Your New Year’s travel resolution? Don’t be a jerk

Here’s a New Year’s resolution we can probably all agree on: Don’t be a jerk when you’re on the road.

There’s something about travel — whether you’re flying, driving or sailing — that brings out the jerk in all of us. Like the guy in seat 26B just in front of me right now on a flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles, who is probably a nice guy on the ground. But put him on a plane, and shortly after takeoff, he jams his seat into my knees without so much as an apology.


It’s the flight attendant who kicked me out of the row of empty seats in the back of the plane, after I moved there to avoid the wedge. He did it with a stern, “You’re gonna have to get out of this seat, now. These are blocked for the crew.” It wasn’t the passive-aggressive way he phrased it as much as it was the tone — he might as well have been saying, “It’s a federal offense to interfere with the flight crew.


It’s the fellow passenger who almost ran over me as I was disembarking, swearing under her breath because I wasn’t moving fast enough. I know I wasn’t moving fast enough. I had to help my three kids off the plane and lift their luggage out of the overhead compartments.

It doesn’t make any difference how well you’re treated or how much you’re abused. In the end, we all turn into jerks.

I’ve spoken with psychologists about this phenomenon, and they tell me that there’s something about travel that just makes us insufferable. It is, they speculate, the fact that when we go somewhere, we are away from the social restraints that make us behave — our friends, family and community. It could also be the fact that we know we’ll never see the people we meet again. So we treat them like props in a movie, as if they are not real.

But they are. I can hardly read my computer screen now because the jerk in 26B had to lean all the way back and because the idiots who installed these seats only gave me 31 inches of seat pitch.

I beg to differ with the experts. I don’t think we turn into boorish imbeciles just because we’re away from home, although that may be a contributing factor. I think it’s cause and effect, and on two levels. It’s travel companies slowly removing many of the services and amenities that made travel tolerable, on the one hand. I offer an almost daily account of these indignities on my consumer advocacy blog.

It’s a little bit like taking a well-behaved dog, locking him in a cage, depriving him of food and taunting him.

He’ll turn mean, eventually.

But how does that explain the childish behavior of the entitled elites — you know, the ones who lurk on sites like Flyertalk or one of the mileage blogs littered with scammy affiliate links? Opposite problem there: Like the children of dictators, these super-platinum elites are given everything that the travel companies took away from us, the longsuffering passengers in the back of the aircraft.

While we have no room to move in steerage, they complain when their lie-flat sleeper seat doesn’t recline all the way. They’re told, “You’re more special than everyone else, you should expect the world.” The result is a cabin full of spoiled babies who fire off complaint letters to their airline when the Chardonnay isn’t chilled to the right temperature.

They believe they are God’s gift to travel, but they are not. They are jerks.

You don’t have to be. If you’re lucky enough to sit in a first-class seat, be grateful. Thank your employer, who allowed you to collect enough miles for the upgrade. Thank the flight attendant who has to put up with the other whiners in the forward cabin. Thank a member of the armed services who fought so you could live in a free country where you can afford to buy that upgrade.

Take nothing for granted, because when you stop traveling for business, your elite status will expire and so will your miles, and then you will email me for help getting your status restored.

If you’re sitting in the bleacher seats or staying in a standard room, you don’t have to behave like a jerk, either. Don’t take it out on your fellow passengers and guests. It’s not their fault that you’re being tortured. Instead, stand up and let the travel company know you won’t be treated like cattle. Fly on airlines and stay in hotels that treat you like a person.

They do exist.

You have it in you to end the incivility that’s made travel a ridiculously bad experience. Do something. Now.

Are travelers jerks?

View Results

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This is my final “That’s Ridiculous” column. Next Tuesday, I’ll be back with an all-new column on Tuesday. Happy New Year!

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Guest

    “Like the guy in seat 26B just in front of me right now on a flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles, who is probably a nice guy on the ground. But put him on a plane, and shortly after takeoff, he jams his seat into my knees without so much as an apology.


