Plane rage is quickly becoming more popular than shooting unarmed black teenagers. In the last week, the fight for knee space has caused several irate passengers to fly into an uncontrollable rage, forcing three flights to be diverted.
The first fight started last Sunday on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining. A male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop. The woman was not pleased. A flight attendant then asked the man to remove the device, which United Airlines prohibits, but he refused. This was enough to send the woman into a plane rage. She then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him. The fight then escalated to the point where the airline decided to divert to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, before continuing on to Denver without the troublesome two. Oddly enough, both unruly passengers were sitting in United’s Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.
The second serious airline legroom argument this week occurred on Wednesday, forcing an American Airlines Paris flight bound for Miami to make an unscheduled stop at Logan International Airport in Boston. Edmund Alexandre, 61, of Paris became enraged when the passenger in front of him reclined her seat. Alexandre allegedly “began arguing with another passenger and became disruptive.” When a flight attendant tried to calm him down, Alexandre proceeded to chase him down the aisle. It was at that point that federal air marshals on the flight broke cover and subdued and restrained Alexandre. The angry passenger was arrested at the airport and was charged with interfering with an airline flight crew.
The third incident of knee-space induced plane rage happened on Monday night when a Delta Air Lines flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville after a dispute broke out between passengers over a reclining seat. A woman was trying to recline her seat while the passenger behind her was trying to sleep on the tray table. The woman who was trying to sleep started screaming. A flight attendant came over and the woman who was screaming demanded that the flight be diverted – and apparently that’s all it takes for a plane to be diverted.
But are all plane diversions the result of knee-space disputes? Not in Canada.
A couple of drunken women partied a little too hard on their Sunwing Airlines Flight from Toronto to Varadero, Cuba and the flight was escorted back to Toronto Pearson International Airport by two CF-18 fighter jets Wednesday night. The two women, both in their mid-twenties, had allegedly “consumed a significant quantity of their duty-free alcohol purchase in the lavatory and lit a cigarette.” After they triggered the smoke alarm, they go in a “physical altercation with each other” and allegedly threatened to do something to the plane, which triggered Canadian military jet escorts and an immediate return trip home. The crew called their threats “non-credible” given their drunken condition, but procedure called for the captain to make a U-turn and head back to Toronto – much to the dismay of the other vacation-bound passengers and the taxpayers footing the bill for the two CF-18 fighter jets to escort two drunk girls back to their trailers.