Polite way to handle seat-recline problem?

 

Old Oct 2, 07, 8:47 pm
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Polite way to handle seat-recline problem?

I am sure that this has situation has been covered before, but I do not remember the answer. I was in seat 6F and there was a 6"6" man behind me in 7F. He asked me not to recline my seat because he could not fit his legs in even if I was slightly reclined. I, on the other hand, am an older person with back problems and need the recline to releave the pain.

When the gentleman asked me, my first reaction was that CAL fixed the pitch and recline and he would have to find a way to live with it. Then I had second thoughts and realized that I should be as accomodating as possible to my fellow passenger.

I called the FA and explained that the gentleman had a problem. Fortunately, the FA somehow played musical seats on this full 737 and got him an exit row seat.

Now, my question to all of you is: What would have been the proper thing for me to do (with my aching back) if the gentleman had not been moved?

Jack
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Old Oct 2, 07, 8:54 pm
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Way to go, Mr. Jack! Putting the needs of others first is an admirable trait...something to which I can aspire.
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Old Oct 2, 07, 8:58 pm
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I see a trip to Travelbuzz in your future....
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:02 pm
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As one who profoundly despises the cramped seat pitch of CO I think you did the right thing. Luckily a solution was found.

As a rule, whenever I fly CO Y I do not recline my seat because I know I will be intruding in the absurdly limited space the person behind me has.

The bigger picture, though, is that this yet another example of the horrifying conditions in which CO excepts 90% of its customers to fly.

Imagine if you had been on your way from EWR to HKG and no accommodation had been possible? Would have been willing/able to endure excruciating back pain for over 16 hours?

As I have written many times before, I once was so uncomfortable and cramped on a CO transcon that I went straight from the airport to a chiropractor in El Segundo.
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:25 pm
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Here is an alternate view. The person who is asking you not to recline is essentially taking up some of your "paid" space. And while I would by no means treat a fellow human with disrespect I do not make my travel purchases based on other passengers needs. If they have space/comfort issues then it is up to them - not you - to plan accordingly.

The passenger in back of you basically said "I want you to be more uncomfortable so I can be more comfortable." So you sound like a better person than me. I probably would have asked him to reimburse me for my recline space (okay.. maybe not but I probably would have reclined anyway..especially on a long haul).
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
Imagine if you had been on your way from EWR to HKG and no accommodation had been possible? Would have been willing/able to endure excruciating back pain for over 16 hours?
Funny you mentioned it. Two of us are flying from HKG to EWR Nov 20, and I am anxiously awaiting upgrades to clear on that leg. No way we are flying coach; but no way I'm paying full J. At least we are Plats on a full Y fare and have highest priority.

Jack

Last edited by Xyzzy; Oct 3, 07 at 5:50 am Reason: Fixed UBB code
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:35 pm
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Originally Posted by jsmcnabb View Post
Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
Imagine if you had been on your way from EWR to HKG and no accommodation had been possible? Would have been willing/able to endure excruciating back pain for over 16 hours?
Funny you mentioned it. Two of us are flying from HKG to EWR Nov 20, and I am anxiously awaiting upgrades to clear on that leg. No way we are flying coach; but no way I'm paying full J. At least we are Plats on a full Y fare and have highest priority.

Jack
What if it doesn't clear? Hopefully, you can get an exit row.

I know that BF is not cheap transpac...

Good luck.

Last edited by Xyzzy; Oct 3, 07 at 5:51 am Reason: Fixed UBB code
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post
What if it doesn't clear? Hopefully, you can get an exit row.

I know that BF is not cheap transpac...

Good luck.
Our total trip is TPA/IAH/LAX/HNL/GUM/HKG/EWR/TPA starting 10/27. if it doesn't clear before we leave HNL (11/13) I may have to find an alternative to get my wife's EQMs to Plat level for the year.

Jack

Last edited by Xyzzy; Oct 3, 07 at 5:51 am Reason: Fixed UBB code
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Old Oct 2, 07, 9:56 pm
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[QUOTE=jsmcnabb;8500314]
Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1 View Post

Our total trip is TPA/IAH/LAX/HNL/GUM/HKG/EWR/TPA starting 10/27. if it doesn't clear before we leave HNL (11/13) I may have to find an alternative to get my wife's EQMs to Plat level for the year.

Jack
That's the mother of all mileage runs. Impressive. Looks like you'll be visiting some interesting places, as well.

Still, wouldn't you consider exit rows? Not the same as BF, but certainly adequate legroom.
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Old Oct 2, 07, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Flyer_70 View Post
Here is an alternate view. The person who is asking you not to recline is essentially taking up some of your "paid" space. And while I would by no means treat a fellow human with disrespect I do not make my travel purchases based on other passengers needs. If they have space/comfort issues then it is up to them - not you - to plan accordingly.

The passenger in back of you basically said "I want you to be more uncomfortable so I can be more comfortable." So you sound like a better person than me. I probably would have asked him to reimburse me for my recline space (okay.. maybe not but I probably would have reclined anyway..especially on a long haul).
I'm with you (and you'vd said it a lot more eloquently than I). I regard the very tall passenger the same way as I regard the overweight passenger -- if they need more space than the airline provides to be comfortable, they need to make other arrangements: either buy F, or ensure they get a bulkhead or exit row. Now, the reality is, if a request is phrased politely AND there is a compelling reason, I'd probably accommodate a passenger who requested I limit, but not eliminate, my recline. However, I have no patience for those who work themselves up into high dudgeon, as if I'm the one who's interfering with them.

I've written about this before. Rather than include links, I'll just copytwo quick stories here. First, a CO story:

My wife and I were flying back from EZE via Houston on CO. We were seated in coach. This is 10-hour red-eye flight.