    I’m sorry but the problem here sounds to be more like a jerk in 27B. An elites traveler feeling entitled to something that is not really theirs. You got it partially right with your statement, “because the idiots who installed these seats only gave me 31 inches of seat pitch.” They are the real idiots. Not the ones using amenities given to them.

  • backprop

    I think maybe the reprimand was for the ‘jamming/slamming’ (quick recline) without warning — a problem if there’s a drink or laptop out, or if 27B is not situated properly — not necessarily for the act of reclining itself.

  • Christopher Elliott

    It’s a shared space — always was, always will be. But the least that the guy in 26B could have done was ask before capping my knees.

  • Guest

    Well, based on the discussion about this very matter not to long ago, it seems the FAs wouldn’t agree with you in that they support the person reclining. You are not a novice traveler yet you keep putting your laptop at risk and calling the other person a jerk for using what they are entitled to.

  • Christopher Elliott

    That’s incorrect. The flight attendants in that case believed (as I did) that the man in front of me was mentally unstable, and didn’t want to provoke a confrontation.

    Had he seemed more rational, then we could have come to an agreement. You do not have the right to recline your seat all the way back. Always, always ask before leaning — it’s the polite thing to do.

    The space doesn’t belong to you exclusively. It is shared.

  • Sommer Gentry

    Hmmm, nope, I thought about it, and 26B is definitely the jerk. Reclining means taking more space for yourself when you know full well that every inch comes at the expense of space for someone else. This is exactly like taking 3/4 of the pizza when your dining companion is hungry too, or like rolling up in all of the covers and leaving your bedmate shivering.

    I can’t for the life of me comprehend why airlines don’t lock the seats in place, other than that it might cost them a few dollars of modifications to their planes.

  • Guest

    That was not the case I was refering too. In that case, both you and the FA assumed he was mentally unstable because he was playing with a toy light saber. Did anyone actually talk to him? Didn’t sound like it from the story.

    I was refering to the cases where there was a dispute where a FA was actually involved in it. Like the one lady who kept shoving the seat back up of the person in front of them.

    You claim the person doesn’t have a right to recline all the way back. Would you care to elaborate where that rule is located at?

    And speaking of the polite thing to do, wouldn’t it have been the polite thing for you to do, knowing it was going to take longer for you to get off the plane with your kids, to wait for everyone else to go first?

  • John Frenaye

    A little politeness goes a long way! Please and thank you. My grandmom would be proud!

  • Annapolis2

    Another reason air travel makes people into jerks – just like the South Korean woman in the news earlier this week, people who have been sexually assaulted and stolen from by lowlife thugs in blue costumes have good reason to be irate. Unfortunately, treating TSA employees with the respect they deserve (which would mean, aside from physically fighting back when strangers grab your sex organs, jailing those pervert villains for a long, long time) tends to bring out the dirty cops who take the side of our attackers. Being dehumanized, degraded, exposed to carcinogenic radiation, screamed at, threatened, and humiliated by the TSA puts us all in a bad mood.

  • carillon246

    So what is seat reclining etiquette?
    1) recline slowly and gradually so person behind me can prepare?
    2) lean over the top and inform the person behind my desire to recline?
    3) ask politely, “Would you mind if I reclined my seat?” What if the person behind me is a jerk who said no? What if I ratcheted up the stakes by saying I have a bad back (which is not true but quick thinking)? What if he says he can’t work with my seat reclined? What if I tell him to recline his seat to get more room. What if he says he doesn’t feel like reclining his seat. What if I tell him, “I have a right to recline!” and reclined anyway.
    Option 1 is so much better.

