Reclining wars: Debate on reclining during flights heats up as holiday travel season begins


(NEW YORK) – As millions of passengers prepare to travel during the upcoming holiday travel season, tensions are rising over whether it is okay to recline seats on airplanes.

In one video that went viral on social media, a male passenger is seen repeatedly hitting the back of a woman’s reclined seat with his fist during a flight.

In another viral video, TikTok user Jasmin Shim asked her followers, “Can anyone who actually reclines their seat on an airplane – walk me through your thought process? No shade I’m generally just curious… why?”

Meanwhile, another TikTok user, Jenn LaMonaca, assured in her video that “It’s totally okay to recline your seat.”

“I hate the reclining debate thing… I’ve flown my whole life and reclined my seat every single time I’ve been on a plane,” LaMonaca captioned her video, which received hundreds of likes. “It’s allowed and it only reclines like 1 inch. You’re fine.”

Another frequent flyer, Eric Kirchinger, told “Good Morning America” that he prioritizes his own comfort when it comes to airplane travel.

“I don’t believe I should not be comfortable in the seat that I paid for because it might infringe on your knee space,” he said. “You certainly have the right to recline yourself, if you’re worried about leg space on a plane, you can book yourself an exit row.”

Another flyer “GMA” spoke with, Raleigh Mayer, disagrees, saying that people should think of their fellow passengers on the flight.

“It isn’t courteous,” Mayer said of choosing to recline on a flight. “It really impedes on the person’s comfort behind you, and it’s a self-centered thing to do. It makes it all about you and less about anyone else on the plane.”

The period quickly approaching between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is predicted to be the busiest holiday travel rush ever, with the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration anticipating screening nearly three million passengers per day, a 10% increase from last year.

As planes continue to get more and more crowded, the debate around whether or not it is okay to recline airplane seats does not seem to be going away anytime soon.

Sara Nelson, a flight attendant and international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told “GMA” that she personally does not recline her seat when flying.

Nelson said if a passenger is inclined to recline their seat, based on her experience, she recommends they at least check on the situation of the person sitting in the row directly behind them.

“If you really want to do it, at least check behind you. Make sure you’re not going to be spilling somebody’s coffee on them or running their computer into their knees,” she said. “This is something that flight attendants have to deal with all the time.”


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