Directly behind me was what Seinfeld calls, a "Loud Talker." Every single word of his on-going conversation was bellowed at top volume. It was also readily apparent that he was not a frequent flyer.

As soon as wheels were up, I reclined my seat, put on my headphones and prepared to try to sleep. At one point, about 20 minutes later, I got up to use the head (carefully, without pulling on the seat in front of me). When I returned Mr. Loud Talker said to his companion, "You know Continental is really great, and these seats are really great, and everything would be really great if we just had 3 more inches of legroom."

I sat back down, reclined my seat and prepared to settle in for the duration. Next thing I know, Mr. Loud Talker has thrust his knees into the back of my seat, pushing the seat forward a good couple of inches (bear in mind that my seat wasn't reclined into his knees -- he changed his position to deliberately push his knees into my back).

Well, the joke was on him. CO's 777 coach seats are particularly uncomfortable, at least on this plane. Though, without question, he thought he was making me uncomfortable and would force me to unrecline, his knees provided some sorely needed lumbar support, so I was quite content to let him keep them there, and nodded off with my lower back nicely supported by Mr. Loud Talker. However, about an hour later we hit some vicious turbulence over the Andes and, I guess, it got too uncomfortable for Mr. Loud Talker to "punish" me, and he withdrew his knees and they remained withdrawn for the rest of the flight.
Next, a UA story:

This morning I flew SFO to DEN in paid F, on my way to Kansas City. After wheels up, I did what I always do and slowly reclined my seat, preparing to settle in to sleep. Apparently, the passenger seated behind me decided he was entitled to his space, and part of mine as well -- I started feeling sporadic kicks against the back of my seat. I ignored him, figuring he'd get the message and give up, but no. He opened his newspaper and rested the top of it on my head. At first, I didn't realize what he was doing and just brushed at my head. However, when it happened again, I grabbed the paper, turned around and said, "Could you please keep your paper off my head." He said, "I want to read my paper and you've reclined into my lap." I said, "When you've paid for my seat, you can tell me what to do with it." He said, "Well, put it up a little."

I'm having a particularly bad week and I didn't feel like a confrontation, so I moved the seat up a tiny bit -- a token concession, as it was. That appeared to satisfy this guy and I had no further trouble with him.

This is First Class. Seat pitch on a UA 757 in F is 38". I paid the premium to sit in F because I was exhausted and needed to sleep on the 2-1/2 hour flight -- that's what F is for, a little extra room and a little extra comfort. I'm of the opinion that the recliner gets to determine whether and how much to recline (though not during meal service), but I understand why tight seat pitch in coach makes this a controversial topic. However, this is a first class seat, for crying out loud!
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Old Oct 2, 07, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
I'm with you (and you'vd said it a lot more eloquently than I). I regard the very tall passenger the same way as I regard the overweight passenger -- if they need more space than the airline provides to be comfortable, they need to make other arrangements: either buy F, or ensure they get a bulkhead or exit row. Now, the reality is, if a request is phrased politely AND there is a compelling reason, I'd probably accommodate a passenger who requested I limit, but not eliminate, my recline. However, I have no patience for those who work themselves up into high dudgeon, as if I'm the one who's interfering with them.

I've written about this before. Rather than include links, I'll just copytwo quick stories here. First, a CO story:



Next, a UA story:
Don't worry.. karma is a *pain* The UA dude WILL get his.
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Old Oct 2, 07, 10:51 pm
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As a rather tall passenger, I can understand both sides of this. I know when I'm in a standard coach seat on CO, the passenger in front of me probably won't be able to recline even if he/she tries, because my knees simply prevent it from happening. There's no place for them to go except right into the back of the seat in front of me. There's not a position I can sit in where my legs stretch out under the seat in front of me. So it's quite uncomfortable for both me and the passenger in front of me.

Fortunately I almost never miss an upgrade or an exit row seat, so 99% of the time it's not an issue. But I do make flight purchase decisions based on availability of upgrades and exit row seats, and have been known to go so far as to stay an extra night in a location and fly home the next morning if it meant a better seat was available. I do wish CO would do something about the seat pitch, because even 32" pitch would make a difference for me.
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Old Oct 3, 07, 12:17 am
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You could have offered to swap seats with the passenger - assuming the person in front of your original seat did not need to recline.

I have friends that are 6'3" and it is a problem with the reclined seat in front. I am 6'0" and just make it with a reclined seat in front. My legs touch the seat back of the reclined seat. Add 3" and it is a problem.

I personally think that seats should not be allowed to recline at all. A vertical seat is like a non-reclining chair in your living room - which is acceptable.
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Old Oct 3, 07, 4:30 am
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My standard answer when requested not to recline my seat is:

"Sure. I paid $----- for my seat. If you want to reimburse me for that amount, you can tell me how to use my space." No one has ever taken me up on the offer.

Just as your seatmates don't ask for your dinner because they are still hungry, or put their carryon bag under your seat because they need the room for their feet, they shouldn't ask you not to recline.

You wouldn't let your neighbor tell you that you can't park in your garage because he needs the extra spot for his car, would you?
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Old Oct 3, 07, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by climbermom View Post
My standard answer when requested not to recline my seat is:

"Sure. I paid $----- for my seat. If you want to reimburse me for that amount, you can tell me how to use my space." No one has ever taken me up on the offer.

Just as your seatmates don't ask for your dinner because they are still hungry, or put their carryon bag under your seat because they need the room for their feet, they shouldn't ask you not to recline.

You wouldn't let your neighbor tell you that you can't park in your garage because he needs the extra spot for his car, would you?

And we have a winner!
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