Fight Over Seat Reclining Actually GROUNDS Flight

Posted in Domestic US, In the Air, United

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of me shaking my head. In what can only be termed a “first world problem,” some guy decided to use a product called the “Knee Defender” which wedges into the brackets of your seat-back tray table and prevents the person in front of you from reclining. In response, an argument started and that incredibly led to the grounding of the flight.

The Untied flight was en route from Newark to Denver when the dust-up happened. The guy that used the Knee Defender was asked to remove the device and when he refused, the woman in front of him (who was being knee-defended against), chose to use a little waterpark logic and dumped her glass of water on him. As a result, the crew decided to land safely in Chicago and boot both parties off the plane.

Are we really this petty now, people? I’m asking on both sides of the coin here. I mean, I get it. Having somebody recline all the way back while you’re trying to eat or get work done is a major annoyance and seems downright rude for the most part. That said, if the airline allows the seat to recline, then it’s the passenger’s option to use that recline function. On the other hand, it’s equally rude to use a device that infringes on another passenger’s right to use that function. There is no right answer here. The only solution, as far as I can tell, is to limit the recline angle on most seats. With such limited room in economy to begin with, it’s unfair to ask flyers to give up even more space and once the reclining starts, it’s a chain reaction as everyone else has to recline to reclaim the space that was previously theirs. It’s a lose-lose for everyone.

So the lessons here: 1. Don’t recline all the way. 2. Don’t use a device to limit somebody else’s seat. 3. If somebody else uses a device to limit your seat, don’t react like a child and throw water on them.

Have you ever encountered any seat reclining horror stories? I want to hear about it in the comments.


Source: Gizmodo via AP


Attribution Some rights reserved by kalleboo


  1. With millenials growing up being taught that they are special and that rules and decorum are for other people, and passing this same mentality to their children, is it any wonder something like this would happen? It was really a matter of when not if.

    With the absense of airline published rules or guidelines this is bound to happen overe and over again. @United

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