A United Airlines "Knee Defender" Squabble Just Triggered An Emergency Landing
Welcome to 2014: The year you take trains everywhere, because flying is just the worst. Not long after an American Airlines flight was targeted by hackers and had to be rerouted, United Airlines flight 1462 was diverted over legroom. Yes, you read that correctly.
On Sunday, the United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver was cruising along smoothly until one passenger broke out his Knee Defender — a nifty device that blocks the passenger in the seat in front of you from reclining. This is apparently a thing that can be purchased for $21.95.
As it turns out, the passenger who was just trying to relax by reclining her seat a few inches didn't appreciate the so-called knee defender. A flight attendant reportedly asked the passenger to remove the gadget from the tray table, and he refused. An argument then ensued, becoming so intense that the reclining passenger ended up throwing a cup of water on him. According to The Associated Press, that's when the plane had to make an emergency landing at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
After landing in Chicago, TSA staff met with the two disruptive passengers, and they weren't allowed to return to the plane — the flight continued on to Denver without them and, presumably, the knee defender. So, it looks like those few inches of extra legroom may not have been worth it, after all.
However, the two passengers did catch a huge break. TSA can fine passengers up to $25,000 for unruliness, but in this case, no arrests were made; only egos were bruised.
United Airlines released this statement following the legroom incident:
United flight 1462, a Boeing 737 aircraft en route from Newark to Denver, diverted to Chicago O'Hare after a disturbance involving two passengers. Authorities met the aircraft, removed the two passengers and the flight continued to Denver shortly afterwards. We do not allow customers to use devices that prevent seats from reclining.
So there you have it: Flying can be annoying, but please don't try to bring your knee defender on an United Airlines flight. Just squeeze into your seat, cross your legs and suck it up like the rest of us. And in case you were wondering, knee defenders are also banned from American and Northwest Airlines, according to The Globe and Mail.
The best part of this whole leg room hubbub? The passengers were reportedly sitting in the Economy Plus section of the plane, which already has extra legroom, according to United Airlines. From the airline's website:
Stretch out with more room to work and relax, sit near the front of the cabin so you can exit the plane easier at your destination and more.
Using a knee defender in the Economy Plus section? That's just greedy.
Images: Getty Images (2)