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Seat Recline in Economy - Regulation

Seat Recline in Economy - Regulation

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Old May 9, 19, 6:27 am
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Seat Recline in Economy - Regulation

Anyone know of a Korean Air policy that says you can't recline your seat in economy? My wife and I were on a recent flight from KIX to GMP. It was a super early flight, so my wife just wanted to catch a few Z's on the way. As seems typical of Asian airlines, even on short flights, a meal was served in economy class. This prompted several flight attendants to try to force my wife to raise her seat back, claiming it was regulation. It seemed they really were just trying to cater to someone with status, sitting behind my wife, to make sure this person could eat without a seat reclined into her space. They stopped pressuring my wife after what appeared to be the other passenger waiving away the flight attendant.

Some notes: I think the person behind my wife had status because she got her drinks way before any service started. I also noticed the flight attendant look at the passenger behind my wife, as if to acknowledge them motioning something, and that's when the flight attendants stopped pressuring my wife to return her seat to the upright position. Lastly the seats had plenty of pitch. I think it was 34 inches of pitch, so not exactly crammed by any means, and my wife reclining would not be impacting the person behind her.

Anyway, my wife resisted and it made me super nervous and her pretty upset. I'm just wondering if there is some regulation. I know we're supposed to comply with instructions, but this seemed pretty ridiculous. Generally in the US you can comply and hope to be compensated for your issue later, but this was new territory for me. Any thoughts?
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Old May 9, 19, 7:30 am
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This is 100% a Korean Air policy, is very strictly applied and has nothing to do with status. They will even wake up passengers to get them to raise their seat.

Some other airlines apply this too, and some don't.

Everyone may have their own opinion but mine is that I strongly appreciate KE's consistency with service and that includes raising seats during meals and forcing blinds down during long haul flights.

Seems like the passenger sitting behind was kind enough to yield space
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Old May 9, 19, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by benji2227 View Post
This is 100% a Korean Air policy, is very strictly applied and has nothing to do with status. They will even wake up passengers to get them to raise their seat.

Some other airlines apply this too, and some don't.

Everyone may have their own opinion but mine is that I strongly appreciate KE's consistency with service and that includes raising seats during meals and forcing blinds down during long haul flights.

Seems like the passenger sitting behind was kind enough to yield space
Is this policy written anywhere?
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Old May 9, 19, 10:32 am
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It isn't AFAIK but compliance with cabin crew instructions is written black on white.

If your goal is to get compensation for being asked to raise the headrest during meal time (and then allowed to keep it down), fair enough.

In my experience KE is stingy on compensations and I have been refused compensation for more serious issues such as screen problems on 10h+ flights.
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Old May 9, 19, 1:20 pm
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When meals are served, the seats in front should be raised up so that the person in the seat behind can have their meal properly.
It is just basic courtesy.

Almost all airlines do this.
I dont know of an airline which does not do this.

There is no conspiracy or anything like that.
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Old May 9, 19, 2:41 pm
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I'm not looking for compensation. No US airline offers meal service in economy as a standard. So like I said this was new territory for me. My wife was just super tired and wanted to rest, which is not really possible when seated upright. The way the trays are set up in coach, and with a 34" pitch, I can't imagine there is any impact to the rear passenger of a fully reclined seat. The trays are hinged with a telescoping arm rather than directly connected to the seat, plus they then slid closer to the passenger.

I guess this is a debatable topic. I just feel like if it's an enforced policy it should be in black and white. Common courtesy goes both ways. My wife needed sleep. Why is a meal a right but sleeping a privilege?
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Old May 9, 19, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
I'm not looking for compensation. No US airline offers meal service in economy as a standard. So like I said this was new territory for me. My wife was just super tired and wanted to rest, which is not really possible when seated upright. The way the trays are set up in coach, and with a 34" pitch, I can't imagine there is any impact to the rear passenger of a fully reclined seat. The trays are hinged with a telescoping arm rather than directly connected to the seat, plus they then slid closer to the passenger.

