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Knee Defender: Protection from reclining airplane seats?

- June 4th, 2014
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Is the Knee Defender the air passenger’s new friend — or just a way to make foes?

As Australia’s News.com.au reports, the fight between those who want to recline their seats during a flight and those who need that precious little leg room has been sparked anew by one Reddit.com user.

The flyer, who posted under the name As-Uswag, said he received a card from a fellow passenger who alerted him he’d be using a Knee Defender during the flight, a gadget that keeps seats from reclining too much. The Knee Defender comes with — clever? annoying? — note cards that alert other passengers you are using the pocket-sized device.

The Reddit user shared a photo of the note card he had posted to Imgur, writing “Guy sitting behind me on the plane handed me this as I was finding my seat before take off (my seat was up). I had no idea what to say.”

Knee Defender clips onto the tray table to prevent the seat ahead of you from reclining too much. See how it works in the FareCompare video below.

So what do you think? Clever way to keep people from reclining their seat too much or just a way to annoy fellow passengers? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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33 comments

  1. VERY Tall Man | June 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    So what I’m hearing is that the passenger is illegally modifying the seat and thereby denying me the use of space and features (reclining seat) that I paid for. That will last about 10 seconds while I get out of my seat and remove his/her device by whatever means necessary to accomplaish said removal. You with the “knee defender” have been warned.

  2. Calgary dude | June 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I’d be calling the flight attendant immediately and having your douche-bag device removed and shoved up your ***

  3. BIG BOY | June 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    @VERY TALL MAN, so would you also get out of your seat and assault the passenger in front of you who reclines their seat “thereby denying (you) the use of space…that (you) paid for”?

  4. 3earnhardt8 | June 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    oh I see, you would prefer to deny me the use of space and features that I paid for then. great this is a great idea but the best solution is just not allow seats to recline

  5. malt7773 | June 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Airline seats should not recline at all. You have very little room as is, and now some loser takes more of it by reclining his seat

  6. Goldielover | June 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    So if the person in front of you reclines, and the one behind you has a knee defender, you’re screwed.

    These devices are actually banned on many airlines in the U.S.

  7. Slappybeaver | June 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    We all know there is not enough space between rows to accommodate people to recline their seats without infringing upon the passenger behind them. When someone is ignorant enough to infringe upon my space they are asked nicely to give some room, if the reply is negative the seat kicking begins, if assaulted I would sue the person for the assault.

  8. Bytown | June 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I believe these things have been deemed illegal on most planes since they also prevent the drop down table from being raised in case of a sudden emergency.

  9. Frequent Flyer | June 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Space sharing is a courtesy thing of the past. Because of the limited leg room on the plane, everyone is now fighting for maximum leg room. For a passenger behind me to use a device to limit my seat reclining position, I will make a request to the stewardess for that device removal immediately (especially on a long haul). If you find there is not enough leg room, buy a premium seat instead of infringing someone else’s privilage that the person already paid for. This will be a device start with a lot of verbral abuse and fight. The retaliation from the passenger behind usually keep kicking the back of the seat.. Now that will not be a pretty sight..

  10. Dice | June 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I hope those things are really small.. Put it in my seat, and you will be eating it..

  11. steve | June 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    This is a stupid response to crappy airlines. Air transport regulations need to address this. Minimum real world healthy seating should be put into effect. Airlines should find otherways to save money or make greater profits.

  12. Andy | June 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I don’t understand the point of these. I’m tall and I could care less if the person in front of me reclines because I plan on reclining too. Who prefers to sight straight up? I think they should get rid of seats and just have tubes for us to slide into then we can all lay down.

  13. Knee Buster | June 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Knee Defender – meet Knee Buster. I always recline my seat to the max. Got long legs – book first class or notify the flight attendant that you have a height handicap and need a special seat. Want more leg room – pay for it.

  14. Mike | June 4, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Yep, you often run in to those D-bags that think they have the right to recline their seat….they’ll say things like “how dare someone deny me my reclining comfort for a seat I paid for”. So, what is it you don’t get. If you recline your seat and gain, lets say 4″ it is 100% at the expense of the guy behind you loosing 4″ on a very tight space as it is. How is your gain at the expense of someone else’s lose…your comfort, at the expense of someone else discomfort fair? and you really actually believe you have the right and the entitlement to this. There are givers and “takers” in this world. Those who recline their seats are “takers” and you know who you are. Stop being a D-bag. If you continue to be the D-bag don’t be surprise if you get seat kicking from behind. And if you think you will just assault the guy behind for the seat kicking and are arrested (which is extra serious these days on flights and will really F-up your travel plans)…remember it was because you chose to be a “selfish, taker” in this world.
    Really, all airlines should simply have a rule and forbid any seat be recline except if the seat directly behind is unoccupied.

