“Too Bad” For Too Tall

May 5, 2009

in Seat Stories

I flew Continental from Indianapolis, IN to Manchester England for spring break. I am a tall man, 6’5″ and simply sitting in the seat is a crunch with my long legs. Not only did the passenger in front of me lean his seat back all the way, he would constantly be readjusting it during the flight. Yep, 7 hours of this, and when I asked politely he said, “Well, I need to recline to sleep, so too bad.” Flight attendant didn’t help, she said there was nothing she could do. Honestly people, how hard is it to turn around and simply ask if you can recline slightly? People can be such jerks.

Signed, “Too Tall” from Indy

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisa May 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Sorry, but hello, you knew you were 6'5" when you booked the flight. The airlines' seat pitches are readily available on the net. You knew you'd have trouble fitting into the seat.

Seems to me that you're the dumb one for not booking either a bulkhead seat or a better class than economy.


H E Pennypacker May 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Bulkheads are the first seats to be booked and you have to be a millionaire nowadays to be in first class. I'm 6'3" and empathize with the poster. I jam my knees against the seat in front of me to pre-emptively prevent the seat from reclining in the first place.


Julicans May 2, 2009 at 6:17 am

I'm 5'8" and spent 18 hours~yes 18~ flying KWI to DCA crammed with my knees against the seat in front of me. I could hardly walk. The poor guy in the window seat didn't get up at all. Thank goodness that a friend of mine checked me in for my return flight and bumped me up to the better coach class-I would have been crippled for life!


Anon May 2, 2009 at 8:13 am

Also most disabled seating is in bulkhead. I feel for this guy, I'm not tall but disabled and if I could give up my seat for one of these guys I would. (FYI: I need bulkhead seating because of my service dog and the outside armrest that raises so I can transfer from the airline wheelchair to my seat.) If airlines don't have anyone traveling that is disabled, they should save these seats for those that are 6'3" or taller.


Hugh May 4, 2009 at 1:31 am

I feel bad for you, but those seats are uncomfortable for everyone. Next time, book a first class seat.


Benny May 4, 2009 at 4:09 am

I've been in the situation myself but frankly you know the score on this problem. The seats are packed in especially on hellish Continential. You can't blame the guy in front although they may be kind enough not to recline. You are not in a position to complain if they recline. If you are 6.5 then book a seat with more room.


Bill May 5, 2009 at 6:22 am

I sympathize fully. I am only 6 ft tall and I have trouble with the leg room in economy.

My advice is to ask to be seated in the Emergency Exit row. There is significantly more leg room and you just may be helping the F/A out, since some passengers are uncomfortable when they find out what they'd have to do with the exit " in the case of an emergency….". That is assuming you don't, of course.


Atari May 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm

You should have said, "That's fine, then, because I also need to recline to sleep."

Then the next time he reclined, you rested your calves atop his shoulders. Hahahahah!


Karl June 23, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I'm 6'4" and know the solution – tried and tested too

If you are tall and are already sitting down – as soon as the person in front of you begins to recline, howl out in pain! They will look back and apologize, putting their seat back upright.

If you really are that tall then your knees will be touching the seat in front anyway.

Might not give you extra leg room, but it has stopped a couple people reclining their seat infront of me


S.M. July 24, 2009 at 9:24 pm

ofcourse that the writer probably had his seat reclined and expected the person in front of him to keep his seat upright so that he is not inconvenienced. Sorry, but there's not a chance in hell I'm sitting with the seat straight up if I have a choice. Even with those whole 2 or 3 inches of incline my back hurts like a mofo after the first 20 or 30 minutes. So either plan way ahead, buy first class, or recline your own seat and deal with it…


AM September 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm

I totally love the "howl out in pain" technique. Unfortunately, it doesn't work all of the time. As to the "plan ahead and book a seat with more room" folks …. may you be forced to sit behind someone with a broken seat and a penchant for snoring! Most new planes have so little room that a 6 year old is going to be cramped! Those of us who happen to be over 6 feet spend the entire flight with knees jammed against the seat out of necessity (there is no other place to put them) and out of self preservation. If you are so in love with reclining seats then YOU book the first class seat and leave the rest of us in peace!


