The180

Opinion: Be kind, don't recline

John Semley, writer for the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, opines that in a civilized society, people shouldn't recline their seats on planes, trains, buses, and various other transports.
A Frontier Airlines flight attendant observes a row of seats where shortly, passengers will engage in subtle, passive-aggressive combat over the right to recline. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
Listen2:53

Just because you can recline your airplane seat, doesn't mean you should.

That's according to John Semley, writer with the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

John recently had a miserable flight from Paris to Toronto, during which his knees were squorshed by the seat in front of him. Or rather, by the person in the seat in front of him reclining their own seat.

The problem is leg room, or the ever-increasing scarcity of it on airplanes. Airline passengers are being squeezed into planes like never before, causing conflict among passengers as they devise ways to protect their precious legs.

In this audio essay, John Semley argues there's only one way for us all to survive as a plane-flying species with our body parts and our manners intact: just don't recline. 

If the person in front of me reclines, then I must recline to reclaim the precious few inches stolen from me. And so the person behind me must recline and so on, leading to an extended chain of discomfort. Call it 'trickle-down rudeness.'- John Semley, anti-reclining advocate

PRESS PLAY TO LISTEN TO THE FULL AUDIO ESSAY

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