Unnecessary Behavior

December 5, 2008

in Seat Stories

I don’t fly very but it happens. But on a regular basis something amazingly happens to me and/or others. This flight was from Switzerland to USA. I thought I was lucky since I got a row with lots of legroom, but as soon as I tried to sleep like everyone else I noticed the passenger behind me had his knees on the back of my seat. That is ok for me. I do it myself. However, when I do that I try to do it with the least annoyance as possible.

THIS person was apparently trying to be as annoying as possible. For a while I thought he would fall asleep at some point. How wrong. He kept changing and kneeing my back constantly. I finally told him to stop and his answer was, “If you don’t want that, you should have booked business class.”

I was so surprised by that rude attitude that I really didn’t see any solution to it. At the end of the flight I told him when we were leaving the plane that this behavior was really unnecessary. He made some weird coughing noise which I think was him laughing.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

B April 2, 2009 at 8:26 am

Have you thought it might have been you being rude?

There isn't much room between rows of seats nowdays. Those of us with long legs get our legs crushed when the people in front of us recline their seats all the way back.

Yes, He should have asked to you not tilt back all the way. You would think you would have got a clue from his kicks. Im sure his discomfort far outweighed yours.


bob April 5, 2010 at 5:50 am

im sorry but the author didnt say he reclined his seat did he


litchik April 2, 2009 at 9:16 am

Or maybe he was in a bad mood already and by the time you asked him he was exhausted and upset, you were upset and no one thought that being especially cordial was the way to make progress.

Try to remember that the person annoying you on a flight did not design or buy the aircraft, schedule the flights or have any control, really, over the conditions in which you all find yourselves. Move on from there, after taking a couple of very deep, slow breaths.


Amit April 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

I'm with the OP on this one. If you have long legs, then tell the guy in front of you at least instead of being rude about it. Having the back of your seat kicked/kneed/whatever is incredibly annoying.


Please April 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

Airplanes are not a place for "hints." If you need additional legroom, then OPEN YOUR MOUTH and request it – instead of playing coy. What happened to basic communication and courtesy?

For those getting knees in the back of their seat, just keep playing with the seat back. The person behind you will get the "hint" too – right?


Amy April 2, 2009 at 11:34 am

Having long legs myself I will ask the person in front of me to refrain from putting the seat all the way back. Primarily it's for my legs but seriously, who wants someone laying their head in your lap? Anyway, if someone refuses to budge or compromise at all, I will put my knees on the seat back and do a little jib with my knees. Hey, I can keep doing it forever. Know it sounds mean, but if diplomacy won't work first then too bad.


Accipiter April 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

While he should have politely asked you to move your seat up, I don't think you're entirely blameless. As a tall person, I find it very uncomfortable when someone reclines, even a little, into my knees. I never recline my seat unless the seat behind me is empty. I would recommend next time, asking the person seated behind you if he or she would mind if you reclined your seat. I'm sure you would not get knees in your seat anymore.


Ed April 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

If this guy was the one with legroom issues, maybe he should have booked business class.

I have long legs and I understand that the seats can be uncomfortable. But, that is my problem, not the problem of the person in front of me.


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 7:04 pm

no were did the OP say his seat was back


J April 2, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Why is everyone blaming the poster. What this person should have done is told the flight attendant. He/She has every right to be annoyed if he's going to be banging the back of her seat


Tom April 3, 2009 at 2:54 am

"Have you thought it might have been you being rude?"

Hahaha, "B", you sound like YOU might just be one of these annoying people who have to thrash about and disturb others just for their own comfort. A self-absorbed, pompous twit that thinks they have every right to make those around them just as uncomfortable as they are.

Stop trying to act like there's some untold, underlying secret behind the story. Idiots kick the back of the seats all the time. People are stupid. It happens.


GrossGreg April 3, 2009 at 4:21 am

You'd be surprised how many people think that it's rude to put the seat back. I've always been under the impression that everyone on a flight has the right to sit with his or her seat back if he or she wants to. There was a major debate on one of the Internet's more popular blogs a few months a go about whether or not someone should have the right to put his or her seat back, and it eventually degraded into a mudslinging, name-calling, gripe fest.

I am very tall, and have endured some pretty uncomfortable flights. However, I would never be rude enough to intentionally knee someone in the back until they sit up. Honestly, I simply sit with my knees apart, usually with one wedged on either side of the reclining chair if necessary.


