Politeness on Planes

And here I thought we were, for the most part, selfish, rude barbarians. Who knew we were so civilized?

Turns out that people, well, travelers at least, are really quite nice to each other, thoughtful, even. According to a new survey from Expedia, most air passengers admit they don’t fully recline their seats so as not to burden the folks behind them. Others ask permission before reclining. How nice! My faith in humanity is restored.

But seriously, one likes to hear this. I know that I never ask permission to drop the seat back, but when I do lower it back, I do so gingerly, to let the person know it’s coming and so I don’t spilll a drink or crunch a laptop. And I usually don’t put it all the way back, either. Dunno, I just feel like being on a cramped plane is bad enough. I don’t want to bum someone out by putting my head in their lap.

Turns out I am not alone. The Expedia survey said that 62 percent of people put the seat back just halfway. Thirteen percent don’t recline at all. Twelve percent don’t give a damn and throw that sucker back all the way … and all of them live in New York. (jk!)

Interestingly, according to the report, all of this politeness comes at a time when load capacities on planes are reaching 90 percent … yes, you read that correctly, and historically, airline load factors hover in the 60 to 70 percent range. So let’s keep it up folks. Let’s stay nice.