Would You Pay to be Able to Recline Your Chair on a Plane?

By Tom Pritchard on at

There are few things more irritating about air travel than sitting down for a long flight, only to have the person in front of you tilt their chair all the way back for the duration. To the point where you can actually 3D print your own gizmos to prevent it from happening.

Now one report claims that the problem of the situation could be avoided if money changed hands. New York-based law professors Christopher Buccafusco and Christopher Jon Sprigman, who wrote the report, claim that this is the best way to solve the situation without anyone getting punched in the face.

The two conducted a series of experiments, which found that passengers being asked not to recline their seats would demand, on average, $41 (£31.50). When the tables were turned, those same passengers were only willing to pay $18 (£13.80).

On the flip side, people demanded an average of $39 (£30) to sacrifice their leg room to a reclined seat, but were only willing to pay $12 (£9.20) for the privilege of leaning back.

But Buccafusco and Sprigman found that offering to buy the other person a drink or snacked worked out as a reasonable compromise. They conclude that people are less hostile when money isn’t in the situation, since they don’t feel comfortable when every human interaction requires money to change hands.

They have a point there, we’re not Ferengi after all.

The report further adds that airlines should stop giving out complimentary drinks and snacks, so people can buy them for one another should any disputes arrive. Which is, erm, pretty stupid if you ask me. They call it a win/win, except that the passengers don’t really win. Ryanair boasts about being able to buy a hot drink and a KitKat for €4.50 (£3.84), which is outrageous. Why would anyone consider it a good thing to have to pay for something that used to be free?

I’ll be honest, those prices alone make me want to punch someone in the face - god knows what'll happen when reclining seats are involved. These guys may be experts, but that particular conclusion is pretty fucking stupid. Can't we all just agree that reclining your seat on a cramped plane is a pointless and selfish thing to do? [Metro]

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