How far would you go for a little extra legroom on your next economy flight?
A provocative device called the Knee Defender provides a rather finite solution to the crammed quandary faced by business travelers relegated to coach -- all while blurring the lines between moral propriety and personal space.
The key-sized plastic claws latch onto the arms of your tray table, thus preventing the passenger in front of you from reclining his or her seat. The claws can be placed anywhere along the tray’s arms depending upon how much space is desired, notes the device’s maker, Gadget Duck.
“If the airlines will not protect people from being battered, crunched, and immobilized, then people need options to protect themselves," the company writes on its website.
The device is sold for $21.95.
Though such an invention seems bound to spawn conflict among increasingly jam-packed passengers, Gadget Duck says that the device has been approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As long as Knee Defenders aren’t utilized during taxiing, takeoffs or landings -- when tray tables must be locked -- “their use does not violate any US aviation law, rule or regulation,” the company said.
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And to temper the inevitably heated reactions of passengers whose seats have been blocked, the Gadget Duck offers a printable “Courtesy Card” on its website, which it suggests can be distributed prior to use.
“I realize that this may be an inconvenience,” reads the somewhat incendiary warning. “If so, I hope you will complain to the airline. Maybe working together we can convince the airlines to provide enough space between rows.”
The Knee Defender feels particularly timely -- especially given new research suggesting that American airline companies boast the most uncomfortable seats in the world.
Nevertheless, would you go so far as to physically hinder neighboring passengers from reclining their seats? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.