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British Airways

British Airways Bans Reclining Seats?

British Airways Bans Reclining Seats?
Joe Cortez

Flights under four hours will no longer feature reclining seats, starting with new aircraft deliveries

British Airways flyers no longer have to fear for their knees’ safety – but it comes at the loss of one of their core comforts in the skies. The Daily Mail reports the airline will remove reclining seats on short-haul flights by the end of the year as part of a cost-cutting measure.

The new locked seats will be installed on the airline’s new delivery of 35 Airbus A320neo and A321neo airframes, some of which will enter the flag carrier’s fleet by 2018. Current aircraft will be refitted in a cabin overhaul set to add new features to the customer experience.

“We’re also completely refurbishing the cabins of all of our existing A320 and A321 aircraft at Heathrow to improve quality and choice for our customers,” the airline told the Daily Mail in a statement. “We are installing at-seat power throughout the aircraft and will soon offer onboard WiFi.”

The British arm of International Airlines Group has targeted their short-haul domestic cabin for many cost-cutting measures in recent years. In December 2017, the carrier announced they would no longer offer two newspapers to short-haul flyers while introducing fees for meals on those same flights. With the newly announced move, some flyers are comparing British Airways to their low-cost competitors.

“I think I know which airline I will be traveling on after I have burnt all my Avios,” FlyerTalker chongcao wrote in a thread discussing the changes. “Ryanair looks more attractive day by day with its frequent…sales.”

However, some flyers look at the locked seats as an improvement in the passenger experience, claiming there’s no longer a need to fight for legroom with other passengers. “I see the inability to recline seats in short haul a positive!” Tobias-UK writes in the same thread. “I hate it when the passenger in front reclines.”

Overall, flyers have given British Airways’ seats a rating of three stars out of five in Skytrax reviews.

View Comments (10)


  1. rstruthe

    January 10, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    The end of British airways? Would take a reclining seat on Ryan Air over a locked seat on British Airways!

  2. nadabrainiac

    January 10, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    “Bans reclining seats”???

    You don’t bring your own seats on the plane – they are already installed. I guess that means that technically, with the exception of child seats, ALL seats have been banned on all airlines.

    Some free help with your language “skills”:

    1.officially or legally prohibit.
    “he was banned from driving for a year” (or, “he was banned from bringing a reclining seat on a BA flight”)
    synonyms: prohibit, forbid, veto, proscribe, disallow, outlaw, make illegal, embargo, bar, debar, block, stop, suppress, interdict;

  3. nadabrainiac

    January 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    rstruthe: I’ve flown numerous Ryanair legs and have never seen a reclining seat anywhere in the cabin. Several US and non-US airlines have a long history of providing seats that don’t recline, and some of them don’t limit that type of seating only to short-haul routes.

  4. Tailgater

    January 11, 2018 at 8:53 am

    I welcome non reclining seats! Myself, I don’t recline my seat if there’s someone behind. I consider it selfish to force the person behind to cope with a seatback inches away from one’s visage. Reminds me of somebody who, instead of staying seated, stands up at a concert blocking the view for people behind. Unless it’s just for applause or something, it’s selfish.

  5. sdsearch

    January 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

    This actually sounds like nothing more than cost-cutting. There are types of seats known as “articulating”, which are seats in which you reclining does NOT affect the person behind you, instead it affects YOUR OWN knee room. (In an articulating seats, “reclining” pushes your SEAT forward, and pulls the BOTTOM of your seat back forward.) BA could have gone for these seats, but it chose instead to cut costs and get rid of reclining totally instead. That sounds just plain CHEAP to me.

  6. wavery83

    January 11, 2018 at 10:01 am

    2nd that. Great idea. Reclining is a serious anti-social nuisance and if they do it in front of me they get my knee all flight.

  7. amanx

    January 11, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    i never ever recline on shrot haul. I will on an overnight long haul (but only after meal service). Too many idiot flyers will recline immediately, and during meal/drink service.

    I have no problem with short haul no recline, but think it should be under 4 hours.

  8. scottishpoet

    January 11, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Not really sure why you have a picture of a 747 with this article as they will not (yet) be fitted with the seats that do not recline, only A320s and A321s

    Personally I think its great that seat in front of me on my 1 hour flight from London to Glasgow will not recline into me.

  9. kabroui

    January 12, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Wow..seriously wavery83? Reclining your seat is an anti social nuisance but yet you think it’s acceptable to knee people in the back who does so?

  10. weero


    January 18, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    I immediately recline after wheels up for the duration of the flight. People who think that they have long legs and that should keep others from reclining are a nuisance and need to be put in their place.

    I noticed that the worst seat-kickers start long before one has reclined and usually calm down after being confined by the recline for a while. Yet another reason to use the button earlier than later.

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