Things to hate about travel (4) – the reclining seat

I have had a short rest from travel over the Christmas and New Year break … Happy New Year by the way. But here I am back on a flight and suffering from another of those ‘things to hate about travel’ moments. This time it’s the passenger in front who reclines their seat. I don’t know whether it is because I was brought up to go through life respecting others and trying not to make a nuisance of myself, but it is an increasing challenge to be charitable to the fellow traveller who does not know how to behave. This particular one can be agony on a cramped short-haul flight, but is enough to send you rushing for the emergency exit on longer journeys. Passengers who do this thoughtlessly are the epitome of selfishness and, I think, are secretly not as frequent a traveller as they would like to make out. I have noticed that the worst offenders are often those who are sitting in a bulkhead row and already have plenty of space themselves. It works like this. You’ve noticed the person in front is large enough to have an impact on your personal space. Usually it is their unattractive head that pokes up above the line of the headrest in front. Then, just when you have your laptop open on the tray table or that moment when your drink is still just too full to withstand the risk of turbulence … wham … the seat flips back without warning and the drink goes and the laptop lid is wedged into the tray table space. A short sharp jab to the seat back sometimes elicits a reaction and a small adjustment but more often than not, nothing. Then of course you have no option but to slightly move your own seat to provide just a little personal space for your own sanity. Unless that is you are the row in front of an emergency exit or you’ve been unlucky enough to check-in late and are seated in the last row at the back, in which case your own seat is locked rigid in an upright position. There is nothing for it but to close your eyes, breathe deeply and just hope the person next to you doesn’t have some repulsive personal habit.

This, I believe, is why God invented the iPod.

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