A special place in hell is reserved for people who recline their seats in coach

This morning’s New York Times has a depressing story about the continued plunging descent of modern air travel from the glamour of the jet age to the cattle-car status of airborne buses. The too long; didn’t read summary is that airlines are disabling reclining seats and installing “lightweight” seats with less padding  and locked backs to jam in another row or two of human livestock to jack up their revenues.

What amazed this 6 foot 2 inch tall victim of the center seat is that the reporter was able to find two dickheads willing to admit they actually recline their seats and whine to the stewardess if thwarted.

Listen to this loser:

“They jam their knee into the back of your seat as hard as they can, and they’ll do it repeatedly to see if they can get a reaction,” said Mick Brekke, a businessman who flies for work a few times a month. “That’s happened to me more than once, and that usually settles down after they realize I’m not going to put it back up.””

and this douchenozzle:

“Odysseas Papadimitriou, the chief executive of WalletHub.com, a personal finance social network, was challenged by a tall passenger seated behind him when he reclined his seat. “He was like, ‘Hey, watch it, buddy. I don’t fit here with you reclining the seat,’ ” he said.

“Mr. Papadimitriou called the flight attendant to mediate the dispute and eventually tilted his seat back, but the price he paid to recline was a fitful night’s sleep, as the other passenger grumbled and pushed against the back of his seat for the rest of the flight.”

Listen up chowderheads. Real men don’t recline. Ever. And they don’t carry man purses, wear capri pants, talk on their cell phone at the dinner table and own luggage with wheels on it. Only the Clampetts and the Obese recline on airplanes. (Business and First is an exception, but then again, Business and First is meant to be an expensive exception, right?)

I never push that little button and push my seat back into the personal space of the passenger behind me. Never. I’ve lost a laptop screen to a jerk pushing their seat back, and have even had the back of my seat ripped off after a 500-pound obese whale of a woman in a sari decided to use my seat as a lifting mechanism to pry herself to her feet to indulge in a bout of explosive diarrhea that resulted in an entire bank of 747 toilets being cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. I spent seven hours riding upright with no seatback whatsoever thanks to that lady.

It is the passenger in front of me, the one who as soon as the plane levels off and the little seatbelt sign goes off with a “bong” that decides it’s Barcalounger time that I want to punch in the back of the head. Yes, I have seen with interest the little seat blocker devices one can use to wedge the seat in front of one’s self into an unreclinable position. I have also braced my knees into the seatback and done my best to thwart the bozo who thinks it’s their god given right to press the button. But never. EVER. Will I be that guy.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

7 thoughts on “A special place in hell is reserved for people who recline their seats in coach”

  1. Well said.
    I too have lost a notebook screen to a reclining dilitante who lacked the common sense to note that I was forcefully pushing his seat upright.
    Southpest seems to attract such flyers– which is the reasonI no longer fly the airline.
    My current heros are Jet Blue and Virgin America, which still have space between aisles and well padded seats. ALso, those airlines seem to attract courteous passengers and aircrew.
    oh for real horror, try flying Los Angeles to DUblin on Aer Lingus. It’s barely padded seats make for an unfun 11-hour flight.
    Great post.

  2. Perfectly put. Many is the time I have jammed my knees into a seatback to (sometimes) prevent reclining; and no luggage of mine has wheels.

  3. You don’t need to wait until the plane levels off. After take-off, you can recline. Immediately. And I do.

    And you should. You paid for that seat and all the wonders that come with it. You want to go with some Puritanical self-inflicted suffering? Enjoy.

    Do you know what really pisses me off? Fat people who spill over (and under) the arm rest. My seat. Keep your body on your side of the divider or buy another seat. I paid for this one, recline and all…

    Judge me. But do it quietly. I am reclined and snoozing…

  4. I recline. I do not rail at fat people who spill over into my seat or tall people who cannot get their knees out of my lower back because they are human beings and it turns out human beings come in all shapes and sizes. Our fervor for cheap airline travel for business and pleasure has allowed the airlines to create a toxic environment where sizeism thrives.

  5. really? I had no idea people get this angry at recliners. I recline all the time and am apparently angering people? Sheesh. If someone reclines in front of me I just recline myself and no net space is lost. So what’s the problem? The person behind me can do the same thing.

    My guess is that the people who are upset with recliners are also upset with many other things that people do on a regular basis. My advice? Find something else to spend your energy on.

  6. Marta — I am not size-ist, despite the snarky remark about the beast who literally snapped the back of my seat off during a 20 hour ordeal to New Delhi. Trust me, as a season ticket holder of my own special piece of Fenway Park’s bleachers, sitting next to a Baby Huey behemoth of a son, squirming with his back fat stuck in my lap, and mine in his — intimate seating is not the issue.

    But when there is an option to invade my neighbor’s space by pressing a button and turning my chair into my Lazy Boy recline, I draw the line. I will not do it. Stoics suck it up. Weaklings press the button.

    Topy. I hope you enjoy the angle of repose you paid for. It is your right to recline. But when you sit in front of me, don’t expect me to give up my space willingly, and when the airlines take away the button and make you sit up straight and eat your peas. We will be brothers in good posture.

  7. David, I am 100% with you! Indeed, it is the right of a traveler to recline. It is also their right to say hateful things, use 100X more water than the average person, or refrain from bathing for weeks. All are inconsiderate.
    When the person in front reclines, they not only reduce my space, which I can only rectify by victimizing the person behind (note: the person in the last row is unable to recline, so this solution is a fallacy); they also nearly eliminate my ability to use my computer. If my screen escapes being crushed, I’m now relegated to a typing style used by victims of ALS.
    I try not to be angry. Maybe the person has back trouble. But mostly, I think people just aren’t willing to curtail their assertion of rights for the sake of others’ interests.

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