  • DavidATL

    I, also, have had my knees scrapped by the jerk in the seat in front of me. It’s happened to me on three international flights in the past month, in fact. In one case, a four-year-old child sat in front of me and the mother pushed the seat back to the max. Another time, a young lady (with extremely dirty hair) automatically pushed back the seat and proceeded to lean forward to read during the flight. Frankly, I have no problem asking the flight attendents to request that the seats be raised upright during snacks and meals. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not innocent here. You are right, we are all jerks. When the person refuses to move the seat, I will ‘accidentally’ lean against the seat when I rise and try to “accidentally” catch the person’s hair as I leave my seat.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Just because you have the ability to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

    For example, if I own a gun — I’m not saying that I do — do I have the right to use it any way I want to? Even the most die-hard NRA member would see the absurdity in that.

    The logic of saying, “I paid for the seat, it leans back, so I have the right to lean it all the way back,” is unclear to me. You are taking away someone else’s space when you do. Perhaps you can help me understand what gives you the right.

    You’ve never flown with my family. We almost always wait until everyone else is off the aircraft because, yes, it’s the polite thing to do. We had a tight connection to our Orlando flight, so we worked as quickly as possible to get the family off the aircraft. Apparently, not quickly enough.

  • Lisa Simeone

    Back in the days when I flew, I never, ever, ever leaned my seat back into the lap of the person behind me. It’s incredibly rude. Chris is right that it’s shared space. We’re all sharing what is admittedly too-small space (in Coach anyway; not in Biz Class or World Traveller Plus, etc.). We have an obligation to be considerate, and it’s not considerate to shove your seat into the person sitting behind you.

  • Guest

    I can point you to the laws that says how you can use your gun. I have yet to see anyone show me the rules to support your claim that I don’t have the right to recline my seat. As for the logic question, I can say the same thing. The position that I don’t have the right to lean is unclear. Show me the rule that says I can’t lean back. In the abstance of a rule, that means I can.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Maybe you’ve never been wedged into an economy class seat, so I’ll see if I can help you understand. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. It is impolite to recline all the way without first asking for permission.

  • Tincanrider

    As a platinum rider on Delta, and before that a Gold Eastern ‘ET’ rider, I was indeed thankful for the perks, especially the relative ease of using mileage to take my family on trips. I lost the privileges after the loss of my job/travel. I don’t fly now, unless our vacation spot is too far to drive. Driving is a pleasure believe it or not.

    How so? Take the luggage you need and the extra. Take a small drink box with fruit, water, and a couple of bottles of wine for the hotel. Taking a 5 day trip to Boston, expand it and enjoy a night in Newport. Stop and see folks on the way home. Travel is wonderful if you plan it, and enjoy the planning.

    I focus on minimizing the time in airports and airplanes. NO ONE wants to be there any more.

    No I’m not retired, or, in an upper income bracket… I just play the game and read the blogs…. Cheers

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Everyone whines and anyone can be a jackass. Why single out those in the front of the plane. Some of us travel on our own dime, and don’t have reimbursements from employers. It really does happen.

    Why whine that the seat only has 31 inches of pitch, when passengers refused to pay additional for 34 inches of pitch in coach.

    Why whine that someone was upset because you were moving too slow. Well, of course, since you had a tight connection, everyone else must wait.
    Everyone wants their own way, and everyone has the potential to be a whiny jackass when they don’t get their way. Let’s not feed into populist class warfare.

  • William_Leeper

    What you CAN do and what you SHOULD do are two entirely different things. Common courtesy and manners dictate that we treat others like we want to be treated, I dot know avoid anyone else, but my parents taught me respect. If you do not want someone doing it to you, don’t do it to someone else.

  • William_Leeper

    Perhaps we should just make everyone fly in Cessna 182’s? Maybe we could teach them the value of manners and a reclining seat?

  • Guest

    Yes, I have been wedged into those seats and never thought of that space as mine. And that just because argument is laughable. Just because I can doen’t mean I shouldn’t. And I am not going to ask permission to use the function of the seat the airline gave me. This sounds more like an argument you should be having with the airlines. If you don’t think the seats should recline unless the person behind you says it’s okay, lobby the airlines to put a control on the seat in front of you to stop them.

