Dear passenger in seat 15E, American Airlines Flight 1987, Miami to New York-LaGuardia, Wednesday evening:
We both got stuck in center seats last night on the flight home. I share your pain.
I changed to an earlier flight at the last minute, so I know why I was there. Maybe you don’t fly that often with American. Or maybe you don’t fly that much at all.
If it’s the former, you should know better. If it’s the latter, here’s a little primer on airplane etiquette.
When you decide to recline your seat back — which is fully your right as a traveler on a plane, because your seat does recline — it’s better for everyone involved if you take it slow.
Better for you because a slow recline feels good. The designers and engineers who made that airplane seat are no doubt very proud of the slow, smooth action we all enjoy when we push that button and the seat reclines to its fullest extent in one graceful motion.
Your decision to push the button and slam the seat back with the full force of your body means you can’t enjoy that action. You probably also reduce the life of the seat itself by abusing the controls, and most importantly…
…you almost got me in the face with your seat back.
This may shock you, fellow traveler, but there is someone sitting behind you. Sometimes we even have our tray table down with an open beverage on it.
Your actions — your totally self-involved, unthinking, ‘I’m in my travel bubble, to hell with everyone else’ actions — need to change. Because you don’t travel alone; you travel with a lot of other people.
And we need to get along…especially the unfortunate folk stuck in the center seats.