An Etiquette Expert Explains Why You Shouldn't Recline Your Seat on a Flight
There are few debates that get people as worked up as the question of whether or not it's acceptable to recline your seat during a flight.
While this didn't used to be such a big deal—back in the free-wheeling days of air travel when passengers enjoyed a breezy 34 inches of space in economy-class—shrinking airline seats have made it a hot-button issue.
However, those of us who err on the side of reclining as though it's our god-given right may want to take note—a new USA Today op-ed declares: "No, you shouldn't recline your seat on planes. Here's why."
Clearly, we know which side of the debate the author falls under, but to prove the point, he spoke to etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, who runs the Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and business etiquette training.
"Unless you were sitting in a seat with extra legroom, or in first class, it would be inconsiderate to recline your seat," Gottsman reasoned. "Space is tight, and it's common knowledge and no surprise that you will be sitting in tight quarters."
And as it turns out, a razor margin of the public agrees. A recent YouGov poll found that 53 percent of travelers find passengers in front of them fully reclining their seats as somewhat or completely unacceptable—with only seven percent finding the behavior completely acceptable.
Perhaps this is why many travelers are beginning to eschew economy-class for premium seating. Many major carriers are now even beginning to pick up on the trend by expanding first-class or premium economy sections in flight cabins. But those stuck flying budget may want to reconsider reclining next time you hop aboard your next flight, or incur the wrath of the passenger behind you.