Last week's discussion on reclining seats aboard passenger planes hit a nerve.

A scan of online comments suggests most Herald Travel readers would happily do away with reclining seats.

One online reader's declaration that he would continue to recline his seat ("reclining seats have a purpose, to make a flight more comfortable and every passenger has one") brought sharp responses - including the threat of gastro-retaliation - from other readers.

"I'd do my best to become violently ill (not too difficult with some airline food)," went the response. "And 'accidentally' chuck up all over you while 'attempting' to rush to the toilet.


"That'd hopefully teach you a thing or two about being civil and considerate towards your fellow passengers."

Because, of course, chundering on people to make your point is the height of "civil and considerate" behaviour.

Many readers - aggrieved at losing their personal space - confessed to "accidentally" bumping the back of a reclined seat in what often sounds like a tense psychological tussle.

I reckon most exchanges between reclining space invader and cramped space-loser would be a bit more straightforward. Mostly, we Kiwis tend to suffer in silence and we tend to be an inoffensive lot, so while the person behind might mutter and frown, the person in front would probably raise the seat a little if made aware of the feathers they'd ruffled.

Let's see if the airlines are listening to the passengers' debate. Seats and entertainment units are better than they were even just a decade or so ago. Better design could make us all more comfortable. Until then, let's keep our manners.