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Reclining seats – survey results

Reclining seats – survey results

Since my last post on reclining seats I have discovered another airline that has installed seats that recline but do not take up the spacee of the passenger behind. Oman Air, in their Airbus A330, have installed seats that are pivoted in such a way that when you recline the seat the base of the seat moves forward. This means the reclining back of the seat takes up a minimal amount of the personal space of the person behind. You can read the complete Oman air review here.

Singapore airlines also have similar seating in their Airbus A380 which means that flying with these two airlines is a real pleasure both for the recliners and the non-recliners among us.

The economy class cabin on Oman Air's Airbus A330-300  © Gordon Lethbridge

The economy class cabin on Oman Air’s Airbus A330-300 © Gordon Lethbridge

So, what did the survey results show?

The first question was “Do you think reclining seats should be banned on short haul flights?” A whopping 70% said they should be banned on flights under than three hours and only 20% said they should not be banned. The rest were undecided. This result is pretty much in line with other similar surveys on the subject.

Survey results for Q1 Do you think that reclining seats should be banned on short hail (less than three hours) flights?

Survey results for Q1
Do you think that reclining seats should be banned on short hail (less than three hours) flights?

 

When asked the question “Do you think reclining seats should be banned on medium and long haul flights?” there was a dramatic shift in the answers. The number who were undecided doubled to around 20%. Those who who said reclining seats should not be banned rose to 60%, three times the number answering “no” in the first question.

Survey results for Q1 "Do you think that reclining seats should be banned on medium and long haul (more than 3 hours) flights?"

Survey results for Q2
Do you think that reclining seats should be banned on medium and long haul (more than 3 hours) flights?

There is therefore a clear cut difference of opinion on reclining seats that correlates with the length of the flight. This is to be expected given that you are in your seat for a longer period of time and frequently involves flying during the hours of darkness. However the difference in the results may not only be due to the longer time spent in the seat but also to the fact that on short haul flights there tends to be less legroom. Someone reclining in front of you is invading what little personal space you already have.

The third question, “If asked politely would you be prepared to allow the person in front of you to recline their seats?” produced some surprising results. Only 1 in 10 people would flatly refuse to allow them to recline. The vast majority (90%) of passengers would allow the person in front to recline. However 30% would try and reach a compromise. Of the two options 1 in 3 would consider allowing the person in front to recline depending on what they were doing and 2 out of 3 would attempt to agree a time limit.

Survey results for Q3 If asked politely would you be prepared to allow the person in front of you to recline their seat?

Survey results for Q3
If asked politely would you be prepared to allow the person in front of you to recline their seat?

From the options chosen in question 3 it would appear that the vast majority of travellers are very reasonable if asked. It is the phrase “…if asked that is important here. So many of the anti-reclining comments on blogs and social media relate to people in front reclining without warning or without asking the person behind.

To Recap

So far the survey revealed that on short haul flights (that is under three hours duration) the majority of people are happy to have reclining seats banned. On longer flights the majority, though a smaller majority do not want reclining seats banned. However there is a significant minority who, in each of the above scenarios, who favour the alternative.

If airlines were to go with the majority view they would be alienating a significant proportion of their passengers and they do not want to do that (except perhaps Ryanair). So what is the answer? We will look at some answers in another post that looks at the final three questions of the survey. You can tell us your views in the comments below.

© www.depositphotos.com/Mikhail Kokhanchikov

It would seem that, despite media portrayal to the contrary, most of us are reasonable travellers and would allow people in front of us to recline if asked, albeit with some form of compromise. Being reasonable is a step in the right direction to reducing air rage but it is only the start. There are more factors which we will address when we look at the rest of the results in another post.

What are your views on the results? Feel free to comment below but do keep it polite.

Categorized: Air Travel , Issues
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