In recent weeks, we here at Lifehacker HQ have had several important debates over the correct etiquette on flights, like which passenger has the right to close the window shade and the ability to deplane first.
But no subject has caused more controversy across social media than the debate over whether you should actually recline your seat on a flight—even the Washington Post recently chimed in on the issue (the New York Times and NPR have had takes in the past, too).
We wrote about it back in July and opinions were generally mixed, though leaned in favour of reclining at your discretion and yours alone. “Unless it is their first flight, they know the score,” JasonMTracy wrote in our comments. “Often, the entire reason I’m reclining is that the person in front of me did, and now I need the extra room.”
I, too, am strictly pro-reclining. Of course, this should come with exceptions, like during take-off and landing for obvious safety (and comfort) reasons. And never recline during meal service; no one wants to eat with you in their lap. Unfortunately, these rules are hardly universal—but here’s an evil hack by way of Reddit that might solve your problem.
“If the person sitting in front of you on a flight reclines their seat all the way back and leaves you with no room, turn on the air con above you to full blast and point it at the top of their head,” u/medievilmusician writes.
In other words, let your passive aggression out by forcing the passenger in front of you to endure the wrath of your freezing-cold aeroplane air until they relent. Of course, there’s a chance they might ask you not to do that, but the odds that they’ll adjust their seat to avoid a confrontation are likely higher.
If that doesn’t work, or the seat in front of you reclines just a few inches short of your air conditioning’s path, it might be time to get a little more aggressive. “.... the second I see it start to recline I try to put my knees up against it and so they can’t recline it and it’s funny to watch them struggle with it wondering why it won’t work,” u/drudown49 writes. If that fails, the occasional kick to the seat in front of you, or a case of feigned restless leg syndrome, might earn you an extra inch or two, at least.
This story has been updated since its original publication.