Cutting a Dash through the 21st Century


To Recline or Not To Recline?

Plane seats

I’m 6’2”, so reasonably tall but not especially so. And, like most, I’m not flush with cash so the excitement of an overseas holiday is tempered by the experience of Economy Class travel. A bit like taking part in an industrial farming experiment there are surely few experiences less edifying that being wedged in a small seat on an aeroplane for 10 hours.

To prevent your knees being subjected to the full force of of a 15 stone man bashing them with his chair, a fed-up tall chap has invented a device called the Knee Defender. Costing around £13, it can be placed on the chair in front to prevent any excessive reclining. But by Jove this has been controversial! The media has been awash with tales of punch-ups as passengers come to blows over the Knee Defender (read all about it here). So what to do?

Like most situations where the teeming mass of humanity is crammed into an enclosed space, the only way to really cope with air travel is for everyone to display some jolly good manners – especially when reclining one’s seat. You shouldn’t not recline, just have some consideration for others. Some airlines have started banning Knee Defenders in any case, so here are some very simple guidelines that might alleviate the problem:

  1. Don’t recline as soon as you get on the plane .
  2. Don’t recline if the person behind you is eating or hasn’t had their food cleared away.
  3. Only fully recline if you are sleeping, if it is to kick back and watch a film, then don’t put your chair back all the way – a half recline is more than adequate.
  4. A quick check behind you before gently lowering your seat will work wonders.


2 thoughts on “To Recline or Not To Recline?
  • Lucy says:

    I read this with interest I have a brother who is 6ft 3inches and flying is something he never looks forward too. I always check who is behind me on a flight, 9 times out of 10 I will not lower my chair. I think this invention is a good one. Why should the comfort of one superceed the needs of another Lucy

    • Modern British Gent says:

      Thanks Lucy. I agree, a quick check behind never hurt! If in doubt, stay upright I reckon. Maybe a bit of leeway on a red-eye when everyone has reclined, but that shouldn’t mean one has cart-blanch to smash their seat back without checking. Cheers.

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