DSC Debates: To Recline the Airplane Seat, or Not?

During this DSC Debate, we argue about whether reclining the seat on an airplane is rude or just common practice.


With Thanksgiving looming, it’s likely that you’ll soon find yourself faced with a monumental decision as you fly to see your family—do you recline the seat, or leave it upright? Do you choose your own comfort, or the comfort of those around you? To help you make that decision, we asked our fellow DSC colleagues whether or not they feel comfortable (pun intended) reclining their seat on the airplane. It turned into quite the debate…

Team Recline

Jackie R.: “How one can fly without reclining their chair is beyond me. Having your body stuck in a right angle for the duration of a flight is not only uncomfortable, it’s unhealthy. And for those who say I should feel bad for reclining my chair, that function wouldn’t be available if they didn’t expect you to use it.”

Rocky P.: “If you weigh the pros and cons, that extra bit of comfort that reclining your chair provides is well worth the initial worry that doing so may bother the person behind you. If they don’t say anything (and, trust me, they never will), why shouldn’t I recline my seat?”

Luke L.: “Generally speaking, trying to get comfortable on an airplane is impossible. That said, when I don’t recline my seat, I end up having killer back pain for the next few days—how haven’t airlines been sued for messing up someone’s back yet?”

Ken M.: “Someone once told me that flying is like a bad porno—all you get is three inches and a bag of nuts. Because of that saying, I recline. How am I supposed to be okay with just three inches of legroom?!”

Matthew T.: “There’s truly nothing like that feeling when you bring your seat back to the upright position after a long flight and realize that you saved yourself a world of discomfort by reclining. Sitting on an airplane without reclining is like being stuffed in a box that you barely fit in for hours at a time.”

Team Upright

Logan S.: “I usually just try to get a window seat and rest against the wall because the flight attendants always yell at me to keep my seat upright while taking off, then they wake me up to bring it upright again while landing. I’d rather just get to my seat, fall asleep ASAP and enjoy the remainder of the flight undisturbed.”

Jacob S.: “I’m a firm believer in the golden rule of treating others how you’d want to be treated. That’s why I don’t recline my seat—I absolutely hate when the person in front of me reclines their seat. In fact, I put my knees up so they can only recline so far back. Mwahahaha!”

Maddy H.: “The cons of bumming someone out for the duration of a long flight do not outweigh the pros of a two-inch tilt. Reclining does just about nothing for your own comfort, but can ruin the person’s entire trip behind you.”

Krista A.: “I HATE when the person in front of me leans back and messes with my tray table set up, and I don’t want to be a part of that domino effect, so I’ll stick with the upright position.”

Maria E.: “The literal worst thing ever is when you have to use the bathroom, but everyone in the row in front of you are reclined, so you have to try to shimmy to make your way into the aisle. That alone keeps me from reclining my seat.”

Now that our DSC employees have fought it out, it’s your turn. What side of the debate do you land on? Tell us in the comments below.