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TALKING POINT | To recline, or not to recline… that’s a question faced by many modern-day business travellers and holidaymakers, whether on the shortest of hops between Sydney and Melbourne or a far longer trek to London or New York.
It’s not only a concern of economy flyers, either: many business class seats tilt rearward rather than extending fully-flat – including those on most Australian domestic flights, across the Tasman and up-front on lower-cost airlines such as Jetstar and Scoot – plus, of course, in premium economy.
So what’s the ‘rule’, then?
Well, it’s often expected that your seat be upright during meal times whenever someone is behind you, particularly in economy where space can be limited even at the best of times.
In business class and premium economy, you may be able to keep your seat reclined if there’s ample room for all: but down the very back, it’s common for the crew to ask passengers to bring their seat forward as their meal arrives.
During the rest of the flight, however, it’s anyone’s game.
Some travellers would defend to the death their right to recline – retorting that they’re using the functions of the seat in the way they were designed – while others, rightly or wrongly, consider the entire area in front of them to be their own space.
My personal view sits somewhere in the middle: I certainly enjoy the comfort of reclining, but not when that comfort significantly impacts another passenger.
That’s why I’ll generally keep my seat upright on shorter flights and recline it only slightly on longer daytime routes, as I find I can still get comfortable without cranking the seat all the way back.
But in my book, overnight flights are fair game: once the evening meal has been taken away, the seat goes far back until breakfast, and the passengers around me normally follow suit.
What’s your view? Should reclining be restricted on shorter flights, banned altogether or left to the decision of each passenger? Share your thoughts in the comments below!