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Plane Seat Recliner Discomforter

Enforce your personal space
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It's the aeroplane equivalent of the tall guy who sits in front of you in the cinema and waggles his head every time you adjust to actually see the screen. That's right, the imbecile who thinks it's enshrined in their religion/constitution/[whatever institution they hold sacrosanct] that they are permitted to have their plane seat at full recline from the moment they board until they disembark. Perhaps they get a kick out of disobeying the stewardess, or enjoy the neo-Roman decadence of eating at such a tilt. Whatever the explanation, it inhibits the comfort of, and endangers, the person sitting behind them.

Now, in order to prevent this degenerating into a rant, I need to outline some kind of solution. Obviously, the airline companies will be utterly hostile to any measure which costs them money, so I can rule out the 'seats which recline only when permitted' idea. Instead, I present a portable device which should ensure the selfish traveller gets the message.

The device will be designed to attach to the armrest of your own chair. Once in place, a telescopic arm extends forward to the seat in front, with a red flag hanging down perpendicular to its end, ideally resting on the headrest. When correctly positioned, the flag will brush the top of the inconsiderate passenger's head only when they recline their seat too far back.

It is a subtle message, but it has a certain annoying persistence that should encourage all but the most stubborn types to maybe go forward a little more. For these, a bit of added movement - as can be achieved by directing an air conditioning vent at the flag - could make them break. If not, at least you'll have made some entertainment for yourself.

-alx, Apr 30 2002

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       I've always thought that airplane seats should be in a fixed position and not be adjustable. It's such an obvious intrusion.
waugsqueke, Apr 30 2002
  

       ...and I don't feel any benefit from reclining the seats. 2 fewer degrees of incline doesn't translate to the perfect comfortable sleeping position. Either all the way (a la Virgin Atlantic) or not at all.
mcscotland, Apr 30 2002
  

       You could connect all the seats together so they all recline by the same amount, and vote on it. Or struggle back and forth.
pottedstu, Apr 30 2002
  

       maybe I'm a sheltered canadian, but have you ever simply asked them to move the seat up? I find it works quite well, "Could you please move your seat up, eh?"
rbl, Apr 30 2002
  

       i'm with Una Bomber on this one (well it had to happen eventually).
i am also the tall guy in the cinema & actually got into a fight once, when someone choose to sit behind me (on the back row) & then got into a blind rage 5 mins into the film. I'd happily trade a reclining, short chair for a taller static one. i simply dont fit into airline seats, my shoulders are too wide & i get bashed by the carts. The head rest digs between my shoulders, my knees hit the chair in front. & then they try to recline their seat......
i've always suspected that airline seats are designed by shorties out for revenge.
mymus, Apr 30 2002
  

       The last time someone behind me in the cinema muttered something about always getting stuck behind tall people, I turned round and suggested to them that it was the same reason that I always ended up in front of whinging shortarses. That seemed to shut them up.
stupop, Apr 30 2002
  

       Slightly off-topic, but I have a theory that a form of selection will lead to ever-taller cinema audiences, as short people increasingly choose to stay home. This will create a vicious cycle culminating in a tall v. short war in which cinema chains and video shops will be forced to take sides, the world will be split in 2, and people of average height will be rounded up and shot. Don't say I didn't warn you.
pottedstu, Apr 30 2002
  

       Red is such an aggravating colour. May I suggest that the flag come in relaxing lavender or a friendly puce? Velveteen tassels might also help by providing a soft, smooth sensation on the top of the bonce.   

       Tall people should have special tall people's cinemas and planes and hairdressers and ironmongers etc. Tall people are different (that is, better) than short people. Separate but equal treatment is all we demand.
calum, Apr 30 2002
  

       A new trend in American cinemas is 'stadium seating' where the seats have a significant vertical difference between rows. This goes far to alleviate head blockage. Many of these theaters also have seats where the seat slides forward so the back can recline. This allows the sitter to chose their comfort position while using the same amount of space.
phoenix, Apr 30 2002
  

       Calum for mayor!

stupop, the thing that amazed me was that this guy was in his mid 40's & very well dressed and sat with his wife in a very centre of gentrified middle class (Richmond, surrey) . & that he started his rant with "you great big fucker, your much bigger than me...."
which i was, & stronger. a growing awareness of the possible implications of this occured about 2/3 of the way into his 2nd lunatic rant.
mymus, Apr 30 2002
  

       When lean-forward fails on it's own, say "Gawd, I feel like sneezing". If that doesn't work, just *thwacka thwacka thwacka* the tray.
thumbwax, Apr 30 2002
  

       Stadium seating is a wondrous thing for me (as I am 2œ feet tall). I can't imagine visiting a theatre that did not have such a seating layout.
waugsqueke, May 01 2002
  

       "maybe I'm a sheltered canadian, but have you ever simply asked them to move the seat up?"   

       In the particular instance that inspired this idea, yes. He did so, for about 2 minutes. Requests by the air stewardess also had a similar effect. In the end, I got my newspaper and started ruffling his head with the top of it (whilst hiding behind). When this proved ineffective, I folded down the top part of the paper to get a better stroking action, which worked; he made annoyed-sounding grunts a few times then moved forward.   

       Admittedly, this was less confrontational than the arm-and-flag approach would be.   

       On a side-note, I realise that people can't help being tall. But then, some people can't help being obstinate selfish space-hogs. I know I can't.
-alx, May 01 2002
  

       A problem with this idea is that the armrests would be taken by the wide-body space-hogs on each side. Maybe a cat-o-nine-tails hooked on the full-open vent?
FarmerJohn, May 02 2002
  

       I when they have it fully reclined an you have to duck down under their headrest to eat your crappy meal on the tray. I gotta give this one a plus
joshkouri, Apr 29 2003
  

       Fun annoyance techniques for annoying recliners:   

       * Drooping newspaper onto head (a la [alx])
* Blowing gently onto head
* Coughing/ sneezing onto head
* Going to toilet and waggling headrest as you go past
* Spilling drink as you come back
* Pushing knees into back of chair
  

       Other non-specific annoyances designed to interrupt sleep:   

       * Pushing bare feet through armrest holes
* Flatulence contests
* Gameboy with volume turned up
* Squeeky toy
* Offering to hold a friend's crying baby
* Slamming table up (or down)
* Electric shaver goes off in the seat pocket
FloridaManatee, Apr 29 2003
  
      
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