- According to airline executives, you can fit 25 human beings in this photograph alone.
There's been a lot of air rage over reclining airplane seats this week. This is, needless to say, stupid. If you're on a daytime domestic flight, you almost certainly shouldn't recline your seat. If you really need to recline your seat—if you're exhausted and need to sleep, say, or your infant is more likely to relax if you're in a reclining position—you should turn around first and politely warn the person behind you.
The most important thing to remember is that the reclining person is not the enemy. The person being reclined into is not the enemy*. The enemies here are the airlines. Airline seats are shrinking. This is quantifiably true. A few assholes may try to make this out to be about America's obesity epidemic, but the truth is that airlines are always shaving millimeters off airline seats in an effort to pack as many people onto planes as possible. Your obligation as a human is to be kind to the other humans on the plane, both as a recliner and as a reclinee.
* And it's never the flight attendant's fault. Anyone who treats a flight attendant in a shitty way is a terrible person. Yes, there are a few rude flight attendants out there, but these are low-paid people who have to put up with a whole lot of bullshit. Treat them with the same kindness you should demonstrate for anyone in the service industry. Above all else, remember the Golden Asshole Rule: If you meet more than one asshole in a day, you're probably the asshole.