Lonely Planet Writer

Seats will no longer recline on this leading airline's new fleet of planes

A new fleet of planes at British Airways will eliminate the ability for passengers to recline on short-haul flights.

Certain short-haul flights with British Airways will no long allow passengers to recline. Image by asiseeit/Getty Images

The British carrier will be bringing in 35 new aircraft that will not have reclining seats in economy class. While this may help cut down on conflicts among passengers over the controversial move to recline a seat, other passengers may be perturbed by losing their chance to lean back and relax in their ever-shrinking seat space. However, the airline says that the new seats will only be on board the new aircraft – and says that the seats are already reclined so that customers don’t actually need the option.

“As well as new long-haul aircraft, we have 35 brand new short-haul planes arriving over the next five years…The new aircraft will have brand new seats set to a gentle recline to ensure everyone in the cabin enjoys a comfortable journey,” said the airline in a statement. British Airways also says that the changes “will also allow us to offer more low fares to customers”.

New World Traveller on board the new Boeing 777-300ER, BAMC, Cardiff, UK, 12 August 2010. Image by Nick Morrish/British Airways

British Airways certainly isn’t the first airline to move towards no-recline seats in economy – it’s a staple of many budget carriers on short-haul routes. This latest move prompted a variety of opinions from travellers on social media, with some bemoaning the ongoing restrictions, and others celebrating the change, citing reclining as a source of conflict that also can inhibit the use of laptops and generally be an annoyance to others.

Thought the short-haul changes may irk some economy travellers, the company has also announced some changes to the catering in the long-haul economy cabin. This means that customers on long flights will get a four-course meal instead of a three-course meal. There will even be a second meal for certain routes and longer overnight flights will now see sleepy passengers rise to a hot breakfast.