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Should airlines ban reclining seats?

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One frustrated passenger calls for action

Many passengers choose not to recline their seats on flights, thinking of the comfort – and possible anger – of the fellow flier sitting behind. But others grab the chance, taking a few extra centimetres in the hope of better sleep.

One frustrated passenger, San Francisco-based author Richard Moran, recently wrote an open letter to all airline passengers calling for action. Posted on LinkedIn, the article has been viewed almost 100,000 times.

“According to the Wall Street Journal, an airline seat is 17 inches across into which I squeeze my butt,” he wrote. “I buy one half of the armrest although I often cede it to the big guy sitting next to me. And I buy 7 inches between my knees and the ‘seat pocket in front of me’. But after takeoff the person in front of me steals half of the space in front of me. Those seven inches were mine a minute ago, now it’s down to three. Now I can’t use my laptop. Now I can’t move. I am a prisoner in a space the size of a small dog crate.”

Moran suggests that passengers pass a standardised note to the person in front.

“Dear Person in Front of Me,

I don’t know you but the back of your head is now four inches away from my face. I can smell your Head and Shoulders shampoo (it’s not working). This might all be a little too intimate for strangers. When this airplane lands I have to give a PowerPoint presentation. I have not done it yet. I was planning to do it on this flight but because you are now almost in my lap, my laptop doesn’t open and I cannot work. This is going to create problems for my career. Would you mind scooting forward? Thanks so much.

Sincerely,

The Panicked Business Traveller Sitting Behind You”

He offers two possible solutions to airlines: ban seat reclining altogether; or charge money to recline them and give the cash to the person losing the space.

Last year, Skyscanner asked 1000 travellers if they thought reclining seats should be banned; 91% said yes.

Yahoo 7

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