S.M. September 15, 2009 at 8:17 am

Personally I do plan ahead and I get a seat that reclines every time. LOL. I may sympathize with the taller people but when it comes down to it if it’s between you being uncomfortable or me… I’m going to have to worry more about me.


Luther November 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I had a similar situation – made worse by the fact that I am 6'9" tall. The passenger in front of me rammed his seat back, and would not return it to upright. I pushed the seat forward and held it there…he called flight attendant. She told me that I cannot hold his seat forward…blah, blah, blah. I explained it this way….the passenger in front of me was using his seat and the recline mechanism to commit battery on my person. While he has the right to recline his seat, he does not maintain that right if it causes another person physical pain or injury. The same way that you have a right to open your car door, but cannot slam a passer by with said door. As a duly appointed representative of the airline, I was asking her to intercede on my behalf and stop the battery. If she was unable, or unwilling to do so, that I would have to take reasonable necessary steps to ensure that the battery stopped. Seat back fully up, problem solved.


G.T April 4, 2010 at 3:53 am

I'm 7 foot so when I fly, I don't wait in long lines or sit uncomfortably because the flight attendants like to make sure really tall people are okay with their seating position. They usually bump me up to first class when there's extra seats on board


Jan December 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Finally found others with the same problem. I am a woman with 37" inch inseam, 6 foot 2 inches tall, so I am more legs than torso. I can not fit in theaters, on rides in amusement parks after standing in lines for the coolest rides an hour they just can not get the restraint closed and I am asked to leave it is very humiliating did not go on many rides for the week at Disneyland. In a Taxi I must sit with the driver with my knees in my face. I love the plane rides with the face of the person in front of me in my lap with my knees pinned underneath. On a bus trip to New York last week 3 hours ride with jammed knees, to a Broadway show where there is no way to sit with my legs in front of me so legs to the side not able to move an inch, even when I switched with the person in the isle seat, the seat had a fence on the side so I could not get my knees un jammed I hurt my hips and then the ride back was so excrutiatingly painfull all I wanted to do was jump out the window, my knees now are swelled up and black and blue, and my back terrible. Can't go to dinner and cross my legs under the table I lift the table off the floor. Can not go to a basketball game where other very tall atheletes are playing, do they know they would not fit in the audience to watch the game either? Is it a wonder I have already had 1 knee replaced after 3 knee operations? My therapist could not use my crutches to show me "how to walk with them" because he could not get his feet to touch the floor, he just hung there. I have a question…..Who designs these things, these places? People who mathmatically want to shove as many "one size fits all" people in a place to make more money, it should be about people not money. I can take the fact there is no one who wants to make pants or sleeves or boots long enough for me but do we have to have to suffer because we are not rich enough to pay for First Class and have long legs?


James December 13, 2010 at 7:06 am

In my case it is broad shoulders — 26 inches across the top of the back. Put that in an airplane seat…

I remember telling Chris Elliott over a decade ago something like "Average seats are designed for the average person — including infants."


Reese January 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Why is it so difficult these days for people to exercise a bit of compassion? Those of you who are slamming the 6'++" posters here would feel put out, too, if you were subjected to such inhospitable conditions. And those who make assumptions on their behavior is laughable… and shameful. It's mentalities like this … the "I'm more important than you," mindset that cause wars and traffic accidents from people running red lights and stop signs.

How about you give a little for someone in a difficult situation. Next time, it might be you in need of aid and compassion from a friendly stranger.


Slippery Pete January 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

I'm 6'3" 250 and have trouble fitting in a seat. The one thing that makes a flight more comfortable for me is to recline my seat. Sorry, I don't care how tall you are, my seat is coming back and you're going to have to deal with it. There is a reason they have a recline button, that seat space belongs to that seat, not the knees of the person behind it.


Reese January 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

And, uhhh, Pete, just what is the guy behind you supposed to do with his knees, exactly?


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