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Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

August 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

The airline reclining seat battle: And the winner is …

In our dreams:  Business-class seats have lots of space, like these on a Lufthansa Boeing 747.  Back in coach on some airlines, passengers are squished and cranky - and evening fighting over reclining seats. (Benjamin Kilb/NYT, 2013)

In our dreams: Business-class seats have lots of space, like these on a Lufthansa Boeing 747. Back in coach on some airlines, passengers are squished and cranky – and evening fighting over reclining seats. (Benjamin Kilb/NYT, 2013)

You the people have spoken in our completely unscientific poll about the right to recline, or not to recline,  an airline seat.

Almost half of the 1,098 people who have voted so far in The Seattle Times’ online poll said the passenger sitting in the seat has the right to recline.

This poll follows the rather absurd news earlier this week that a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing after two passengers fought over reclining a seat.

One passenger was using a gadget called a Knee Defender (whose sales are now booming) that mechanically prevents the seat in front from reclining. That blocking technique led to a heated argument among the two passengers about personal space, followed by an emergency landing in Chicago where both were booted off the flight.

There are several underlying problems here beyond bad-tempered people. Airlines are squishing passengers into ever-tinier seats. And civility, and working things out, seems to be a dwindling art. (Beyond nasty words, one passenger threw a cup of water.)

Here are the results of your votes (as of Tuesday early afternoon) on “Airline reclining seats: Whose space is it, really?”
— The passenger who reclines to take a snooze: 46.9 percent (515 votes)

— The passenger being reclined into, trying to work on his laptop: 31.5 percent (342 votes)

— The passenger who wants to recline, but asks nicely first: 21.95 percent, 241 votes.

Comments | More in airlines, reclining seats | Topics: emergency landing, Knee Defender, passengers fight

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