Ever been surprised at seat recline when flying? I know I have. Numerous articles have been written about this, asking flight attendants, frequent flyers and any of the great unwashed what they think about this issue.

I’m here to give it to you straight. If it is light outside and your flight is less than 3 hours long, don’t recline your seat. It really is that simple. You can thank me for this amazing advice later!

Early Recline

Recently I was travelling on an afternoon flight from Amsterdam to Dublin. Now we’re talking about a journey of an hour, maybe an hour and a half tops if you board early.

Sitting quietly in my seat before take off, I was relaxing when the two passengers immediately in front of me both reclined their seats. Someone across the aisle decided to follow suit and reclined his seat.

My immediate reaction was one of disgust. Who reclines their seat in the middle of the afternoon – AT THE GATE. Amateurs, that’s who. It makes me fairly annoyed to have a standard seat right in my face.

When it came time to leave, the cabin crew wandered through and did their checks and asked the people to put their seat backs upright for take off.

Did They Really Need To Recline?

Once we were in the air, the couple forgot to recline their seats again. Clearly too busy scarfing down everything they could buy from the cabin crew. We were flying from Amsterdam so perhaps their munchies got the best of them.

Neither of them looked infirm and as I mentioned it was a day flight. Of course, once they finished hoovering up the goodies, back came the seats again.

Maybe I’m just weird but I have never felt the need to recline my seat on a short flight. On the 13 hour overnight sector from London to Hong Kong, absolutely, recline away. You need to do anything you can to get some sleep and to be as comfortable as possible.

On a one hour puddle jump? I don’t think so, buddy! Airlines like Ryanair have no seat recline at all and strangely enough no-one complains. In fact, they carry over 100 million passengers per year in Europe on flights up to 4 or 5 hours long. NO ONE COMPLAINS.

Overall Thoughts

Ryanair are on the right track here. Short haul fleets should have seats that just do not recline. I hate having someone else’s seat right in my face. For others, it is the knee crushing that seat recline causes that is their pain point, quite literally. Try eating a meal with the seat in front reclined – you need to be a contortionist to get at your food while not elbowing the person beside you in the face. Same with laptop use – ergonomics be gone!

Take my advice, don’t recline your damned seat. It’s better for everyone. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Chris Brignola via Unsplash. Second image via Aer Lingus, final image via British Airways.