Can You Ask The Person in Front of You to Not Recline Their Seat?

Photo by Aleksei Zaitcev on Unsplash

It’s a familiar scenario: you’re settled into your airline seat, knee space already at a premium, and then it happens—the seat in front of you reclines, encroaching on your already limited space. This situation can quickly escalate from inconvenient to uncomfortable. So, the question arises: is it acceptable to ask the person in front of you not to recline their seat? Let’s explore.

The Etiquette of Reclining

Every passenger has the right to recline their seat (if it’s a reclining type), but that doesn’t mean it’s always considerate to do so. On long-haul flights, reclining is more common, particularly during periods designated for sleeping. However, during meal times or when it’s evident that passengers are using their tray tables extensively, it’s considerate to keep the seat upright.

How to Politely Ask

If you decide that you must request someone to un-recline their seat, it’s crucial to do so politely. Providing a reason for your request can also help the other person understand your situation better. For example, “I’m quite tall and having a little trouble fitting comfortably.” Or “I need to use my laptop and it’s a bit tight with the space.”

Be Prepared for Any Response

Remember, the person in front of you has the right to decline your request. If they choose to keep their seat reclined, try to adjust your own space as best as you can, perhaps by reclining your seat slightly to gain a bit more room.