talk back tuesday: airplane etiquette

I’ve got a hard-hitting question for today . . . a question of eternal significance. Or at least it felt like it during our overnight flight to Peru. Let’s talking about reclining seats on airplanes.

I’ve always been of the opinion that reclining a seat on an airplane was an acceptable practice. Mark reclines his seat back as soon as the plane hits the air. I’m a bit more judicious, but typically during a flight I will eventually recline my seat as well. I’ve heard from people who feel that it’s rude, but I think if the function is there, it’s there to be used.  However, there is the pesky problem of that row of seats in front of the exit row that don’t recline.

During our red-eye we were seat in front of the non-reclining row. (Two rows in front of the exit row). When we sat down, the couple behind us were in the dramatic process of discovering that they’d gotten the row of non-reclining seats.  A bummer, to be sure. They were traveling with a toddler, and made it known to us and to the flight attendant that since their seats did not recline, the row in front of them should not lean their chairs back, either.

I will admit, I was a little annoyed by this request. I complied . . . resentfully, though I’m not sure why. The result is that the row in front of me OF COURSE reclined their seats into my lap, so then I was the one punished, instead of the non-reclining row.

What say you, internet jury? Is it fair to request the row in front of  you not recline their seats? Should we all give a domino courtesy to the non-reclining row and keep our seats upright? Or is it a matter of lottery, and if you get stuck in the bad row, you just have to deal with it?


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