  • Tom Blackwell

    I think you are on the right track. It costs money to travel and those who don’t think they have sufficient courtesies, and maybe those who have been hassled by the system, respond accordingly. But sometimes the people on the other end of a rude, aggressive response are not the ones receiving the payment.

  • Guest

    But I do treat them how I want to be treated. I know I am going to recline so I don’t give the person in front of me any grief for using thr same seat function I am using. Respect is a two way street and you have to remeber there are two sides to that street. Just because you may not want to use the recline function, you still need to respect those that do.

  • y_p_w

    I was recently on a flight (Southwest) where my family of three was seated in the row ahead of an exit row. The seats didn’t recline and there was a little message there that noted that. Now, since it’s possible to have seats that don’t recline, perhaps some airlines might consider doing do for the entire cabin. I’m sure that flight attendants would like one less thing that they would need to arbitrate among bickering passengers.

    The other interesting thing was exactly one seat in the middle exit row. On my outbound flight, I was in the left middle exit row, but the guy with the window seat had no seat in front of him. This was purposely designed to make it easier to pass through the emergency door without having the lengthen the distance to the next seat for all three seats. As soon as he left the plane on a stop, I jumped into that seat. The only drawback was that any carryon that had to be stowed under a seat was in the next seat about 4 feet ahead. I could live with that. On the return flight (with the family) I was looking for that same seat and couldn’t find it. I asked a flight attendant, and a woman two rows behind said she had it. So on that plane the spot was on the other side.

  • EdB

    Because you never did it, no one else should? Gee, what a very inconsiderate point of view.

  • Lisa Simeone

    Mr. Boston, you are reading into it what you want to read into it. I stated a fact. Then I stated an opinion. Simple as that.

  • William_Leeper

    I agree with your point, but if I do not want to recline, you should have enough respect for me to not crush me. I rarely commercially anymore, so it matters not to me.

  • Alan Gore

    “Take a small drink box with fruit, water, and a couple of bottles of wine for the hotel.”

    Which will get confiscated before we get on the plane. Welcome to the world of the non-elite traveler.

  • Extramail

    Absolutely correct!

  • Lisa Simeone

    Mr. Gore, in case Tincanrider doesn’t get to this — he was talking about driving, not flying. Take a small drink box, etc. in the car.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I was singling out everyone on the plane, not just the folks in the front.

    You make it sound as if trying to save money — a time-honored practice here in America — is wrong.

    I see it differently. The airlines set the fares. If they can’t figure out a way to make money from a seat without also torturing their passengers, them maybe they are in the wrong line of work.

    Maybe they can switch careers and go to the work for the military, interrogating prisoners at Gitmo?

  • Steve Rabin

    Maybe I’m a bit of a Pollyanna, but I think it’s more out of ignorance than blatant disregard for others. Most folks do not think about it–they just do it, not realizing or caring that it may affect others. It’s like the people on the highways who go from the far left lane across 3 lanes of traffic to get to the exits–they are blocking others, but it doesn’t occur to them that it’s a problem.

  • LadyLightTravel

    Chris, I like your column and usually agree with you. But in this case I have to say that the pot is calling the kettle black.

    Several times you have written about passengers of size. Most of us expect them to buy extra seating to accomodate their size (width). Yet you, as a passenger of size (height) are unwilling to buy the extra seating to accomodate your size. How does it work one way but not the other?

    Then there is the laptop aspect. Business class has a larger pitch to accomodate the space needed by laptops. Yet you expect this same space in economy class. Coupled with your larger size, it seems unreasonable to expect an economy class space that will accomodate your size **and** your laptop. If your deadlines are that important, can’t you buy a premium economy seat and write off the difference as a business expense? You’d probably have to keep logs of your work, but I suspect you may do that already.
    I would like to add one more “don’t be a jerk” issue. Please don’t bring a carry-on that is too big for the sizer. A roller bag with the expansion zipper unzipped will NEVER be carry on sized. The overhead bins really are shared space. When people bring on oversized bags that have to be stored side ways this takes up three spaces instead of one. Either pack lightly or pay the baggage fee, please!

