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Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

london
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7 posts
3 reviews
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Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

My girlfriend and I returned yesterday from NYC to Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic in Premium Economy.

We had a nightmare situation with the couple seated in front of us. They were seated in the window/aisle bulkhead. I've been obsessing over this all day, trying to figure out if we were the jerks or if they were, or perhaps were we all just being jerks.

Shortly after takeoff, the woman (seated in front of my girlfriend) slammed her seat back and continued to push back as if she was hoping for another inch of recline. This is just a bit rude, and not really offensive. So we just shrugged it off. Shortly after this, the man threw his seat back into my knees. I'm not really tall, just about 6 feet, but there was no place for my knees to go except into the back of his seat.

They both put their feet up on the bulkhead and reclined until dinner service. I suppose this is what bothered me most, and I have to admit that I wasn't shy about shifting my knees around and visibly disturbing the gentleman's rest. After dinner service, they both slammed their seats back again. The lady did the extra pushing back of her seat as if to say, 'This is MY seat'. It was while she was pushing further and further back on her seat that I pulled it back further and let it go slingshot style. That was of course, intentionally rude, and is where things probably escalated.

She complained to her boyfriend/husband who turned around and asked me to stop kicking his chair. I explained that I didn't have enough room to move my legs, and said I should recline my seat if I wanted more room. I said that I didn't want to be rude to the person behind me and he said this is what everyone does.

I asked if he was perhaps handicapped and needed not only the full length of the bulk head but also my personal space. He said he wasn't handicapped, and turned around and put his feet back up on the wall of the bulkhead.

When we touched down, my girlfriend and I passed them and didn't look back. That was until we got out of the terminal into the smoking area - which there were at. The woman wasted no time and confronted my girlfriend in a very aggressive manner and accused her of kicking her seat and talking during the whole fight.

I did not witness my GF kick the lady's seat at all. The only possible explanation to trigger this lady's rage was that my GF might have pressed the buttons on the seat back controller hard enough that she could feel it. My GF said she only pressed the controller softly, but it had to have been something. This lady's first seat back rage attacked happened shortly after takeoff.

So a big shouting match erupted between the four of us, disturbing (or perhaps entertaining) fellow passengers in the smoking area. It was just ridiculous. The lady was raging.

And regarding the 'you were talking the whole time' comment, my GF and I had one single 5 minute conversation during the whole flight. My GF did watch a movie and laughed a few times. Then she went to sleep for the last 4 hours of the flight.

I take pride in being a courteous passenger. I've filled 3 passports in my lifetime. Granted, in this case I did 'retaliate' and somehow fueled a bad situation. But should I have just let it go and allowed them to dump on us? I don't know.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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54,891 posts
15 reviews
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91. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

I've said it before but once again: I don't recline. Ever. Sleeper seats in Club World and F are a different matter, but when in WT+ and Economy I don't recline.

But it's built in to the seats, so if others want to they can do so. What is annoying is when people bounce against the seats, trying to get more recline out of the seats than built in to them.

Seats backs should be raised for meal service, and they should be raised for take off and landing: I've seen too many pax surreptitiously recline after crew have been seated for those parts of the flight.

Indian River...
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449 posts
2 reviews
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92. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

I must say that my husband always reclines his seat even on short flights. He has a bad low back and cannot sit in an upright position. He always reclines slowly but still gets nasty comments from the person behind him from time to time. Once a gentleman, or not, continually folded and unfolded his newpaper at the back of his head even letting it come over the back of the seat and hitting him in the face with it. When I nicely asked him to stop, he said if he doesn't like it that sit his seat up. I explained about the medical low back problem and he just said "Well that's his problem, I don't care." Most of the time, the people are fine.

As far as throwing the seat back. He always reclines slowly, however there have been times where the mechanism must be broken because it flies back and he is very surprised. So, there is a possiblity that some of the "seat throwing back" is not the fault of the passenger.

