Stressed about a Full Seat Recline

November 28, 2010

in Seat Stories

We all know EVERYONE “fights for the armrest.”  Would you also “fight for the full seat recline?”

This situation happened on a mid-1990s flight from Raleigh-Durham to Tampa.  Delta 757, first class upgrade.

Sat down in my prized left aisle seat; super comfortable blue leather; nice.  NICE.

“Thanks for the drink; will we be leaving on time? OK, no big deal.”

Ahh, let’s just recline and wait then.  Where’s my Car&Driver?  Man, what a great steak last night at ANGUS BARN; sorry, back on track.

Odd, seat seems to be stuck.

Hmm, odd; STILL STUCK.  Let me investigate.  Oh, crap, there is a VERY LARGE gentleman sitting behind me in flashy clothes (not fat, no… this DUDE was CLEARLY a former athlete and I am not talking 4×100 or high jump).  He must have been a former football linebacker but MAYBE a quicker defensive lineman; he was definitely not on the offensive line.

“Hi; excuse me, sir; do you mind shifting your leg so I can recline?”

“Sorry, but I won’t be able to.”  Now, his tone was a TAD on the negative side.  Keep in mind that first class has deeper rows; yes, this guy was friggin’ huge; sorry, I already said that.

“Damn, you must be kidding me” I said deeply under my breath.  You all must think I am a brat at this point but there is no F’in way I am riding VERTICAL for a two hour gig–ok; I guess I could but damn.

Let’s analyze this: if given the same situation but the guy was the same size or smaller (safe) this would not be a story–I would wait for my move, done it swiftly… end of story.  You guys know what I am talking about: we all know IMMEDIATELY if we would lose a fight to a guy (you don’t even think it, you just know) – no matter what walk of life you are in you would generally not engage another in a tough spot (in the public).  But, we also know that in certain situations (like First class) you MIGHT feel as is you are in a “safe zone.”

Now, you must understand that I am a little bit of a statistical gambler: if the odds are correct for the risk/reward (or possible future reward), I am fine with the bet.

Thirty minutes into the flight I did a casual glance back and noticed that he was MAKING the typical body shift–knees spreading outward slightly.  “GO FOR IT, PAUL!” – right or wrong?  “I think I can make it.”  I had to make a SPLIT SECOND DECISION.  What would you do—still a solid 1+hour cruise left?

I know what you are thinking–the good saints out in blog land would NEVER make the move.  Or, for those of you that feel you have to TELL SOMEONE they MUST move or else, here is your spot to comment… but do me a favor and answer honestly (in your safe tight sweaters, in your safe Starbucks, with your safe maccio-maccio-lite).

Now, if you are a woman you would not deal with HIM on this issue – he would just point to THE WOMAN.  I FORGOT to mention his wife; she looked as if she was some kind of athlete too–pure, strong looking and mean.  Now what would you do?  Again, I remind you all that “some” said you need to proclaim to said persons that were annoying you; that would of course WORK 100% of the time, for sure.

OK; let’s get to it:  Gap is now open:  go for it.  BAM.  SUCCESSFUL.

[Note: What I think NOW about this one situation is that I was WRONG—I should have just rode vertical–BUT, I can only write facts for what happened].

Wait for it….

“Hey!”  Sorry, more like a deep “AAAaaay!”  Not like the FONZ here: this was like REVERSE FALSETTO, so to speak.

Don’t respond, Paul.


Don’t say a word, Paul; he sounds a little upset – like someone who CLEARLY said he could not allow me to recline.

Oh, crap.  He is tapping my shoulder right shoulder.

“Yes?  Sorry; oh…. all I did was recline; what is the issue, sir?  You want me to WHAT?  I don’t understand…”  Keep playing naive (seems like a good strategy I luckily scrambled to package).  Wow, it’s working…  “Oh, you want me to move my seat up some?  Sure.”  I proceed to move up slightly–reasonable.  I don’t think he liked that.  Phew; critical seconds tick off and nothing more.

Flight lands.  Get your bag up top quickly but don’t look… don’t look.  Safe so far… out I go.

Flight from Hell?  No, but almost.  Yes, I did make it to my car in Tampa safely (very glad we didn’t hit the same elevator or train to the main concourse).

WHY DID I WRITE THIS ONE LAST STORY?  Again, I want to know what you would you do in this situation–go vertical or speak up?  And is there one correct answer for this one exact situation?  I realize THESE DAYS things are different… and the old “fight for the armrest” is different too as that involves “armage,” or worse.

