Is It Rude To Recline Airline Seat??

By Melissa Moore on October 10, 2023
RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 29: A scenic view of aircraft flying overhead photographed on November 29, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

Recently, I was flying home to Denver and sitting with the other economy folk towards the back of the plane.  Our plane had barely taken off when I felt a strong tap, tap on my shoulder.  I took off my headphones to have the woman behind me angrily asking, ‘Do you have your seat back?’. 

I hadn’t put my seat back, so I told her no.  Then she pointed that it was back about 1”.  I tried to fix it by pushing the button, but it was broken and wouldn’t stay perfectly upright.  I apologized, but it was very obvious that she was angry about losing that 1″ of space. 

As I put back on my headphones I started thinking...Is it socially unacceptable to put your airline seat back these days? 

As I’m pondering all of this, I notice that the guy in front of me has pushed his seat all the way back.  There is no room anyway and I’m honestly used to feeling uncomfortable and crammed while flying.  As long as he’s not rocking back and forth or jumping around I really don’t care.

Aren’t we all uncomfortable flying these days?

This past year I have flown more than any time in my life.  What I usually encounter is angry people, delayed flights, rudeness, crammed trains and a TSA pre-check line filled with people who don’t fly very often.  I’m not even mentioning germs or the lingering fear of Covid.  Flying is a hot mess with a hefty price tag these days.

Since we’re all miserable flying, is putting your seat back rude to the person behind you?  OR is putting your seat back your right as a paying passenger?

Unfortunately, the woman behind me stayed angry the whole flight.  Every chance she got she would hit my seat with her leg and make a comment. You might be thinking, wow – how far back was your chair?!  1” friends.  Not even the full recline of a normal seat.  Why was she so mad then?  No idea, but it did get me thinking….

Xox Melissa

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