To cleanse the palate, I’ve suffered through maybe eight hours of debate about reclining plane seats on Twitter today so you’re going to suffer through two minutes. Besides, as Mollie Hemingway says, we need to reach a national consensus on this important issue.
The video explains it well enough but if you simply must have a news account, here’s Reuters. My sympathies lie, very reluctantly, with the woman. She paid the airline for the seat, the airline allows its seats to recline (although not all airlines do), ergo she was entitled to recline even though she’s an inhuman monster for further reducing what little legroom these sardine cans allow nowadays. Should she be asked not to recline? By all means. Should she be shunned by the other passengers if she insists on reclining? I think it’d be helpful. Should her seat be manually locked in place by someone who didn’t pay for it, though? Well, no. If computer guy needed workspace that desperately, he could have popped for first class. Letting one passenger commandeer parts of another’s seat can lead to only one outcome, my friends: With an air-travel arms race, in which anti-recliners bring Knee Defenders aboard and pro-recliners bring some new technology, probably called Knee Crusher or something, that’s capable of unlocking Knee Defender if it’s placed on the seat behind them. Then the anti-recliners will find technology that beats that, then the pro-recliners will respond, and soon you’ve got open carry happening in the cabin just in case anyone reaches for that button on their seat arm.
Isn’t the obvious solution here for airlines to sell reclining and non-reclining seats? Set up a section or column of seats that don’t recline for the laptop crowd and let them choose that. You wouldn’t even have to charge extra. Just let people self-sort.