Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
Member since 28 Sep 2011
Total posts 302
In the Brisbane Times (don't we all read it?) there's an article suggesting that etiquette demands on flights less than 3 hours that one doesn't recline one's (economy) seat. Not that Y seats seem to recline more than inch or two these days anyway. The article also adds some further "rules" to avoid seat rage in cattle class. It has elicited a hundred responses already. Just wondering what those of us on this forum think about reclining? I'll start us off - if the seat reclines, and it's more comfortable that way, why not? Except during meal service?
BTW - the article asks if reclining seats should be "banned" on flights?!
Member since 21 Apr 2012
Total posts 2,060
Not quite sure who died and made Anna Musson (the lady quoted in the Fairfax papers) the queen of etiquette in the skies but one has to be sensible. In the absense of that, I think it is the role and responsibility of cabin crew to ensure discipline onboard. They should not abscond from their responsiblity to ensure that passengers are entitled to eat without having the person in front reclining their seat.
I find SQ and QF tend to do this well and instruct passengers politely but firmly that seats need to go up during meal service. I heard UA cabin crew are notorious for being liassez faire on this matter, which is why I'm not surprised by the fight that broke out on the UA flight to Ghana.
Member since 10 Mar 2011
Total posts 138
Have to admit... I generally only recline a little bit on those short flights... Just enough to be a bit more comfortable but not enough to inconvenience the person behind. I don't think it should be a "rule" unless it is during meal service though.
Member since 10 May 2011
Total posts 249
Agreed, the recline is there to use, whether it is a short flight or a long flight. Recently flew QF to AKL in Y (pretty decent seating in row 4 and seat next to me blocked) and indeed the FA asked me politely to not recline whilst the meals were being served, no issues with that! Afetr the meal i did recline to have a little snooze.
Member since 04 Oct 2012
Total posts 147
I regularly fly OOL - MEL and OOL - AKL with VA. I can safely say on 9/10 flights I have an issue with someone reclining a seat. It isn't so bad when I am sitting in rows 3-8 however sometimes if I am travelling with a colleague or a friend and I sit with them in row 15+ it is an issue. Most people are not eating on those flights as they haven't purchased a flexi fare so they do not understand how frustrating it is. But I simply push my knees against the reclining person in an effort to stop them. Usually, it works.
I also think it has something to do with the fact I fly from the Gold Coast, with most the passengers being "leisure". But I find they are less likely to recline an aisle seat.
Member since 20 Mar 2012
Total posts 191
I honestly find this all absolutely ridiculous. I personally feel people should just use common courtesy, I mean the seats are there to be reclined and if someone wants to recline their seat, they should do so. When it comes to meal times, if cabin crews politely informed passengers that seats should be upright the problem would be solved.I just can't stand when people get angry when the person in front reclines when it isn't even meal time. The seat is meant to be reclined for extra comfort and it is just rude when people expect the person in front not to recline because it slightly inconveniences them, they could too recline their seat and fix the problem.
Member since 17 Aug 2012
Total posts 1,293
I agree. Unless there is a meal service or the plane is on the tarmac, or the passenger behind me is being crushed by the seating confines (valid for 6' backpackers on an AirAsia hop!), the seat has a recline function and I will use it.
I mean, we need to consider some external factors, but I don't understand what's so difficult. Here's a flowchart to help.
Good point FF - recline your own seat, get over it or pay for Business. Meal times excluded I agree, on flights where meals are actually served as opposed to snacks.
I wonder if airlines will eventually go to non-reclining seats?
Also I wonder what other "rules" are being imposed by the self-appointed travel police? Is it OK to get up and go to the toilet from a window seat? Is it OK to move someone else's stuff in the overhead locker? Is it OK to sleep if you might snore? Planes are public transport - courtesy to and from others makes the experience a lot more pleasant for everyone, but it isn't a boarding school and other passengers are not prefects.
Member since 01 Feb 2012
Total posts 218
Cathay tried this (seats that don't recline into the space behind) and was universally criticised, and changed back to normal seats after just a few years.
Agree with others - incredibly stupid question - recline yourself and you have the same amount of space. There should be common courtesy in that you don't recline abruptly and injure the guy behind you, or go up and down constantly, but other than that its each passenger's right to recline except during meals.
Member since 29 Jan 2013
Total posts 7
I think that it should not be banned, it is fine if you are courteous. Not reclining during meals, checking if things will get hit when you recline and asking if it looks like there could be an issue. But at the same time it is one of the few luxuries you get in economy and if you have paid for the seat you should be allowed to use it, and if people have a problem they should buy premium seats where you don't get that.
Member since 28 Oct 2011
Total posts 236
in general......'courtesy'/'common sense'/'self responsibility' is rapidly declining in society....until peoples mindsets change....we are fighting a losing battle
Virgin Atlantic Airways - Flying Club (Gold)
Member since 24 Jul 2013
Total posts 18
I remember the first time I ever flew, I reclined my seat (abruptly) without realising that the guy behind me had a cup of orange juice on his tray table, which ended up going all over him. Since then I have always been very careful not to recline when the person behind is using their tray table, unless its a laptop, in which case, they should have booked J class, so back it goes.
Member since 25 Jun 2013
Total posts 43
I always ask the person behind if they mind if I recline my seat,and not once has my request been declined..
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on
Should reclining seats should be "banned" on flights?
Already have an ET account? Log in below.
Signing up with Executive Traveller only takes a second and lets you
interact with our community. It's completely free and we'll never pass your information on to
Didn’t receive an activation email? Resend one to yourself here.
If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address
below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.
If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.
Subscribe to our free newsletter and get the latest news, reviews, tips and more sent straight to your inbox