I was aboard an Air Canada A319 enroute to a conference in Montreal at which I was to speak the following day. I was looking forward to the 5-hour flight from Vancouver, to put the finishing touches on my presentation as well as get some other work done.
After we reached cruising altitude and the seat belt sign had been extinguished, I waited about ten minutes before trying to grab my laptop case from under the seat in front of me. I’d been whacked in the head enough times before to know that those who recline their seats usually do so in the first couple of minutes after the light goes off.
Despite my caution – WHAM! – I got whacked upside the head anyway — and hard. It was almost like the guy sitting in front of me had specifically waited until I bent down to get my bag.
I responded with a loud “OW!” and gave his seat a shoulder check on my way up.
Really, how hard is it to turn your head and confirm that the person behind you is out of the way before you JERK your seat back?
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of my dealings with ‘the Jerk in 12F’.
As if having his seat fully reclined wasn’t enough, he rocked and jerked his seat back throughout the flight by pushing against the bulkhead with his feet.
The effect on my end was unpleasant and precarious to say the least.
Behind a fully upright seat on the 319, my laptop can be open to an angle of 90 degrees. With the seat fully reclined, I lose about 15 degrees, forcing me to slouch in my seat in order to see the screen.
However, when the ‘jerking’ occured, the latch on the tray table threatened to catch and snap the laptop screen. In fact, the fellow in the aisle seat in my row told me how that had happened to his laptop and he therefore complimented my response to ‘the Jerk’.
So, what did I do?
Well, every time the Jerk jerked, I jerked back. I either pushed back against his seat, or pushed down HARD on my table.
Finally, after 4 hours of going back and forth, the Jerk in 12F stood up, turned around and said, “Do you have a problem with my seat being reclined?”
“Not at all! ” I assured him. “What I do have a problem with however, is that you have been pushing your feet against the bulkhead and jerking your seatback against my laptop. Each time you jerk, the laptop screen is at risk of catching and snapping, as happened to this gentleman on another flight“, gesturing towards the man in the aisle seat.
Please notice how I managed to get “you jerk” into that sentence without making it too personal. LOL.
He whined in reply, “Well, I’m allowed to recline my seat“.
To which I responded, “Of course you are, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should“.
The Jerk then sat down, put his seat in the upright position and I managed to work in peace for a whole 30 minutes.