Flying is a terrible indignity and if my entire family didn't live in the Midwest, I'd never do it because no trip up the majestic coast of California is worth 12+ total hours of X-raying, shoe removing, recycled baby poop air breathing, awkward water glass spilling knee bumping claustrophobia. Plus, what's the deal with airline food? Amirite?
If you're fed up with the ridiculous space constraints of commercial air travel, you may now purchase one of those $22 devices known as the Knee Defender. From the perspective of a person who is tired of having their knees bumped by reclining seat neighbors, it sounds like a godsend: simply affix the device to the seat in front of you and they can't lean back, thus shrinking your precious torso space even more. But from the perspective of the person who is trying to recline and take a goddamn nap, people who use it are kind of jerks. And they're also illegal. Even with a politely worded courtesy card.
So, when a man on a flight from Newark, NJ to Denver attempted to stealthily deploy the Knee Defender on the unwitting woman in the seat in front of him, she did not take to it well and asked the man to remove the device. He declined. Things escalated quickly from there, with the woman throwing water in the man's face and the entire plane ending up being diverted to O'Hare so that the two unruly brawlers could be removed from the aircraft before the rest of the people — the good people — were allowed to fly to their destination. They arrived an hour and 38 minutes late, according to TIME.
As a woman who just flew across the country with a man who is 6'4", I have seen first hand how awful it can be for tall people to fly when the shorties in front of them won't stop banging their goddamn seats into their knees. But rules is rules, people.
The AP says the two unrulies who fought over seat reclining could be subject to $25,000 in fines. Which seems like a lot unless you consider how the other hundred plus people on the flight must have felt — people who were forced to arrive at their destination much later than they thought they would, who possibly missed connecting flights, who had time with friends and loved ones or valuable solo hotel room jerk off time cut short. The FAA should throw the book at 'em. And I hope it hits the guy responsible for this squarely in the kneecaps.
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