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This happened a few years ago in a bus form Paris to Cologne. I leaned the seat backwards as far as possible and the person behind me heavily complained about not having enough space. I saw that she leaned her seat backwards too (to be fair, there were no people behind her), but I said we all don't have a lot of place and I'm trying to sleep, so I leaned the seat backwards anyway. The person in front of me did it too and I didn't complain about it, because obviously I'm going to have less space, but it's a lot easier to sleep if you lean your seat backwards.

I'm not looking for interpersonal advice. I'm more interested in knowing if there are any guidelines or rules about this. Am I allowed to lean the seat backwards or does the person behind me need to approve this?

If it matters, the bus, me and the person behind me were all from Germany. The bus company is "Mango Tours", but I'm hoping for an answer which doesn't depend on the company.

Edit

This answer provides information about flights, so I guess it's the same in a bus. But I can't say for sure.

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    Considering a 6-7 hour journey it would be a bit difficult to be sitting upright for the whole duration. Was it an old person behind you ? Or just a nasty person ? Or were they > 190 cms tall ? – DumbCoder Aug 28 '18 at 10:32
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    @DumbCoder It was a small, skinny person who was just upset to have less space. I even checked to see if it really affects her that much, but she was just upset. – Zure Aug 28 '18 at 10:47
  • just upset to have less space You always find grumpy co-passengers. Did she try to complain to the driver or just nagged you. If only nagged you, I presume she just wanted you to back down and straighten your seat. If she was really inconvenienced she would have asked the driver. – DumbCoder Aug 28 '18 at 11:45
  • @DumbCoder she didn't complain to the driver, but that's not really part of the question – Zure Aug 28 '18 at 11:52
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    "Rules" would depend on the bus company. However, you'd assume if they didn't want people to recline, they would simply disable the reclining mechanism. "Guidelines" would be subjective, anyone can offer guidelines, and I'm sure you can find "guidelines" that say whatever you want. – Nate Eldredge Aug 28 '18 at 14:03