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Air passengers in seat recline woe

07 October 2013 09:06

Reclined seats is a common bugbear for air travellers

Reclined seats is a common bugbear for air travellers

Air passengers have called for a ban on seats being reclined or for set times to be introduced when it is allowed during flights.

Having the person in front lounging back and infringing on personal space is a familiar discomfort for regular travellers - it may be especially tortuous for pregnant women - and a survey by global travel site Skyscanner certainly bears that out.

Nine out of 10 respondents (91%) said seat reclining should either be banned or only allowed during set times on short-haul flights.

Around four in 10 (43%) think there should also be seat reclining limits on long-haul flights.

However, women in the process of booking their pregnancy travel insurance for flights in the near future might be justified in fearing the worst, as the poll revealed that seven out of 10 travellers (70%) would not be put off reclining their seat even if the person behind was pregnant.

Eight out of 10 (80%) even said they would not care if the person behind was elderly or frail.

The most considerate travellers according to the survey are women aged 18 to 24, while the most self-centred travellers were likely to be men aged over 35.

Levels of anger could be lessened if travellers asked permission of their fellow flyers before reclining their seat, the poll suggested, although a third of people were too worried about the reaction they'd receive and most (64%) had never done so.

And it's not just passengers who suffer from reclining seats, with airline staff having to deal with the regular bust-ups arising from the issue.

More than 60% of 900 international cabin crew who were also questioned said they have either been involved in or witnessed a dispute between passengers due to reclined seats.

Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, clinical director at the Private Therapy Clinic in Harley Street, said the poll results come as little surprise.

"The strong support for a change in reclined seat procedures makes sense. The effect of people reclining their seat can result in various negative emotions such as anger, stress, anxiety, frustration and upset for the passenger behind them," she said.

"This emotional impact can result in a whole range of unhelpful behaviours, including air rage."