To recline or not to recline, that is the question

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While most people know that the Wright Brothers were the first people in the world to fly a motor-operated airplane, many do not know that Orville spent most of the flight incredibly annoyed that Wilbur had decided to recline his seat. This was when the debate over whether it is right to recline your seat began and it has not stopped since.

Ok to be totally honest, Wilbur and Orville sat beside each other on the first flight that ever took place and there was not even a cockpit on that plane let alone reclining seats but the point remains the same, people have been arguing about whether it is correct to recline seats for a long time! As a journalist, it is my code as a professional to remain neutral and impartial about any subject matter on which I write. Having said that, I have to say that this is a silly debate. Of course, you should be allowed to recline your seat.

A recent tweet has gone viral where one man complained that a passenger who reclined their seat crushed their computer and broke it. The airline would not reimburse the cost of the computer but did give some Airmiles as a consolation. The post sparked a debate that genuinely appeared to have people split 50-50. Some said that no one should ever recline their seat as it is the height of selfish behavior while others said it was the man’s own fault his laptop was crushed.

Before we get into the reclining debate itself, let’s settle the computer debate. If you have ever had your computer out on the tray while flying and someone reclines in front of you, you will know that your computer does not break. The tray moves in tandem with the seat and the worst thing that happens is that you have to alter your view slightly. The person who tweeted clearly had their computer placed under where the top of the tray secures. He was asking for trouble and it was completely his own fault.

As for the debate itself, it is a no brainer for me. If everyone reclines, everyone has a more comfortable flight. If no one reclines everyone has a less comfortable flight and the amount of space remains the same. There is no reason for people to think it is selfish behavior. Chairs are designed to recline not to as a test of the altruistic behavior of passengers it is to allow people to sit up while taking off, landing and eating and to recline during all other times. 

The only etiquette that should exist when reclining your chair is to ensure you don’t do it during mealtime and that before your recline you should look behind you to ensure someone doesn’t have an appendage or drink in a weird place that will result in an accident. Once that is clear, recline away.

If you want to talk about bad plane behavior then what about the people who take their shoes off (which is totally fine) and then put one foot up on the back of the armrest in front of them, directly beside where someone’s head is as they try to sleep. If you decide to take your shoes off (which is totally fine) please keep them on the floor to save others from any slight odor that may be present. On that note, if you are flying, please change your socks before your flight to be kind to others.

I hope this settles the debate over whether reclining your chair is wrong or right. Of course, it is perfectly fine to do, just watch out for the passenger behind you and if you are feeling extra nice, let them know that you will be reclining. For me though, that is already too nice. Recline at will people, recline at will.