Etiquette / When to Recline?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by edcho, Jan 22, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    I was traveling on a red eye the other day and encountered a situation i've never been in before. It also got me thinking -- when is it appropriate to recline?

    I've seen people recline on the taxi way (which I definately know that you're not supposed to do), recline as soon as the nose pops up, or recline after the seatbelt light pops on.

    I was exhausted and after popping on channel 9, I was dozing off to sleep in E+. I heard that we were climbing to 2,000 feet and reclined my seat. 10 seconds later, my seat violantly shook -- at first I thought we were crashing and immediately braced for the crash position. It turned out the person behind me was freaking out that we shouldn't be reclining seats yet.

    I was not too happy after seeing my life flash through my eyes and propped it up and went back to bed. She then woke me a second time telling me that I wasn't FULLY upright by a few centimeters. I didn't want to start a fight so I just obliged.

    In all my years of flying, I never thought about when it is okay to recline? I figure once the plane is in the air, the odds of us in need of orderly evacuation without mangled seats are very slim.
     
  2. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    The FAA says 10k feet.
     
  3. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Per FAA Regulations the seats must be in their upright positions for taxi, takeoff, and landing.

    That having been said the flight usually goes from takeoff phase to the climb phase as soon as the flight crew determines a positive rate of climb and retracts the landing gear.

    For landing it is usually done at approximately 10,000 feet as part of the cabin crew's arrival checklist.

    Personally I try to look back and then recline slowly as possible so I can be considerate of fellow passengers. If its a redeye I try to sleep as soon as we're climbing over 10,000 feet so I will wait until then.

    I've never encountered a situation like yours but you had a rather unpleasant passenger on that flight sitting behind you unfortunately.
     
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  4. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I usually just recline slowly, out of courtesy.

    One flight, about nine years ago on NW, a DC-10 from MSP to AMS, was sitting in the back, way far in the back in an aisle seat. Reclined my seat, fell asleep for an hour, noticed my seat was fully upright when I woke up. Reclined again, went to grab something in the seat pocket, my seat went up again.

    Lo and behold, this woman, who wasn't even sitting directly behind me (one seat over), was pushing my seat up. I gave her a long, evil eye and that was the end of that.
     
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  5. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    If the flight is ~2 hours, and someone is sitting behind me, I do not recline. Otherwise, I will recline in the following fashion:
    • In Y: I will gingerly recline after the double ding (Usually indicates over FL100) after making eye contact with the person behind me or at least ensuring I won't slam the batman out of their face or knees.
    • In F: I will recline after the double ding, slowly.
     
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  6. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    Colgan was on to something with those Saab's... a lot of those had automatic recline as soon as takeoff power was set ;)

    I'll typically start a slow recline after the double chime passing through 10K, and I'll usually bring it back to upright on or shortly after the initial seatbelt ding for descent. That said, I rarely (if ever) check behind me first... simply slowly recline vs. slamming back.

    If way in the back in Y I'll usually return to upright for meals; this is less important in Y+ or F, but it seems like the appropriate courtesy.
     
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  7. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    I have the same policy, although on a red-eye I might recline a bit earlier than 10k.
     
  8. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I guess I'll have to modify my reclining habits. Arg
     
  9. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Just remember sometimes its not you but the insensitive jerks. ;)
     
  10. Olton Hall
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    Olton Hall Gold Member

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    Was she English? The Brits think no one should ever recline the seat.
     
  11. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    MR F
     
  12. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I was thinking more along the lines of Mr. Bean. :D
     
  13. Minnesota Bruin
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    Minnesota Bruin Silver Member

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    When I recline (which is rare) I just wait until I'm told to "sit back and relax" following takeoff. :)
     
  14. pyndasky

    pyndasky Silver Member

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    I rarely recline these days, but when I do, I usually look back to see if a laptop is open behind me. I also move back slowly in small increments.
     
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  15. AZjohn

    AZjohn Silver Member

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    Kind of interesting replies.

    For me personally, if in lie-flat C I hit the recline button as soon as the front wheel leaves the ground. I do this because I know it will not effect anyone behind me and also the best way to utilize the foot rest.

    In regular domestic F, I wait until the end of meal service and then ask the person behind me if it's ok with them. I never had a negative response and really want to do this before they set up their lap top (if they have one).

    In Y on a CR200 I never recline because it's miserable enough for everyone already before trying recline
     
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  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Silver Member

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    In Y on most airlines in standard economy seating, it's miserable if the person in front of you reclines. That's true in a CRJ-200 just as much as it's true in a 757-200.

    I usually don't recline (although I don't fly red-eye flights, except transoceanically) but I am far more likely to if the person in front of me does, just to get my space back. Reclining on a flight where people would obviously sleep (like a red-eye or an overseas trip) is obviously something completely different; nearly everyone will recline.

    I actually don't mind some of the newer planes with thinner seats and no reclining. It means I'm guaranteed to keep the space in front of me, and my knees are going to have someplace to go.
     
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