DJ April 3, 2009 at 5:32 am

I think flight attendants have more important things to do that dealing with petty annoyances. The guy in the seat behind you was just being an ass but didn't hit you threaten you, didn't he? Then it would have been a case for the police upon arrival anyways.


Kiri the Can Opener January 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

More important things to do? Yeah, right, like ignoring the call button when a passenger needs a glass of water. Those flying waitresses are there to provide a service, but too many of them must have skipped class the day that lesson was being taught.


Steven Anderson April 3, 2009 at 9:46 am

I am 6 foot 3 and pretty husky on top and have never had any problems with someone putting the seatback. There is plenty of room if you spead your legs a little. Shuffling your legs is simple. You simply use both your arms, lift yourself a bit and move them from side to side and you don't even have to touch the seat in front of you.

I had an experience like this as well but I am not the nice type that just lets this type of stuff happen. After a half an hour of this which was becoming obviously done on purpose, I stood up and leaned back over my seat to him about a foot from his face and yelled…"fXXXing cool it now!" The stewardess came over and I explained to her what was going on and told her that I thought it was OK now…and it was for the rest of the flight.

Fine, you never know maybe he would have tried to clock me for saying that but be prepared because unless you know your opponent be prepared to confront someone like myself that would rather end up in the hospital before backing down as long as the other ended up their too or worse.


Rob April 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm

"I do it myself"

Reality check: even the mildest knee pressure is irritating and noticeable.

There is no polite way to use your knees on another seatback.


matt April 5, 2009 at 9:01 am

I have no choice my legs will press up against the back of the seat in front of me if they choose to recline. If it bothers you just put your seat back. By the way if you have long legs and someone puts their seat back just remove all of the magazines put your knee firmly in the back and slowly move it from right to left when they sit up to look push the seat back and then wedge your leg in so they cannot lean back again.


jenkins April 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

I have a long dong and find it VERY inconsiderate when someone reclines there seat after i said 'excuse me, I have been blessed with big genetalia and if it's not too much trouble, could you not recline your seat back on me as my junk will be crushed'. if they decide to still do it, i will some way figure out a way to teabag the person as they are reclined!


Onslow April 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

He was quite simply, an asshole. He should have been the one to book first class if knew he could sit still in the seat without annoying the person in front of him.


Hugh May 4, 2009 at 1:39 am

Sounds like the guy behind you was a jerk, but unfortunately, it sounds like Karma. You said that you also put your knees into that back of the seat in fornt of you on occassion. There is no excuse for that. If you have an issue with the person in front of you reclining, man up and say something. Fact is, they are allowed to recline, whether you like it or not. Bothering them, and annoying them in childish ways makes you wrong, not them. I always recline my seat, at least a little, usually not all the way, just out of courtesy. I have been asked by people not to, and depending on the situation, sometimes I continue reclining, other times, I sit it up straight. At least they were respectful enough and courteous enough to mentione their request, and not resort to childish nonsense.


Chris August 17, 2009 at 12:33 am

Interesting comments to my post. Ok, english not my first language, but still I am surprised by some of the reactions. First of all, this was a long overseas overnight flight. Not a domestic two hour flight. Most people want to sleep and will sleep. With very few exceptions practically all seats are reclined. Now the guy behind me was average sized, btw he had his own seat reclined. And yes, I do sometimes put my knees on the seat in the front of me. So I am very very tolerant about it. But I do try not to disturb – 1) I don't want drill the back of the person so I place them on the tray 2) I don't want to shake the seat so I try not change the position and if I do I try doing it as softly and slowly as possible. As far as I know, none has woken up because of me (yet). And I am not even demanding/expecting the very same courtesy. The guy behind me however was doing the complete opposite. Maybe even on purpose. It was ridiculous. Based on how he behaved, and looking back at this whole thing I think now he had some mental problems further beyond the common aviophobia and/or nicotine abstinence.


Mark December 2, 2009 at 7:54 am

The reality check should still stand, regardless of your first language. The seat in front of you is bought by the person in front of you. You have the one your ass is in. You bought 1 seat, leave the other ones alone for chrissake, which means KEEP YOUR FEET/LEGS OFF IT. It's surprising how uncommon this bit of common sense is…

End of story.


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