UK
Destination Expert
for North Wales
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4,798 posts
59 reviews
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93. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

Must have been a broadsheet newspaper

Now reading one of them on a plane is a bit discourteous .

In order to turn over the pages you cross into the sace of the people beside you, especially so if you occupy the middle seat.

Anyone who usually takes a Broadsheet should buy the compact version of the paper when flying.

Broadsheets are too big for reding on planes.

Alllowing the pages to fall over someone else's head displays a lack of courtesy.

Haarlem, The...
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1,618 posts
261 reviews
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94. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

I almost never recline on short haul flights because I just don't feel the need to sleep. But on long haul I always end up reclining. You really never recline on 10+ hour flights? You sleep completely upright? Or you always fly business on long haul?

I don't feel that the recline is that much of an invasion on most planes. I've only had someone reclining very far back once on an Air France flight. Not sure if something was wrong with the seat or if that is the configuration of their planes.

UK, Mauritius
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Belle Mare, Pointe Aux Piments, Pereybere
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37,986 posts
93 reviews
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95. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

Post #92:

If the seat sprung back as you say and your husband has a bad back I think he might have been a bit more than surprised! ;)

Ouch!

NJ
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554 posts
3 reviews
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96. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

I cringe every time I see this topic but, I do find the discourse entertaining.

Richmond, VA
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1,718 posts
32 reviews
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97. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

Arandora, the person was verbally abusing a flight attendant who was instructing her to follow safety regulations for take-off???

And then again at meal service?

I'm surprised she wasn't reported to the pilot.

Was there any follow-up with the passenger when she spilled your wine?

Sheesh, something more than just reclining the seat was at work there, but I can't figure out what it is.

Also can't figure out the militancy of the dedicated recliners, something more is going on it seems, but...??

I rarely recline either and if so, just a smidge, usually to sleep. Once awake the seat back is upright.

And as some have suggested the issue is reclining at all, that's not my feeling, I don't mind the person in the seat in front of me reclining in a normal, considerate fashion.

Richmond, VA
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1,718 posts
32 reviews
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98. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

ha, ha! there's even a flying gadget for the problem:

http://www.kneedefender.com/html2/how_to.htm

Lancashire, UK
Destination Expert
for Flic En Flac, Mauritius
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18,253 posts
197 reviews
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99. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

Apart from encroaching on the person behind I can never understand why anyone would want to fully recline, I tried it and found it was most uncomfortable, just a little recline is enough for most of us to relax.

I also think there should be a reminder just before meal service that seats should be in the upright position and that FA's make more of an effort to see that they are.

Sympathies Arandora over that red, I would have been hopping mad if it had been my G&T.

UK
Destination Expert
for North Wales
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4,798 posts
59 reviews
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100. Re: Seat Etiquette Nightmare (very long)

The Knee defender, come with a courtesy card.

What would your reaction be if you were handed such a card as you took up your seat before he plane hd even left the stand?

I don't think it is very courteous at all

It is presumptuous and rude. The passenger using this device is taking control of your seat for you.

I believe that you should be considerate, but this is a bit on sided.

Here's what the card says

This is a Knee Defender™ Courtesy Card™

I am using Knee Defender.  Knee Defender is a small plastic device that helps me protect myself by limiting how much the seat in front of me can recline.  I wanted to let you know about this and provide the following information:

___ Unfortunately, my legs are so long that if you recline your seat at all it would immediately bang into my knees.

___  As best I can estimate, you could recline your seat about ____ inches without banging into my knees.  If you would like to recline your seat this much at some point during the flight, please let me know and I will adjust my Knee Defender so that is possible.

___ If you would like to recline your seat at some point during the flight, please let me know and I will try to adjust myself and my Knee Defender so that it can be done safely.

I realize that this may be an inconvenience.  If so, I hope you will complain to the airline.  Maybe working together we can convince the airlines to provide enough space between rows so that people can recline their seats without banging into other passengers. 

Thank you for your understanding.

Edited: 15 September 2012, 22:18