Knee Defender, or Barnyard Riot Inciter?

Knee Defender: Ban or Barn?

Knee Defender, or Barnyard Riot Inciter?
Knee Defender, or Barnyard Riot Inciter?

Knee Defender, a device designed to save knees from reclining seats, makes hogs and jackasses out of cattle.

Just because you are flying coach and have been herded aboard your plane and crowded in like cattle, doesn’t mean you need to act like a hog. It’s not pleasant for any of us: the battle over the arm rests, staking your turf in the overhead bins, and being continually stepped on or having to get up to let those with weaker bladders make multiple trips to the bathroom during your two hour flight are just a few of the things we all contend with. But common courtesy and a heavy dose of tolerance get us to our destinations without incident. Unless of course, you are selfish jackass using a device to keep other passengers from making their flight as comfortable as possible with the few amenities the airlines do provide.

The device I speak of is the Knee Defender. How would using the Knee Defender make you a selfish jackass? The person in front of you paid for a reclining seat. Preventing them from doing so infringes on the ticket they paid for. Why should anyone else be forced to give up what they paid for so you can get more than you paid for?

On a recent flight from New Jersey to Denver, one passenger using the Knee Defender allegedly refused to remove it sparking a fight between the two passengers, so the seat in front of them could not be reclined. Under these circumstances you have now crossed over from being a user of a device designed to save your knees, to a prick who wants to hog another person’s flight space. The plane ended up being diverted, and both passengers were forced to disembark.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand if you are tall and don’t relish the idea of a seat banging into your knees during your flight. I like to be productive while flying, and my laptop doesn’t fit on the tray if the seat in front of me is reclined. Furthermore, I’m broad shouldered and my horizontal space is just as crowded as your vertical space is, especially if I am unfortunate enough to be seated in a middle seat. However, imagine if I brought a set of arm rest length, 14 in. high steel dividers to attach to the armrests to keep the passengers on either side of me from utilizing the armrests so I could maximize my shoulder width. Do you want to sit next to me? No more than I want to sit in front of you and your Knee Defenders taking up my space.

And your response is most likely, “But I am too tall and the airline does not provide me with enough space for my height.” Too bad. You know what they tell people like me? If I want more room, I need to buy the seat next to me. Guess what? If you want the leg space, you can buy the seat in front of you, or fly first class. We do not fit the standardized dimensions the airlines use to define seating space, so pay for the space you need, or live with the space you are given.

So should the Knee Defender be allowed on flights? If one could use it as the name implies, to defend the knees from the seatback crashing into them, but being considerate enough to remove the device once they have now been warned the seat is coming back, then I don’t see a problem with the Knee Defender. Using it to violate another passenger’s seat space, however, should result in a ban on the user from flying on any future flights.

Be courteous. If you own a Knee Defender, use it responsibly to protect your knees, but be prepared to yield the space once you’ve been given notice the passenger in front wishes to recline their seat. But most of all, leave the barnyard attitude at home. Don’t fly like a hog or a jackass. The airlines provide us with enough bullshit without us shoveling it onto each other. We may have to play their game, and be treated like cattle, but we don’t have to validate it. Suck it up for the flight, and you’ll be free range again in no time.

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