No Seat Pulling, Please

When you need to get up from your seat on an airplane, do you grab the back of the seat in front of you and pull yourself to your feet? You do? You need to stop that.

See, when you pull back on that seat, you jostle the person who’s sitting in that seat. If you are a person of stature, you may be packing enough weight to pull the passenger’s head back with the seat and then snap it forward like a rubber band when you let go. This is not enjoyable for the other passenger.

I speak from experience.

Among some of the other things you might inadvertently do to your fellow passenger with the old seat-back pull maneuver is to spill his or her coffee, Coke, beer or martini all over him or her. Or you might wake him or her up. Or you might just annoy the hell out of him or her. Or me.

Here’s how you get up from an airplane seat. You put your hands on the armrests and you push yourself to your feet. I’m pretty certain that most people in decent health can accomplish this, even in the middle seat.

If you physically can’t manage this, you should consider asking at the boarding gate whether you can have a bulkhead seat, which has more maneuvering room. I know that this can work because I’ve been kicked out of bulkhead seats for passengers with disabilities.

If that doesn’t work and you really need to haul yourself up on the back of the seat, could you maybe lean forward first and warn the person in front of you? It might save him or her or me on the dry-cleaning bills – not to mention the whiplash treatments.


5 thoughts on “No Seat Pulling, Please

  1. Peter

    I think people jamming their seatback into the knees of the tall person behind them is a greater problem, especially on long flights. Six hours of kneecap compression is hard to take. Some people think that because the seats are capable of reclining they have some sort of divine right to assault the person behind them.

  2. Franklin Morris

    Sorry … but you have discovered the game I play on planes with smaller and smaller areas of personal cabin space.
    if the person in front of me, for example, leans the seat back into my face so that I can’t even put an English tea cup on the “tray table” in front of me, well … then when I take a trip to the head, I first listen for a gentle snoring in the seat in front of me …
    then I pull back on the seat very carefully until it ALMOST touches my own head rest … (I’m leaning down for maximum boing factor) … then I simply let go.
    if the person weighs less than say .. 95 pounds .. this action will launch them forward about three rows.
    the bedlam if a fine treat for myself and other passengers .. and I find that I can get to the bathroom pretty quick, as the flight personnel are moving to resolve the crisis forward in the cabin.
    but don’t do as I do …

  3. Jeanne Leblanc

    Oh, wow. I had not considered the possibility that you were doing it on PURPOSE. 😉
    (Let me add that I have gone on the record in this very blog against seat reclining.)

  4. Mary Dove

    In such a constricted space, it is very difficult to get up without grasping the seat in front of you for leverage and balance. I am sure no one is doing it just to annoy you, dear. (BTW, isn’t everyone “a person of stature”?)

  5. Jeanne Leblanc

    Hi Mary,
    I have to say, you’re not the only one who disagrees with me about this. I still think it’s better to push oneself up from the armrest. As I wrote, if that’s really not possible for you, a little warning is nice before you grab the seat.
    And I’ll concede a difference between grasping the seat for leverage, as you describe, and actually hauling your entire weight up on the back of the seat …
    As for people of stature, I was trying to be polite. How about people of substantial heft? 😉


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