2014: The Year Reclining Your Airplane Seat Got Ugly
Thinking of reclining your seat on that long flight you've got coming up? Think again. On Monday, a Delta flight to Florida was diverted thanks to a reclining argument, making it the third flight in one week to land because someone's knees were getting squished. Remember the days of yore when all we did was grumble when the person in front of us reclined? If we were feeling bold, we'd "accidentally" kick their seats throughout the flight in retaliation. But we certainly wouldn't demand that the plane be grounded because we weren't getting sufficient legroom.
Well, the Recliner Saga of 2014 doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. A West Palm Beach-bound Delta flight from New York City's LaGuardia Airport was the latest victim of the new trend. According to another passenger, Aaron Klipin, the woman sitting next to him decided to recline her seat — something that literally everyone on an airplane does — in order to knit comfortably — the audacity! That's when the woman behind her flipped.
Klipin told West Palm Beach's WPTV:
This woman who was sitting next to me knitting actually tried reclining her seat back and the woman behind her started screaming and swearing and the flight attendant came over and that just exacerbated what was going on, and then she demanded that the flight land.
The outraged woman, whom the Jacksonville Aviation Authority identified as Amy Caryn Fine — but should really go by Debbie Downer — was trying to sleep on her tray table when the chair was reclined. Perhaps she had been dreaming about Chris Pratt's six-pack (hey, we'd be upset too if we were suddenly yanked from that dream), but to force the flight to land? That's a little unreasonable.
Klipin recalled that Fine said something to the effect of: "I don't care about the consequences. Put this plane down now."
And that's what the pilots were forced to do, landing the plane in Jacksonville, Florida, where Fine was met by police but not arrested.
Delta released this statement following the incident:
Out of an abundance of caution, the captain elected to divert to the closest airport.
I'm all for "an abundance of caution," but did they try the old "here are three complimentary bottles of mini Champagne, take them and be quiet" technique first? It's something that flight attendants should maybe consider going forward, because the Recliner Saga will most likely continue. Take a look at this growing trend.
The saga began just a week ago when a United Airlines flight was diverted because a man used a banned device called the Knee Defender to prevent the woman in front of him from reclining her seat. How much of a curmudgeon do you have to be to own a Knee Defender?
After refusing to remove the device, the woman who just wanted to lean back a few inches threw a cup of water at the man. Like two squabbling siblings, the passengers essentially forced their parents to turn the car around. The flight from Newark to Denver had to reroute to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, where authorities removed the two from the flight. According to the Guardian, both passengers were the same age — 48. Imagine if this whole incident was just a meet cute that'll make one hell of an anecdote in their wedding toast later.
Two days after the United Airlines incident, another reclining argument forced a flight to divert, this time on American Airlines. This one had to have hurt — the flight was bound for Paris, and was forced to land in Boston. I can just imagine the tears, and the overwhelming croissant cravings.
The 61-year-old man, Edmund Alexandre, who is incidentally from Paris, blew his fuse when the woman in front of him reclined her seat "all the way back." Alexandre is very tall, his attorney told Boston's WHDH-TV, and the reclined chair was hurting his knees. When Alexandre grabbed a crew member's arm, air marshals restrained him. Alexandre was taken to Mass General Hospital in Boston, where he was treated for a preexisting condition and arraigned.Images: Getty Images (2)