‘Knee Defender’ Is Actually Air Aggression

The next air war will not be over Iraq. It will be over the Knee Defender which advertises itself as a way to “protect against reclining seatbacks on airplanes – save more legroom – can help you guard against economy class syndrome – thrombosis – DV”. It's a little piece of plastic that air passengers can slip on the seat in front of them, and freeze it in place — turning every seat potentially into one of those awful immobile ones sometimes found just in front of the exit row.

Already, one airline has banned it in response to traveler complaints. What drives people to carry a plastic block onto a plane to reduce the comfort of the folks in front of them? I'd wager that in most cases it is not a concern with proper posture, nor the supposed health advantages. Rather, it's to make room for that laptop—on which it so often seems the business traveler plays solitaire and watches movies…

Actually, this would make a decent law school exam question: does the deployment of Knee Defender in order to prevent the other passenger's seat's from reclining amount to the commission of any sort of tort? [I'll bet there are no contract claims against the airlines—they have their boilerplate down to an art form.]

[PS: this lawtechguru site is worth a visit.]

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105 Responses to ‘Knee Defender’ Is Actually Air Aggression

  1. chs says:

    Interesting…

    • angelou says:

      Im just waiting for someone to put one of those things on the back of the seat I paid for with my hard earned money. They will be so sorry they did.
      Step 1- notify flight attendant of the selfishness of the SOB behind me
      Step 2- we’ll see if that person is not compliant
      Step 3- I hope I see that person again outside of the airport. I will teach him/her a lesson so that they learn that the world does not revolve around them.

      Please don’t let it be you. You’ve been warned

      • None says:

        Wow. So you’ll physically assault someone over your seat not reclining immediately? You sound like a real charmer.

      • stefan says:

        What a dick, maybe they just don’t want their personal space invaded by arrogant pricks like you.

      • Ross says:

        I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but all the people that are against this product are people that are ready to beat you up if you have a problem with their seat in your face. These people are why seats should not recline, period. These people don’t care about anyone but themselves. It’s funny that society has to put up with them.

      • Diving Dwarf says:

        OMG, maybe if you would stop reclining your seat as though you were at the dentist’s, you wouldn’t be smacking the passenger behind.

        You may relax reclining your seat. Someothers may relax watching a movie on the laptop. Some others cannot afford to relax and have to work in the plane. It could well be that the guy behind you is taking his shoes off and your gentle act of reclining squeezes his ear or head. Or even worse: some people are carrying babies.

        Who’s disconforting who? I presume (for your “kind” words) that you’re one of those that slams the seat back. Doing it gently ist not your kind of doing things. I would not even think of the possibility of your turning back and ask whether reclining your seat would disconfort the passenger behind you.

        You may say that the fellow passenger behind you can recline too. Well:
        1.- Reclining might not be the solution
        2.- Some rows cannot recline.

        I’m over 6 ft and I NEVER recline. It is a matter of respect and empathy. Some people have it, some people don’t.

        I do not understand the relaxing part of reclining a seat when you’re sitting on a 40cm wide seat and surrounded by 8 people.

        And after reading your comment, I can’t quite figure out you’re one of those getting relaxed easily.

        Beware the passenger behind you: you may recline, but chances are you won’t have a relaxing time up in the air. He can use his knees to bother you, or continously stand up pulling your seat, or just reading one of those huge papers whose upper part may have access to your head and cause disconfort.

        Pissed-off passengers may become very witty when it is time to bother idiots, remember that.

    • jonnw32097@yahoo.com says:

      everybody can relax when the socialist i.e. “progressive democrats” code word for “”democrats for a socialist America”” take over everything there will be a new law against complaining about anything

  2. cafl says:

    Have you ever sat in the rear seat (which doesn’t recline) and had the passenger in front recline fully? His head was squarely in the face of this 5’3″ woman. The degree to which a seat can recline was apparently established when airlines spaced their rows substantially farther apart. Many people simply don’t consider that a fully reclined seat means that the passenger behind them has no choice but to match their position.

    • Jill B says:

      That is the absolute worst. Seats should not be made to recline. The seat clearance has become so tight that I’ve had seats where you couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom if the seat in front was “reclined fully.” It’s a dangerous situation.

  3. Antonio says:

    nobody forces you to travel in economic class.
    Just fly first class and you won’t have this kind of problem

    • Dennis says:

      Yes, bying a first class ticket is your option to, why don’t YOU exercise that right? Because that seat costs more than average people (like yourself) can afford. I’m sure it’s no problem whatsoever for you to fork over 1000 dollars or more so that you’re not intruding on someone elses life, for the 3 hours you can just be rude. Yes it’s your right, but so is throwing up on the guy reclining in your lap. It’s alowed, but rude. Ask before you recline and stop the “It’s my right” crap. Be polite. Act like civilized human beings and everyone can be alright with the cramped space.

      • Bert says:

        Airline tickets are already over priced, and if you don’t think that the seat and it’s full functions are included in the gouging you’re out of your mind. If you can’t fit comfortably behind a reclined airline seat it is your problem to fix by going first class, not the person in front of you who is exercising their right to use their chair as it was intended.

        Yes it’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s something every big person should already know going in, and if you don’t know you may be retarded. Yes the airlines have discriminated against you so take it up with them, don’t act surprised when your fat/tall ass can’t fit into a sardine can. Flying economy is not for everyone so stop acting like an entitled prick like it is.

        • Guest says:

          Y’r hrs’s ss, y rrgnt ccksckr. Cch t Prs: $1,300. 1st clss t Prs: $11,000. Hw bt y gv m th prc dffrnc, r y g fck yrslf. Y drp tht st n my kns wtht wrnng nd wll bt yr srry ss t n nrcgnzbl plp, y smrmy lttl sshl.

  4. marvin says:

    just wondering how many people who plan to use this thing are also planning in all fairness, NOT to recline their own seats while in flight? Probably zero. i have a suggestion for these idiots who scream of bashed knee syndrome: don’t mess with my seat; buy yourself some knee pads and wear ‘em!

  5. Bob says:

    Airlines and passengers who want to recline do not want you to use the Knee Defender. Is the problem the use of an external device to prevent seat recline, or the actual prevention of seat recline? I can imagine recliners and airlines getting upset when they see this device in use. What happens when I just use my knees to prevent the seat in front from reclining? Am I required to adjust my body position to accomodate someone else?

