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Setting boundaries in economy class

August 22, 2004

In response to "Airplane Legroom, Common Courtesy" [Letters, Aug. 8]: The writer has no basis on which to complain. The person who paid for his or her seat has the full right to recline it as much as he or she wishes. If the letter writer objects to this, then she should purchase a business-class or first-class seat, where there's more room.

I suspect this will become an ever-growing complaint because of America's growing percentage of overweight passengers, who are trying to fit themselves into seats that are designed for bodies that are not overweight.

Keith Olson

Pacific Palisades


As a 6-foot, 1-inch man, I have suffered from both the shrinking width and legroom in economy-class seats. Inconsiderate passengers in front make matters worse.

Here's a suggestion for survival:

As the person in front reclines all the way, I brace my knees against the rear of the chair, so they feel a firm impact against my legs. Then I let out a sudden, screeching "Ouch!" loud enough for passengers around to hear.

If the person in front apologizes, we usually compromise, and they recline halfway.

If the person coldheartedly ignores me, he or she can look forward to an uncomfortable trip as I climb all over their seatback to get in and out of my seat to stretch as often as possible.

Ken Hayes

North Hollywood

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