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Knee defender speaks out

Luke Skywalker

Super Moderator
{vb:raw ozzmodz_postquote}:
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What are the most annoying habits on airplanes? A series of seat recline skirmishes has passengers talking about the aggravations of air travel. Click through the gallery of 20 top irritants.
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You folded your suit coat nicely and placed your hat in the allotted overhead space. Too bad Bin Hog just mangled it all while shoving his suitcase, stroller and shopping bags into a space meant for one personal item.
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Airplane movies: the opiate of the flying masses. Except when your hyperactive neighbor takes 30 minutes to decide between "Grown Ups 2" or something a little less cerebral. Such behavior earns "passengers who take too long to pick a movie" the number 19 spot on our "most annoying" list.
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Coming in at spot 18 -- compulsive leg-shaking. The fidgety leg-shaker isn't all that common, but still annoying when encountered at altitude.
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Annoying behavior number 17? Boarding ahead of group number. Most airlines have a system for getting hundreds of passengers aboard in the least amount of time. That's why we schlep on as part of Group A or B or C. Just because you drew the short straw on this one doesn't give you the right to pretend to be dyslexic.
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What's more annoying than people rushing to board the plane? Babies crying. Are we really blaming babies for doing what babies do naturally? Sure, as long as they're your kids, and not ours.
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I'd learn some bladder control if I was in the window seat," runs the unspoken complaint. Number 15 on our list -- those who get huffy when you leave your seat. " border="0" height="360" id="articleGalleryPhoto007" width="640"/>"I'd learn some bladder control if I was in the window seat," runs the unspoken complaint. Number 15 on our list -- those who get huffy when you leave your seat.
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"Hey, we just landed. ... can you hear me? ... we just landed ... I'm on the runway ... can you hear me now? ... We just landed ... " Annoying behavior number 14: Those who can't bear to wait to deplane before yacking on their cell phones.
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We get it -- airlines have cut back on food service, forcing us all to bring our own snacks and meals onboard. But did you really have to clean out the back of your refrigerator? Bringing aboard stinky food isn't just annoying, it's gross too.
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Hey, we're trying to read here. Number 12 on the rude behavior list: people who don't know how to use their inside voices on planes.
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Coming in at number 11 -- elbow wars. Do you often find yourself elbowing someone else's arm off what should be a shared space? That's armrest hegemony. And it's annoying.
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Praise God, the middle seat is empty! Til the guy next to you employs annoying behavior number 10 and lays claim to the no man's land of the middle seat with a book, coat or inflatable neck support. Or long appendage.
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Thanks for sharing your globules of diseased saliva. This lonely gentleman may have the only sensible approach to dealing with those who practice annoying behavior number nine -- germ sharing.
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Bleep, bloop, blorp. Funny how some of the most irritating things on the planet can be called "games." Even more irritating are people who play them, on a plane, with the sound turned on.
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carry-on?" Annoying behavior number seven: Wielding huge suitcases as carry-ons. " border="0" height="360" id="articleGalleryPhoto0015" width="270"/>
"Sir, is that a ... carry-on?" Annoying behavior number seven: Wielding huge suitcases as carry-ons.
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Here we've regressed to the time before the invention of the queue. Don't you just hate people who rush from the back of the plane in an attempt to disembark first?
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really offensive picture. " border="0" height="360" id="articleGalleryPhoto0017" width="640"/>Another annoying behavior that also falls into the gross category -- cutting fingernails inflight. Toenails are also trimmed at 30,000 feet, but that would have been a really offensive picture.
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"Feet nudism" is a common complaint, earning it the number 4 spot on our list. Appalling side note: people who actually go to the bathroom on the airplane in their bare feet.
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We've all encountered the toilet hogger. What are they doing in there, you wonder as you hover cross-legged by the door. Certainly not being considerate of other people.
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Annoying travel behavior number two: recliners. Aviation engineers, listen up: No one likes the recline button! Time to reinvent the plane seat.
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"He kicked someone's seat-back." Airplane Irritant No. 1 -- seat-back kicking -- invites a violent response.



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  • Colorado businessman feels "terrible" about mid-air dispute
  • He used the Knee Defender to stop a fellow passenger from reclining
  • She threw a drink in his face
  • The passenger said he may continue to use the device


Watch James Beach on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
(CNN) -- The man who got kicked off a United Airlines flight because of a fight over seat reclining says he's sorry about his behavior.
Sort of.
Though he regrets how he handled the recent incident with a fellow passenger who wanted to recline her seat, Colorado businessman James Beach told "the Today Show" that he may use the now-famous Knee Defender device again.
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This device caused an in-flight fight
"Whose right is it?" Beach asked. "Is that my 4 inches (of legroom), or is that her 4 inches (of reclining space)?"
It's a dispute that's gotten national attention, with three skirmishes in the air over seat reclining in the past two weeks.
Should the Knee Defender be banned?
Although the Federal Aviation Administration hasn't prohibited use of the device on commercial flights, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines (which also operates the U.S. Airways brand) and Southwest Airlines (which also operates the AirTran brand) all say they ban the $22 device, which prevents the seat in front of the user from reclining.
Beach's problems started after he boarded an August 24 United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver. He had paid for extra space in the Economy Plus section, which provides United passengers up to 5 inches of extra legroom compared with standard coach seats.
After taking his seat, the 6'1" Beach installed the Knee Defender and opened his laptop to start working.
Knee Defender sales soar after plane incident
The woman in front of him complained about not being able to recline, and the flight attendant asked him to remove the device, Beach told "the Today Show." When he did, Beach says, the woman quickly slammed her seat back, nearly damaging his computer.
"She just took all the space, and I can't work now," Beach said he told the flight attendant. In a "burst of anger" he says he regrets, "I pushed her seat up pretty hard to put the Knee Defender back in."
The woman responded by throwing her drink on him, he says.
That's when the pilot diverted the flight to Chicago. Both passengers were kicked off the flight, but neither was arrested.
"I felt terrible when we landed," Beach said.
Aviation blogger Johnny "Jet" DiScala says Beach should feel terrible. That diversion cost United Airlines about $6,000 per hour, he says.
"They should arrest these passengers and make them pay for the fees," DiScala wrote in an email. "He's lucky he only had liquid thrown on his face."
As long as airlines ignore the problem and sell the same space to two people, these disputes will continue, Knee Defender creator Ira Goldman said.
"What the airlines are doing is, they're selling me space for my legs, and they're selling you the space -- if you're sitting in front of me -- they're selling you same space to recline," said Goldman, who is 6'3." "So they're selling one space to two people."
People use the Knee Defender to protect their laptops, their knees and even their babies from being smacked by reclining seats, Goldman says.
"This is a problem the airlines don't want to acknowledge," he said.
"Of all the reactions from the airline industry, I don't think you've heard one person say, 'this is a problem we're going to look into,' " he said. "They just say, 'people should behave.' "
CNN's Mike Ahlers and Rene Marsh contributed to this story.

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