    • beerguy says:

      Agreed. I’m 6’3″ and have a 36″ inseam. My knees prevent the seat in front of me from reclining. I’ve received dirty looks but there is not much I can do about it.

      • Doug says:

        Ditto – I am 6’4″ – many a painfull slam form the inconsiderate recliner onto my knees. I actually smacked one gentleman in the head after his 3rd attempt to bounce against my knees – and each time I told him “it will not go anyfuther – your hitting my knees”. He stopped after I smacked him.

        • Diving Dwarf says:

          I vt fr prctsng th gncd n ths dts. Smckng hs hd s nt th sltn s tht wn’t mk thm ny smrtr.

        • AA Flight Attendant says:

          Doug…..If you attempt to smack anyone in my presence, let alone me when I recline, I will have you arrested so fast, you’ll wish you were sitting in an airplane rather than a jail cell. If you need more leg room, I suggest you book a bulkhead, the emergency exit row, or First Class. ANY phyisical action taken toward a passenger, crew member OR the aircraft is a violation of FAR 121.580, and subject to imprisonment. Trust me when I say the federal government will not care about your comfort on the aircraft, but will focus on the physical actions you took against ANY passenger or the aircraft. Should you be within eye sight of any number of tens of thousands of other flight attendants like me, and exhibit ANY aggressive behavior, you’ve guaranteed your reservation in a jail cell and exhaustive court appearances, not to mention single handedly having placed your name on the “no fly” list. I daresay that once your employer or customers hear of your actions, which I absolutely guarantee they will, you will find yourself unemployed, as well. I’ve seen it happen too many times to count in the 29 years I’ve been flying, with a noted uptick since 9/11. Additionally, the Knee Defender is prohibited on all commercial airlines, and should you attempt to utilize one, it will be confiscated and reported. I suggest you tone down your “tough guy” rhetoric, and learn to adapt to the circumstances on today’s aircraft.

          • Diving Dwarf says:

            I didn’t know a Ranger was participating in the post…

            Listen, you’re not going to do nothing, and you know it. All the blahblahblah that you’re saying is a poor attempt to frighten people.

            Only when you understand that the reason is behind the laws and the rules, you’ll realize how ridiculous you look like.

            By the way, you Chuck Norris, we don’t give a *hit about FAR, as they are not being currently applied: the first one taking physical action against other is the guy reclining on somebody else’s knees.

            You’d better get a life before you’re dead. Life’s short.

            Good luck – you’ll need it.

            • Flight Attendant says:

              Well “Dwarf,” or should I address you as “Mental Midget,” since apparently you’re WAY out of touch. Ironically, as an emergency procedures instructor, as well as a flight attendant, I just got off the phone with our FAA rep. He finds these comments VERY interesting. With over 140 prosecutions last year alone, due to EXACTLY this type of idiot passenger behavior, his response was, “You just can’t teach stupid. But no worries, the government can,” I think I’ll encourage everyone to continue to “sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.” Hope to see you on an aircraft of mine soon! :)

              • Diving Dwarf says:

                Dear Flight Attendant,

                In your case, you can address to me as Mr. Diving Dwarf.

                I am afraid you’re going paranoid.

                Keep gettingg drowned in laws and regulations without understanding the reasons behind. The way you act explains why you reached your career summit when hired as flight attendant.

                Maybe one day you’ll understand that passengers are your customers, and the customer is ALWAYS right.

                Did I wish you good luck??

          • Flight Attendant says:

            Dwarf, you must be the one they call “Dopey,” as indicated by your short sighted, pompous diatribe.

            As for being addressed as, “Mr. Blah blah blah” you’re certainly not to be afforded any title, since you fail to accord respect to others. I find your assessment of my “paranoia” humorous, and am reminded how easily those who are uneducated in certain matters, such as yourself, project their own doubts onto others in an attempt to satiate their own fears. Your ignorance, disregard and disdane for others is clearly highlighted by your comments regarding my “career summit”, as you put it.

            You might find it interesting ask yourself who has limited themselves here. Having earned a Doctorate in Business, I evaluated where to place my time and efforts, in order to maximize and enhance a relaxing, rewarding lifestyle. As a flight crew member, I work only 120 days per year; enjoy 2 complete months of paid vacation; receive full medical, dental, and vision benefits; travel and explore the world meeting interesting, open minded, kind hearted people, who are clearly unlike yourself, and get paid over $70,000/yr to do so. There are others that I work alongside who choose to fly slightly higher time, and take home over $100,000/yr. When we “career summiting” professionals retire we will continue to enjoy the benefits of boarding an aircraft whenever we like, at no cost, and finding accommodations around the world at less than 20% of what you will pay, just as we do now.

            By the way, it might interest you to know that “the customer is always right” motto ran its course a long time ago. Ask any airline CEO or employee what our focus is on today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lifetimes, and they will tell you SAFETY IS NUMBER ONE, above all else. I suggest you get with the times, before you end up becoming another statistic.

            It didn’t escape me, nor I dare say others who read your post, that you conveniently neglected to impart what “career ascending” work you do. I should think it must be something of little importance or meaning, since you didn’t bother to stipulate why you should hold a higher position of respect in life than your assessment of a lowly flight attendant. It seems likely to me that weighing the pros and cons of our two positions, I most likely will have the last laugh, as my bank account continues to accumulate while I enjoy 245 days free from work, and I continue to experience the wonders of shared experiences and new found friends from around the world.

            It also comes as no surprise that you deliberately neglected to allow for a “reply” to your last comment….exhibiting the level of courage you are capable of maintaining. No worries though….this lowly flight attendant was able to find a way to reach out to you anyway. Trust me. We always will.

            I’ll leave you now in your imaginary, little world, where you have an over inflated sense of importance and ego. Undoubtedly, it’s going to get lonely to be you one day, so I’ll return the favor and wish you the luck you’re going to need. I’m afraid any good karma that might come your way will be in short, or should I say dwarfed, supply.

            Your ignorance has begun to bore me. I’m over trying to educate your small minded viewpoint. It’s time to remember that “you just can’t teach stupid!” Bye-bye, now!