I guess this is a debatable topic. I just feel like if it's an enforced policy it should be in black and white. Common courtesy goes both ways. My wife needed sleep. Why is a meal a right but sleeping a privilege?
Sound like a DYKWIA here. Meal time, landing, take off have always been a no recline time for most airlines forever. Being tire is no excuse of reclining seat in said time.
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Old May 9, 19, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by t_cliff View Post
Sound like a DYKWIA here. Meal time, landing, take off have always been a no recline time for most airlines forever. Being tire is no excuse of reclining seat in said time.
Lol I didn't claim me or my wife are special travelers. If someone in front of me wanted to recline, that's their right. If I wanted more room I would book business class or first. My wife just wanted to recline her seat during a time when seat recline should be allowed. Unless there is a true black and white regulation, it's just courtesy to do X, Y, or Z. I don't agree that an FA should try to force a passenger to raise their seat outside of take off and landing. They can ask but forcing the passenger and claim there is a regulation seems wrong. Especially given the circumstance, the passenger in the rear has plenty of space to eat and drink with the way the tray is set up.

It sounds like there is no regulation on this. My wife should still have complied with the FA. I asked her to but she refused their and my requests.

I don't know that I agree that seat recline has always been off limits during meal service. I'm sure you'll find around the world that plenty of FAs will either ask once as a request but not force. I guess there may be some cultural differences. I can almost guarantee no FA on a US airline will force a passenger to raise their seat outside of take off and landing.

I appreciate the responses. If someone knows of a written policy on this I would love to see it. Maybe this is something I can ask KE to clarify.
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Old May 9, 19, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiiO View Post
Almost all airlines do this.
I dont know of an airline which does not do this.
Recently flew Avianca on a 8h flight and they do not.

But then Avianca is far down the chain compared to KE as far as service goes.

When I board a flight in Y, I like knowing for a certainty that during meal times I will get my full space to have my meal, and that it won't depend on wether the passenger in front of me has his/her seat reclined.
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Old May 11, 19, 10:17 pm
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I've been flying KE for a dozen years and have always seen the FAs ask passengers to raise their seatbacks during mealtimes. And I've never seen anyone refuse to do so.
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Old May 12, 19, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
Lol I didn't claim me or my wife are special travelers. If someone in front of me wanted to recline, that's their right. If I wanted more room I would book business class or first. My wife just wanted to recline her seat during a time when seat recline should be allowed. Unless there is a true black and white regulation, it's just courtesy to do X, Y, or Z. I don't agree that an FA should try to force a passenger to raise their seat outside of take off and landing. They can ask but forcing the passenger and claim there is a regulation seems wrong. Especially given the circumstance, the passenger in the rear has plenty of space to eat and drink with the way the tray is set up.

It sounds like there is no regulation on this. My wife should still have complied with the FA. I asked her to but she refused their and my requests.

I don't know that I agree that seat recline has always been off limits during meal service. I'm sure you'll find around the world that plenty of FAs will either ask once as a request but not force. I guess there may be some cultural differences. I can almost guarantee no FA on a US airline will force a passenger to raise their seat outside of take off and landing.

I appreciate the responses. If someone knows of a written policy on this I would love to see it. Maybe this is something I can ask KE to clarify.
But that's the point... the fact that so many airlines (all that I fly on in fact) require seats to be upright during meal service shows that all those airlines disagree with you. I would also suggest that no matter WHAT the stated pitch is ...NO Y seat has "plenty of room to eat and drink" with the seat in front reclined.
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Old May 12, 19, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by trooper View Post
But that's the point... the fact that so many airlines (all that I fly on in fact) require seats to be upright during meal service shows that all those airlines disagree with you. I would also suggest that no matter WHAT the stated pitch is ...NO Y seat has "plenty of room to eat and drink" with the seat in front reclined.
I sat in the same seat. I put the tray down and can honestly say I would have been completely fine had the person in front fully reclined. Might it have been fractionally more comfortable with the seat upright? Sure. Would it have been reason enough to force another passenger from relaxing in their chair? No. I'll live. Same with passengers passing gas on the plane. Do any of us like it? No. Should we be allowed to force the passenger to hold it in? Just like sitting upright it's uncomfortable and unhealthy.

