The End of Reclining Seats on Planes: Is it a Good Thing?

The great debate over whether or not passengers should recline their seats on planes may soon be coming to an end. Airline companies are looking to cut costs and one way they’re doing this is by getting rid of reclining seats. But why is this happening and is it actually a good thing? Aviation and travel expert William McGee sheds some light on this trend.

Lighter Seats, Heavier Savings

According to McGee, the move towards non-reclining seats has been happening for several years now, and one of the main reasons is that lighter seats are more desirable for airlines. With the rising cost of jet fuel, airlines are constantly looking for ways to reduce weight on board.

Lighter seats require fewer mechanical parts and ultimately save money on maintenance. Southwest Airlines has already announced their plans to debut a more streamlined seat design in 2025. Other airlines like Delta, United, and American have also been cutting back on the number of inches a seat can recline.

Economy seats used to recline back four inches, but now the standard is only two inches, and some airlines have even introduced pre-reclined seats that are designed at a slight angle to allow for better posture and more legroom.

Fairness and Consideration

While some passengers may lament the loss of seat recline, McGee argues that there have been other cutbacks in the economy class over the years. From free seat selection to included in-flight meals, travelers have been losing more than just the ability to recline. In fact, tighter seats have made reclining unfair to fellow passengers. Non-reclining seats would not only save airlines money, but they would also avoid the arguments that often arise when someone reclines their seat.

Courtesy is Key

Passengers who still want to recline their seats should do so with courtesy and consideration for their fellow travelers. Travel expert Nicole Campoy Jackson suggests taking a glance at the person behind you before reclining, especially if they have their laptop out or a drink on their tray table. It’s important to be mindful of others’ space, especially during mealtimes.

A Blessing in Disguise

So, while the era of reclining seats on planes may be coming to an end, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Airlines are making changes to cut costs and improve the overall flying experience. Passengers may find that losing the ability to recline can actually be a blessing in disguise, as it promotes fairness and consideration for everyone on board.


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