I reclined my seat on a plane — and was immediately told not to

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Reclining a seat on a plane can be fraught with tension, and one woman has reignited the debate over proper etiquette after a recent experience on an overnight flight.

The anonymous Australian woman posted her qualm in the Women Who Travel Facebook group, explaining that she and her friend were on a seven-hour, red-eye flight when the incident took place.

“I sat behind my friend,” she wrote, adding a hand-drawn illustration of the situation. “She’s pregnant, she reclined her seat. Once the lights were dimmed, people started sleeping, I reclined my seat.”

The woman added she normally wouldn’t recline “to avoid this exact scenario,” but decided to because she didn’t have much room after her friend put her seat back.

“I kind of had to to give myself space,” she said.

Once she reclined her seat, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

Crowded plane with seat reclined.
The woman was unsure who was in the wrong after she reclined her seat on a red-eye flight.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hand drawn diagram seats of plane.
She drew a diagram to explain the situation.

“[The woman behind me] said, ‘Excuse me, can you not recline your seat? I’m working on my laptop and I can’t open it if you recline your seat,’ ” she recalled. “I told her that I had to get some sleep on the flight, which is when she suggested I move to the empty middle seat next to me to sleep.

“The middle seat?” she continued in disbelief in the post. “To sleep? Next to a stranger?”

The passenger asked the woman to move to the middle seat, so she can continue working, to which the woman said she had paid for her seat specifically.

Inside of crowded coach on plane.
Most people agreed with the anonymous poster.
Photothek via Getty Images

“She then asked me if I could compromise by not reclining ‘all the way,’ which I did because I was tired of debating with her at this point,” she said. “Who if anyone, is in the right here?”

Hundreds of comments poured in, with the majority agreeing the woman working was being unreasonable.

“The seats recline,” one user commented. “There’s nothing wrong with you using what the airline has provided for you.”

“Person on the laptop could have moved over, it’s not her office space, [s]he was being difficult and entitled,” another agreed.

Not all agreed though, with a few anti-recliners expressing their thoughts on the matter.

“I never ever recline my seat and I think anyone who reclines their seat is, frankly, a selfish jerk,” one passionate passenger wrote, labeling it a “jerk move.”

“Why are you okay with making someone else uncomfortable?” they raged. “You are taking up their space in a situation where space is already SO limited.”

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