The Unfriendly Skies: Another Flight Diverted Over Legroom Dispute

Illustration for article titled The Unfriendly Skies: Another Flight Diverted Over Legroom Dispute

Just when you thought flying couldn't get any more miserable, yet another plane has been diverted due to a legroom-related dispute. This is just the way airlines work now, I guess! We're all criss-crossing the great blue yonder in giant tin cans, tempers on hair-trigger alert. Are you happy, Orville and Wilbur?

It began when a passenger on an American Airlines flight pitched a fit after the woman in front of him insisted on reclining her seat, according to the AP. This aggression would not stand:

Alexandre, who's from Paris, continued to be disruptive when a flight crew member attempted to calm him, following the crewman down the aisle and grabbing his arm, authorities said. Two undercover federal air marshals on the flight then subdued Alexandre and handcuffed him, the U.S. attorney's office said.


A good rule of thumb is that grabbing a flight attendant isn't going to get you anywhere but jail. The plane was promptly diverted to Boston. At the very least, Mr. Alexandre is looking at several months' worth of legal hassles.

This is the second such incident this week, after an outright brawl broke out over a $22 "Knee Defender," which prevents the seat in front of you from reclining. If you've never seen one before, you can look forward to perhaps encountering one in the wild on your next vacation: Bloomberg reports that in the wake of the news, sales rose "substantially" and crashed the manufacturer's website.

None of this is surprising! Airlines are cramming more and more seats into smaller and smaller planes, and Americans aren't exactly shrinking. "They don't have Plan B for the fact that a lot of people, when they sit down in their seat at the gate, their knees already are hitting the seat-back in front of them," the Knee Defender's inventor told Bloomberg. Everyone's cramped and pissed and their plane was probably delayed in the first place and the pretzels are stale, too.

I tell you what, Amtrak's prices are looking better and better.

Photo via Chris Parypa Photography/Shutterstock.

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There's no winning. The seat in front of you is so close that you're practically banging your knees. But the seat backs are designed so badly that if I don't incline them backwards at least a couple inches, my back will cramp for days. Did anyone who made them even look at a human spine? Everything about airline seats needs to be redesigned and then actually replaced on the planes.