Controversial Travel Influencer Shares ‘Unethical Lifehack’ For Outsmarting Selfish Seat Recliners

"The plane ride is so long when you get one of those people in front of you..."

Controversial Travel Influencer Shares ‘Unethical Lifehack’ For Outsmarting Selfish Seat Recliners

Image: @theLKshow / DMARGE

An ‘unethical life hack’ has garnered viral attention online after stirring up heated debate among travellers around the world. The controversial advice on how to handle passengers who recline their plane seats has reignited one of the longest-standing conversations about the dos and don’ts of air travel after being shared by a provocative social media.

If you’ve taken it upon yourself to become the most-hated passenger on your plane, you have a plethora of bad-behaviour options at your disposal. Urinating all over your cabin could be one idea while leaving your seat in a ‘disgusting’ sock-stuffed state could be another. Nothing, however, is sure to get tempers flying like an unwanted or unexpected reclining of your seat which invariably results in a phenomenon we’ve previously called ‘recline rage‘.

That’s why TikTok user @thelkshow took to the platform and offered a contentious, almost guerrilla tactic for dissuading potential recliners that, predictably, elicited impassioned responses both for and against the idea. In fact, the idea so perfectly struck a nerve with the public that since being uploaded in May the video has racked up a massive 3.3 million views…

WATCH: Not heard of ‘recline rage’? Here’s what it looks like in full force…

The video, which was a mere six seconds long and consisted of a single shot of a blank wall overlaid with text — its aesthetic minimalism highlighted even further the massive traction that the idea alone managed to generate — began by posing the problem: “When you are on a flight and the person in front of you reclines their seat all the way and leaves you no room”, before offering up its much-debated solution…

“Turn on the air conditioner above you on full blast and point it at the top of their head.”


Though the poster’s caption is undeniably accurate, saying that “the plane ride is so long when you get one of those people in front of you”, the response from fans and followers has been significantly more divided. Some argued that plane seats shouldn’t recline at all, calling the practice fundamentally inconsiderate: “They should make it so the seats can’t recline anymore when they’re packing us in like sardines”. Another piled in behind them, emphasising that “you aren’t gaining extra room by reclining, you’re taking away the room of the person behind you.”

Others leapt to defend the right to recline seats, especially on long-haul flights: “Yeah, I’m not sitting upright for my 10-hour flight,” wrote one commenter. “The seat reclines for a reason” echoed another. Some raised the point that passengers who find it annoying or uncomfortable should consider upgrading to business class, while others tried to build solidarity among passengers, suggesting everyone should recline their seats in order to avoid individual outrage.

Image: The controversial TikTok in question. Image: @theLKshow

In a survey conducted by The Vacationer, 77% of respondents considered it rude for passengers to recline their seats on planes, with nearly 46% of them admitting that they refrained from doing so. In contrast, only 23% of participants found nothing wrong with the practice. Last year, The Independent’s deputy travel editor Lucy Thackray chimed in:

“I reserve the right to recline, and I don’t think I should have to conduct market research with those around me beforehand. To my mind, this seat function has been designed for passenger comfort during cruising time.”

Lucy Thackray

Whether you’re a reveller or a rebel when it comes to the always contentious topic of seat reclining, one thing is clear: the battle for space and comfort in the skies rages on. Ultimately, the solution lies not in maliciously-directed air conditioners but in finding a compromise that respects everyone’s needs. Until then, brace yourself for a turbulent clash of opinions…