We were flying Economy from London to Sydney with British Airways when a man in front abruptly reclined his seat the full distance, almost striking Sue in the face.

He then took a tablet and seemed to fall asleep. This occurred so quickly that there was no chance of negotiation.

Before his companion had time to do the same, I raised my feet and pushed hard on the back of the seat to prevent that one from also reclining.

The woman tried several times and then gave up.

Standing on the seat

Now, Sue is, by nature, a gentle soul, but when she was unable to lower the table for a meal and was forced to stand on the seat to get out for a call of nature, she alerted the cabin crew.

However, neither the man nor his companion could be woken by the crew  and the steward finally shrugged and promised to seek an alternative seat for Sue.

We didn’t want to be separated, so we suffered the situation for most of the trip.


Hence, we’ve watched with interest as the question of banning reclining seats – initially on domestic flights – has become a hot issue in recent months.

This is not an ‘Age-Friendly’ issue: fully reclining seats can cramp the space of all passengers.

However, it is one of the biggest travel complaints that we hear – and we’re not alone.

Late last year, several flights were diverted after midair passenger fights over reclining seats.

And in the past few weeks, British Airways, announced that it would ban seat reclining – at least on short flights. In doing so, it joined several other  airlines, including RyanAir.

For decades, it was assumed that if you bought a seat, then you had the right to recline it.  This argument still has plenty of supporters.

Times change

But, times change and a few recent online polls of air travellers appear to have  shown a preference for non-reclining seats. Obviously, the issue has been simmering for some time.

The way we see it, whatever space there is in Economy, is effectively shared space.

If, for some genuine reason, we needed to recline a seat, the person behind would be informed first.

Most people wouldn’t consider reclining their seat sharply in a car. So why is a plane any different?

What do you think?

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