If You Recline Your Seat on a Plane, You Are a Monster

White and Red Plane Beside Clouds Low-angle Photography

I’m currently 20 minutes into a four-hour flight from Nashville to Los Angeles. The people in front of me have just reclined. Not just a little. They have full-on reclined. They have nested.

They’ve left me about three inches of leg room and a seatback screen angled in such a way that only my boobs could comfortably watch TV. My traveling companion is only slightly better off, but only because her legs are shorter.

Look, I understand that airplane seats are capable of reclining, which seems to suggest some sort of invitation. I don’t buy it. My speedometer on my car goes up to 160 miles per hour. I don’t think Nissan is inviting me to drive that fast. I’m certainly capable of eating an entire bag of fun-sized Snickers bar. I shouldn’t, though.

If we want to live in a civilized world, I think we all need to agree that there is only one appropriate circumstance in which you are okay to recline your seat: When the plane is going down.

I’d also accept reclining a seat on an overnight flight (when everybody is reclining). If you recline in other circumstances,  it’s polite to ask the people behind you. I would have said yes. But at least I’d know these degenerate humans had some basic decency!

I should have known these two were going to be Recliners. I could tell by looking at them. They are in their 60s. He’s wearing jeans and a Patagonia sweatshirt. I didn’t see the title of the book he was carrying, but I’m positive it was The Art of The Deal. She has blonde highlights and a Louis Vuitton tote. She is currently using a cashmere scarf as a pillow. I know this because she casually left the tail end dangling over my seat screen. I’ve named them Milt and Mitzi.

They sleep like babies, waking only to order cans of LaCroix. They might be nice enough people off this plane, if you can get past the undeniable fact that they are heinous.

In a plane of 150 seats, they are the only Recliners. Even the guy wearing middle school gym shorts seated next to me has managed to stay upright.

In addition to felony reclining, here is a list of other things you should never do on a plane:

  • Have excessive body odor.
  • Take off your shoes (unless you are wearing socks).
  • Cough without covering your mouth.
  • Be surprised when your steamer trunk of a carry-on doesn’t fit in the overhead.

We are somewhere over Oklahoma right now. Mitzi has just dropped the arm of her sweater on top of my tray table where I am attempting to drink flat Diet Coke. I’d like to write on it with this pen in my hand, but I have more consideration than that.

I plan to shut it in my tray table.