  • jebaker

    Oh Elliott, you are generalizing way too much. I have been an elite level flyer since the programs initiated and I bend over backwards to be polite to crew as they are much in the same position I am in – they must fly to earn money. I never recline out of respect for others and go out my way to walk non frequent fliers to their gates when they are lost in the airport. Yes, there are people who are self important but I find just as many in the coach section as first class. The infrequent flier who refers to flight attendants as “stewardesses” and wants to know where their meal is just as annoying if not more so.

  • Sunnykm

    I fly quite a bit and have not once been asked by the person in front of me for permission to recline their seat nor have I asked the person behind me. If inconvenience is the issue maybe those with aisle seats shouldn’t be able to lower their tray table as it causes a problem of impaired egress for the middle and window seat travelers to exit to the lavatory.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Sticking with the poll question, “Are travelers jerks?”, I really, really have to vote an emphatic, “NO! No more than the rest of the population.”

    Quick list of jerks in the general population:
    * Anyone driving slower than me
    * Anyone driving faster than me
    * People with coupons, gift cards, writing a personal check *and* 20 items in a 12 item “Express Lane”
    * Guy down the street who dumps the snow from his driveway into mine
    * Person who picks up and answers cell phone during a play
    * The 4 people walking side-by-side down the hall at a snail’s pace blocking the 20 people behind them trying to get back to work on time
    * People who write lists about other people. :)

    Happy New Year to all of you!

  • Daddydo

    The next time you have the seat in front of you collapse upon your knees, plug in the headphones, do a little air drumming on the bottom of the chair, while playing air symbals on the chairback. It sends a message that you are in pain or disturbed. I do hope that you took the attendants name and filed a report with the airline.
    There is nothing good about flying today. I flew 30-50 times a year through 2004. I was elite. I quit because it is not pleasurable, clean, safe, speedy, no honest airlines, and very few decent employees, and NO _____ (fill in the blank) proper TSA employees. I set up shop at a storefront business and now drive to most destinations and fly 2-3 times a year to see family. I also donated all air milage to armed service depandants to visit their Military spouses.

  • Kim M

    Since I am short, ( 5/2),If the guy behind me is big ( you can always tell if someone behind him is upset) I ask if he wants to switch aisle seats. He can stretch out, the guy now behind me is grateful and usually both end up giving me presents ( like their cookies ) Makes for a great flight for all of us!!

  • Guest

    Yeah. An opinion that if others don’t do as you do/did, they are rude.

  • Frank Windows

    How about the jerks who ignore the numerous “smaller item under the seat in front of you” announcements and immediately put their tiny little laptop bag in the overhead right next to their giant roll-a-board. As one of those early-boarding elites- I see this on every single fight. So what if those poor plebes in the last boarding group have to check their baby bags? This is one that really steams my clams… it’s just so selfish.

  • MarkieA

    Wow! I don’t know where you get all of this from. Lisa’s simply stating an opinion, which is shared by quite a few, actually. Of course she thinks she’s right. Why would anyone state an opinion that they thought was wrong? I think it’s rude to not say “Thank You” when I hold the door for you. I think it’s rude for three people to walk abreast down the sidewalk, expecting everyone else to move out of their way. Am I an opinionated jerk for feeling this way and stating it openly?

  • dourdan

    I once had someone reline on to my knees, so i pushed their hair back up (either a certain airline as very weak seats or i have very strong knees). They told on me to the flight attendant who said “everyone has the right to reline their seat.”


