Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is this acceptable?

I'd never heard of the Knee Defender until I came across a mention of it today.  It's a product you can use during air travel to stop the passenger in the seat ahead of you reclining his chair.  The vendor's Web site says of it:

It helps you defend the space you need when confronted by a faceless, determined seat recliner who doesn't care how long your legs are or about anything else that might be "back there".

. . .

With Knee Defender™, the "Tall Guy" – tall men and tall women, both – can now use a simple, convenient, pocket-sized device to help defend against most flying seatbacks. And because Knee Defenders™ are adjustable, you can generally set them to provide only as much protection as you need.

If the airlines will not protect people from being battered, crunched, and immobilized – very real problems according to healthcare professionals, medical studies, government agencies, and even some airlines – then people need options to protect themselves. 

Until there is something better – or even just something else – there is Knee Defender™.

There's more at the link.

I can see the usefulness of something like this;  indeed, Gizmag called it a "must-have travel accessory".  However, I really need to recline my airplane seat for the sake of pain relief!  With a fused spine and damage to the nerves in my left leg, I simply can't sit still in an upright position for very long.  I change my position fairly frequently for that reason, whether at home, or in my car, or on a plane - including getting up and walking around at regular intervals.  (I do so even while posting blog articles.)  If someone tried to use something like this to stop me reclining my seat, I'd get very angry.  I might even be tempted to make them eat their Knee Defender!  After all, if I'm paying for my seat, that includes the reclining facility that comes with it, not so?

I honestly don't know what to think about this.  I can see how some people can be - let's admit it:  are - inconvenienced by a seat back ahead of them that's reclined too far for their comfort;  but I also have my own very real need to recline my seat.  I'd be interested to hear whether any of my readers have either used this product, or had someone prevent them from reclining their airline seat by using it.  How did you experience the situation?  What do you think of this conundrum?



Old NFO said...

They would be kicked off any airline for using them today if one complained to the flight crew... I usually ask before I recline my seat, as I have similar problems, but you can do a lot with courtesy before you resort to 'other' options.

Toejam said...

I heard a while back the airlines were deeming these objects "Verboten" and would insist you remove them from the seat in front of you or be ejected.

I usually wind up in a seat with either a 10 year old brat who loves to kick my seat back at 10 KPM (kicks per minute) or an Alpha male adult with restless foot syndrome who can do 100 KPM.

My mother , God rest her soul, told me once she was flying down to Miami when the staccato foot banging began 15 minutes into the flight. It was a hyper adult male. She didn't say a word, but reached around behind her and grabbed the dude's leg. Remember, at the time she was a 70+ old lady. Not a word was exchanged but the kicking stopped.

Boyd K said...

"Until there is something better – or even just something else" OK, so I wouldn't know from personal experience but I'm told that there's a device with a long history called a "first class ticket". They say these things make seats so far away from each other that some of them even make into a bed! I'm thinking if you can't handle a polite request then maybe one of these things is for you.

perlhaqr said...

I'm sympathetic to both sides. On one hand, I have all kinds of joint problems that make sitting or laying in one position for long periods extremely uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I'm 6'5", and even sitting as upright as I can get, in some airline seats, my knees are up against the back of the seat in front of me. If someone reclines, I'm likely to lose my patellae. There's literally nowhere for my legs to go.

As far as Boyd K's "first class" suggestion goes... that's really not an option. First class tickets are 10 to 20 times as expensive as coach class tickets. It's simply not happening. I would gladly spend 50% more for the ticket if it netted me 50% more area to sit in (I'm also 275 lbs to go with my 6'5" height, so, more space in general would be useful, but there's never that option.)

In general, I usually solve this problem by simply not flying. The TSA has made this a more attractive option.

FrankC said...

I've not flown for a while, but I can't abide the reclined seat position. I'm perfectly happy seated upright and sleeping.

The Raving Prophet said...

I usually don't feel the need to recline my seat, nor are my legs so long (I'm average to above average height, but tall of torso... my legs are on the short side) that reclining seats in front of me present an issue.

IMO, it's the kind of thing that can be easily resolved if people chill out and cut each other some slack in a stressful experience (travel in general, air travel specifically, is very stressful, no matter how much you've done it). The recliner really should consider the person behind him/her and the person behind needs to understand that some people do need to kick back a bit.

If it's that big a deal, swap seats with someone else.

Toejam said...

"If it's that big a deal, swap seats with someone else."

I tried that Raving Prophet,

But the pilot would agree to give up his seat.

Anonymous said...

Unacceptable! You can't bring parts on board an aircraft to disable features on the equipment you find uncomfortable. I've flown 7 times in the last year and at 6'4" it is miserably uncomfortable. However, if someone put one of those on my seat I would contact the flight crew immediately and if they needed assistance removing the installer from the plane I would be happy to assist. It's a crime to disable the smoke detector in the rest room. It should be a crime to disable the reclining seat too.