I’d suggest running as far away from them as you can.

          If there were usually more room between seats, leaning back wouldn’t be such a touchy issue. Unfortunately, airplanes aren’t exactly anyone’s definition of comfort! Thanks for the valuable input!

  3. Every airline I have been on has tray tables that do not move closer to me when the guy in front of me reclines. Is that just an Aussie thing? Surely not. I would think that Boeing and Airbus make the same tray tables for all airline seats.

    Anyway, I am a recliner but only for short periods. I usually just ask the person behind me if they mind me reclining my seat for a bit to stretch out. Then, when I want to read or watch a movie, I move it upright again. Do I get cursed forever by you Weekly Show? I hope not.

    Keep up your posts. For some reason I am following you but you are no showing up in my reader.


    • Don’t worry, figtree23, there’s still hope! You also get major points for asking the person in back of you before hitting the button. That’s a rare form of courtesy in a dog-eat-dog airplane world.

      Most flights I’ve been on have had tray tables that move back with the seat, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some models prevent this. I don’t fly as much as other people out there, so it’s possible that I haven’t seen the newest innovations.

      Thanks for the compliment! I find it troubling that you haven’t been receiving posts. I’ve found that sometimes unfollowing and then refollowing will fix the problem with the reader (I’m guessing that it resets whatever variable was off). Give this a shot and let me know if it works. I’ll also update the post to ask if anyone else is experiencing this problem. Thanks for the comment!

Leave a comment. You know you want to...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s