Will we see the death of reclining seats in Economy Class?

If you are faced with a twelve-hour flight in an economy cabin, you will already appreciate that you are in for a truly harrowing and most likely uncomfortable experience! No matter how positively you try to look at such a situation, the fact is that you will have very little space in which to exist for a good number of hours ahead of you and will have to put up with complete strangers in very close proximity to you.

With all of this in mind, it goes without saying that passengers in front of you reclining even further into your extremely limited space is going to lead to angst from time to time.

Unfortunately, this has becoming an issue on many flights; especially long-haul journeys. Increasingly, arguments ensue on flights around the world almost every day and many of these have led to quite serious consequences.

One recent example of this occurred on a United Airlines flight when a passenger placed a ‘break’ on the seat in front of which prevented that passenger from reclining. The result of this was that a serious argument ensued which led the Captain to diverting the plane and the passengers involved unceremoniously being kicked off the flight.

Should Economy Seats Recline? - The Wise Traveller

Whilst these two passengers would have faced very serious penalties for this incident, is it not really the fault of the airline that they allow passengers to recline and invade the space of the person behind? Some people are more prepared to put up with a reclining passenger in front of them, but the fact will always remain that they are depriving you of at least some of the already limited space in front of you – this is indisputable.  The alternative view might also be that if the seat reclines you have somewhat of a right, to recline as does the person behind you.  Were the seats not designed this way by the airlines?

Everyone would agree that the amount of space available in an economy cabin is very restricted and precious to each passenger. Therefore, as so many polls and surveys are already calling for this, surely it’s time to take the ability to recline away from all economy passengers?

An alternative solution to this dilemma might be to introduce a new seat class in economy cabins. Perhaps there could be a section of the cabin where you pay a small premium (note the words “small premium” here please airlines!) to have the ability to recline your seat; otherwise a standard economy seat would lose this functionality completely.

It’s all very well blaming and even punishing passengers when arguments break out over reclining seats, but now it is definitely high time the airlines started to shoulder more of the accountability. Given the increasingly serious implications of this issue, we will continue to take a close look at this over the coming months and years and will endeavour to report back any such changes with the airlines. However, it may be a case of don’t hold your breath!

What do you think about reclining seats? Tell in the comment section below.