  • TonyA_says

    Don’t like jerks? Then go to Japan. One of the most polite, cleanest, and respectful place you can visit. I flew ANA 777 economy JFK – NRT – JFK and domestic 737 NRT – CTS – HND. Never had to recline my seat on any leg. Seatguru reports a 31 inch pitch, but I felt a lot of space between rows. And btw Japanese version of TSA are in dark suits in Narita. Very professional. No nudeoscopes and no touching of any part of your body. JFK airport looks like a ghetto compared to Japanese airports. Same thing with Penn and Grand Central stations compared to JR stations.

  • Bill___A

    Interesting New Year’s post.
    There are,, as always, people of all types out there….right from the really great ones to the really bad ones, and then there are the idiots.
    as far as these “entitled elites” Chris talks about, I run into far more polite and considerate ones than the “entitled ones”. What seems to happen most often is the boorish traveller who doesn’t really care about anyone else.
    I do feel for Chris and the leaning seat back issue. I would like to make a few comments about that. First of all, the airlines have made it so tight that one should only recline if it is absolutely necessary and then only when there is not a big and tall person behind.
    I note one reader mentioned a back problem and another said they would recline because the person behind could recline also.
    It is regrettable to have a back problem and surely something could be arranged where there is either a small accommodating person behind or an empty seat. Although consideration should be shown for back problems, there also needs to be consideration shown for tall/big people (and at present there is not!).
    The concept of the person behind reclining additionally is absurd. Why should everyone in a line of seats the whole section long have to recline rather than have someone else’s hair in their face.
    Airlines need to be made aware that if the seats are to recline, they have to do so fairly and they have to accommodate the “most severe” constraint. Reclining is not a “right’ as far as I’m concerned.
    Years ago, cabin staff would ask people to at least put their seats up during food service, now they don’t.
    As to taking a long time to deplane with three kids, the announcements used to say that if you have kids or some other time consuming constraint, to wait until the other passengers have deplaned.
    I am far more tolerant than my comments in these columns indicate, but I do think that people have to make their points known to the travel providers. I have been doing my part, paying for “united plus” seats where available…which seems to increase the fare by 50% but yes I do it. so I get legroom but out of the 40 kids on the plane, the three noisy ones are right beside and behind me.
    You just can’t win out there.
    I try to be civil and I get treated pretty well by those who do treat people well. those who are jerks….they are just jerks. There seem to be a lot of them.

  • MarkKelling

    How bout this one? A guy getting on a recent flight before me placed his briefcase, coat laid out flat and hat in an overhead bin (one large enough for 3 – 4 roller bags) and then closed the bin. He blew a fuse when the flight attendant opened the bin and threw a roller bag in there on top of his coat! Why did he think that just because he purchased a single economy seat he had thereby reserved an entire overhead bin for his own personal use? Even in 1st you don’t get that much space.

  • Rebecca

    To answer your question simply, passengers of size can always lose weight and be normal size. Passengers of height can’t get shorter. Yes, there are extremely rare cases where obese people have medical issues that make it impossible to lose weight. But even those with thyroid problems can at least get to the size where they fit in the seat. There is almost never an excuse for morbid obesity.

  • LadyLightTravel

    Unfortunately it takes less to be a passenger of size with todays seating system. In both cases it is unreasonable and utterly selfish to expect the other passengers to accomodate the extra space needed by a passenger of size. Shall someone with a herniated disk be forced into days of back spasms to accomodate someone that is over 6 foot tall? The tall person knows long before the flight ever leaves what the seat pitch will be for that plane. They have the ability to mitigate that problem by selecting airlines/seats to handle their height. The person with the herniated disk won’t know until after boarding that they are expected to not recline. Is it fair or reasonable to just spring “don’t recline” on them like that?
    BTW, drugs may lessen the back spasms/pain, but they don’t eliminate it. And again, is it right or fair to demand that someone have their health compromised by anothers poor planning?

  • Helio

    (An small disclosure: I never ever fly 1st. or business. In all my trips – domestic or international – I was always in coach. I‘m about 6ft tall, and about 220 pounds weight)

    Every discussion about reclining or not the seat just involves the “offender” who reclined, and the “victim” who lost his precious space. It seems that everybody forgets that the “offender” may be a victim himself, because the person in front of him can also recline at full his seat.

