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Reclining your seat

Reclining your seat

Old Jun 19, 2019, 1:51 am
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: HKG
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Reclining your seat

I thought I'll share this rather unpleasant experience which happened to me yesterday, not because of CX or the crew. It was because of a (should I say it - ignorant) stranger. You be the judge. I'm keen to hear what other FT members have to say with regards to this.

I was seated at 39A on CX734, SIN to HKG. Next to me was a Caucasian guy based in HK - I said the usual "Hello" and that was it.

A SP came up to me offering me a bottle of Evian to which I declined, and then the ISM came up to do her greetings. All of this done before take-off.

After take-off around the 20 minute mark the seat belt sign went off. The guy next to me reclined his seat down to the furthest setting. I reclined my seat about halfway. Straight away I could feel the person behind me knocking into it, a few times. I ignored it and started watching a movie on the IES. The knocking went on for a while and while it was annoying it was tolerable.

Then the drinks service came and went. Shortly after, a FA came up to me to ask me to put my seat up. I asked her why and she said it was because my seat was too close to the passenger's face (a woman who was travelling with her child and husband). I was incredulous - the seat was not even fully down. I said no politely, and went on watching my movie.

Another 5 minutes later, another FA came up to the guy next to me and asked him to put his seat up. He said no politely, and this time I asked the FA why the passengers behind us wanted us to put our seats up. At this point, the woman behind me shouted at me and said it was because her child (who was behind the guy next to me) was having her meal. She then said we were inconsiderate and rude! I bristled at her tone, and immediately faced her to say that if she only explained that the child was having her meal, we would have done so. The first time I was asked, the reason given was that the seat was too close to her face! (which I think was a silly reason of course).

At this, she started yelling at me and saying how rude and crazy I was, and told me that I should take business class instead of economy (?! What sort of stupid logic is that - if she doesn't want a screen too close to her face, it should be HER who should take J class, not me). I ignored her but put my seat up so that she could have more space to feed her child. The guy next to me also put his seat up but did not look pleased. Worse of all, the woman behind kept muttering I was crazy and inconsiderate... at this point, my neighbour turned around, told her to shut up and asked "Is this your first time on a plane or what?!"

When I exited the plane, the ISM (who was saying bye to everyone at the door) started apologising to me about the situation, and actually walked with me along the bridge saying that the woman's husband also laughed at her and told her not to make a fuss, and apologised again. I said it's ok, not the crew's fault at all, and that these things happen.

So I would like to ask - has this ever happened to you? Do you think seats should not be reclined on short flights?
flubber is offline  
Old Jun 19, 2019, 2:05 am
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This is not specific to Cathay Pacific. Moving it to TravelBuzz

Cathay Pacific Moderator
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 2:11 am
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I think you will receive quite a few replies with similar experiences.

My wife had this happen to her when we were taking an international flight of approx 5 hours duration. The twenty something year old man behind her objected every time she reclined the seat even one inch. He had this weird view that no one should recline their seat at all - mind you, he did not recline his seat either. He seemed to think all seats should be kept in the upright position for the duration of the flight.

Just to avoid further unpleasantness she kept her seat in the upright position - which wasn't too bad as it was a morning flight and she wasn't planning to sleep.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 2:18 am
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There are *many* discussions about this topic all over FT.

As for me, my view is that seats are made to recline and that's your right to do so. Doing it gently is good habit.

I also believe that it's a fair request for pax to put their seat back up for scheduled meals.

Now, the woman could have simply asked if it was really for her child's meal time (she was however apparently rude and passive aggressive), and the FA could have simply said that was the reason for it as well, although the child having her meal doesn't mean the two of you should have had to put your seats back up.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 2:28 am
Join Date: Nov 2013
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It's your right to recline, and there is nothing discourteous about it as long as you don't do it abruptly. In practice however, I've been unable to when the passenger behind me was so tall that their knees pushed up against my seatback, making it physically impossible for me to recline.

I've never had anybody complain about my reclining, but if they did, I would simply acquiesce. It is not worth the consternation, especially on a short flight.

