She’s Joked About Seat Recline For At Least 24 Years

“I’m not one who generally looks to celebrities or wisdom, but it is noteworthy that such a high-profile public figure has weighed in on the seat recline debate and sided with the passenger” is what Matthew Klint of Live and Let’s Fly wrote in this article pertaining to the comments which Ellen DeGeneres imparted on her talk show about the latest incident in the seat recline debate. “It’s important this issue has been raised across more mainstream media outlets this week because there is still a silly misnomer that your seat recline button is a decoration. It is not: it is indeed meant to be used. Once expectations are correctly managed, less air rage will result.”

She’s Joked About Seat Recline For At Least 24 Years

Listen to her comments which were recorded on this video from the episode of the talk show Ellen which was broadcast over the air yesterday, Wednesday, February 19, 2020:

I do not watch the program — let alone much television itself — although I understand that she usually concludes her show by saying “Be kind to one another” and modified it to “Recline to one another” for this particular episode…

…but this is not the first time that Ellen DeGeneres has commented on the recline of seats in the economy class cabin aboard airplanes. Although I never really was much into her comedy, I remember a routine performed by Ellen DeGeneres back in 1996 which I had always felt best illustrated how ridiculous is this conundrum of reclining seats on commercial aircraft:

…which is why I never really understood the debate. Are we really talking about a huge difference? The seat recline is only a few inches at most, if that. Why are people so adamant about whether or not a seat is reclined to the point where they might believe that it is a “God-given right”?

The Incident

Seat recline

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

In what may be classified as a moment of ridiculousness in the latest edition of the seat recline debate, Wendi Williams — who calls herself wendi on Twitter — posted a video of her experience aboard an airplane which operated as American Eagle flight 4392 from New Orleans to Charlotte on Friday, January 31, 2020 in which the passenger behind her kept nudging her seat annoyingly in what can be perceived as a childish manner.

Republic Airways is a regional carrier for American Airlines which actually operated the aircraft in question; and the flight was reportedly late by 30 minutes. Could that issue have contributed to this situation?

Maybe the travails of everyday life — or some traumatic experience — happened to affect both passengers who were involved in this incident?

Perhaps this video pertaining to Vasu Raja — who is the senior vice president of network strategy for American Airlines — proclaiming that the density of seats aboard an airplane is good for customers might offer some insight into the consternation of passengers and why a greater number of them purportedly have been more hostile in recent years, as reported in this article by Gary Leff of View From The Wing.

A greater density of seats usually means less room for passengers — which means that as anemic as the angle of reclining a seat might be, every fraction of an inch matters regarding the threshold of comfort versus discomfort for a passenger…

…and once that threshold is crossed, some passengers tend to lose their civility and will lash out at just about anyone who disagrees with their point of view — especially when related to their comfort.

This article — which I wrote on Saturday, February 15, 2020 — includes a partial succession of messages which were posted on Twitter pertaining to the incident.


Seat recline

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The ability to recline seats in the economy class cabins aboard airplanes has been an issue for decades for a number of reasons.

The problem with the seat recline wars stems more from selfishness and self-importance — along with a lack of consideration and respect for fellow passengers — rather than from the issue of comfort, in my opinion. As with similar heated debates over armrests and children and window shades and swapping seats, passengers should be able to quickly work out a compromise without having to resort to confrontations to resolve what should be a simple minor issue at best.

I do like to recline my seat — even if the additional comfort is only marginal at best…

…but since learning over the years of how adamant are passengers on either side of this issue, I have since resorted to the practice of asking the passenger behind me if he or she minds if I recline my seat — even though I am technically not required to request permission — and I cannot recall my request ever being denied.

What a simple solution that can easily avoid confrontations of just about any kind aboard an airplane — and all it takes is a moment of civility with minimal effort.

Simply put: if passengers were more polite, and considerate and respectful of each other, this whole debate over the recline of seats in the economy class cabin aboard commercial aircraft would be a minor issue at best — if at all.

I have written extensively over the years pertaining to the seat recline debate aboard airplanes in the form of articles posted here at The Gate — including:

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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