Federal judge will decide on your right to relax, not airlines

Nobody likes it when the passenger in front of him reclines. I can’t fathom any circumstance in which having the person’s seatback on your lap is enjoyable. I have numerous tactics I use to prevent the person in front of me from reclining, and I suspect I’m not alone (in fairness to the person behind me, I rarely recline, and if I do, it’s never more than half way).

So, when you drive your knees into the seatback in front of you, are you being an unreasonable and impolite … or are you depriving the passenger in front of you of his right to recline?

It looks like the answer will come from the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

On an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Denver, two passengers got into a rather heated argument over this right (or privilege) to recline. CNN reports:

As Brian Dougal leaned back on the Denver-bound flight late last month, he felt someone bump his seat, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

“Are you serious? My knees are up against the seat,” said the man behind him, identified as Tomislav Zelenovic, according to the complaint.

Dougal suggested that Zelenovic also recline, slide into an empty seat next to him or move his legs to the side. Dougal told the man in 10C that he paid for his seat and was going to recline it.

Zelenovic then shook the back of Dougal’s seat and grabbed his right ear, pulling it back and down with enough force to knock Dougal’s glasses off his face, according to the complaint.

Okay, that is hard core. The cops were waiting for Zelenovic on the ground, and he was charged with assault (he’s pleading not guilty).

Yeah, this behavior is nothing short of absurd, but it does speak to the fundamental issue of whether we should (or should) be able to recline. Frankly, this debacle makes Michael O’Leary look like a genius. After all, you can’t recline if you can’t even sit down, right?

Hey, how do you feel about reclining? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.

[photo by Andrew Mason via Flickr]