The laid-back approach to flying

Have you noticed that air travel is only ever referred to enthusiastically by those who don’t do it? It’s a means to an end but it’s still a pain in the backside. Nor is it all that much better even when travelling up the pointy end (unless you’re wealthy and can afford real luxury).

The additional money you pay is entirely out of proportion to any extra comfort you actually get. Sure, there is some more room – and it can be a god-send when you compare conditions in cattle class admittedly – but it still ain’t magic.

So, why do aircraft engineers design seats that ‘recline’? I use the term recline almost facetiously since the degree of backswing is hardly anything to write home about. When you are trying to catch some zzz’s and your head keeps lolling forward with sufficient force to jerk you awake each time, you’d offer your first-born child for a seat that enabled you to actually lie back. Sky-beds apart, such comfort is not available to mere mortals with mortgages.

So, you get an entirely inadequate allocation of space for a human being – they are vastly more generous in prisons, for heaven’s sake! – only to have it violated by some turkey in front of you who insists on utilising the small degree of backswing that is available.

This intrudes on your woefully limited personal space much like a mugger holding a knife to your heart. You’d like to lean over the seat and grab the wretch in front of you by the throat and squeeze with every fibre of your being but that sort of behaviour can lead to very serious consequences indeed on aircraft these days so you simmer in silent frustration.

Some emotional relief can be obtained by ‘accidentally’ kicking their seat every so often, especially if their head is starting to nod. The satisfaction of seeing them twitch awake several times is small compensation but does enable a little smirk to twitch around your lips. Hey, it’s a dog eat dog world, right?