Some of you may have read about the spectacular rage that jewelry designer Jenny Lauren flew into on a plane that resulted in her chasing the poor flight attendant into the first class cabin, screaming obscenities, and assaulting not only her but others who came to her assistance. The niece of Ralph Lauren caused such a ruckus that they had to actually divert the plane, which was on transatlantic flight between Barcelona and New York, and make an emergency landing in Ireland, where she was dutifully arrested and charged.
The cause of her outrage? Her seat would not recline. Undoubtedly adding to the problem was that she was apparently intoxicated but the seat issue is what triggered the furious outburst.
I am not surprised. Reclining airplane seats are becoming an increasing source of aggravation on planes. Airlines are squeezing more and more people into smaller spaces and the issue of reclining seats is going to be an increasingly significant problem because it tends to add to the discomfort of the person behind. There have been fights between passengers over this issue and I expect to see them more frequently.
There are calls for this feature to be eliminated entirely because the added comfort it gives to the person reclining is more than counterbalanced by the discomfort produced by the person in front reclining their seat, so there is a net loss. Some polls put the figure is support of a ban as high as 90%.
The results showed that, if reclining seats were an option, 70 per cent of passengers admitted to being selfish and said they would recline while sitting in front of a pregnant woman. Another 80 per cent said they wouldn’t care if the person behind was frail or elderly.
The most likely passengers to be “altruistic souls” – those you should ideally aim to sit behind – were women aged between 18 and 24. Men over the age of 35 were the most selfish.
I myself would be perfectly fine with not having reclining seats. The amount they recline is hardly worth it. Meanwhile here is an etiquette guide on this issue. Maybe they should put something like that in the seat pockets.