A flight had a “Bridesmaids”-style diversion on Sunday (minus colonial woman sightings on the wing) when two passengers couldn’t stop bickering over legroom. A man and a woman headed from Newark to Denver were seated in the “Economy Plus” section of the plane, which is designed to be a bit comfier than regular coach seating (read: a perfect storm for cranky flyers who feel they’re entitled to extra special treatment), when the woman realized her seat wouldn’t recline. She discovered that the man sitting behind her had attached a Knee Defender, a nifty device that blocks airplane seats from reclining. The two handled it like any pair of grown-ups would: by bickering and throwing a tantrum. When flight attendants asked the guy to remove the Knee Defender, he refused, so the woman threw a cup of water at him. The flight crew diverted to Chicago, gracefully chucked those two off the plane, and headed on its merry way to Denver without them. No one was arrested, but I think it’s safe to say that just about everybody’s day was ruined. People of the world, have we seriously stooped this low? Are elementary schools no longer teaching kids to use their words instead of breaking out into an immature shouting match?
That said, while I’d like to hope I’d rise above throwing water at the dude in that situation (no promises), but I think I would be just as frustrated as the woman was. Barring some kind of physical ailment that made it dangerous or painful for the man to have the seatback reclining near his legs, it sounds like he was just being a jerk. Knee Defenders have been around since 2003, and anyone can pop online and buy one, but they’re banned by United and several other airlines. The FAA allows them to be used during flights, but not during takeoff or landing. A 6-foot-3 dude (who is, not surprisingly, a former Congress staff member) invented the Knee Defender to defend his “right” to legroom. I find this product so obnoxious. For one thing, the overuse of the word “right” is ridiculous. A right is something like the entitlement to free speech or to practice whatever faith we want — bitching about having a right to legroom is about the whiniest thing I’ve ever heard. Need we remind ourselves how lucky we are to have the option of flying in the first place? Being crammed like sardines sucks, but people know full well that when they’re buying an airline ticket, they’re signing up for that (and unless they’re in the last row, they’re paying for seats that actually recline)! When you’re hanging out in a metal tube designed to hurtle through the sky, physical space just isn’t an abundant luxury, and unfortunately, our cramped legs have to suffer for it. That Knee Defending guy on the Denver flight chose to buy a plane ticket, tight space and all, so dude needs to get over it or choose another way to travel. [Washington Post] [Image via Shutterstock]