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Mr. Knee Defender Shares His Side of the Seat Recline Story

September 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM | by | ()

Standard economy seats on United

Three times this week have flights been disturbed by passenger fights over the right to recline, and three times this week have the situations proved petty. Alas, it's a hot topic and the details of that initial confrontation (which was so bad as to divert the plane) continue to leak.

Our friend Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press spoke with Mr. James Beach, better know to the internet as "Knee Defender Man," who, though repentant for some of his actions once the issue escalated, states that he still plans to use the Knee Defenders on future flights.

The article manages to tell a clearer story of what exactly happened in that United flight from Newark to Denver, which diverted to Chicago because of the argument. It's well worth a read, especially as Mr. Beach's explanations only serve to dig his hole deeper. Take, for example, this:

U.S. airlines prohibit use of the Knee Defender, but the devices are not illegal.

'I put them in maybe a third of the time. Usually, the person in front tries (to recline) their seat a couple of times, and then they forget about it,' Beach said. The device comes with a courtesy card to tell passengers that you've blocked them, but he doesn't use it.

'I'd rather just kind of let them think the seat is broken, rather than start a confrontation,' he said.

Chiming in with his own thoughts after the AP interview is the ever-logical Seth Miller aka Wandering Aramean, who underscored the one point in the story everyone seems to be glossing over:

The incident happened in United’s Economy Plus section. He had 35 inches of pitch at his disposal (plenty of first class seats are only 36-37″) and still somehow decided that wasn’t enough. And that 35″ spacing is MORE than airlines had in coach 10+ years ago, back in the “good old days” where there were fewer passengers on board. There is simply no excuse, other than that the guy is a schmuck.

Now for our two cents. Mr. Beach claims to fly 75,000 - 100,000 miles ever year, mostly on business (but not in Business Class, note). We personally fly an average of 175,000 miles a year, and have already passed the 100k mark for 2014, all the while typing on our laptop no matter the class of travel. Working on planes is a necessity of our work, and we have never once considered using Knee Defenders, and wouldn't still. Thus, we can't see his side of the argument whatsoever. Furthermore, we'd probably be as nasty about reclining our seat if the person behind had been nastily using a contraption to prevent it.

It's quite a sad state of affairs that now, in addition to the eternal arguments of "window vs aisle" and "to recline or not to recline," flyers are forming their stance on whether or not to deny the personal space and recline rights of those around them.

[Photo: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

in his defence

you say you've worked in all classes, but mr knee defender could be considerably taller than you. i'm 6ft1 with long legs for that, and i can't physically fit in a standard economy seat - so if i'm in one, i have to get an aisle seat and stick my legs in the aisle. i can't work on my laptop, and i can barely stay in the seat if you recline in front of me. A few years ago i spent the best part of a 13/14hr flight from Buenos Aires to Milan perching on my armrest - genuinely - because the woman in front reclined and i no longer fit in my seat. I wouldn't use knee defenders, because that would make me a horrible person - i just pay extra for extra legroom or travel less but in a higher class. and he's clearly a wanker. but just to say, comparing your experiences with his is not quite the whole story.

There is no defense for knee defender

I strenuously object to the narrative that reclining one's seat is somehow offensive or to be avoided. I paid for the seat and it's performance features. How dare anyone now suggest that a basic feature be curtailed? People have gone mad with the "accomodation" trend in America----whether its limiting one's own minimal space and comfort for the benefit of others, or allowing someone's pet to travel alongside humans because of the owner's desire for "emotional" comfort. Simple rules: travel light, board quickly, keep to yourself, and don't take anything more than you are entitled to with your seat. Your comfort is not my concern at 35,000 feet. People don't want to be impacted by others' personal demands or bad habits while travelling.

economy class says its own story

Yeah! this is really unfortunately James Beach, higher grasp to the net as "Knee Defender Man," who, the' truthful for a few of his actions once the problem escalated, states that he still plans to use the Knee Defenders on future flights. www.natalyadsouza.co.in Goa escorts www.anjalenaarora.com Mumbai escorts www.sabinakhan.co.in Hyderabad escorts