There are two types of people in this world: people who don't recline their seats on airplanes and people who do. And until the day I can fly first class only, these two categories deeply affect me. Why? Well, I like to think I can put up with a lot of irritating things in close quarters. Crying baby? No problem — I'll put in headphones. Can't fall asleep? I always pack magazines to keep myself entertained. But the one thing I absolutely cannot stand is when the person in front of me reclines their seat.
You really don't care who is sitting behind you. You'll probably never see that person again, and your comfort is more important than a stranger's. But to me, we all should care just a little bit.
If you're part of the reclining group, I know what you're thinking, because it's the same thing my mom always says to me when I mention it: "Everyone puts their seat back! How else are you supposed to get comfortable?" But here's my thing: when you do that, you take away the comfort of someone else. Inches of your precious and limited personal space get taken away by a reclining seat, and with an average of 31 to 32 inches of legroom in economy class, every centimeter is precious.
Even if your legs are stretched out, there's nothing you can do about someone taking the liberty of pushing the back of their seat in your face. Not only does it make your space even more closed in, but it also takes away the ability to use the tray table, work on a laptop, or reach your bag under that same seat without exhibiting what can only be described as uncomfortable T-Rex arms.
Look, I get it. You pay serious money to fly, sometimes for very long stretches, and you want to be comfortable. You really don't care who is sitting behind you. You'll probably never see that person again, and your comfort is more important than a stranger's. But to me, we all should care just a little bit. We all want to be comfortable in the air, but there are neck pillows, blankets, and other ways of doing so without invading someone else's space.
And while our very divided groups will probably never fully agree, at least I know I'm not alone. Besides being a heavily debated topic among people, multiple airlines have decreased how far back their seats can go, a worthy effort to stop the millions of eye-rolls (mine included) when a seat goes all the way back 0.2 seconds after a plane takes off. Yes, you paid for your seat and have the ability to recline it — all I'm asking is that you maybe reconsider next time.
For now, I'll leave you with this tweet:
If you have a plane full of people who do not recline, you have a plane full of people who can work comfortably, enjoy entertainment and even rest without being angry at other people.
If you have a plane full of people who all recline, you have a plane full of psychopaths.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 12, 2019
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