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A few weeks ago, a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver was dramatically diverted after a showdown between two passengers who were involved in a heated dispute.
One passenger chose to use a device called a ‘Knee Defender’ in order to prevent the person in front of them from reclining their seat whilst they used their laptop. After the person in front protested, a flight attendant asked if the individual in question could remove the Knee Defender, to which they promptly refused.
The passenger argument meant that the pilot had to divert the plane and make an unscheduled stop in Chicago in order to chuck the passengers out.
The inventor of the Knee Defender was quoted as saying, “The Knee Defender says on it, ‘Be courteous. Do not hog space. Listen to the flight crew.’ Apparently that is not what happened here.”
Now yet another flight has been forced to divert after passengers have fought disruptively over reclining seats. The Delta flight, which was flying from New York to Florida, was rerouted due to passenger disruption.
Passenger Aaron Klipin told local television stations that a woman passenger had reclined her seat so that she could knit, whilst the other passenger behind the original one was trying to sleep on her tray table (on the back of knitting-passenger’s seat). The woman who had been taking a nap began screaming and swearing, drawing the attention of the flight’s crew.
This has been the third incident in less than a week, after the lack of leg room on-board flights caused passenger clashes in the air twice before. The other incident involved an American Airlines flight from Miami to Paris, and was re-routed to Boston after two passengers were at loggerheads after one of them attempted to recline their seat.
Reclining your seat has always been a controversial issue amongst travellers – some say that it’s rude and an invasion of space whilst others insist that it’s their right. Surveys have found that nine in ten flight passengers believe that reclining seats should be banned on short-haul flights.
There has been an uprising on social media, with passengers taking to sites like Facebook and Twitter to express outrage and disbelief at the incidents. There is even a campaign on the business networking site LinkedIn which aims to make airlines remove reclining seats on short-haul flights.
The airlines have responded diplomatically, politely asking passengers that the gadget is not used on their flights.