The Consequences Of Annoying Your Airplane Seatmate By Punching His Seat

Travel tip: if you want your neighbor to stop reclining his seat, you do not punch the seat. For when you do, you might find your laptop broken.

Passenger Punches Airplane Seat, Prompting Man In Front Of Him To Slam Seat Back…Breaking Laptop Computer

While on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Canadian martial artist Firas Zahabi shared of an incident on an airplane. The man behind him punched his seat, probably because he was reclining. Zahabi reclined further, breaking the man’s laptop computer (inadvertently, he claims).

My takeaway is clear: do not punch the seat in front of you.

Trust me, I feel like doing so from time to time. While I generally believe that a person has the right to recline their seat on an airplane, I make an exception for meal times. On some carriers, it is nearly impossible to eat your meal when the seat in front of you is reclined. As a matter of common courtesy, everyone should raise their  seatback during meal times, even if they are not eating.

So yes, if someone punches my seat, I will keep my seat reclined or recline it further. I do not reward petty behavior.

I don’t think Zahabi meant to smash the guy’s laptop. Part of me is glad he did, though, because it will be a lesson to the guy behind him not to hit the seat.

Typically, if the person in front of me has his seat reclined during the meal service, I will politely ask if there he can hold off on reclining until the meal is over. That always does the trick, though one time the passenger was in such a deep sleep I did ask the flight attendant to wake him up. Again, this was not to be petty, but because it becomes very difficult to eat when the seat is reclined, even if you recline yours.

My laptop almost broke once when the person in front of me rapidly reclined. That was many years ago and from that point on, I always angle the laptop screen in such a way that it will not get “caught” and therefore snap and break should the person in front of me recline without warning and in a rapid fashion.

Furthermore, when I do recline I always recline very gradually, so that if there is a laptop or other electronic device being used, the person has time to move it.

CONCLUSION

When you bang on the seat in front of you, it makes the person (no matter their disposition) more likely to recline their seat more or keep it reclined. If you ask me nicely not to recline I will consider it, but if you hit my seat there is absolutely no way I will consider your request. And if I have to break your laptop, I won’t do so deliberately, but I won’t shed tears if I do…


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