– Paul

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

david November 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm

you seem to have too much time on your hands and many pointless stories……how are you going to be able to remember what happened on a flight back then with a story like this? stop writing things just to write

next we will hear your who convo with a tsa screener but no one is going to listen to you

first your not supposed to recline until cruising altitude

you were upgraded and then wanted a guy who prob paid for his seat to be inconvenienced because you wanted to recline and he was too large? probably why he paid more for business not economy

and your complaining because you cant sit for 2hrs? thats a short flight, stop your complaining

you act like a spoiled person, get over yourself, oooo lets play a game and see if the world revolves around me, i will make sure that the other person is uncomfortable

congrats you made a pointless self centered story that wasnt a ffh

someone just likes attention


me November 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm

if the guy was that large, he probably WASN'T able to move his legs. you really think you're entitled to a lot, obviously everyone can sit upright for 2 hours out of their precious day.


Karl November 29, 2010 at 12:46 am

Another boring fake story by "Paul"….


JonJon November 29, 2010 at 4:02 am

Another story zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, sorry I fell asleep, from Paul ! LMAO

This guy writes so many bad stories I can now instantly scroll through the first couple of sentences recognize him and skip it.


Peace Lover November 29, 2010 at 4:09 am

No disrespect towards Paul but his stories are extremley over informative and quite dull and I'm trying not to be harsh when saying that. I got as far as the apology in the story before loosing the point. But if it makes you happy Paul thats your business, happy holidays!


Homemaker November 29, 2010 at 8:45 am

I really hope that was the last one by this guy. I've been skipping past them every time I see the painfully horrible writing style.


TacoDave November 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Agreed. No more Paul stories! I might even stop visiting this site if he keeps getting published. Seriously.

And Paul – you're a jerk. Making someone else uncomfortable to make yourself MORE comfortable is crappy.


jonasgal November 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

Not necessarily!!! If it's easier, I'LL do it!! Honestly, all these complaints and such make MY life sooooo much better in the fact that I don't HAVE all these complaints and such!!!


rerere November 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Another A+ Paul story. Very, Very fake and boring. There is no flight from hell anywhere in that story.


Suzanne November 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I thought the story was well written and it made me LOL.


xipe November 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

This reminds me of one of my trips from hell-

Three years ago, red eye from LAX-SJU

I take my window seat. Pillow comes out, eye mask on hand, headphones being plugged in….

CRAZY MID WEST CRACK HEAD sitting behind me taps my shoulder (you know the type… bad clothes, fidgety, bad hair, loud talker to imaginary friends)…

Crackhead- "Could you not recline your seat for the flight? I get kind of cramped…"

Me-" Dont think I will be able to help you. Its a seven hour red eye."

I doze off… everyone once in a while i hear her rambling on loudly to her fellow passengers… I doze off some more.

To get woken up with kicking , punching and screaming .. this woman just snapped….. she was hitting my seat as hard as she could!!!! Everyone , including me, thought this woman was going to start to swing punches at me! She kept yelling "I told you not to recline!!!! I told you not to recline!!!!!!!!"

I yell back at her to leave me alone. The stewardess came as quickly as possible and whisked me away to another seat. Middle seat, but at this point I fear for my safety… so no worries. I went back to sleep.

Apparently crazy pants spent the trip screaming and rambling… and had all the stewardess in high crazy-person (aka "nervous traveler" )alert….. I feel bad for the rest of the people that had to spend hours nervous about getting attack by this person.

People, when you travel, take your meds (or have a strong drink)… makes it easier for all parties involved.


au over ga November 30, 2010 at 5:16 am

You pay for a seat so I feel you are entitled to the full recline.

This issue is an interesting one as it is similar but different to the horizontal fat person issue where they must buy two seats. But, with that said, if the flight is say less than two hours one should just suck it up and be nice. Maybe a policy should be written on this one lol


TacoDave November 30, 2010 at 8:00 am

The last flight I was on, it was just me and my five-month-old baby. She was on my lap sleeping. The man in front of us pushed his chair back into a reclining position suddenly without looking and whacked her in the head. I had to spend the rest of the flight in a tiny contorted position because he took up most of my free space.

That's absurd.


xipe November 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

Taco Dave-

The same dilemma goes to people traveling with infants…

If you need more space, and its over two hours.. then consider Economy Plus, Exit Rows, or any other alternative that allows you more room.

au over ga-

It was a seven hour Red Eye.

I do believe regulations need to be written about red eyes. Other than the right to recline, they should include- Noise regulation, and light regulation.

