Two remarks about that United Airlines D.C.-to-Ghana flight that returned to Dulles airport on Sunday because two guys had come to blows when one reclined his seat too far back, etc. The Washington Post reported that a passenger behind the reclining offender “smacked [his] head. A fistfight ensued, the plane returned to Dulles, and two F-16s from Andrews Air Force Base shadowed the flight until it landed safely.”
One, the guy who slapped the seat-reclining douche deserves thanks and praise from tens of thousands of air-travellers who’ve suffered from this. Two, one should never get into a slapping match with a seat-recliner. The way to deal with this is to (a) politely ask the offender to grow some manners and decency and respect the 18″ private-space rule, and when he doesn’t (because they never listen) (b) “accidentally” spill wine or Coke or coffee on his head. Offer sincere and heartfelt apologies and offer to get him some napkins. If he doesn’t adjust his seat, repeat the procedure.
People who recline their seats in coach are scum — there are no two ways about it. The second-worst offenders are parents with infants who won’t stop crying, which is obviously due to over-coddling. The third-worst offenders are fat-asses and really old people who wait until the very last second when the flight is disembarking to stand up and take their carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment (which always takes forever), causing everyone behind them to wait and wait and wait.
I do it like R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket. I stand up in the aisle and get my overhead baggage out so when it’s time to move I don’t hold anyone up.