Wednesday 26 November 2014

Legroom wars: the device that stops plane seats reclining

Devious new weapon in the legroom war prevents the air passenger in front from reclining their seat

Soo Kim

Published 07/06/2014 | 08:57

The Knee Defender is about the same height as a house key Photo: gadgetduck.com

A DEVIOUS new weapon in the legroom war prevents the air passenger in front from reclining their seat

The Knee Defender safeguards precious legroom by preventing the seat in front of you from reclining any further. Consisting of two plastic clips which are placed at the top of either arm of the tray table, the miniature device keeps the seat in front of you locked in place.

 

The pocket-size gadget can also be adjustable according to how much you want to allow the seat in front of you to recline. The closer each clip is placed to the back of the seat, the less the seat will be able to move. The tiny device is about the same size as a house key and is made with “specially shaped grooves” to fit the different seats and tray table found on a variety of planes.

 

It is the work of Ira Goldman, a 6ft 4in Washington DC resident, who wanted to help other tall travellers fed up with being “bashed in the knees over and over again” while on a flight. It should be noted that the clips are meant to be used with your tray table down; airline typically request that the table must be raised and locked away during taxiing, takeoffs or landings.

 

The $21.95 (£13) gadget, available on gadgetduck.com, supposedly “works like a charm” and comes with a “Courtesy Card” that can be given to the passenger in front of you to tell them you're using the clips. The note card provides an extensive explanation including why you are using the Knee Defender, how much (in inches) you are willing to allow the seat to be reclined and to notify you if they need to recline their seat at any point during the flight. The card ends with a call to report any complaints of inconvenience directly to the airline in a bid to convince them to “provide enough space between rows so that people can recline their seats without banging into other passengers”.

 

The Knee Defender aims to not only protect the knees of fliers but also help those who want to practice in-seat leg exercises during the flight to promote a good blood flow and prevent conditions such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which entails a “potentially dangerous blood clot that can develop in the leg”.

 

Reclining seats have been an ongoing issue among travellers and the airline industry. Last week, Monarch Airlines became the latest operator to dump reclining seats, joining a small group of airlines which have shunned reclining seats on all or some of their flights, including “no frills” operator Ryanair which has always used a rigid backed design.

 

Monarch said it would introduce new non-reclining seats on all its flights, promising that its new thinner design would provide extra legroom and “living space” than traditional seats.

 

Earlier this year, a frustrated traveller published a detailed open letter calling for a “revolt” against reclining seats on planes, highlighting several examples where it was an annoyance for him and other passengers in the past.

 

Last year, a survey by Skyscanner revealed nine in ten plane passengers would like to see reclining seats banned. The moment the seat in front tips back onto your knees has been voted one of the most common causes of mid-flight anger. It seemed the vast majority of passengers would rather lose the right to recline than put up with having their table and leg space compromised by someone else.

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