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Survey calls for reclining seat ban on flights

An overwhelming majority of flyers surveyed said they wanted to see an end to reclining seats on short-haul flights, or a restriction on their use. Picture: AP

An overwhelming majority of flyers surveyed said they wanted to see an end to reclining seats on short-haul flights, or a restriction on their use. Picture: AP

MORE than nine in ten passengers want reclining aircraft seats banned on short-haul flights or their use restricted to set times, according to a poll by Edinburgh-based flight comparison website Skyscanner.

The survey of 1,000 people found 91 per cent support for the measure, with nearly half of those questioned also calling for passengers on long-haul flights to only be permitted to push back their seats at certain times.

Almost one in three had suffered discomfort from another passenger reclining their seat, with 3 per cent being injured. Nearly two thirds never ask the person behind them before reclining their seat.

Ryanair is among airlines whose aircraft seats do not recline, which it has said cuts damage.

In a separate survey of 900 cabin crew, six in ten said they have been involved in or witnessed an argument between passengers over reclined seats.

Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, clinical director of the Private Therapy Clinic in Harley Street, London, predicted passengers would accept restrictions.

She said: “The strong support for a change in reclined seat procedures makes sense.

“People will generally adhere to them, accepting that it is fair. This could lead to a more pleasant flying experience for the majority.”

“The effect of people reclining their seat can result in various negative emotions such as anger, stress, anxiety, frustration and upset for the passenger behind them.

“This emotional impact can result in a whole range of unhelpful behaviours, including air rage.

“This is partly because there are two general personality types while travelling. There’s the ‘Altruistic Soul’, who is considerate of others, and the ‘Selfish Ego’. The latter of which will look to increase their comfort at the expense of others.”

The poll found seven in ten such “Selfish Egos” would not be put off reclining their seat even if the person behind was pregnant, while 80 per cent would not care if they were elderly or frail.

Women aged 18-24 were the most likely to display ‘Altruistic Soul’ tendencies, while men over 35 were more likely to exhibit ‘Selfish Ego’ characteristics.

 

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