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My ticket entitles me to recline, and doing so doesn’t make me an entitled person.


I recline my seat on airplanes, and I have nothing to apologize for. The tiny seat’s only saving grace is that it was designed to recline.

I’m entitled to do it, and regardless of what all the passive-aggressive loud sighers are attempting to communicate, that does not make me entitled.

Look, I get it: Airline seats are cramped. It’s horrible to have to suffer through being magically launched from one place on Earth to another with views and speeds our ancestors could only dream of, all while battling spotty Wi-Fi and a selfish monster in front of us who had the gall to recline. How rude of him to not recognize that my space is more important than his! What an entitled jerk he is to think his space is more important than mine!


And let’s be clear about one thing: those few inches in front of me are not my space. They belong to the seat in front of me, just as the few inches behind my seat belong to me. That’s how airplanes have always been designed. We are entitled to use that space. It’s part of the ticket price. Doing so does not make me a horrible human being.

Yes, when the person in front of me reclines their seat, I feel my living quarters going from extremely cramped to slightly-more extremely cramped. It’s going to make it more difficult to get out to go to the bathroom or use a laptop or the tray table. But it isn’t like those things were working all that well before the seat came back.

This is not the fault of the person in front of me. This is the fault of the airlines for cramming us in like cattle, and my own fault for not being able to afford first class.

Plus, I always have the option to recline my seat if I feel too cramped. I always look first before I do it, just to make sure there’s not some extraordinary situation going on behind me that would make this any worse than it is designed to be. I’m not a monster. I’m just trying to get comfortable.


And yes, this domino effect of course stiffs the people in the back row. I’ve been in the back row, and when this happens, I do not curse the people in front of me. No, I curse myself for waiting until the last minute to book my ticket, then I bury my head in my book so the person standing in the aisle next to me waiting for the bathroom does not try to exchange knowing glances about the rude recliner.

What are the “I never recline” people trying to prove? That they’ll sit uncomfortably for hours in some noble quest to prove they’re better than the recliners?

Good luck to you. You’re entitled to your silly little crusade. I’ll be getting comfortable.

Billy Baker can be reached at billybaker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @billy_baker.