Flyers support ban on reclining seats on short-haul flights

Flyers support ban on reclining seats on short-haul flights

The majority of travellers want to see an end to reclining seats on short-haul flights, according to a new survey.

91% of people said airlines should either ban or set times for seat reclining, the poll of more than 1,000 travellers by Skyscanner found.

The study found that 43% even felt that long-haul flights should implement set times when passengers are permitted to recline their seat.

Almost a third of those surveyed said a reclined seat had caused them discomfort, and 3% revealed they had even suffered an injury.

Meanwhile, 60% of international cabin crew surveyed said they have been involved in, or witness to, an argument between passengers on the subject of reclined seats.

Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, clinical director at the Private Therapy Clinic in London’s Harley Street, said: “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. This emotional impact can result in a whole range of unhelpful behaviours, including air rage.

"This is partly because there are two general personality types while travelling. There’s the ‘altruistic soul’, who is considerate of others, and the ‘selfish ego’. The latter of which will look to increase their comfort at the expense of others.”

The survey found that 70% of selfish egos would not be put off reclining their seat even if the person behind was pregnant while 80% would not care if the person behind was elderly or frail.

Women aged 18-24 were the most likely to display altruistic soul tendencies in the survey, while men over the age of 35 were more likely to exhibit selfish ego characteristics.

While negative emotions could be reduced by a fellow passenger asking permission to recline their seat, the study found that a third of passengers are too worried about the reaction they would receive, and most people (64%) have never done so.

“With competing selfish egos and altruistic souls, set times for seat reclining on planes could actually make for an improved experience for passengers” said Dr Spelman.

“Such rules tend to ensure better social cohesion, as people are conditioned to obey boundaries. While these rules place a limit on the personal choice passengers have over their own comfort, people will generally adhere to them, accepting that it is fair. This could lead to a more pleasant flying experience for the majority.”

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