A knee-jerk reaction to the ‘right to recline’ debate

SHARE A knee-jerk reaction to the ‘right to recline’ debate

This is just so ridiculous that some airline passengers are going out and buying those Knee Defender gadgets to prevent the person in front of them from reclining their seat. I’m appalled.

After all, as most tall people have learned by now, you can accomplish the same thing with the strategic use of the in-flight magazine, conveniently located in the seat pocket in front of you.

Oh, sure. All you have to do is roll up the magazine and wedge it just-so in the crook of the tray table arm, blocking the seat from reclining. It works fine, saves you the cost of the Knee Defender, and best of all, really confuses the person sitting in front of you.

If the flight attendant intervenes and figures it out, you also have more deniability than if you’re using a device that obviously has no other useful purpose than to mess with your fellow passenger.

“The magazine? Oh, I’m sorry. I was just putting it there until I got a chance to read it.”

Others say a plastic water bottle can serve the same purpose with some stating a preference for the bottles with square sides.

I’ve never tried that myself, having been fully satisfied with the results from the magazine trick, which I first learned about after endorsing use of the Knee Defender in a column in 2003.

I suppose neither that column nor this one helps to alleviate the mounting tension in the skies over reclining air seats, which reached critical mass Tuesday with news that yet a third flight had been diverted in the past week because of a dispute between passengers over the “right to recline.”

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