There's been 3 instances in the news lately about flights having problems due to reclining seats in planes. Here's the 2 sides viewpoints:
In Favor Of: they feel they purchased the ticket and therefore have the right to use the recline feature of their seat, regardless of the discomfort to the one behind them.
Those Against It: they feel people should not recline because their own comfort is compromised by the person in front of them.
Personally - I don't recline my own seat because I hate when someone does it to me. I am very tall so any reclining in front of me really hurts. When someone tries it I usually let out a somewhat loud 'oh god' - enough to scare the person in front of me to think they really injured me. Usually that works. If it doesn't I ask them if they can please put it up just a little bit and most do. However I have had 2 people who were horrible about it. The worst was on my honeymoon flight to Hawaii from Chicago - 9 hour flight. The guy in front of me put it back and was horribly rude and wanted it back the whole way. We argued, loudly and finally I punched him hard in the back of the head (this was before 9/11). He got up and walked to the front of the plane and I assume the flight attendants seated him up there somewhere. At the end of the flight before landing he walked back to his seat. When the message came out to prepare for landing I was ready for him and I moved my legs toward me as much as possible - I predicted right cause he then put his seat back quickly and as hard as possible to try and get me one last time - I guess he wanted to have the final word. I just ignored it. If it wasn't my honeymoon I would have kicked his butt as soon as we got off the plane.