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There is something inherently aggressive about airline seats pushing back into fellow passengers. It shows a complete disregard for their personal space, especially when slammed back in one swift movement without even a look behind to see what might be in the way at any given moment. I’ve been hit, had drinks spilled and nearly cracked a laptop screen because someone someone pushed the recline button and went back full force. And of course because I think about this I’ve become extremely self conscious about it and won’t dare to recline my own seat if the one behind me is occupied out of fear that I’m being an ass. But that’s kind of the problem, when someone does this I immediately hate them. Meanwhile they are only doing exactly what the seat they paid for was designed to do – so where is the middle ground?

The problem is that these seats were designed many years ago and as we all know airlines haven’t been raking in the bucks they used to so they’ve been forced to try and add more seats on flights by pushing rows closer together which makes a reclining seat back far more intrusive than it used to be. I’ve actually taken to asking people if it’s ok if I put my seat back just a little bit before doing it, and I resent when people don’t do the same. And don’t get me started about kids who put the seat forward and backward 300x times in a single flight.

On my last flight back to LA from Washington DC the plane was rather empty, including the seat in front and behind me which was nice because I wasn’t worried about any of this. Until midway through the flight when some guy decided his row was too crowded and moved into the empty row in front of me, in the seat in front of me and promptly threw back his seat. I tapped him on the head and asked he he had any idea that he’d just slammed his seat into my legs and knocked my laptop onto the floor (which he had). He replied that he didn’t, but it wasn’t his fault. I told him of course I didn’t blame him, and hoped he also wouldn’t blame me when the turbulence we were about to have just as I was standing up caused me to dump my beverage all over him.

I guess he realized I was serious and brought the seat back up and moved to a different row with no one behind him.

But my ranting and raving point to this is these seats suck major ass, but taking 3 seconds to check with the person behind you before moving into their space goes a very long way towards maintaining positive relationships with your fellow man (or woman).