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The Great Seatback Debate, Part 2: Readers Sound Off

Last month, we asked our readers a simple question and were hit with a flood of fiery feedback: Is it rude to recline on an airplane? Opinions on this matter are divided, but it seems that every traveler has something to say about seatback etiquette — and a good chunk of them spilled their sentiments on our blog. Here’s a sample of what our opinionated readers shared:

The Recliners

A number of readers claimed that all passengers should be able to recline wherever they want and on whomever they want. Wrote Doug, “Reclining any time is fine, the button is there for a reason. You want more room? Buy a better seat.”

Ava declared, “If you don’t want someone reclining on you, buy first class. If you can’t afford it then we all have to take what we get. They do not go back that much in the first place. Shish!”

And according to Andy Sutton, “If I have paid for a ticket and the seat allows me to recline then frankly I will do it when I want, to the extent I want.”

The Anti-Recliners

“Do unto others” appears to be the creed of the upright fliers’ brigade. Wrote Matt Leonard, “Recline on me and I’ll recline on someone else. Seems like good justification. Otherwise, I’ll stay upright. Oh, left off the fact that whoever reclines in front of me will have zero chance of sleeping as I will knee the seat, or play with the tray should I catch them trying to relax. Stay upright and I’ll let you sleep in front of me.”

Wilson shares Matt’s karmic views: “I hate when people recline on me, so I have NEVER reclined on the person behind me, even if they are 5 feet tall with plenty of space.”

Neutral Territory

Despite the apparent polarizing effect of the Great Seatback Debate, some travelers were willing to compromise. Said Scott – Quirky Travel Guy, “Reclining a few inches is ok. Going all the way back is not. That’s just common sense and common courtesy!”

Soliteyah wrote, “If it’s an overnight flight, the cabin lights are dimmed, no food is being served … then I think it’s totally fine to recline! But during mealtimes, or if I have a very tall person behind me, then I probably wouldn’t do it.”

Susieq made an interesting proposition: “I suggest that passengers divide their time equally on a flight between reclining and staying upright, saving the poor soul behind them from a reclined seat for the duration of a flight.”

Did you join the debate yet? We want to hear from you! Tell us where you stand in the comments.

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