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On one of United's B767-300 from EWR to TXL and I seem to remember the seats reclining slightly more several years ago. More specifically, it seemed like the in-seat TV screens we're almost bumping into your face when the passenger in front of you reclined. Now, there seems to be much more space in front (and much less recline for you).

Has United (and other airlines) been reducing the amount of recline for all the economy seating?

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On short flights? Yes, and on some it is not possible to recline anymore.

This causes a lot of conflicts and complains, so airlines decided to reduce or to stop reclining seats. Most passengers are happy with this.

It is also cheaper for airlines: simpler seats, and less time to reset the seat after landing (short haul flights have much more flight segments).

But this works only on short haul. On medium and long haul we need to recline in order to have some rest, so airlines have not yet (as far I know) reduced such possibility.

Your flight is long haul, so it seems to me strange they reduced reclinability. But the seats (if you are a a new aircraft) are smaller (less thick), so some more space in front of you (but not for your legs).

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    Why is there a need for time to reset the seat after landing? The seat must already be upright before landing. – gerrit Apr 11 at 11:35
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    @gerrit: That's assuming passengers follow instructions (and don't recline again after the cabin crew has verified the landing configuration). – Henning Makholm Apr 11 at 11:41
  • @gerrit, As Henning wrote, not all people to it, and often not on full position (your weight may make it difficult to do). Also by exiting, people touch the reclining button. Note: on such flights often there is no bag attached to the seat, so cleaning team do no need to check every bad for trash. – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 11 at 12:36

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