October 27, 2003

Travelers Up In Arms About Knee Defender

Today's travel debate: Knee Defender. It's a small $10 block of plastic that claims to prevent the seat in front of you from reclining on an airliner. Flight attendants, airlines, and some passengers are not too happy that people are buying and using it. In essence you wedge it between the tray arm and seatback to prevent it from tilting backward. Sounds like a great idea if you're in the back.

The heart of the debate: On one hand, laptop users should be able to use their computers in-flight when allowed by the flight crew, and those with long legs shouldn't have them crunched by the seat in front of them. On the other hand, weary travelers also should be able to recline to rest. Airlines are concerned that a forced seat movement could break the tray, causing an in-flight hazard.

An FAA spokesperson stated the product did not violate any FAA regulations, so it's up to each airline to ban it. Flight attendants don't want to have to police passenger disputes over who wins, the passenger in front or the one in back. Sounds like a call for Air Marshalls with ADR experience -- job creation in action.

It's interesting how much controversy a simple block of plastic is able to generate... At least there's a seatback to separate the combatants. Heaven help us if the Elbow Defender is ever invented. That kind of "arms race" I could do without -- the battle for armrest supremacy would never be the same.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard

As to the current post and your censorship question, I think it's a matter of editorial discretion. The post has 2 parts:

1. A rant against the airlines; and
2. A self-righteous story abut one person killing a seat tray and an expensive laptop.

I suspect the poster literally rammed this seat backwards with great force to achieve his righteous objective. I am not convinced that the post is on-point or appropriate. Were I the "Blawg Master" I would probably delete it. At the very least I would heavily revise the comment and repost it.

Of course I could be wrong.

Posted by: J. Larry Green at April 5, 2004 02:26 PM

[Please note: This comment has been removed.]

Posted by: JC at March 31, 2004 06:46 PM