Woman Angry She Couldn't Recline Plane Seat Divides Opinion: 'Antisocial'

A Mumsnet user has sparked debate on the popular discussion site after sharing her anger that she was unable to recline her plane seat on a seven-hour flight.

Posted on Monday, user planerider told the story and asked for opinions. She wrote: "I had paid extra to have the exit seat in economy, as I was suffering from a bad back. I paid quite a lot extra for the seat, it's something I try to do as I have back problems and it helps.

"The woman behind me had quite a big child on her lap during the flight and was sat next to the child's father. Because of this, I was unable to recline my seat for the entire flight."

A survey commissioned by FiverThirtyEight into flight etiquette asked over 1,000 people their thoughts on what is acceptable when flying through the sky. About 41 percent of respondents said that they thought it was rude to recline your seat during a flight, but 16 percent said that they would always recline their seat during a flight.

While most people said they would not eliminate the option to recline seats, 64 percent did agree that passengers should not recline if the person behind them asks them not to—while the rest said they would have no obligation to the person behind them.

"Who was unreasonable here? Or do we generally think anyone reclining their seat is unreasonable?" asked the original poster. "I tend to recline my seat on very long flights, when the lights are dimmed for sleeping, as do most others on those flights. I don't recline on short [haul]."

But the internet was divided in opinion after reading the woman's story. One commenter suggested that the poster was in the wrong and wrote: "I think all short haul flights should have seats that don't recline at all."

And another said: "I think it's unreasonable to recline your seat unless it's overnight and I'd never do it."

"Its a risk that you accept as a traveller," wrote another user: "If not, take a private jet."

"Generally reclining the seat is antisocial unless it is night time and there is some sort of domino effect of everyone reclining," said one commenter.

"My sister was an air stewardess for many years and dealy with this issue on several flights a week," shared another Mumsnet user. "You are entitled to recline your seat if it has the recline function. The person behind you has to deal with it—usually the best way is to recline theirs."

A user said they would also recline their seat: "The idea of only reclining at night is bonkers. People cross timezones when they fly and start and end their journey in all sorts of times and places. I'd recline if I wanted to."

"Of course it's not unreasonable to recline your seat. You've paid for a seat that reclines," said another commenter.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Airplane seats interior
A file photo of the interior of a plane with passengers in seats. A woman has sparked debate online after asking if it is unreasonable to recline your seat on a flight. triocean/Getty Images