            • Diving Dwarf says:

              Oh Dear, you’ve got really a sick and twisted mind. Just let me remind you it’s a discussion about a plastic thing to prevent unrespectful people to lean back and damage laptops, crushing knees or hurting a baby “just because”. You stupidly became all of a sudden the devil’s advocate just because you wanted to show how much you know about being a flight attendant.

              No one cares how much you or I earn, or how much you or I know about safety. We are talking about something you insist on showing you don’t get. Your attempt to lure me to tell you what I do is rather childish.

              The fact is, you still don’t get it! It’s amazing! How come? “He is pulling your leg, Dwarf” some may say… But something inside of me tells me you still do not understand what we are talking about.

              The funny bit is that you make fun or my “short sighted pompous diatribe”. And it’s fun as among all the participants in this thread, you’re probably the one that still don’t get what it’s all about. And the pompous diatribe is also fun, really… (read P.P.S.)

              P.S.: I really congratulate you for earning that amounts for so few working days. It’s really something amazing that someone with so many spelling mistakes can earn so much. Try to write will less “disdane” next time.

              P.P.S. It must be hard that someone whose mother tongue is not English (as you may have noticed by my large amount of mistakes in your language) is correcting your spelling.

              P.P.P.S.: I regret the last P.P.S. as now you’ll start again trying to somehow showcase your intellect supremacy by putting latin-rooted words together. Or even worse: you’ll find a way to reach out to me, as you poorly threaten…

              P.P.P.P.S: Believe me: the client is the king. But if you don’t get the knee defence discussion, something more abstract like this markeing concept is out of reach to you.

              • Flight Attendant says:

                Oh, my-my, Dwarf! “Me thinks thou doth protest too much!” Aren’t you a work-up in progress!
                To focus in on and be so easily inflamed over a smart phones inaccurate spell check changes must be quite challenging for you! Frankly, I’m surprised you could understand some of the bigger vocabulary words, given your dwarfism thought process, although you clearly missed the point, not to mention the nuances. Perhaps it was all too far over your head, and you were forced to focus on the small, inconsequential aspects? Poor thing.

                You managed to bore me earlier with your inarticulate nonsense, but now I’m enjoying a good chuckle at your expense, due to your inflamed idiocy! By the looks of the responses to your many droll comments on posts other than mine, I apparently am in good company, thinking you a little person with an outsized ego. Ho hum….snooze….You NEED to get out more! Maybe then you’d find new material, or at least a change of scenery from breathing in too much of your own hot air! Since you say English is not your native language, let me translate a couple of concepts for you. First, you should be grateful to be allowed entry into our great country where we encourage free thought and speech. Secondly, with your attitude of false bravado, it’s only a matter of time before you are truly schooled, and so I rest easy!

                Now, honestly….I promised myself earlier not to interact anymore. with such a feeble minded minion, such as yourself. It clearly time to void the post thread, and lose sight of any lingering reminders of your feeble mind. With that thought, I smile knowing that although you’ve read this, I’ll never view any more of your ridiculous spew. Go ahead and reply, if you must. You’ll be the only one who will bother to read it. Must be SO lonely to be so wrong. :)

              • Speaking as your host here, this is what I’d like to know: How on earth did you guys find your way here, and start fighting on a thread that started in 2003? I’m betting you are not long-time readers?

              • Diving Dwarf says:

                Answer to your comment on February 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

                What on earth makes you think I am living in your country? Just because I am educated enough to make the effort to write in your language? Or are you one of those that think that outside US borders everything is dull and poor?!?! Do you really think free thought and speech happens exclusively in the US??? And you accuse my ego?!?!? I could assume some people may think that, but someone that makes his living on flying should be aware of other people living in other countries in peace and harmony.

                I laught at you. Out and loud. You may not be a mean person but are certainly short minded. You think your endless speech hurts, but it is a hilarious read for anyone scouting this thread.

                By the way, I’d like to know what the AA Communications VP would think if he/she reads your comments. He/she would certainly have a talk to you if he/she ever had the chance to know who you are.

                As I said (and you proof not to have understood), this thread is for discussing something that a growing community of passengers is demanding: more legroom or more consideration from fellow passengers. What the heck has the FAR or your salary have to do with this? You really, really, REALLY need some help if you either still don’t get it or insist on your violent speech. And I am afraid both problems apply, as you consistently say I bore you, but after every message I post, you reply. Even worse: after my previous comment you even stopped to search the thread for other comments of mine. You’re sick, and the soonest you know it, the soonest you’ll put a remedy on that.

                Auf Wiedersehen, du verbitterter Kerl

        • Dan says:

          You would be in jail if you smacked me. Hope that’s worth the extra inches. You’ll get plenty in jail.

  6. Gunnar Rieger says:

    As a courtesy, ask the person behind you if it’s OK to recline.
    I’m 6’4″ and have spent long flights seated behind vertically challanged people who feel like reclining the entire flight. It’s no fun.
    I’d be willing to pay a small premium to get more legroom, but it’s not yet an option. Paying 3x as much for a 1st class seat is also not an option.

    • bob says:

      As a courtesy ask the person in front of you before you cough, sneeze, talk, laugh, use your phone, laptop, dvd player, or touch their seat with your hands or knees. Ridiculous right?

      • Diving Dwarf says:

        Not really. One asks others when he thinks his actions may disturb them. Coughing and sneezing is something you can’t help. Acting like an idiot is in most of cases something that can be avoided.

        But do not fear: there are remedies for chronic cases like yours.

  7. Don Perham says:

    As so many assholes think they have the right to incline their seats withour regard to the person behind, I say it is a great development.
    Don

    • Bert says:

      Who’s the asshole, the guy who paid for a $600 chair and is using it as intended, or the guy who paid for an economy seat which they know doesn’t fit them, and force the person in front of them to also be uncomfortable for the entire duration of the flight? If you’re tall/fat buy a first class seat asshole.

  8. casey says:

    So now we should feel sorry for people because their tall? This is similar to the problem with overweight people who think that you should put up the arm rest so that can have more space. If I pay for a seat on an airplane, I will recline it as I see fit. I guess that I am fortunate to be 5’8″ but I still weigh 190. If someone were to put this device in to prevent me from reclining the first thing I would break would be the Knee Defender. After that…

    • Dennis says:

      Wow, and when strange people show up in your town do you beat them up too? After all, you pay taxes in that town so you own it right? Everyone on that plane has a paid seat. Your right to recline is no greater than their right to be as comfortable as they can be. What a confrontational jerk! Just break the seat, it’s your right. After all, you and only you bought a seat on that flight. No one has rights but you. Selfish SOB! I hope the guy behing you kicks your ass when the plane lands. After all, life is all about YOU.

