One of the articles I added to my link blog yesterday, was an article by Mike Davidson, a frequent flyer, over Aeroplane Seat Etiquette, particularly the effect of the recline on the people behind, brought about by an experience on a recent flight. This particular trip he had wanted to do some work, and even with a 12-inch Powerbook, with the person in front having fully reclined their seat, he couldn’t get into a position where he could see the screen.
Indeed, it is much the same sort of problem that I commented on in my United Airlines posting with regards to the seat-back screens, and a problem I saw repeated in a number of places in the economy cabin on my trip. Indeed there are now companies marketing gadgets that allow you to stop the seat in front reclining alongside a discussion of etiquette. It is interesting to note the heated discussion that Mike’s article has provoked, particularly over what he chose to do to his fellow passenger, and also the vote he is running on the site over how many will recline whoever is behind, certainly seems to reflect the estimate of the number of times he has problems.
Ultimately though, the problem is down to airlines, and their designs and cabin layouts. Whilst the lack of recline on Ryanair is as much down to saving costs as passenger comfort, in general the airlines are looking to cram as many people in as possible, and every extra bit of space they give is lost potential profit. Of course many offer Premium Economy services, but a quick look at the prices is enough to see that you often pay a significant premium for the extra space. Ultimately though, you are left with using sites like Seat Guru and their tables of legroom to try and find the best seat you can, as unless there is a change of attitude in the industry, or even more unlikely some sort of legislation, maybe as a result of DVT campaigns, I doubt anything will change.
Update: The seat recline debate has reached the Wall Street Journal.