You’re on a crowed plane sitting in coach, your already squeezed into a child size seat and then it happens. The passenger in front of you starts to lean his seat back. Instinctively you want to brace your feet against the back of their seat to stop them from leaning back and yell “not gonna happen!” But instead you bite your tongue, keep control over your limps and end up with some stranger’s head in your lap.
However, it does always go this way. On a flight from Paris to Los Angeles I watch as a young boy, who was about 7 years old, tried to lean his seat back. The man sitting behind him shoved it forward and yelled “No” at him. While I understand not wanting a seat in your face, it would have been more appropriate for him to address the mother and in a more appropriate manner. She being a protective mother, “calmly” explained to him what she would do to him if he shoved her son, spoke to him or even looked in his direction again. Needless to say, they had no more problems.
There have been cases of people actually getting into physical altercations over seat reclining where they have been arrested upon arrival or even having flights diverted so they could land and have passengers removed.
It’s such a fine line. You want to recline your seat so you can get a little more comfortable yet you don’t want the person in front of you to recline. Which is completely selfish but let’s face it, it’s true.
It has gotten so bad that some airlines have fixed their seats so they do longer recline. Some passengers have resorted to bribery, offering the passenger in front of them some kind of incentive such as an internet pass or to by them drinks if they agree not to recline their seat.
It would be nice if the airlines offered an incentive for passengers not to recline their seats such as free drinks, internet or food. I bet a lot of people would take it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
When you fly, especially on a long flight, it is highly likely the person in front of you is going to lean their seat back. There is no point in freaking out over it. If it’s something you just can’t or don’t want to deal with you may want to consider the bribery option, either that or bring along with you something that will put you to sleep. This way you won’t care or even be aware that somebody’s head is in your lap.