Reclining Airline Seats Are an Evil, Needless Relic

Dan Kois: They make no sense on today's crammed flights

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2013 1:05 PM CST
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(Newser) – We've all experienced it: that dreaded moment when the first person on the plane reclines his seat, forcing the person behind him to recline her seat, and so on, until suddenly you find yourself with your book or laptop shoved into your face and hatred simmering in your heart for the person in front of you. Reclining seats are "pure evil," writes Dan Kois on Slate, and though it's tempting to blame the person whose seat is currently inches away from your nose, it's really the airline that's at fault.

Reclining seats are a relic from decades past, when airlines were committed to swanky accommodations like footrests, ashtrays, and lots of space for passengers to spread out. As economy class grew and airlines started packing more people in, such luxuries disappeared—except the reclining seat, which obstinately stayed put. It's time to face facts: These days, "reclining seats make no sense," Kois writes. It's time for airlines to require that all seats remain upright for the duration of the flight, which would be safer in the event of a crash anyway. "To those who say such a rule is unenforceable, I respond: Kick. Kick. Kick." Click for his entire, amusing column.

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