Scoot: Space wars on airplanes
Unless you are sitting in First Class on an airline, there isn’t much room in and around your seat, and the airlines continue to find ways to squeeze more passengers in more seats. So, it is understandable that someone would invent the Knee Defender. The Knee Defender is a device that a passenger can attach to the seat in front that prevents the passenger from reclining their seat – which tightens the precious space for the passenger behind.
The Knee Defender costs about $22 and the Federal Aviation Administration allows each airline to make the decision on whether the device can be used on flights.
On a recent United Airlines flight from Newark, NJ to Denver, CO, a confrontation erupted in-flight between a male and a female passenger. The male passenger used his Knee Defender on the seat in front of him and the female passenger became angry when she was unable to recline her seat during the flight.
A flight attendant intervened and requested that the male passenger remove the device from the seat. His apparent refusal led to the female passenger standing up and throwing a cup of water on him. That’s when the decision was made to divert the flight – which landed in Chicago.
The two passengers were met by Chicago police and TSA officials – but no arrests were made. The flight continued onto Denver without the two passengers. The names of the passengers were not released.
United Airlines has a policy that prohibits the use of the Knee Defender on all flights. Spirit and Allegiant Airlines have removed the option to recline any seat on their flights and all seats remain in an upright position.
Flying on an airline is not the luxurious experience it once was. Years ago, planes had fewer seats, bigger seats, curtains on the windows instead of the plastic slide covers, and many airlines actually had lounging areas for passengers who wanted to take a break from sitting in their seats. As a kid, I remember wearing a coat and tie to board a plane. That’s quite a contrast from the dress code that many travelers choose to adhere to today! (Love the sweaty guy next to me who is wearing a tank top!)
Airline travel today is casual and crowded and everyone is trying to protect what little space they are given in a desperate attempt to preserve sanity. But we all know the challenges of flying today and it’s comfortable to recline your seat on a flight. But when you recline your seat – you infringe on the space of the passenger in the seat behind you. This is a known reality.
When I fly I do often recline my seat, but I admit that the slight angle of the recline does not add much to any attempts to relax. We all know that seats on airlines recline and purchasing a device that prevents the passenger in front of you from reclining their seat is an act of aggression! Ok – at least it’s obnoxiously rude!
No should argue that it is legal to invent and sell a device that enables one person to aggravate another person or anyone’s right to buy such a product, but one has the question the mentality of anyone who would buy something that prevents your freedom to recline - while protecting their space on an airline.
The Knee Defender is the perfect product for anyone who enjoys being rude to others – and that means there is a huge market for the product!