Should you recline your seat on a short flight? For some people, that question may have a simple answer: If your seat reclines, you’re allowed to recline it. But what about the person behind you? What if their seat doesn’t recline, too? On a short flight, especially, shouldn’t you be mindful of that passenger and their space?
The story of a dispute over reclining etiquette on a recent AA flight is drawing opinions from all sides of the issue. On a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte, passenger Wendi Williams recorded a video of the passenger behind her repeatedly jabbing her reclined seat with his hand, seemingly in response to her reclining her seat into his space. This, Wendi says on Twitter, happened after he had already “punched” her seat nine times. Notably, the unnamed man’s own seat did not recline, and allegedly he had previously asked that she not recline while he ate. Wendi told the Daily Mail that she had complied with this request. Here’s the video Wendi posted:
@BravoAndy Here’s a great jackhole! He was angry that I reclined my seat and punched it about 9 times – HARD, at which point I began videoing him, and he resigned to this behavior. The other jackhole is the @AmericanAir flight attendant who reprimanded me and offered him rum! pic.twitter.com/dHeUysrKTu
— wendi (@steelersfanOG) February 9, 2020
According to the Daily Mail, “Wendi also claims that despite complaining to a flight attendant, they offered the man a complimentary drink and threatened to have her escorted off the plane. She also says that after complaining to American Airlines, she was told she would have to get in touch with the FBI ‘to get any resolution.'”
Personally, I usually don’t recline my seat on a short flight. But if I’m tired or if the person in front of me reclines into my space, then I will. When I do recline, I always give the person behind me the head’s up that I’ll be leaning back so I don’t crush their laptop or food.
Once, on a flight from Paris to Lyon, I reclined my seat because the person in front of me did and I’d just gotten off a 10-hour LAX-CDG flight on which I’d barely slept. I was exhausted. The American woman sitting behind me snapped at me, telling me that she had a bad back. I can understand a concern like that, but if the person in front of you reclines and you don’t, you end up squished. What made matters worse is that the woman had her own seat reclined but didn’t want me to recline mine. I told the woman to ask the person in front of me to sit up, and that if that person stopped reclining, then I would, too. If she hadn’t been so nasty about it, I would have just asked the person in front of me myself. If you ask me, she should have paid for first class or just stayed home.
Once I even paid the passenger in front of me not to recline by giving them a coupon for an inflight wi-fi Gogo session.
What do you think? Should you recline your seat on a short flight?
As you can see in the comments of Wendi’s tweet (and around the internet), people are very divided on the topic, which surprises me. I don’t know the whole story since I wasn’t there, but just based on the video, I think that the passenger hitting the woman’s seat seat deserved to be dragged off the plane and banned from flying again. What do you think? Which passenger was in the right here? Tell us in the comments below!
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.