OK, airline flyers, back down.
Or no, don’t back down.
Keep your back up?
Oh heck, even the wording leads to trouble in the great seat reclining debate.
The lines are firmly drawn. On one side are airline passengers who insist that they paid good money for their seats and they’ll recline if they please. On the other are the folks who protest that their last few millimeters of leg room are being wiped out by the hulking intrusion of their reclining fellow flyer.
The pushing and shoving that has long characterized the skirmish has been escalating with alarming frequency into shouting, tossed water glasses and diverted flights — three in the last couple of weeks.
It’s unreasonable to expect passengers to work this out. No, the airlines have caused the problem with their steady erosion of leg room — space between rows has shrunk two to six inches over the past couple of decades. Now it’s up to the airlines to solve it.
They could make flying a more egalitarian experience by ceasing the practice of expanding space for people willing and able to pay for it and crunching everybody else.
Or — and this is the more likely scenario — they could go to non-reclining seats for the common folk.
In our view, the comfort one passenger derives from reclining does not justify the discomfort of the person being reclined upon. Plus, reclining seats are heavier than non-reclining seats, so airlines could save fuel and money by making the change.
We’d like to think that might translate into discounted air fares, though probably not. But an extra package of mini-pretzels for bolt-upright travelers seems within reach.