It’s funny in life how the most basic questions can divide people in no uncertain terms. In fact, things can get down right hairy when you ask people about reclining airplane seats. Add in the drama of metal tube flying through the friendly skies at 33,000 feet and things can get even more interesting. Of course you can! Absolutely not, you simply can’t! If yoy do, I’ll kick your seat… the reactions are as polarizing as chocolate versus vanilla. This all begs the question: Is it okay to fully recline your economy seat in flight? Here’s the final answer.

Yes, It’s Totally Ok – With One Exception

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Anyone reclining their seat is just taking advantage of the minimally allotted space offered to each and every airline passenger. Despite the grumblings, you’re completely within your rights. If you couldn’t recline, they wouldn’t give you a button to do so, now would they? The one time it’s not ok? Meal time. For those against recline, many airline are reducing the “recline” function of seats, in favor of “pre reclined” slim line seats which save on airplane weight. While this may be music to many who hate reclining passengers, just wait till you try them out. You might just miss that forward seat mate hitting the button.

Etiquette Rules

It could be argued that the key to many of life’s mercurial questions is in execution. A courtesy turn around, direct eye contact or “do you mind if I” can go a long way to ensure a drink doesn’t spill, a laptop isn’t crunched or a hand is sandwiched. It’s also the key to avoiding mid flight fisticuffs – or at the bare minimum evil eyes. Our advice? Just golden rule it. You’re completely entitled to recline, in fact everyone should, but be graceful. Most passenger frustration around seat recline involves a spilled drink, inability to use a laptop or a loss of legroom, so just check first and become a smooth-recline-button operator. Don’t go “flying” backwards without checking for take off clearance.

Join The Party

It’s hard to think of a single activity which is hampered by reclining your own seat. You’ll enjoy a more comfortable sleep and lounge position, while simultaneously mitigating the effects of the reclined seat in front of you. The simplest solution to a reclined seat is turning around, giving the courtesy nod and pressing the recline button yourself. Just avoid meal time, or else you may not enjoy the outcome.  And if someone gives you a hard time, ask them why the airline gave you a button to do so. And before you complain about “pre reclined” seats, consider your thoughts on the subject!

Are you pro recline or anti recline? Who cares! Click here to learn how to get a whole row to yourself and sleep like business class- or click here to learn the tricks of flying economy like a travel pro.