      • D. Lemmel says:

        You REALLY need to take a deep breath and get a life….there’s more to living than obsessing over a few hours of your life spent flying about. If you don’t like the idea of sitting behind someone who exercises their passenger right to recline, then I suggest you find another mode of transportation. As a flight attendant, I can assure you that I will defend any passengers’s desire to recline.

      • Bert says:

        False. The passengers right to recline IS greater than a persons right to be as comfortable as they can be. If you don’t understand that don’t even bother to ask why.

    • Davee Crockert says:

      How solemnly wise you sound from afar, so I suggest that you should either adjust your adamant attitude or be prepared to be Casey at the bat as you sir will most definitely and deservedly get some chin music.

    • Diving Dwarf says:

      I think you’re a clear case of small fat guy feeling jealous for the tall guys and your only way of taking revenge is by slamming your seat and crushing other people’s knees.

      Try to get a different therapy. This one won’t work nor make you taller/thinner.

  9. neefmonkey says:

    Doesn’t this send a message to airlines though? I mean for an industry that’s struggling to drive revenue so bad, you would think they would listen to customer feedback and increase the amount of room on their planes. Go ahead and charge more per ticket, the people that want to get crammed in like cattle can go with another airline that doesn’t offer the same seating room. I am 6′ 6″ and 300 lbs. I wouldn’t call myself obese, but I am simply a very big person. Air travel is horrific for someone of my size. Should airlines make changes just for me? No. But a few more options besides getting financially raped for first class would be nice.

  10. Airline Employee says:

    I work for American, and we’re about to create a policy against it, Continental’s working on the same thing. Knee Defender, can you say “buh-bye”???

    • Airline Employee's Customer says:

      Gee, thanks American Employee! As a platinum member of AAdvantage, I’m one of your better customers. And since getting upgrades to a decent seat is very hard on the routes I fly, I fly 90% of my time in coach.

      And since your seats are so freaking cramped, I am starting to tell my boss I don’t need to fly, I’ll just call in to a telecon. He likes it, because he saves money. I like it, because I don’t have to get on one of your cattle cars.

      So be flippant about the problem, I’ll just fly less. And Platinum Status or not, I’ll give my business to any airline that gives me a decent seat for a decent price.

      “buy-bye” to you, wiseass

      • Amused says:

        Ah….given the fact that you demonstrate your “business acumen” and professional approach through such techniques as referencing a lowly airline employee, who dared to take a position contrary to yours, as an “asshole,” I can assure you of two things. First, I wonder how long you would stay employed and need to travel once your “boss” found out how you represent your company in the treatment of others, as evidenced by your above referenced comments. Secondly, trust me when I tell you that I dare say American Airlines employees would prefer that should you indeed decide to fly less, please take your disdainful, condescending, sense-of-entitlement attitude and business else where. Have a good day.

  11. colette says:

    as a very tall woman who just got back from a us to europe flight, i can understand this product. the person in front of me had the seat reclined most of the way, crushing my knees. when i got up a few hours later, i noticed that it was a 4 year old kid. who was in the bulkhead. and obviously just reclined because he could.

    and no, i wouldn’t put my seat back if i got the defender. i rarely do, because i think it’s just rude, unless there is an empty seat behind me.

    and i can’t even come close to affording first class. give me a break. just because i chose to work for a charity, does that mean that i should have to deal with this kind of inconsiderate behavior? if people would just use a little empathy here, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. but everyone has to be a jerk…

    • bob says:

      I hope you can also understand a product that the person in front of you can use to restrict your rights over things you paid for too. It should go both ways, right? Or should it just be in your favor?

      • Warren says:

        Hi Bob, I am not going to call you names or act rude. I can only determine by your comments you have never experienced flying in such a tight environments, lucky for you. Most of the seats used in current airliners were never designed for use with such short spacing. The airlines in a bid to make more money limited baggage and pressed more and more seats into the cabin. I am 6’4″, and really have no control over that. My knees press up against the seat in front of me even without the seat reclined. How I wish I could afford paying 4x times the price of the base ticket to have more legroom. But alas I do make good pay, but not near enough to pay even extra for an exit row. It is great some people can buy whatever they want, but I cannot. I try to be very courteous to those around me when I fly. I even feel bad that I am disturbing the person in front of me whenever I move. (with my knees pressing into the back of their seat) But when they recline their seat I am pinned into position and usually limp for several hours after the flight. Is this right? That is to hurt someone so you can stretch out more? I think that is being very selfish. My last flight the gentleman in front of me asked if he could recline his seat. When he saw how tall I was and my knee problem, he immediately apologized and said never-mind, despite my saying a few inches would not hurt. It was one of the best flights I have experienced in a long time, all due to one courteous gentleman who did not think of just himself. When flying we are all in a tight environment. What we need is more understanding for each other and less selfishness, then there would be no need for even thinking about these locks. Think about the last time someone was courteous to you, can you not pass that along to help someone else? Stop being so selfish and demanding every inch you can get, even if it is YOURS!. Try being polite and understanding to other people and it will get you a long ways. An inch or two recline is does not make much difference, but a fully reclined seat makes my trip miserable. Until the airlines solve the problem they have created (I have heard they are thinking of more chairs that recline into the persons own area not the are behind) I hope that there are more courteous and understanding people out there.

  12. Karen says:

    In response to Casey: A person who is overweight CAN diet to lose weight. A person who is tall, CAANOT do anything to make themselves shorter. There is a difference.

    It is stated that a person’s comfort is reduced by not reclining the seat. What about the tall person’s comfort? It is EXTREMELY uncomfortable for a person over 6′ to fly for any length of time in an airplane, much less with the person in front smashing into your knees for the entire flight.

    • bob says:

      So over weight people should essentially wait until they lose weight to fly or not complain? How about tall people wait until they lose inches or not complain… or not fly…

      • Diving Dwarf says:

        hahaha well said.

        If someone says somebody’s too fat/tall to fly, may I say somebody else’s too stupid to fly too??!?! Actually their stupidty does not prevent them to post comments, which is really sad.

