11:33am

Thu June 2, 2011
The Two-Way

From Blowing Air To Singing In His Ear; Responses To A Rude Recliner

Wednesday's post about the brouhaha this week aboard a Ghana-bound flight that began when one passenger reclined his seat and the person behind responded with a smack (and not the kissing kind), generated many comments with tips about how to handle that sort of situation.

For one expert's suggestions, check out the conversation that Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan had with Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal's Middle Seat Terminal blog.

But we want to give notice to some of The Two-Way comments that stood out, beginning with the one that got the most "recommends":

"I turn the air conditioning nozzle on their head and open it all the way. This is particularly effective for bald men — a large percentage of the offenders." From mary Reynolds (carrey).

There were several that suggested ... how do we put this politely? ... that a bit of breaking of the wind might convince the person in front to return to an upright position.

And several said something like this, from carl Hull (Calhoon): "I have a simple solution. I just put my face near the back of the morons head and start coughing. works every time."

(Side note: The Two-Way is not endorsing the spreading of germs!)

Timothy Tyckoson (Tyctim) has an interesting strategy: "I slip on the headphones and start to sing along with the Musicals channel on the provided XM radio. (if there is no XM, I use my mp3 player). I don't sing loudly, only loud enough for the offender to hear."

And gerd rauter (gRAU) was among several commenters who said a little courtesy goes a long way: "I tap them on the shoulder and whisper into their ear-which by now is so close to my face: '---when you lower your seatback next time-can you do it more slowly so i can move my knees out of the way? ---' And I alert the person behind me by doing the maneuvre in increments. ... The airline could encourage such considerate behavior."

And then there was what may be the best story. Michelle LaPointe (EMShinn) wrote:

"I will sometimes ask the person in front of me to move their seat up a little, and they usually comply. I'm always polite, though, because of something that happened to me years ago. When my daughter was not yet two years old, we were traveling to my sister-in-law's wedding. Our plane was stuck on the tarmac for almost two hours before the flight even took off. We could not get up or remove our seat belts, and my daughter was on my lap.

"No matter how hard my husband and I tried, it was almost impossible to keep our toddler still the entire time, and several times, while squirming, she kicked the seat of the lady in front of me, a couple of times quite hard. I felt terrible, apologized, and the lady graciously said she understood.

"Once we took off, our daughter fell asleep and all was well, but in baggage claim I again thanked the lady for her patience, and she was again very kind.

"That night, at the rehearsal dinner, I was introduced to the mother of the groom — the very same woman my daughter had been kicking on the plane. I was too astonished to say anything, but she had exactly the right words: 'Aren't we glad we were both nice to each other this afternoon?' The lesson stuck."

Thanks to everyone. Keep the ideas coming. (Side note: As you see, we didn't copy edit the comments; we wanted to preserve their tone.)

By the way, there's still time to get in on the question we first posted yesterday:

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