Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
I don’t do very much flying with Delta but it’s an airline I respect. I don’t like its loyalty program and I detest the hypocritical way its management encourages protectionism under the guise of patriotism but there’s no doubt that this is an airline which is run pretty well.
Out of the three big US legacy carriers Delta is the clear leader with American and United following sheep-like in its wake so it’s always worth watching closely when Delta makes any kind of significant change.
Right now Delta is in the process of reducing the amount of recline on offer to First and Economy Class passengers in over 60 of its Airbus A320 aircraft and it’s a move I cheered enthusiastically when I first heard about it.
In Economy Class passengers will find their recline reduced from 4″ to 2″, in First Class the recline will go from 5″ to just 3.5″ and, on an aircraft which primarily operates short routes, I don’t see this as an issue at all.
Seat recline seems to be an emotive subject and many people love to argue that it’s “their right” to recline if the seat allows them to – I disagree.
If you argue that you have the ‘right to recline’ you’re suggesting that your needs come before those of everyone around you (more specifically, those behind you) and that’s just about as selfish an attitude as you can get.
Why is one person’s need any more important than another’s? Just because you have a button on your seat which allows you to recline doesn’t mean you have the unquestionable right to make someone else’s journey uncomfortable and/or unpleasant.
Sure, on a red-eye or on a flight of notable length (say, over 3 hours) I can see why it may be nice to recline and I see nothing wrong with someone checking with the person behind them before gently reclining their seat in an attempt to get some rest….but that not how things work in the real world is it?
In the real world we have passengers who slam their seats into full recline as soon as they possibly can and who leave them in that position through meal service, through drinks service and, essentially, for the whole flight whether they actually need to recline or not.
In the real world you’re not a frequent flyer until you’ve nearly had your laptop crushed, your meal deposited in your lap or your drink spilled all over you by an inconsiderate neanderthal in the seat ahead of you.
Consideration for others often goes out of the window once people cross through the aircraft door and the ‘me, me, me’ nature of modern society rears its ugly head.
Like it or not a lot of people are inherently selfish (especially when they travel) and if they can’t be trusted to show a bit of consideration for fellow passengers (which they can’t) the only solution is for airlines to take back a bit of control….and that’s what Delta appears to be doing with this latest move.
I guess it’s only fair to point out that if airlines didn’t make aircraft seating so dense in the first place this probably wouldn’t be such a big issue but, as cramped cabins are not going away anytime soon, I’m happy to see Delta doing something to make flying a little less horrendous.
For the overwhelming majority of people there is no real reason to have to recline the seat on short flights so I’m delighted to see Delta limiting the amount of recline on offer on its A320s – I’d probably cheer harder if it eliminated recline altogether on the truly short-hop flights.
I’m tired of having someone else’s seat thrust in my face 30 seconds after take-off on short daytime flights and having what limited space I’ve been given reduced yet further. It makes it impossible to work or to get comfortable unless I also recline and encroach on the space of the passenger behind me (which I refuse to do).
With a little bit of luck we’ll see United and American follow suit….and hopefully a lot more airlines too. Perhaps then we may finally have a situation were the inconsiderate can’t negatively impact those around them as much as they can right now.
Featured image courtesy of Stuart Seeger via Flickr