TO WHOM does the legroom on an aeroplane belong? More specifically, who owns the four inches of knee-space into which a passenger can recline his seat?
The accepted notion is that such territory belongs to the person seated in front. That flyer has, after all, paid for a reclining chair and thus believes it is his “right” to occupy the space behind. If he remains upright, magnanimously bequeathing extra inches to the person behind, it is on the understanding that he can move the border whenever he likes.
But, in common with many borders, disputes are inevitable. Sometimes the newly squished passenger will wage a guerilla war, perhaps by wedging his knees into the back of the seat in front, ensuring that the price of territorial expansion is discomfort. Weapons may also be deployed. The Knee Defender, a device that can be attached to the chair in front to render it rigid, is banned by many airlines, but that does not deter desperate flyers from using them. All too often, real warfare ensues….Continue reading