Slate recently ran an article titled “The Recline and Fall of Western Civilization,” a piece that talks about the evils of reclining your seat on an airplane. In it, they mention the Knee Defender, a set of pocket-sized jamming devices that snap onto your open tray table and prevent the seat in front of you from reclining fully. The Knee Defender site quotes The Washington Post as reporting, “FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto said the clips were not against federal aviation rules as long as they weren’t used during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.” These set of clips are available to purchase at Gadget Duck, the company who invented them in 2003.
What should I do if the person in front of me complains because I am using Knee Defender?
If you are using Knee Defender to protect your knees from being banged by the person’s seatback, then simply let the person know that there really is not enough room for him/her to recline the seat without knocking into and/or compressing part of your body.
If you are using Knee Defender simply to provide you with a warning that the person in front of you wants to recline his/her seat – so that, for example, you can close your notebook computer to protect its screen – then ask the person for a moment, move your computer and remove your Knee Defender, and then let the person know that it is OK to recline.