  15. ME | June 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    @TallMan and Frequest Flyer. basically your saying is you have more right to the room you paid then the guy behind you who also paid for that space? i think Slappybeaver has the right idea as im not for using this device but it would make sense when the asshole ahead of me keeps hitting my knees after being asked politely to fuck off

  16. What | June 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I wish that someone would come up with some kind of invention that would STOP kids from kicking the back of my seat through the whole flight instead. Reclining seats I can deal with especially at night when most people are sleeping but KIDS never stop kicking the back of the seats and most parents do not care or bother to stop them. The seats were put that close so that the airline could put more people into their planes – translation – more profit – the trouble is that they also create these kinds of problems for all travelers who pay way to much in taxes and fees to have to deal with these issues on their whole flight.

  17. Edward | June 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Nice… again for the most part a problem created by the airline itself . They don’t care about your comfort in the least. Iam 6’4 so I know what its like. I see no reason I should have to pay a bribe by buying a premium seat so I can keep blood flowing in my extremities

  18. Robert MacArthur | June 5, 2014 at 9:35 am

    It’s about time,, i fly oftern and there is nothing worst that the person in front putting there seat all the way back and then sitting forward in there seat not using the reclined seat,, in the mean time you are gramped and left with little space,,during a meal i oftern ask the flight attendant to ask the person in front to put there seat up,, and to the loud mouths who claim that they PAID FOR THE SPACE, NO you did not, you are taking MY SPACE, there used to be a thing called common courtesy,, but it appears that is fading,, THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE ””AIRLINES”’ THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD MAKE THEM PROVIDE SUFFICIENT SPACE BETWEEN SEATS TO ACCOMODATE ALL PASSENGERS IN A REASONABLE WAY, IE; MAKE IT MANDITORY,, INSTEAD
    THE CRAM INTO A PLANE AS MANY SEATS AS POSSIBLE AND THEY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE PASSENGERS,, ON A 5, 6 ,7 HOUR FLIGHT THIS SITUATION IN RECENT YEARS HAS GOT
    WORSE ,, SO YOU HAVE A PASSENGER WHO COULD CARE LESS ABOUT OTHER PASSENGERS, AND AN AIRLINE WHO COULD CARE LESS ABOUT ALL PASSENGERS,, TIME TO LEGISLATE////

  19. JeyRome | June 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    WTF-seriously, if I got that note, I would tear it up & drop it in his/her lap & pour water on it so the person could grow a brain.
    It is one of the worst ideas ever as it basically removes, not infringes, a person’s right to use the seat equipment they paid handsomely to use.
    These feeble minded morons who think it’s clever are being disingenious to everyone. Why do you think there’s less & less leg room? Because they need to pack more people in to cover the skyrocketing costs of doing business.
    Complaining about the dick head with device will: 1) do nothing to chg the airlines mind & 2) if it does chg their mind, then we will all pay more for air travel.

  20. Slideguy | June 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Great product. The rants from those who feel it is their right to recline into your lap forcing your legs into the persons space beside you are asinine. I agree airline management created this situation and your comfort is way down on their priority list after share price and bonuses.
    I also agree with comments you want more space…buy an upgraded seat instead of being a self-entitled dick. I too am a big guy that doesn’t fit comfortably on most North American based airlines. However I also have enough consideration to try not to impose on those around me if I can help it. Contrary to what some commenters feel, those around you also paid for their personal space as well. My main annoyance with the seat reclined in front of me is it eliminates my personal work space; just not enough room for my laptop, tray and seat back. Unfortunately, I don’t see passenger’s comfort on domestic airlines ever being enough of a concern for the companies to eat a few bucks and give us back a few inches.

  21. Frequent Friendly Flyer | August 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    As a frequent flyer who fly various distances across the country i have this to say. The seats in the back rows or against bulkheads cannot recline. Certain seats near the exits over the wings cannot recline. Now when i book my flights i can choose the seat i want, however not everyone can. And i am sorry but if all the seats cant recline, then none should. A good chunk of the flights i get on could be Regional jets that hold 50 people ad there is no “first class”. These planes are TIGHT. You recline back into me. i cannot do anything with my tray or food without no maneuvering around your head. I was taught to have manners and think of those around me, and to be gracious and kind. I feel as though many people dont get that lesson. Dont even try and recline on the mom and her kids. . I say the knee defender has a purpose. and that purpose is to stop others from infringing on the person behind them. I say stop them all from reclining in the tight and cramped quarters. Or give us all more space.. and pay the difference.

