Knee Defender causes fight on airplane

NEW YORK (CNN) – A simple device to keep the airline seat in front of you from reclining and banging into your knees got a couple of passengers kicked off a flight for fighting.

A new air war has broken out in the air space over your knees. You put what amounts to two hunks of plastic on the legs of your tray table to stop the seat in front of you from going back.

No one was grinning on a united flight from Newark to Denver that had to be diverted to Chicago after a fight broke out. A 48-year old male passenger deployed the knee defender to stop the seat of the female passenger in front of him.

When she couldn’t recline, she flagged down a flight attendant who told the guy to remove the gadget. He refused. The female passenger threw water in his face.  They were both kicked off the plane.

The device was invented by 6 foot 3 inch Ira Goldman, “I was tired of being bopped in the knees by reclining seats.”

This was one of the early versions.  Now it looks like this and sells for $21.95. In the words of Conde Nast Traveler: “As devious as it is ingenious.” and everyone we talked to agreed.

The knee defender comes with a courtesy card for you to hand to the passenger in front of you. “I have provided you with this card because I have long legs and if you recline your seat you will bang into my knees.” the FAA doesn’t prohibit the knee defender, though airlines can, and United does.

The website crashed due to “unexpectedly heavy demand.” but whether you consider it a knee defender or a knee to the flying public’s groin, can’t we all just remember what Louis CK says about the wonder of flying, “You’re sitting in a chair in the sky.”

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