Our online guru Eli Orzessek tosses up when it's right to recline or decline.

You hear a lot about "passenger shaming" these days. People seem to get very worked up about seats reclining on a flight — but why even have recliners if it's such a faux pas? Is it ever okay to recline your seat fully back?

Short answer: For me, it depends on the length of the flight — I wouldn't recline my seat on a flight shorter than four hours. So if I'm just nipping over to Sydney, yeah, nah. But if it's a night flight, reclining back completely is definitely acceptable — anyone who kicks up a fuss is just being a jerk.

I'm also a proponent of the domino system — if the person in front of me reclines their seat to the point where I'm in discomfort, I'll recline also and I'd expect the person behind me to follow suit, rather than complain.

Although deputy Travel editor Stephanie Holmes agrees with me on reclining etiquette being dependent on the length of the flight, Travel editor Winston Aldworth is more of an "anything goes" type guy — if the seat has a recliner, he's reclining it.


"I'd love to sit in front of you two," he added.

However, reclining seats are one of the leading causes of "air rage" — a phenomenon that is on the rise as flying becomes more affordable.

There's even an invention — the Knee Defender — which clips on to your tray table and blocks the reclining mechanism of the seat in front. Needless to say, it's been responsible for a few of these air-rage incidents. Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar have banned the devices.

Last year, a New Zealander was fined in a Brisbane court after he got worked up over the passenger in front of him reclining his seat during a flight from Wellington to Brisbane.

When the man in front refused to return his seat to the upright position, witnesses reported he became agitated and started pushing and kicking on the back of it while speaking in an aggressive tone.

Despite arranging to move seats, he first forcefully hit the reclining passenger's headrest and later returned to verbally abuse him.

I think if there's one piece of advice I can give to fellow travellers, it's don't be that guy.

Readers respond

Adeeb Althaf got in touch with a couple of final notes on the Indian e-visa situation. He said confusion over the process is not uncommon. "Even Indians in New Zealand face the same confusion on contacting the High Commission in Wellington, with little to no response," he writes. "Emails and phone calls are seldom replied to."

Peter Tuohy, manager of Travcour also emailed to outline the process.

He said: "An e-visa must be applied for at least four days prior to arrival into India and not more than 30 days. Upon disembarking in India, the traveller must stop by the "VISA COLLECTION" desk to collect their visa, then proceed through Immigration.

"Feedback from travellers who have taken this option often report back with the comment 'never again!'."

On the lack of communication, he added: "The Indian High Commission can be a very busy place, especially during peak tourist season of October to December. It is extremely difficult to make phone contact with the High Commission."

The overwhelming response was that you don't need to send your passport to Wellington for an eTV, but if you're planning to stay longer, you will need to do so when applying for a standard visa.

Good luck!

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