Still to this day I cringe when I think of a business trip to Paris, Red Eye from JFK, where the two women behind me had a party the entire eight hour flight, You would think they were at a club. Not even the headphones were enough to keep the noise out.


au over ga November 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

Bulk Head seats are great for kids and large folks… good point there.


TacoDave November 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

In a perfect world, I'd agree. However, this was a last-minute trip for a surprise party, and when I booked the only seats available were normal middle seats.

I agree about bulkhead rows – they're a godsend with kids in tow.


au over ga November 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

Uh, oh… sure hope your kid didn't have the runs or actually make a noise louder than a fat guy snoring… that would be ILLEGAL per some based on recent comments…. 😉


Dina November 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

You know, for all that you guys say you hate Paul's stories, you sure comment on them a lot… 😉


PAUL November 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

True-dat, Dina.

What would you do on this two hour flight–go for the recline or choose to "keepin' it vertical?"

I think some folks are afraid to comment as they know darn well that vertical sucks (and can only be tolerated for an hour or so). I figured this might happen…especially for those that know they responded on other posts that THE ARM IS MINE, etc.

And yes, my stories are real; I just have one damn good long term memory–scary good….but my short term memory sucks (good offset).


rerere November 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm

That is because WE WANT HIM TO STOP WRITING FAKE BORING STORIES! Even if it was fake, at least make it interesting.


PAUL November 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm

The irony is Paul Rerere's posts rarely have any relevance. He is assuming he has the single voice for others–which I seriously doubt (as the audience on this site seems to be very intelligent albeit with no sense of humor).


rerere December 1, 2010 at 11:37 am

Hey buddy, I am not wasting my time writing fake stories that have nothing to do with the website. It's called FLIGHTS FROM HELL. Not stories about being drunk and throwing up or stupid things like that. I don't mind a fake story every now and then as long as it is interesting and or funny. You rambling and putting random shit in makes no sense just fills this site up with spam. I couldn't understand anything you said in this story making me think you were drunk at the time you wrote this.


Reg December 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

This is from the mid 90's!!! wtf, why the hell are you bringin a story up from 15 yrs ago???????

geesh, i can't remember 15 days ago, let alone 15 yrs.

I guess you don't fly too often, lol


sashathebrit December 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

As is usual with a Paul story, I felt my brain slowly start to leak out of my ears after the second paragraph.


au over ga December 6, 2010 at 10:07 am



Troy December 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I am 6 feet 5" and earlier this year I flew home to Australia from Johannesburg, about 11 hours. The woman in front of me had her seat fully reclined AND her bare feet up resting on the bulk head in front of her. I let this go for all of 2 nano seconds and complained to the F.A. who promptly told her to raise her seat. Incidently, I rarely recline my seat, and usually only when the person behind me has already done so. It can still be comfortable to adjust the seat back only slightly. I have more trouble with my long legs during flights.


xipe December 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm


I usually travel with a person of your height…he simply tries to get an exit row or a comparable option.

While I agree it is appalling that a person puts their feet up, but punishing someone for 11 hrs because of your height is ludicrous. The person in front of you has the right to recline on an 11hr flight. Period. Its the same as a sleeper.

The flight attendant should have moved one of you.


NeedleNose December 8, 2010 at 1:40 pm

F*** it! Airline seats are made to recline. I only wish they reclined more than they do. Such as they are, I recline fully when I hear the "Ding". If someone behind me doesn't like it, F*** 'em! Let THEM move! It's no more their place to tell me I can't recline than it is to tell me I can't look out the window or watch the movie. I haven't had anyone complain about my reclining as yet, but I reckon it'll happen someday. It won't be pretty when it does!


rerere December 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm

And what happens when there is PTVs on the back????


NeedleNose December 9, 2010 at 9:07 am

WTF is a PTV?


rerere December 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

A personal televison, the ones on the back of seats on some airlines


NeedleNose December 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

A major NON-issue! They're still viewable.


TacoDave December 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

You, sir, are an arrogant, pompous ass.

I suppose nobody taught you about the "golden rule" growing up, eh?


rerere December 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Me? Or needlenose?


NeedleNose December 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…"? Ummm, YEAH! I fully expect others to recline in front of me. I'm okay with it – doesn't bother me a bit!


Tribeca September 2, 2011 at 4:55 am

God, I hope someone punches you in the face, you incosiderate fuck.


LaurenV October 5, 2014 at 7:15 am

Getting really tired of the fake and padded stories on this site…and I have only been visiting this site for about 2 days!


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: