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Seat Recline During Meal Service?  
User currently offlineYvr74 From Canada, joined Sep 2002, 52 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2348 times:

I have flown all my life on various US carriers, and with my 6'2" frame with long legs, it has been a point of irritation to me how many passengers leave their seats reclined during meal service. As it is, I already have my knees jammed into the seat in front of me, and it makes handling a food tray almost impossible. I reached a point several years ago where I simply began declining meal service because it was more miserable than being a bit hungry.

I assumed this just came with the coach territory, so it was to my complete surprise and delight when I flew on Air Canada for the first time on an evening and overnight flight from YVR to YYZ that the flight attendants made a public announcement that all seatbacks would need to be put forward during meal service. I noticed that not all passengers complied but that the FAs would make a personal request to these individuals down the lines of "Can you please put your seatback up; the person behind you needs room to eat."

I thought that was the greatest thing. Was that a one time deal with some great flight attendants or is standard practice with many airlines around the world? I can't speak for all of them, but definitely some US airlines need to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee on that one!

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineAmerica West From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2334 times:

I'm 6'2" also and I know how irritating and uncomfortable it is to sit behind someone who has the seat reclined, not only during meal service, but any time. I was on a Delta 737-300 in July and I sat behind this 10 year old girl, who was not only constantly moving the seat back, but she was also constantly moving the armrest up and down, causing it to jam into my knees.

When I asked her to stop, she did. In my opinion, if you're not sleeping, keep your seat back in the upright position.

User currently offlineMbmbos From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2734 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2316 times:

I have never experienced it on any of the carriers I've flown on, although I wish they would enforce such a rule.

In fact, I wish that airlines would get rid of reclining seats altogether in coach. Seat pitch is so minimal anyway, that the angle of recline that is achievable fails to provide any benefit to the passenger.

By the way, it will interest you that Miss Manners has weighed in on this issue. She asserts that it is only "polite" to recline one's seat AFTER meal service and ONLY on night flights or flights of a duration where the cabin is encouraged to sleep.

User currently offlineFpdonald From United States of America, joined Aug 2002, 430 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2294 times:

BCal . . . the 80s [sigh]

We always, out of courtesy to the person seated behind them, 'suggested' that the passengers upright their seats for the duration of a meal service. A deft but firmly placed finger, eye contact, and a warm smile aided the compliance row by row, and often without knowledge.

I honesty don't think that most, OK many, folks really think about how their actions - however unintended - inconvenience another passenger. Seat reclining seems to be somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction soon after boarding. Given the scant nature of cabin service, in the present climes, the request should be so much easier to digest.

Hey, how about we go a step further and upright seats for a drinks service! Please!

User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2279 times:

All I can say, is that this is a reason I fly Southwest and American whenever possible -- that extra 3" is worth it!


User currently offlineTrickijedi From United States of America, joined May 2001, 3266 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2248 times:

Being 6 feet myself, this is certainly great news in case I ever fly Air Canada.

Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
User currently offlineFsuwxman From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 439 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2217 times:

On my flights PHL-SEA and SEA-CLT, the US FA's when they made the announcement they were coming around for the meal service, that if people would put their seats upright.

ASOS... Another Shi#y Observation Station
User currently offlineSpyderz From Canada, joined Apr 2001, 651 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2203 times:

While I've never heard a cabin annoucement before concerning upright seats, I have on Air Canada witnessed FA's several times ask people to put their seats up. The funniest was when my brother's recline didn't work, and his seat always reclined. The FA's began getting quite annoyed until they realized the seat was defective.

User currently offlineRpwgw From Australia, joined Jun 1999, 209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2179 times:

I love the SQ approach. Put your seat up please. Oh you don't know how, let me show you, and the nice lady does it for you with a smile.

Some of them are a bit more abrupt than that. They just go ahead and do it for you.

User currently offlineBoyshane From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 128 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2170 times:

Try being stuck in the middle seat of a Northwest DC-10 during meal service with a seat reclined in front of you.

A few years ago I flew on NW from DTW-LGW and we got in the middle row 5 seats and I was dead in the middle. In front of us were a group of annoying school kids in front of us that were loud and obnoixous. During the entire flight, even meal service, the girl in front of me had her seat back. I ate my dinner that night with my forehead againts the back of the seat trying to get over my tray to eat my food. Sometimes it's not only the leg room that's a pain in the butt. Now I know to pre-reserve a seat.


User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 7561 posts, RR: 76
Reply 10, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 2110 times:

Sorry, but I'm one of those who WANTS my seat to recline. Sitting 14hrs without a recline is murder.

It's a great invention those meal trays that you can pull down and then pull towards you. I just wish more pax appreciate it.

I almost got picked up by security at a destination once when a pax joining a flight for 1hr whacked me on the head for putting my seat back and a huge punch up almost occured (20 insomniac long haulers vs. 1 annoying short haulers who's been shouting for beers too!). But I already had been awake for 28hrs from the previous segment and connections. So... I want to recline my seat.

HOWEVER, if the person behind me is a tall person, I'd take that into consideration. I'd put my seat back gently, and not when he's eating. As long as he doesn't whack my head, I'd consider him. Coz I know what it's like being stuck in a seat with broken down recline and the only way to sleep is put your head on the meal tray, and then the person in front keeps putting his/her seat back and forth!

If a 6footer sits behind me, I take his situation into account. But if a little person behind me don't want me to recline my seat because he/she don't like it and he/she reclines his/her seat... There's something wrong.

Once I had an argument with a pax about seat recline. She was sitting behind me, and was very rude about my reclining, but, she'd already said to the pax behind her, "If you don't want me to recline my seat, fine another seat!" Now this kind of pax shouldn't even be allowed to board!

I wish more pax would take into consideration the situation others... It's a 2 way thing. If the person behind you is tall, recline slowly and not during meals. If he/she asks kindly, comply if you can... you tall guys know what I mean... I've sat next to an over 6 footer in agony sitting in the middle seat once... I offered to swap my aisle seat for his... his legs extended, he slept like a baby and was thankful on landing...

I just hope more shorties like me are considerate  Big grin

Hope no one got insulted...


When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2103 times:

Malaysia Airlines F/As advise all passengers to put their seat up during meal services etc.
I think thats a great idea

Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineIndian_flyboy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2091 times:

Well stop complaining all you short guys  Smile/happy/getting dizzy I am 6ft 4 and weigh about 200 pounds .I find it amusing thinking about how I manage to sit in the coach seats . I have always requested for the emergency exit and with my brilliant luck got them only about 10% of the times.
I was flying SFO-HKG and this nice man in front of me decided to recline his seat and fall asleep before the meal service , the F/A did just about everything she could to wake him up short of whacking him on his head , he won't budge .The fun part , it wasn't even his seat . He had boarded with his wife and the aisle seat was empty ,so the wife sits on the window seat , the husband movesto the aisle seat and both go to sleep. I had requested the F/A to move me if the seat was still empty. I could not move because these 2 decided to sleep peacefully. I really dont know how in the world I went thru that meal service , believe me it is annoying . I do not appreciate some one putting back a seat during meal service , it is alright any other time , you paid for it and you deserve it but not during meal service.

There have been several nice people as well who have actually interchanged seats with me including a gentleman who came to me and said you deserve this emergency exit more than I do , and I could not have been more thankful . But once in a while you do run into these complete idiots .

Well can't get everything can you ????

My 2 cents .

User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2037 times:

6´3´´ here - the seats in front of me simply don´t decline Big grin

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineYvr74 From Canada, joined Sep 2002, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1972 times:

I'm probably a bit too sensitive on the issue, just because it's been such a huge inconvenience to me with my height, but I generally take a look who is behind me and unless it's a toddler or a child, I don't recline the seat.

Although I don't agree with all Mandala499 said, I would agree that it would be a bit much not to recline a seat during a long haul flight. However, I still have no sympathy for persons who recline during meal service. Those trays that Mandala says can be pulled out work fine unless like in my case when you try to pull them out your legs are higher than the resting position of the tray and it sits at funny angles on your legs and you end up not being able to put your drink on it and having to hold your food tray to keep it from falling off.

User currently offlineB-707 From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (13 years 7 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1952 times:

I'm a bit like Yrv74. I do not recline my seat ever. I do not like it, so would not do it to others.

Last month on a 5 hour flight I had a window seat behind three teenagers. Their seats were fully reclined right after take off and stayed that way. During the meal service they had to lean forward because they couldn't reach their trays. The girl directly infront of me made a habit of throwing her hair back (right over the seat) Not my fault it got covered with food. She wasn't happy, but reclined her seat forward just in case. I also wedge my knees into the back of their seat until they ask what my problem is. This gives me the opportunity to tell them about the damned reclined seat. Works every time.

User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1910 times:

I never recline my seat. There are two reasons for this. Partly it's out of consideration for the person behind me. But also, the seat back typically only comes to shoulder level on me, so the head rest becomes a very effective neckbreaker. Not very comfortable.

And I'm like Airsicknessbag also. The seat in front of me doesn't recline either. Big grin It's a killer on the knees though.

User currently offlineYvr74 From Canada, joined Sep 2002, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1898 times:

I always wondered if I was the only devious one who periodically found it necessary to use the knees as an effective jamming device.

User currently offlineIl75 From Argentina, joined May 2001, 268 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1883 times:

Lufthansa has a very nice and effective practice.
This is what I have seen (and been thankful for) during my trips to and from Latin America:
The FA ask gently those who have reclined theirs seats to put them up as they are serving the meals and forwarding the trays. No announcements made. Just a friendly reminder when you get your food. It works very well.


User currently offline9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1861 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1880 times:

I recline my seat all the time. Hahah, I forgot I fly Raffles with 52" pitch!

But honestly, I've reclined my seat in Y before and noone asked me about anything. I've had people recline into my seat as well. Makes viewing the PTV difficult.


9V-SVA | B772ER
User currently offlinePmk From United States of America, joined May 1999, 664 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1855 times:

As I posted before and it was deleted with out an explanation.

If you don't like the seat pitch with the seat in front of you reclined buy a larger seat. If you can't appreciate what you've bought, you had better buy what you can appreciate.


User currently offlineBoeingrulz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 557 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1826 times:
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Sitting with the seat reclined a bit is acutually worse for your back than sitting sraight up. Sitting str8 up puts your weight over your hips, wich is how we bipeds are ment to carry our weight. If you are not a biped, then by all means continue to recline Smile-

Seriously, it is anoying to sit behind someone who is reclined. It violates your personal space, it makes it very hard to get in and out of your seat, and next to impossible to eat. For short flights, keep that seat up.


User currently offlineLowfareair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 1816 times:

I use my knees to block the seat in front of me until the meal service is over. It also works for tiny children.

User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1780 times:

I don't intentionally block the seat in front of me. There are planes though with small enough pitches that my long legs simply cannot physically accomodate a reclined seat.

User currently offlineEmirates747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1776 times:

What is even more annoying than a seat reclined during meal service is if the person in front of you keeps reclining and un-reclining while you are trying to watch the PTV... As soon as you get the picture to look right again, the guy in front of you decides to change the angle of his seat! Enough to make you just want to sleep through the whole flight!  Smile  Smile

User currently offlineYvr74 From Canada, joined Sep 2002, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (13 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1768 times:

I've never been on a flight with PTVs, but it doesn't sound like too agreeable of a situation.

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