    In my point of view, if you lost your front space, you can collect it reclining your seat, and so on. If everybody reclines their seats, the only people with full space advantage will be the first row travelers, and the people with full disadvantage may be the people at the last row (OK, I’m not considering the people on the exit row, but I believe you understand my point).

    I really don’t ask to the person behind permission to recline my seat, because: (1) I believe I have the right to do it; (2) I always recline slowing; (3) he can recline his seat and “recovers” the lost space. If the person behind me chooses to not do it, sorry, it isn’t my fault. If I have the chance to have a little more comfortable trip, I’ll get this chance.

    But, let’do an exercise and suppose the opposite – let’s suppose that the standard position of a seat is reclined, and the person can choose to upright the seat, instead of the opposite. In this situation, nobody will complain if the seat is reclined, because it is the regular position! In other words, just because the seat in upright position is the position to take off and landing, we cannot assume that it is their standard position.

    Regarding the problem of pitch – when I started to travel, I usually travel CGH-BSB (São Paulo-Brasilia), an about 600mi trip. In the 90’s, it costs about R$2,000.00 a round trip (on that time, more than US$2,000.00). Today, I can do the same trip (with the same company) with about R$500.00 (less than US$250.00 – the exchange rate changed a lot in the last 15~20 years). I don’t believe the air companies become more efficient in the last 15 years… The price reduction must be achieved by several means, like reducing the pitch, removing the amenities, increasing the ancillary fees… I remember last year a guy on my side complaining about the breakfast service (a very small cheese sandwich), claiming that in the past the same airline used to serve scrambled eggs, a fruit bow, bread, butter, etc. He just forgets that he also used to pay at least four times more for the same trip!

    Anyway, for the ones who believes that nobody has the right to recline their seats – I just travel to Europe, and in a flight between London and Paris, the British Airways aircraft had old and regular seats, but with no ability to recline. The button didn’t work. And in a domestic flight inside France, the Air France plane has their new fixed seats. They don’t even have a recliner’s button! (You can see them here: Of course AF added an extra row in its planes, and I really didn’t find it exactly comfortable neither the extra inches their promo material states… Well, nothing is perfect.

  • Bill___A

    I fly regularly between North America and Europe – and don’t recline my seat. I wouldn’t do that to anyone unless I was sure they had enough room.
    Good that you shared your perspective, but I don’t buy it at all.

  • ibafishman

    Jeanne & LeeAnne, the article was written for people just like the two of you. You are not the only people in the world who have a life to live, even if you don’t seem to care about anyone. I’ve been around the world a few times and it is people like you that I truely enjoy “getting in their way”. I suggest you take up yoga.

  • Mark

    What an absolutely bizarre question: “Are travelers jerks?”.
    I guess I am smart enough to generalize, whether it’s about travelers, minorities, women, gay people, etc.

  • Mark

    Meant to say that I’m smart enough NOT to generalize.

  • Jane

    I do not think I have EVER “met” such a disgusting self-righteous human being as “Hal.” You must be a horror show to live with and work with and just interact with. Find some human dignity and politeness. The fact that you are this rude and argumentative and self-serving boggles my mind. Thank god I don’t know you or anyone like you.

  • Hal

    Wow. Did you actually wait all this time before making this personal attack against me? I’m impressed.

    Just because someone does not share your view of etiquette does not make them rude. It shows more about a lack of character on the part of a person who calls someone else rude because they don’t agree with you.

    I have been flying for over 30 years with hundreds of flights and I have never had one person ever ask me if it was okay for them to recline their seat. From my perspective, these people saying you should ask first are a very small group trying to force their view of etiquette onto the rest of the flying public.

  • Grant

    FYI, Jane, the comments to which you are responding are more than five months old.