  13. Joe Glandorf says:

    I am fascinated by the comments of people who believe they have an unrestricted right to recline.
    Suppose I am a person who has a physical problem that requires me to get up (circulatory, arthritic or other illness) frequently during flight. I may not even actually sit behind the recliner but further in the row behind them.
    Are the recliners going to say that their right to MAXIMIZE their comfort should supercede the unavoidable physical needs of other passengers? Are they going to say that they will always be reasonable being awakened constantly by someone who has to get up and down frequently?
    How about the taller person who would like to consume a meal in flight? Isn’t that their right as well? Its virtually impossible to manage a meal with a fully reclined seat back into the lap of someone six feet tall.
    If you are going to say “tough that your tall” what about the people sitting around someone that big, trying to eat and having to stick their elbows into the face of their row-mates to do so? Do the two other people affected have no reasonable “rights” to comfort as well?

    The person who reclines takes up more space in an area limited to everyone. Why isn’t that considered intrusive? Selfish? They create an obstacle, not just for the person directly behind them but for others that, in many cases, can be extremely discomforting. Why does that one person’s desire (not need) for more space override all other person’s considerations?
    The solution is for the airlines to spell out the “rights” to recline. I don’t mind people who are thoughtful and ask permission reclining somewhat but, being six two, I cannot shorten my legs. I cannot afford to fly first class because my business won’t pay for it and, when I travel with my family, I cannot afford it nor am I comfortable abandoning my children on a flight.

    The space in front of a seat should be considered mine to control. I shouldn’t have to explain to a passenger or steward that my knees are going to be crushed or that I will need to frequently go to the toilet due to an embarrassing internal problem.

    The “right to recline” crowd are selfish and inconsiderate of the BASIC needs of others in their pursuit to INCREASE their comfort. They are creating an intrusion and, under most other social situations, people intruding into other peoples space are expected to be accomadating (not the other way around). Please, someone explain to me where society has changed so much that this kind of behavior is not only acceptable but THE priority that supersedes all other considerations.

    • Dennis says:

      Well said!

    • bob says:

      If you are a person that has too many medical problems to fly comfortably maybe you should not fly. It’s not your unequivocal right to fly. There are plenty of other options.

      As far as eating goes there are plenty of options there too, none of which should include your “gigantic elbows” in the person’s face that is sitting next to you. Who said you need to eat a full course meal that requires a fork and knife?

      “I cannot shorten my legs. I cannot afford to fly first class because my business won’t pay for it and, when I travel with my family, I cannot afford it nor am I comfortable abandoning my children on a flight.”

      -Then don’t fly! I have never been so uncomfortable on a plane, but if I was, you can be sure I would find another option, not put my burdens on everyone else.

      Do you complain to everyone else about your shower being not high enough or your bed being to short? Your afforded a lot more in life being tall rather than short.

      I guess I should complain to my homeowners association to get them to lower everyone’s cabinets and request that women not be allowed to wear high heels and ask that rights be taken away from every guy who has ever made a “short joke” at my expense.

      You deal with what life gives you. Grow up and stop thinking that you deserve better than everyone else. You complain about your knees?? How do you think the soldier that just had the most lower portion of his body ever removed feels? You take so much for granite and it’s sad that you will probably never change. Take some time to think about what you are thankful for this season.

  14. Ed says:

    I’m 6’9″ tall and I hear “If I was your height…” comments all the time. Well, the answer is, “If you were my height, you would hate being forced to cram into tiny places.” When eating an airline meal, l can’t even use the tray in the back of the seat because my knees prevent it from leveling out…and that’s when the seat in front of me is in the “upright” position! Still, the people to request the extra legroom of the emergency exit rows are usually under 6 feet tall.

    Average height people really have no idea what being tall is like: the only passable doorways are custom-made (standard building doors are only 6’8″ tall); the only comfortable seats in an airplane are in first class; and the only comfortable driver’s seat in a car is in a Mercedes Benz S Class (legroom in inches don’t matter when steering wheel columns don’t lift high enough and telescope toward the driver. Exception: full-sized GM trucks). None of these is an option if you are not fortunate enough to have one of the 400 high-paying jobs in the NBA.

    • bob says:

      If you are seriously complaining about not being able to afford a vehicle with enough leg room you better sell the computer or smart phone you are using to write this so that you can pay your bills. There are plenty of used vehicles with cheap prices and plenty of loans with low APRs. What a stupid comment.

  15. David says:

    The solution to this whole problem, as said by many others, is simple courtesy. If you wish to recline your seat, check first with the person behind you to see if there is a problem. At least give them time to close their laptop or move their drink so it will not be crushed. Be considerate of others and compromise your own needs somewhat and it will all work out. The way it works now, the airlines encourage us to see it as our right to suddenly recline our seats fully, and damned be the person behind us who is injured or discomforted. Where else in life is this kind of rude behavior acceptable? It occurs on every flight I take, too.

    Another solution, for the airlines to give us more leg room, is something that we all should be demanding. They continue to shrink our spaces beyond what is reasonable. Let’s fly on the airlines that give us some room. In the meantime, the Knee Defender is the only solution for a traveler who needs to safeguard their computer or safety. Hopefully, using the Knee Defender will serve as the beginning of a conversation and a dialogue between the passengers that will lead to a compromise, though.

    This all reminds me of 15 years ago, when some smokers felt that they had a Divine right to light up anywhere at any time without first checking to see if another person in the room objected. I hope that we resolve this issue with more finesse that that issue was resolved. I would hate to see all reclining barred by the airlines locking all seats in an upright position.

    • bob says:

      Please understand that YOUR personal space is only composed of what is available with the seat in front of you already reclined. If you cannot fit there, that is your problem, and maybe you should choose another mode of transportation. This is in no way the same thing as someone smoking in a room with other people that object to it. If that was the case then I should be able to require you to have to ask my permission to speak while sitting behind me on an airplane, and before typing on your keyboard while sitting behind me on an airplane, and before allowing your baby to cry while sitting behind me on an airplane. Make sense?

