The space underneath the seat in front of you usually belongs to you. It’s storage area for your personal item, like a laptop bag or purse.
Airline passengers in the U.S. are allowed to bring on one carry on bag and one personal item, unless they’re flying Spirit or Frontier Airlines (you need to pay for the carry on bag) or are flying on a United Airlines basic economy fare (carry on bags are disallowed, a punishment for being cheap). Your carry on goes in the overhead bin above your seat, if there’s space available, and your smaller item stays at your feet.
However I’ve run into passengers seated ahead of me who believe that the space underneath their seat belongs to them. They use both the space under the seat in front of them and the space underneath them. But that is not how this works. That is not how any of this works!
Even more problematic is someone that believes they can take the space underneath the feet of the passenger in front of them for storage. Then the passenger one row ahead can’t put their feet on the ground!
Is this the new norm??? When I politely asked the village idiot in 2F on Saturday if he could move his feet so that I could actually have my feet in front of MY seat, he aggressively replied “I’ve bought this seat and the space under it!” #flying #incredulous #avgeeks #assemble pic.twitter.com/FJwRuWWXta
— elayne grimes ✍️ (@ely_438) November 20, 2023
It seems to me if you’re confronted with this passenger,
- You can absolutely put your feet down on their belongings.
- There’s no longer a social prohibition on fully reclining your seat for the full duration of the flight during which it’s permitted.
- Gosh I hope you don’t spill any coffee.
Of course, if the passenger won’t move – they may have usufructuary rights over the space underneath your seat, but not over the space in front of your seat – it’s best to seek assistance from a member of the cabin crew.