  22. R | August 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    A water bottle does a much better job and its almost impossible to see. Just wedge it between the tray and the tray clip.

  23. Andy | August 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    WTF are some of you morons talking about? Infringing on your space? If you put your feet forward under the chair in front of you the seat can’t hit your knees. If you can’t put your feet under the seat in front of you then that’s your fault for bringing a bag to big. Put you feet forward and recline your chair and the 4 inches of space I just took from you you just got back. If you want to ask the person in front to sit up during a meal or ask them to slowly recline (which I think is polite anyway) so you can re adjust is fine. Put something on my seat we’re going to have problems.!

  24. JEANETTE | August 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I PAY FOR THE SEAT.. I SHOULDNT HAVE TO PAY EXTRA FOR LEG ROOM.. OR HEY HOW ABOUT BUILD THE PLANE WITH SEATS THAT HAVE LEG ROOM.. WHY CRAM EVERYONE IN… THIS IS COMPLETE BULL. THIS PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET ARE MENTAL!

  25. BOB | August 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Anybody who cannot be civil for a few hours on a plane because of leg room or other comfort issues needs find other means to travel…..What is next duct taping babies mouths shut because they cry…..Hell grow up everyone!!!,,,Those devices need to be banned.

  26. Realistic | August 29, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Everyone knows the seats recline and space is limited in Economy Class. You are not a “taker” if you recline. You are not doing anything inappropriate by reclining a seat that is capable of (and common knowledge to be capable of) reclining. In Economy Class you paid for reclining seats in tight quarters. Beggars can’t be choosers. There is a reason why First Class seats cost more. And for the record, I only fly economy class because I can’t afford First Class, but I know what I’m in for (tight quarters) and accept it. I don’t go to McDonalds and complain that the burger is crap either. You get what you pay for…

  27. Pat C | August 29, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    The Knee Defender should be prohibited by the FAA!

  28. Johnny LongLegs | August 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    ANDY, Some people have long legs, I suspect that’s what they are talking about.

    I don’t care if the guy in front of me reclines, but when he does my knees will be touching the back of his seat. I fly twice a month, which is often enough to have been on several different models and configurations of planes. There are only a few that have reclined seats that do NOT touch my knees.

    There’s worse problems in the world to worry about though.

  29. Jen | August 29, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Airlines should just remove enough rows of seats then everyone would have leg room and charge us the price of first class seats. I think that’s a fair and reasonable solution to this problem (sarcastic response) Also if you are very tall ask for a seat behind the emergency doors, the seats in front do not recline. Lots of solutions to this problem but will anyone ever try to really address this problem…probably not. I think I just wasted 3 minutes of my time for nothing.

  30. Davena | August 30, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I was the receipient of this type of incident from an Air Canada employee deadheading (flying free) home. Sitting behind this fathead, I had no room whatsoever. So I made a policy of getting up frequently & hipchecking the back of her seat. When she complained I switched to grabbing her seat to manoeuver out of mine – it was a necessity. Frankly I think the Knee Defender is a civilized solution. Either learn to sleep upright or through constant nudges like someone kicking your seat!!

  31. Henry E. Romance | September 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    some passengers are worse then animals. If you fly, accept the tightness of the seats. If you’re tall, then buy a reserve a seat by the emergency exit. Costs a bit more, but then you will have a legitimate complaint. If you are a fat blob, then your option is to fly first clas right in front on the first row of seats

  32. dave | September 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I think it’s great. I’m a fairly big guy and I usually put my knee up so the seat can’t move back. It squashes you in an already cramped spot. Airlines need to remove some rows and quit treating economy like second class citizens………….(hmmmmm) compared to business or first class I guess we are.

  33. Asia | September 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I think communication is key. I am pretty short, 5’4 and I usually recline my seat so that I can sleep. If someone behind me was very tall, I might not realize, but if they kindly asked me to recline less I would gladly oblige. Airplanes are so cramped and uncomfortable for the average person, I cant imagine how it is for someone over 6 feet tall. First class tickets can be outrageously expensive and not many people are willing to spend that kind of money, I sure wouldn’t.

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