Some exit rows do recline

I had an interesting series of conversations on my flight down to Florida last weekend, all centered around whether the exit row seat I was in was supposed to be reclining or not. To all the people sitting around me on the airplane on Friday night please allow me to repeat what I said then: IT DOES RECLINE!

Yes, it is an exit row seat. But the seat (14F on a Continental 737-300) does recline because there isn’t an exit behind it. All the seats that are red on that picture don’t recline but the pretty yellow/green one with no seat in front of it does. It has tons of legroom AND it reclines. If I can’t sit in first class (which on this flight was not possible due to the upgrade being traded for marital bliss) then 14A and 14F are the next best option, followed by 5C or D.

Yes, my seat was broken in that it wouldn’t stay upright when I boarded, but the maintenance guy was able to fix that pretty quickly and we managed to depart without too much extra delay based on that. But the fact that it reclined at all was completely normal. So, Mr. 12D, you still don’t know what you’re talking about; you’re going to have to live with that.

When you’re choosing seats on other flights, don’t assume that the exit row won’t recline. Pretty much any row that doesn’t recline INTO an exit row will actually recline. And if there is enough space between the rows, such as the 38″ of pitch on JetBlue’s A320 planes, then all the seats can recline, as there is still sufficient space to get out the exits per the FAA requirements. Try SeatGuru; they have a ton of information about seat options. It isn’t 100% accurate and it has certain biases, but it is pretty good overall.

Whew…I feel much better now.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.