      • BB s Dchbg says:

        I am only 6’1″ tall and not overweight yet I have still had problems with people crushing my knees and laying in my lap… Bob quit all your “passenger recline rights” bullcrap, I don’t care what rights you THINK you have, If you or someone else is gonna recline in my lap just because its your “right”, then I’m gonna make your flight the most uncomfortable flight you’ve ever had… I just won’t be able to help it if my knees are jammed into your back all flight… It won’t come to that though because I have the knee defender and they work like a charm… For the record, I don’t recline my seat during my flights which are usually 3-5 hours because its rude and inconsiderate… Be a big boy Bob and just sit up straight, i swear its good for ya…

        [MODERATORS NOTE: PLEASE BE CIVIL ... OR I'LL CLOSE THE COMMENTS]

  16. Air Steward says:

    In a better world, airplanes would have more legroom, even for the 6’9″ passenger AND enough space to recline a seat enough to avoid lower back and hip discomfort. Unfortunately, the *reality* is that airlines are in deep trouble. The vast majority of passengers book according to price, with some airlines able to eke out a $10-$15 price differential, such as American Airlines, due to its More Room Throughout Coach product. But in order to offer more legroom, the airlines can only have fewer rows of seats. Fewer seats means less revenue. Less revenue means cutting costs even further and slashing salaries to near Fast-Food wages – and resulting poorer service and crabby flight attendants. That means deeper discounts to fill every last seat or free ticket offers, which mean still less revenue, but more costs to carry more passengers, which means filling more seats. If the planes are already full, it means putting back in more rows to sell more (discounted) seats. That is exactly what American Airlines is doing with its 757 and Airbus 300 planes that are seen as traveling to “leisure” destinations that have more price competition.

    While flying is sometimes cheap and sometimes expensive, it is still cheaper than alternatives like Grayhound or Amtrak, and 5 times faster. We have to recognize it for what it is, public transportation, only a step above subways and city buses.

    And as for the First Class ultimate solution, even business class and first class seats are squeezed. While they seem psychologically roomier, if you’ve ever been in the window seat and tried to slip out of the row with the seats ahead of you reclined and the aisle passenger’s tray table open, it’s still a series of acrobatics.

    The best compromise is to recline your seat partially for your comfort and slowly for others’ comfort. But in a society where people litter and spit on the street, is it really that realistic to expect these courtesies?
    Fly safely, and bring water, small snacks and a light sweater; cabin conditions subject to change…

  17. Bob says:

    If I had someone behind me with a knee defender stopping me from reclining and I knew it, I would push back as hard as I could until the seat broke and I ended up on his or her lap. Opps, sorry, my seat must be broken.

  18. aching back says:

    I have arthritis in my spine, and I have flown in bulkhead seats that would not recline. It was sheer torture. I have the same medical justification to recline my seat as you claim for forcing me not to recline.

    The seats are designed to recline. Get over it. Most airplane seats that I have been in do not recline more than an inch or two. Sit in an exit row if you want the extra legroom.

  19. Ed says:

    I feel sorry for the minority who are extra tall or overweight, and I personally would minimize my recline if politely asked to do so; however, aIrline seats are designed to recline. Unilaterlly disabling that functionality is rude. I hope airline prohibit the knee defender ASAP.

    • Diving Dwarf says:

      I think you’re right. I will drive my car 150 miles per hour as it was designed to be driven at that speed too.

      P.S.: Just in case you’re an Asperger case, I was being sarcastic.

  20. e says:

    Why must people go right for the anisocial solution? Here’s an idea or two.

    1. Why don’t thos looking for recline protection request seats behind those that don’t recline. I do it all the time with no problem.
    2. How about politely asking the person in front of you to not recline so much? Gee … actually try to accomplish something politely with some social grace. Waht a concept.

    • Diving Dwarf says:

      What? Are you crazy? Are you asking people to think of other people’s issues or concerns about getting their knees crushed?

      Your are an idealist…

  21. thomas pullen says:

    does the deployment of Knee Defender in order to prevent the other passenger’s seat’s from reclining amount to the commission of any sort of tort?

    hmmm. if this is deployed in coach, i’m gonna hafta go with “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

    The tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress has four elements: (1) the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct must be the cause (4) of severe emotional distress. Hyatt, 943 S.W.2d at 297.
    Here, immobilizing the passanger in front is clearly done intentionally; it requires a bit of work and correct placement of little thingies. To prevent poor Mr. Passanger from having just enough room to move his legs in order to ward of thrombosis is outrageous, and, once Mr. Passanger figures out that he can’t move his seat back, BAM! The cause of severe emotional distress. Don’t think so? Try it and see.
    So, I suppose, this only kicks in if you try to put the seat back, can’t, and has the stewardess point to the passanger behind you as the culprit.

    of course, “false imprisonment” is a more likely charge, but you wanted tort.

    • mrkrypto says:

      Actually, the person behind who’s ability to move their legs and safely exit their seat is eliminated due to the passenger in front reclining is probably in a much better position.

  22. Tallguy says:

    At 6’8″ and 320 lbs(not fat) I have alot of problems in anywhere but first class. I have been able to talk some Airlines into upgrading or getting an exit row, or even politely asking another shorter passenger to switch.
    Most people are happy to accomodate you if you’re nice about it.

    To Marvin, I hope you sit in front of me someday. ;-|

    To bob…I hope you also sit in front of me someday.

  23. Tallguy says:

    At 6’8″ and 320 lbs(not fat) I have alot of problems in anywhere but first class. I have been able to talk some Airlines into upgrading or getting an exit row, or even politely asking another shorter passenger to switch.
    Most people are happy to accomodate you if you’re nice about it.

    To Marvin, I hope you sit in front of me someday. ;-|

    To bob…I hope you also sit in front of me someday.

  24. ed says:

    I’m gonna use it. So sue me, you will only be wasting your money – I have no assets.

  25. geejaye says:

    The airlines should create non-reclining rows – where nobody could recline. I would certainly choose these seats. I never recline anyway – and I would really like to use my PC and not be in a claustrophobic environment. Those who want to recline can be put in rows with other recliners – and not fear alienating non-recliners. All could be happy then – at minimal expense to the airlines.

  26. odie says:

    For those who believe simple courtesy wil suffice, which airlines have you been riding on? I’ve seen fights in flight (ignored by the flight crew) over reclining seats. Bottom line, there’s not enough leg room in coach.

