Our buddy, Scott Mayerowitz of the AP, lays out the facts:
The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.
A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.
Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.
There are many issues with this entire scene; let's think about the inanity here a moment and work through the who's right/who's wrong issues:
· He's wrong: He is enough of a jerk of actually purchase and use something which will deny the right of recline to someone else, paying perfectly good money for a working seat, on his future flights.
· She's wrong: She escalated the confrontation to a sort of violence by dousing him with water.
· He's wrong: He disobeyed a request from a flight attendant. This alone is grounds for an arrest.
· She's wrong: She did not turn around to check what the passenger behind her was doing before reclining (not mandatory, but a general nice thing we always do, especially since she could have broken his laptop screen with a snap recline).
· He's wrong: United supposedly prohibits the use of Knee Defenders, and he used them, even in a row which already affords him extra legroom.
The bottom line is that they're both at fault in some way, although the man with the Knee Defender should be in deeper trouble for both using the "prohibited" items and denying a flight attendant request. The fact that the use of Knee Defender has the potential to start such arguments which could lead to an emergency flight diversion means that their prohibition is justified. Either way, this entire situation is extremely annoying and people are crazy.
What do you think?
[Photo: Knee Defender via Core77]