When I'm researching things to write about here, I often get off on bunny trails. Curiosity just gets the better of me. I caught an article that mentioned something called a knee defender. What in the world?
Well, turns out it is a little gadget that you can attach to your tray table on the airplane (after takeoff since the tray has to be down) and it will keep the seat in front of you from reclining. It's helpful for those who are tall and don't have a lot of leg room to begin with or for those who need to work on their laptops during flight, something you can't do very well if a seat reclines.
Seems like a good idea but wait! Do you have the right to stop someone from reclining their seat? Off through the rabbit hole I go. The article led me to a couple of others that reported several incidents of air rage over that very thing--the right to recline. There were stories of a couple of flights being diverted because passengers got into a tussle when one wanted to recline and another, obviously in the seat behind objected, strongly.
One story was of a woman who tossed a drink in the face of the man behind her when he used his knee defender to ward off encroachment of her seat into his leg space. When she complained, an attendant asked him to remove it. He refused and ended up with her drink all over him. The crew determined the situation was not going to ease before they made it to their destination so for safety sake, the flight was diverted and the two
passengers put off. Everyone was delayed an hour and a half. Really?!
Is there anything wrong with just asking? Do you mind if I recline my seat? Or, Do you mind not reclining your seat, I need to use my laptop? Or, ask an attendant if there is someone you might switch seats with who is behind another not reclining. There has to be ways around that is not so confrontational.
By the way, there are many airlines that do not allow the use of the knee defender--just in case you were considering the investment.