    And for the plight of the airlines, give us a break. Airline executives have (in the words of an airline pilot) “eaten the candy” (high salaries, retirement moved away from the rest of the employees, and unbelievable golden parachute packages. Hate to say “Reregulation” but someone needs to mind the store.

  27. eco2 says:

    I wonder how many people would still recline if airline seats were designed so that the bottom slid forward instead of the back tilting to the rear?

  28. Pingback: Patio Pundit

  29. archmac says:

    eco2, you’re a genius! Instead of stealing my already too-tiny sliver of space, they can just re-configure their own!
    I think geejaye’s last would be more practicable for the airlines though, and I’m all for it! This would allow for the folks who have a need (real or perceived) to recline, while still protecting those of us who have a need for somewhere to put our knees while we fly. I don’t want the folks in front of me slamming their seats into my knees for the simple reason that I don’t want to end up in the hospital again with another pulmonary embolism..thank you, United Airlines, for eking out a few more dollars at the possible cost of my life! This isn’t just about comfort for me any more, it’s about my life! Mr. Pullen, do you think I’d have a tort claim against the jerk who slams his seat into my knees and refuses to lessen his incline? Reckless, outrageous, and inflicting emotional distress…bingo!
    And I’m only 5′-10″…I don’t know how anyone over 6′-0″ can stand flying these days, especially with the risk of sitting behind some ill-mannered insecure little yahoo who wants to stretch out and pretend that he’s bigger than he really is.

    —–

  30. Sweetberrywine says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the passenger in front of me reclining if that passenger EVER BOTHERED TO EVEN ASK ME if i was cool with it. This is the inherent problem with most folks that decide to recline–they feel like it’s their God-given right to do so. I just won’t recline unless the seat behind me is empty. I think my dad put it well–the lever to recline the seat should only be accessible to the person sitting directly behind you.

    • bob says:

      Yr fthr snds lss thn ntllgnt. Hw bt th lvr t fr y t pn yr mth s nly ccssbl t th prsn n frnt f y n th pln bcs thy hv t hr y tlk bt rtrdd thngs lk ths.

      • Guest says:

        f wrnt sch fckng sshl wlndt fl th nd t cmmnt n vry sngl pst. s, ‘m jst gng t fllw rnd nd kp kckng yr ss ntl my lg gts t trd t mv, dchbg.

  31. Ben says:

    “What drives people to carry a plastic block onto a plane to reduce the comfort of the folks in front of them?”

    the purpose of these devices is not to reduce the comfort of the folks in front, it’s stop the folks in front from choosing to reduce their comfort, by reclining into their already cramped space. some airlines have seats that recline forwards, and the knee defender doesn’t stop this kind of reclining. they prevent knee injury and space intrusions, something that shouldn’t happen anyway.

    sure you’re uncomfortable and want to recline, but so is the person behind, and what gives you the right to increase your comfort at someone else’s expense?

    invalid arguments include “you can recline too” – this is just passing the problem on to someone else who doesn’t deserve to have their space taken, and “the seats were designed to do that” – yes they were designed to be reclined when sleeping at night and the lights are off. doing it before then is just selfish.

    as for the legal question, bashing someone’s knees with your seat is assault, and hence the knee defender should reduce the number of claims by making consideration of the person behind non-optional.

    • bob says:

      Your space is what you have with the seat in front of you reclined, not in it’s upright position. Who do you think you are to expect people to give that up because you can’t fit. If they offered 15″ seat space on trains and I found that uncomfortable I would not ride on a train. Make sense?

      • Guest says:

        Yr trd rgmnts bt ppl byng 1st clss r tkng trn r wlkng frm NYC t L r RTRDD, slfsh, stpd, nchrnt, nd llgcl, y smrmy sshl.

        JST SK FRST. Bt y cn’t d tht, CN Y, y nscr tny-dckd lttl fckwt.

        dn’t nd “kn dfndrs.” wll smply CNTNSLY KCK TH LVNG SHT T F YR STBCK NTL Y RLNT. hv dn t bfr nd wll d t GN. hp t Chrst t’s y n frnt f m.

  32. Rick says:

    I have knee defenders because I am six feet four inches and can’t tolerate someone half my size that feels they have to be in a reclined position for hours.
    If there is someone behind me I dint recline my seat either. It’s common courtesy. Or I will see if he has his seat reclined into the passenger behind him. If he did I might be more prone to lean back into him too. If he is that inconsiderate why shouldn’t he get the same treatment?
    Does anyone remember civility? This should not be that hard. A little consideration goes a long way.

  33. Jon says:

    I’ve actually put my knees in the seat in front of me and slowly shoved it to its full upright position. I did notice that the foot room issue got better when I started stowing my bag in the overhead bin. Of course, that is easier on Southwest since everyone else’s bag is in the cargo hold. A trick that is worth the knee space of a seat recline is to remove the magazines, barf bag, safety card and everything else in the seat pocket.

  34. Ed H. says:

    The solution is simple, but will never be taken. Ever sit in a recliner at home? It slides forward so it doesn’t hit the wall. How many people would recline if it reduced their OWN legroom? Airlines should adopt a seat design that slides forward as it reclines. As a 6’4″ flyer, I would certainly welcome that! I can’t say how many times I’ve had another passenger run their seat into my knees, and then keep pushing to try and go further. I can guarantee they would not intentionally provoke me by inflicting pain on me outside of the plane/airport. They know what would happen. But on an airplane with all the “entitlement” mentality and air rage rules, people can be as passive-aggressive as they want with impunity.

    • Just me says:

      I disagree with the notion expressed by many that something is inherently rude or wrong about reclining your seat on an airplane, but I like the solution proposed by Ed.H. It makes good sense.

    • bob says:

      In that sense if a person sits behind you who is 6’0″ and 850lbs. And they are forcing your seat forward that should be acceptable as long as they are not being made to feel uncomfortable. Just because you can’t fit comfortably with your allotted space doesn’t give you extra rights. Make sense?

  35. Gary says:

    I am 6’2″ and only recline when the seat behind me is either unoccupied or occupied by a much smaller person who clearly does not mind. I am also tolerant of folks who recline in front of me for sleep, but sit upright during the rest of the flight.
    However, I have no respect or patience with the self-centered egocentrics who, except when they briefly rise for their feeding time, insist on fully reclining their seats for an entire 11 hour flight and then fidgeting, wiggling and bouncing around like they are mentally disturbed during the entire nightmarish journey. I also despise the angry-faced suits who are too cheap to go business class (or first class) and pretend like they don’t hear you when you politely ask them to give you back some of your space. My guess is they are republicans because they clearly don’t care about anyone except themselves.

