The issue has been a bugaboo for air travel passengers for years, granted. Many say that it is not good etiquette to recline your seat. Others say that the seats are made to recline, so, why not recline them? These arguments were stirred up all over again by this viral video. For instance, conservative pundit Matt Walsh — who is usually spot-on in his commentary — takes a swing and a miss at the issue by saying it is “sociopath behavior” to recline one’s seat back and calling people an “a**hole” if they do it.
She’s allowed to put her seat back. You don’t get to kick it repeatedly just because you want more space. pic.twitter.com/WELD7Qh4Re— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 2, 2023
WARNING: The following social media post contains language some may find offensive.
Amiri King fell along Walsh’s side of the passenger etiquette argument, and added, “I’ve flown A LOT and I get the vibe that it’s kind of social politeness to leave your seat as is.”
Putting your seat back in coach is sociopath behavior. You’ve made it so the person behind you can’t use their tray table and can’t move their legs. Yes you’re “allowed” to do it, but you’re an asshole if you do. https://t.co/1BZvKQAM00— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 2, 2023
Mike Hartington went further, insisting that the airlines should not even have seats that recline. “Unpopular opinion: airplanes should not have seats that recline. As a larger person, I do not want my knees crushed,” he wrote.
Here’s my take.I don’t lean my seat back because planes are tight enough as it is. I’ve had seats in front of me lean back and knock my drink and laptop everywhere. I’ve flown A LOT and I get the vibe that it’s kind of social politeness to leave your seat as is. Am I wrong? pic.twitter.com/WEcutX6QON — Amiri King (@AmiriKing) November 2, 2023
But others fell on the opposite side — that of noting that the aircraft manufacturers make the seats to recline, so why not recline them?
Unpopular opinion: airplanes should not have seats that recline. As a larger person, I do not want my knees crushed.Anything outside of comfort+ or first class, my knees touch the back the of the seat in front of me https://t.co/e1swNUikHR — Mike Hartington (@mhartington) November 1, 2023
In addition, many called out the behavior of those complaining about the reclining option.
Exactly, if you wanna be this entitled to take offense to someone reclining their seat, book business or first class. Put your money where your entitlement lies.— Ashwin Goyal (@desi_austinite) November 2, 2023
It can be annoying sometimes to be behind someone with their seat all the way, but if the airlines didn’t want to allow that, it wouldn’t happen. You don’t kick the seat like a baby. Blame the airline, not the person doing what the airline says is fine.— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) November 2, 2023
Another social media user slammed the complainers as entitled people who think they can tell others how to behave.
Kicking the seat is just a whiny childish move.If they really wanted to do this they could have asked to change seats… Or, very kindly request that other passenger to, if she’s willing, sacrifice her own convenience for them. — Matthew Six34 (@MatthewSix34) November 2, 2023
Still others blamed the airlines themselves for not only allowing the seats to recline in the first place, but making the rows so cramped that reclining a seat is an issue at all.
I hate flying with people who think they own the plane and can dictate what a person can do with their paid seat.— Dr. Goodnight (@DrGoodnightt) November 2, 2023
Indeed, those blaming the airlines have a point. After all, the distances between rows of seats has been steadily decreasing over the years as airlines try to pack more passengers into every plane. [firefly_poll] In November, WRAL-TV noted that since the 1990s, seat distances have decreased from 35 inches to less than 28 inches today. “People have been getting larger, both in weight and in height,” Flyer’s Rights advocate Paul Hudson told the station. “The seats, on the other hand, have been shrinking. So we feel this is a safety risk.” In the end, it really is the fault of the airlines. They made the seats to recline. Clearly, they have no issue with a passenger taking advantage of that feature. Flight attendants will even tell passengers it is OK to recline. But the constant closing of distances to pack more seats into the plane is the real problem, not the reclining seats. Where do you fall on this issue? Pro recline, or anti-recline?
Putting your seat back in coach is an unspoken thing most people don’t do. It’s really the airlines fault because they’ve made coach so cramped and tight that putting the seat back shouldn’t even be an option.— Matthew Lauseng (@MatthewLauseng) November 2, 2023
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.