Sitting in a tin can with less and less room with each new type of plane means that personal space is a precious commodity. Reclining seats “behind the curtain” of first and business class add a whole new level of encroaching on others.
After hundreds of hours of observation over the years, we’ve been able to categorize not only the various types of flyers who recline their seats, but also those behind them.
TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO RECLINE
The ones who feel too guilty to recline
If they think their reclining will be an inconvenience for the person behind them, they just won’t recline. It seems to be a little codependent on the surface, but more often than not, they’re just trying to be nice.
Before they recline, Apologizers may strike up a conversation with the person behind them and apologize for reclining. Maybe their back hurts. Maybe they need to recline in order to sleep. Whatever the case, they mean well.
Minimizers try their best. They may recline, for example, while sleeping, but as soon as they’re awake, they pop back up into a non-reclined position. Like Apologizers, they’re doing the best they can and it’s kind of hard to fault them.
These people sslloowwllyy recline, hoping that the person behind them won’t notice (but of course they do).
When confronted about reclining, Sneaks may play dumb (“Oh, was it reclined? I hadn’t noticed”), after which they may return their seat to an upright position (and then they’ll start sneaking all over again, or they might just leave it where it is).
Rambos are the ones who recline the second they’re allowed (and sometimes before – until the flight attendant catches them reclining too early) and stay there for the duration of the flight. If you say something to them, Rambos may snarl something about it being a free country, it’s their right to recline, or “Don’t you know who I am?” (OMG I’ll never forget THAT story, LOL!).
Yeah, Rambos are self-centered A-holes.
THOSE WHO BECOME, IF YOU WILL, “RECLINEES”
If those who recline are “recliners,” then those who are being reclined upon must be “reclinees,” right?
The ones who grin and bear it
These people who have someone reclining into their space are sort of like the Guilty recliners above – at first glance they might seem too meek to say anything but dig a little deeper and you may find a kindhearted person who truly doesn’t mind.
Complainers gonna complain. It could be to their seatmate (whether they know him/her or not), it could be under their breath, or they may go the aggressive route and they might say something to the recliner him/herself.
Tattletales tell the flight attendant. Unfortunately, that rarely turns out well for the tattletale. Case in point.
People with the “Oh, Yeah?” persona are the ones looking for revenge. “You’re gonna put that seat practically in my lap? Well fine, I’m going to kick your seat. Or pull on it when I get up to go to the restroom every 30 minutes. Or do something else that I hope ticks you off because you dared to encroach on my personal space.” “Oh yeah?” people are the ones with the tendency towards passive-aggressiveness.
There are some people you hope are not paired together. Having a Too Guilty To Recline or a Grin And Bear It will be fine with just about anyone. Sneaks, Complainers and Tattletales all run their own risks, depending on who they’re sitting in front of or behind. But if you have a Rambo sitting in front of an Oh, Yeah? Well, that could eventually come to fisticuffs and make it into local headlines. And then we’ll write a post about it 😉
As for me, as a recliner, I either don’t recline, or I’ll be a minimalist. As a reclinee, I’ll generally grin and bear it.
OK, time to fess up – what kind of recliner and/or reclinee are you?
*** Feature photo (cropped): TravelingOtter/flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary