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Plane passengers should pay each other for right to recline seat, study finds

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 5/18/2017 Jonathan Mitchell

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Plane passengers should pay each other for the right to recline their seat, a study has found.

A series of experiments from two top law professors in America found that plane passengers would demand on average $18 (£14) to stop the person in front reclining their seat.

They said the bargaining idea would ensure “no one gets punched in the face”.

People would also demand $41 (£31) from their fellow passengers not to decline their seat, according to the study.

It was compiled by New York-based law professors Christopher Buccafusco and Christopher Jon Sprigman, who also claimed customers should pay and bargain for drinks.

They wrote: “Nobody likes the recent turn toward airlines charging for every service, but maybe what we need is more of that.

"Most airlines still hand out free drinks, and sometimes little bags of pretzels. Maybe instead they should charge for them and allow passengers to purchase them for one another,”

“Everyone wins. Seat recline space is efficiently allocated. Airlines are marginally further from bankruptcy. And no one gets punched in the face.

The research found that plane passengers were likely to pay less money if they did not have the automatic right to recline their seat, but had to negotiate with the person behind.

The study added: “People generally don’t like losing things they have.

“When a resource is provided to them as a default — even something as trivial as a pen — people tend to be unwilling to part with it.

They added: “We are left with the puzzle of why people seem unwilling to bargain over a resource that at least some people are willing to fight over.”

When they asked if passengers would be prepared to take a snack or drink not to recline, they found that 78 per cent of the people in front were willing to accept it, with 36 per cent willing to take the offer.

WATCH: Frightening moment for passengers of JetBlue flight (provided by CBS New York)

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