On a longer flight I might reply if confronted by the passenger behind me: you know I really prefer to be reclined because I sleep much better, maybe you could ask the flight attendant to move you to a different seat.

In addition - I believe it is courteous not to recline during meals.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 3:40 am
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I've been in both positions, being requested to put the seat back up (during meal service) and asking the passenger in front of me to be careful with reclining as I had a baby on my laps.

My rule is when I'm the one requesting: I will myself politely talk with the passenger in front before the flight even takes of and explaining that I'd prefer they do no recline (I'm not anymore in this situation though as my kids have their own seat now).
If I'm being requested: I will be very reluctant in case the passenger behind me is not even bothering to talk to me and explain in a nice way what the problem is. If they ask the FA without even talking to me before, I will decline and make a bit of a fuss with the FA if they insist. However I will accept if nicely asked directly and on time by the passenger behind me, and with a good reason.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 7:00 am
Join Date: Feb 2015
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I find this post full of ridiculous entitlement. The airlines set up these difficult situations with ever shrinking legroom, but they are not made any easier when people make no attempt to accommodate the needs of others. Do you have a “right to recline”? Sure. Do you need to do so if you know it is causing discomfort to someone else? Maybe not.

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Old Jun 19, 2019, 7:07 am
Join Date: Nov 2015
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the only time i would not recline is during mealtime.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 8:43 am
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heck, I always recline my seat... (sitting in J or F of course),
but when traveling in coach.. I hardly ever do.. if never , most flights are under 4 hours.. I am good with no recline...
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by flubber

Then the drinks service came and went. Shortly after, a FA came up to me to ask me to put my seat up. I asked her why and she said it was because my seat was too close to the passenger's face (a woman who was travelling with her child and husband). I was incredulous - the seat was not even fully down. I said no politely, and went on watching my movie.

So I would like to ask - has this ever happened to you? Do you think seats should not be reclined on short flights?
With the constantly shrinking seat room, space is tough. Regardless of how politely you said no, I think it was quite inconsiderate of you to ignore the FA's request.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 8:55 am
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I think most flyers would put their seat up during meal service. There fact that the child behind was likely served early makes it difficult to know that was the case. Also that Mom was assisting the child.
But once you were clued in, you did the right thing. As everyone else around understood, Mom just went off and couldn't let it go.
You know modern day travel is probably the ultimate proof of the validity of Sartre's famous saying "Hell is other people."
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 8:59 am
Join Date: Jan 2017
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OP was totally in the right. I can't stand these idiots who think they can control what another passenger does with their own seat. The seats recline, if you don't like it, don't fly in it.

I put mine up for meal time, of course. The rest of the time, it's up to me.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 9:36 am
Join Date: Mar 2018
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OP handled it how I would have. I usually only fly in the back for short flights, so I dont put my seat back more than half way. I was flying with my father in law and the kid in front of him slammed his seat back and my FIL grabbed the seat and forced it back up. The kid(10ish) didnt try again the rest of the flight. Pretty sure that is the wrong way to ask someone not to put their seat back!
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 9:55 am
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Most FAs would tell that the passenger is having a meal and everyone I have seen always put their seats up. I would also ask them and no one has ever refused or said anything as they know the situation during meal times. On the other hand yes I would wish they would not recline their seats but it is their right to do so. Just as it is my right to recline mine. I never had anyone complain about it apart from one flight a few years back I think it was a continental flight from Miami to New York. A kid kept banging away at my seat and I had to tell off his father to stop it.

This is the same scenario where passengers refuse to draw the window shades down. I think it is very selfish of them to refuse to do so as many a time the sun is in the eye of some other passenger.
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Old Jun 19, 2019, 9:57 am
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People complain about lack of leg room and so on, but every really bad experience I have had in coach has been due to other passengers. It was an incident similar to this but on a long haul flight that caused me to start coming to FT to figure out how to avoid coach, especially in long haul. Never had a bad experience in first or business class.
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