To Recline or Not Recline: Airplane Etiquette

My dad had a love for airplanes and flying. He had such a passion that he enlisted in the Air Force to be able to cultivate it. He was an air traffic controller for the Air Force and in return, he earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry Riddle.

After the Air Force, he flew tourists to the Grand Canyon in a small Cessna. He flew my family once and I only remember two things: being amazed at watching my dad flying and the other is well… rather embarrassing for him. Should I tell you? It’s actually funny. He peed off the side of the Grand Canyon! You’re welcome for that laugh by the way.

Through the course of several years, he flew private jets for professional golfers and then ended up as a pilot for a huge commercial airliner. As for the perks of the job, we received free flights. We flew anytime and every time we got the chance. I cannot count how many flights I’ve taken. It’s that many! I love flying so much that I have an airplane tattoo on my wrist and flying lessons are on my bucket list.

Hundreds of flights later…

I tell you all of this because not once have I ever been harassed because I reclined my seat. I’ve also never felt agitated because the person in front of me reclined theirs.

Of course, I always check my surroundings. If there is a mom with an infant behind me, I won’t recline. If I know the seat behind me doesn’t recline, I might not recline. It’s all pretty common sense. But it’s a personal choice. For me it’s clear, recline if you want to. Also, please don’t get mad at the person in front of you if they do recline.

I’ve flown first class, economy, in the way back near the stinky toilet, near screaming kids, had my own son on my lap, near drunk people (I’m looking at you Vegas flight), strangers who wanted to talk the whole flight, but with every situation I was kind. That’s the moral of the story.

So, how can we make flights more comfortable?

Here are just a few tips:

1. Get a really good neck pillow. I like the ones that fold up and really don’t take up a lot of room. I also recommend a thin soft travel blanket too.

2. Snacks and activities, especially for kids!

3. Noise Cancelling headphones. They are a huge lifesaver because it’s noisy on airplanes and they *may* deter strangers from talking your ear off. Listen to a podcast or audiobook or download a movie from Netflix and just try to relax.

4. Get up and stretch when the fasten seatbelt sign is off.

Tips to help others feel comfortable:

1. Don’t punch someone’s seat just because they reclined. Punching the seat in front of you just because they recline is never acceptable in my opinion.

How do you get comfortable on a flight?

Marissa Winters
Marissa has lived in Lafayette since 2014 and quickly fell in love with Louisiana culture, community spirit and the amazing food!! Marissa is the Director of Healthy Acadiana at the United Way of Acadiana and loves to be the helper. Marissa has a 5 year old named Jackson and absolutely loves being his Mama. Follow along with them as they navigate the waters of school, co-parenting, and so much more.


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