Beside the fight for comfort should be with the airlines, not other passengers. This is not the natural world we are talking about. This is a man-made problem and the man is the airline that crammed us into seats that we can't be comfortable in. This self policing is garbage. Ask for more comfortable seats, not more considerate passengers. Beside you have no idea why the person in front of you needs or wants to recline. Point is if it's not in writing, then my wife had every right to recline her seat without harassment, regardless of whether the passenger behind her, the FA, or you feel that she's an a-hole for doing so.
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Old May 12, 19, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
Point is if it's not in writing, then my wife had every right to recline her seat without harassment, regardless of whether the passenger behind her, the FA, or you feel that she's an a-hole for doing so.
Not judging your wife or personal opinion but... what is in writing (in the KE Terms of Carriage) is complying with the orders of the cabin crew.

In theory, that would have been breaking the rules and is punishable (as written in the Terms of Carriage). Lucky that the passenger behind accepted to yield space during dinner or it might have ended differently.

4. Code of Conduct in Cabin

1) If a passenger misconducts himself or herself in cabin as below, KAL may take necessary actions as it deems necessary to prevent continuation of such conduct, including restraint. Such passenger may be disembarked and refused onward carriage at any point, and may be prosecuted for offences committed inside the aircraft;

a. The passenger endangers the aircraft or any person or property on board;

b. The passengers fails to comply with any instructions or requirements of the crew including but not limited to those with respect to smoking, alcohol, drug consumption or disruptive behavior;

c. The passenger behaves in a manner which causes or is likely to cause discomfort, inconvenience, damage or injury to other passengers or the crew;
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Old May 12, 19, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by benji2227 View Post
Not judging your wife or personal opinion but... what is in writing (in the KE Terms of Carriage) is complying with the orders of the cabin crew.

In theory, that would have been breaking the rules and is punishable (as written in the Terms of Carriage). Lucky that the passenger behind accepted to yield space during dinner or it might have ended differently.
Yes. No disagreement there. I've had lengthy conversations with my wife about this so she understands the difference. Part of me wanting to post this is to understand what is in writing specifically regarding the request that was made by the FAs. If it's their policy it should be in writing. It should not present a situation where FAs, other passengers and yourself are at odds over what should and shouldn't be allowed, especially considering the disparity of this topic across different airlines and this having been an international flight. I feel like it does a disservice to passengers to avoid putting enforceable policies in writing, and it lets the airline hide behind the FAs who have to do the dirty work while the airline can avoid having to do something that might affect sales like putting in writing policies that restrict freedoms in the cabin.
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Old May 12, 19, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
Yes. No disagreement there. I've had lengthy conversations with my wife about this so she understands the difference. Part of me wanting to post this is to understand what is in writing specifically regarding the request that was made by the FAs. If it's their policy it should be in writing. It should not present a situation where FAs, other passengers and yourself are at odds over what should and shouldn't be allowed, especially considering the disparity of this topic across different airlines and this having been an international flight. I feel like it does a disservice to passengers to avoid putting enforceable policies in writing, and it lets the airline hide behind the FAs who have to do the dirty work while the airline can avoid having to do something that might affect sales like putting in writing policies that restrict freedoms in the cabin.
Curious what your take is on other unwritten but obviously common sense rules of flying are? If you put your feet on someone else's armrest simply because your legs need to be comfortable and the FA asks you to remove your feet do you ask to see it in writing? If you don't want to abide by FAs requests perhaps you should fly private. Stop making Americans look bad.
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