A PLANE expert has revealed the rules around reclining seats on planes – and what the etiquette is when relaxing in the cabin.
Having someone's seat bash into your knees is never an ideal situation when tightly packed into a plane, but reclining your own seat can often make a flight much more comfortable.
Some people will often choose to make themselves less comfortable in order to not disturb the people sitting behind them, but their comfort should come second to yours, according to plane expert Ben Schlappig.
Ben has flown over 4,700,000 miles since he was a teenager, so knows a thing or two about plane etiquette.
In a blog post on One Mile at a Time, he claimed that reclining a seat is a right for all passengers, regardless of who they are sitting in front of.
He said: "For me it’s quite simple. Reclining your seat, when the functionality is available, is a right. After all, the recline button is located at your seat, and not the seat behind you."
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However, that's not to say that other people's comfort shouldn't at least be considered.
Ben says that there are ways to approach the situation and that you shouldn't just shove your seat back without any warning.
Instead he recommends small gestures, like making eye contact with the person behind you, or just finding some way to let them know that your seat will be going back.
There are also rules for being the person in the seat behind a recliner.
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If the passenger in front of you is really crushing your knees, Ben recommends simply asking them to put their seat up, but urges avoiding confrontation at all costs.
Should the reclining person have a major issue with the request, then the advice is to approach a flight attendant and see if you can be moved seats, rather than having an in-flight argument.
He added: "If you are going to recline your seat, do so slowly, and make sure the person behind you knows. If you’re being reclined on and it’s unbearable, politely ask the person if they wouldn’t mind putting their seat back up.
"No matter what, don’t be a jerk. If you can’t come to a reasonable agreement with the other person involved, immediately ask a flight attendant for help."
Not everyone agrees with Ben's advice, though.
A mother recently explained why she thinks it's rude for other travellers to put their seat back when sitting in front of a parent with a child.
She wrote on the New Zealand Herald: If you see a parent struggling with children behind you, don't be a d*** and recline your seat.
"That extra 10cm when you are holding and comforting a crying child is the difference between them quickly dozing off, and another hour of screaming for all to enjoy."
However, flight attendants appear to be on Ben's side on the issue.
Bella Sapsworth, who used to be a flight attendant for Emirates, explained that reclining is the best way to get decent rest on a flight.
She told the Metro: "Recline your seat. You pay for a reclining seat – so use it!"
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