Passenger Who Used Seat Jammer “Ashamed And Embarrassed” — But Would Use It Again

Over the past week there have been three incidents of flights being diverted because of passengers arguing over reclining seats. Now the man who renewed public debate over reclining etiquette says he regrets his behavior, but that doesn’t mean he plans to stop using the device that led to the argument.

The 48-year-old man tells Scott Mayerowitz with the Associated Press that although he’s embarrassed by the way the confrontation with a fellow passenger occurred, he doesn’t plan to stop using the Knee Defender – a device that attaches to a tray table and prevents the person seated in front of you from reclining.

For the most part the man says he could have handled the situation better, and plans to be nicer about using the device in the future.

“I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed by what happened,” he says.

The incident occurred August 26 when the man, flying from Newark to Denver used the $22 device to prevent the woman in front of him from reclining her seat. The two passengers began arguing, with the woman allegedly throwing a beverage on the man, to a point in which the crew determined that the flight needed to make an unscheduled stop at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

But according to the Denver man, there’s more to the story.

The man says that he initially put the device in place in order to work on his laptop. Although the device comes with a courtesy card to inform other passengers that they’ve been blocked from reclining, the man chooses not to use it, saying he instead prefers to let fellow passengers think their seat is broken to avoid a confrontation.

It didn’t quite work out that way on last week’s flight.

When beverage service began, the woman whose seat was jammed told the flight attendant her seat was broken. That’s when the man informed them about the device, which is prohibited on U.S. flights but not illegal to use.

He was then asked to remove the device so the woman could recline a few inches, to which he says he complied.

“As soon I started to move it, she just full force, blasted the seat back, right on the laptop, almost shattered the screen,” he tells the AP. “My laptop came flying onto my lap.”

At that point, the man says he could no longer work and became increasingly angry. He pushed the woman’s seat forward and put the device back in place. That’s when, he says, the woman stood up and threw a cup of soda at him. Previous reports say the beverage was water.

Crew members quickly intervened and placed the woman in another seat, but the damage had already been done and it was determined that the flight would be diverted to Chicago.

“I said a lot of things I shouldn’t have said to the flight attendant: some bad words, what’s your name and ‘I can’t believe you’re treating me like this,'” he recounts for the AP.

Upon arrival, Chicago police and Transportation Security Administration officers met the plane, spoke with the two passengers involved in the incident and deemed it a customer service issue.

The first reclining seat incident paved the way for two additional flight diversion because of passenger arguments. Neither of those to situations involved a Knee Defender.

Passenger Speaks Out About Airline Seat Dispute [The Associated Press]

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