    And for those self-righteous mouthpieces who condemn the knee defender–and/or the users of it–all I can say is that you must also be republicans and your opinions are utterly useless anyway.

    • Independent says:

      Gary, you say Republicans don’t care about anyone but themselves?

      Many studies have shown that Republicans are more likely to volunteer their time to help others, more likely to donate to charity, more likely to give blood, more likely to be part of community service organizations. Try Googling “charitable giving liberals vs conservatives” to educate yourself on this subject.

  36. jphuf says:

    For the short flights (except late @ night) of about 2-hours or less, I observed that the vast majority of the passengers, like me, do not recline their seats. Aprox about 1 in 5 do so to varying degrees.
    I generally lock my knees against the seat back in front of me and try to keep them there, if the person in front tries to recline they eventually forget about it relieving me from having to be diligent.
    I have had them complain which I completely ignore never answering them at all. That is my right not to speak. If the Flight Attendant should ask I say to tell me where I should put my legs. On my lap? Over the seat in front? Where? I say my knees are there because they are there and can be no where else! I am very polite to her, him or it. That generally ends that.
    When the head is in my lap, I never stifle a sneeze or cough and tried to clear my throat of flem. My right to be sick.
    If I am threatened I report it immediately. That is a Simple Assault and is usually a felony on board an aircraft.

  37. WT says:

    I am sad to hear these people that try to support the airlines in this or call it selfish that we just want to use our laptops. I am 6’4″ and my knees lock up against the back of the seat in front of me. Any recline in the front seat causes me great pain and problems. Only one airline I have ever flown has even tried to address this problem, asking the person in front to please “NOT” recline their seat. (Air France) On one flight I had (Delta) I explained the situation to the person in front and they agreed not to recline. Later they decided to abruptly recline their seat anyway sending the persons next to me, and my full cups of cola all over me. She apologized but my knee and dignity were injured in the process. Coated with cola I limped my way to the restroom as attendants laughed at the cola coating and dripping off my nose, …and did offered me paper napkins. But even with this they would not ask the lady not to recline her chair again! I still have problems with that knee today. I should sue the airline, but all I want is a little respect and concern from them. Deltas response was they have no control over what other passenger do. But I believe they do have control over helping us tall people have safer and more comfortable flights. By the way “NO” I will not recline my seat and do the same to the person behind me. I also try to minimize getting in and out of my seat so as not to disturb the people around me. Why cant others exercise the same courtesy by not reclining their seats, or at least limiting it to ~1-2″ ???

    • bob says:

      What do you people fly that has this 6″+ of recline?? I’ve never had a seat recline more than 3″. And that is not 3″ into your knees as the seat doesn’t extend straight backwards, it RECLINES. Just because you choose not to recline does not give you any right to expect the person in front of you not to. You got what you deserved in that situation. Don’t fly if you don’t fit! But, “I have to for my job!” waaa. Get a different job. I don’t make you drive a tiny smart car because I feel uncomfortable driving next to an SUV on the highway. Grow up and stop feeling like you deserve anything.

  38. Sork says:

    Yet another Airlines revenue opportunity….Pay as You Recline Seats…
    “Would you like a reclining a seat for only $50 extra for this flight?”

    Or make it automated like InFlight Wifi allowing you to pay to activate your reclining seat once seated….then offer the passenger behind you a chance to outbid you to block your recline!

  39. Snork says:

    Yet another Airlines revenue opportunity….Pay as You Recline Seats…
    “Would you like a reclining a seat for only $50 extra for this flight?”

    Or make it automated like InFlight Wifi allowing you to pay to activate your reclining seat once seated….then offer the passenger behind you a chance to outbid you to block your recline!

  40. Paul says:

    There certainly is a wide variation of thoughts on this matter. Here is my view. I am an average sized male. I personally am quite uncomfortable in the full upright position. The seat relines for a reason. Except during takeoff, landing and meal time, reclining (a measly few inches) is certainly more comfortable for me. I view the person in front of me to have every right to recline. Concerning the Knee Defender, if the airline did not wish for the seat to be reclined, they would restrict it themselves. If my seat would not recline due to a Knee Defender, I would notify a flight attendant. Personally, I would opt for a seat fixed to the pre-reclined position. Spirit Air does this. I do understand that sitting in cattle class is not a pleasant experience. Using a laptop with the seat in front reclined is nearly impossible. I use an iPad for this reason while flying. There are other seats available for those willing to pay the extra fee. Personally, if someone nicely asked me to move my seat up a bit, I would do so.

  41. Follow the Golden Rule says:

    leg room is an obvious problem… . Some people have stated that the chair was designed to recline, so they are entitled to recline it. However, I have also noticed that many of the chairs are also designed with ashtrays for smoking, but I would discourage any passenger from attempting to light up a cigar in flight…I really think the best solution would be to have NO ONE recline. Then it is equal for everyone. The airlines are just too chicken to do the PC thing and restrict ALL chairs from reclining. Those who recline are infringing on the rights of the person behind them. Just because the chair has the ability to do something that was appropriate in days past when planes supplied more legroom, does not mean that it is appropriate in today’s world. The fact that someone invented an item like the “knee guard” only give testament to the rudeness that is so prevalent in today’s society. To those previous posters that have said that those using the knee-guard when they are too big should buy a 1st class ticket, I would say “why are you so big that you really need to recline your seat???” Airlines stopped allowing smoking sections on airplanes, so they can stop reclining chairs also. Rudeness and infringing on other passenger’s space should be controlled by common courtesy, not by airlines imposing even more rules

  42. CIVILITY PLEASE, PEOPLE!!!

    I’m getting tired of disemvowelling your meanness.

    Meanwhile, the New York Times has weighed in on all this with On Jammed Jets, Sardines Turn on One Another.

    Sample suggestion:

    There are ways of resolving conflicts other than bumping into other passengers, as Mr. Rowland, the speaker and consultant, found.

    “I lean forward and tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘I’ll buy you a drink if you don’t push your seat back,’ ” Mr. Rowland said. “It’s made flying very pleasant.”

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