Everyone Hates Fliers Who Recline Seats — KLM's April Fools Joke Offers a Hilarious Solution

Don't look too hard for this feature on your next KLM flight.

A KLM airplane in the sky on a dark grey cloudy day

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is having some fun with the controversy of reclining seats, posting an early April Fools' joke that promises a loud beeping alert system. The airline, which shared the joke on Twitter on March 31, said it would roll out the warning system on April 1.

“KLM is proud to introduce a revolutionary new cabin feature: The Recline Alert System. We've developed a sound effect that notifies passengers when the seat in front of them reclines,” the airline tweeted. “The new system will be introduced on all KLM flights from April 1, 2023.”

The accompanying video showed a passenger pressing the recline button (in dramatic slow motion, naturally) triggering a beeping noise akin to a truck backing up. Hearing the noise, the flier seated behind the passenger scrambles to save their drinks and other tray table items. The end result? All passengers appear pleased.

Reclining your airplane seat is a controversial subject, to say the least. Last year, a survey found that more than 77 percent of passengers think it’s rude. But of those, more than 27 percent said they would do it anyway — but they would politely ask if it was OK first. And just over 3 percent said they didn’t care and would recline without warning.

When deciding whether to recline or not, travelers should consider several factors, like if they're on a short-haul flight or if food is being served at the moment. Overall, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to give the passenger behind you some warning before you recline.

Reclining seats are also not the only controversial subject when it comes to flying. Questions from who gets the middle seat armrests to whether passengers should take their shoes off can bring up strong opinions. 

When it comes to KLM, which happens to be the world's oldest airline, standard economy seats on intercontinental flights offer about 31 inches of legroom and recline around 5 inches, according to the carrier. Seats with extra legroom feature an additional 24 inches but offer the same recline.

And for the most reclining comfort (without any controversy or having to overthink about travel etiquette), KLM’s intercontinental business class features a fully flat seat.

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