Delta CEO: Customers ‘have right’ to recline — but should ask permission first
Delta boss Ed Bastian has weighed in on proper airline decorum after a controversial viral video showed a male passenger punching a woman’s seat on an American Eagle flight after she reclined it.
Bastian, appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” was asked if it was appropriate for a passenger to ask the person in front of them not to recline.
“I think customers have the right to recline,” Bastian said. “I think the proper thing to do is if you’re going to recline into somebody that you ask if it’s okay first and then you do it.”
However, Bastian — who runs the largest airline in the world — said he “never reclines” his seat because of his position.
“I never recline, because I don’t think it’s something as CEO I should be doing,” Bastian said. “I never say anything if someone reclines into me.”
Bastian’s commentary — and the controversy that sparked it — comes amid a trend of airlines increasingly restricting “seat pitch” in their cabins.
In October, it was revealed that FAA researchers were recruiting volunteers for a study into whether tighter space on planes decreased passenger safety.
However, prior to news of the study, the FAA ruled that shrinking seats did not impact consumer safety — which prompted a federal judge to respond, “That makes no sense.”
In 2017, researchers at NYU and Cordozo School of Law published a study that examined whether fighting over reclining seats could be prevented by charging passengers to recline.
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