Another instance of air rage over a reclined seat. This one is a bit more severe than most, though:

The pilot doubled back after a man began choking the woman sitting in front of him, who had reclined her seat.

The bit that leaped out at me was this:

NBC News reports the pilot declared an in-air emergency, but airport police said the plane never took off.

So it sounds like the woman reclined her seat even before takeoff? Of course this does not justify the passenger behind choking her - but it does go some way towards explaining why he would do that.

I have long legs, and I very much wish people would not recline their seats back into my knees - but I realise that is their prerogative and part of the service they paid for with their ticket. There are rules about when the seat can and cannot be reclined, though, not to mention courtesy and common sense. As cabin crew always tell us, "seat backs should be fully upright for takeoff and landing".

I would also add that they should be upright during meal service and until the tray is cleared away, and that reclining on a sub-one-hour flight (like the LAX to SFO flight in the linked story) is a jerk move.


In fact, what could solve this recurring problem would be to repurpose the now-redundant "no smoking" sign as a "no reclining" sign. When the sign is lit, no reclining. When the sign goes out, that’s fair warning to get your wine glass / laptop / knees / whatever out of the way of the way of the descending seat back in front.

This won’t help with those configurations that Spanish airlines in particular are so fond of where there is legitimately no room for the person in front of me to recline, because my knees are already jammed up against the seat back even in the fully upright position, but at least it should cut down on altercations. Then again, I did once find myself on a transatlantic flight behind a woman who spent the entire flight fully reclined. I struggled to get comfortable and squirmed about a bit, and she eventually enquired nastily whether I was going to stop poking her in the back. My suggestion that she could avoid any "poking" by raising her seat was not taken well by her…