Attention Passengers: Don't fight over limited legroom – cramped knees are nothing next to these messes

By Gillian Telling
Updated September 03, 2014 07:30 PM
Credit: Johner/Getty

Lean back at your own risk.

Yet another plane was diverted on Monday due to an air rage incident that involved reclining seats – the third such incident in just nine days. The first occurred on an Aug. 24 United flight from Newark to Denver after two strangers on a plane battled it out over a man’s right to use a gadget called the “knee defender,” which led to a woman throwing water at him. That in turn led to that flight being grounded while the unruly passengers were kicked off.

A mere three days later, a man on a flight from Miami to Paris ended up being handcuffed to his seat after throwing a fit over a fellow seat recliner, and the flight was diverted to Boston. And on Monday, a plane from New York City to West Palm Beach was diverted to Jacksonville after a passenger screamed at a fellow flyer for daring to lean back while she was sleeping on the tray table behind her.

Sure, we can all agree it’s annoying when a leaner-backer cramps your already too-tight personal lap space, but surely it’s not the worst thing a person can deal with inflight. In fact, we think the following occurrences – whether fictional or real – are worse. Much, much worse.

1. Your seatmate could be a very tipsy Gérard Depardieu. If you’re in line for the restroom ahead of the French actor, wave him in first.


You could be sitting next to Alec Baldwin in the middle of a particularly challenging round of Words With Friends. Sure, Alec, finish your game. It’s not like the rest of us have anywhere to go.

3. Your flight attendant could be this totally fed-up guy. Another reason to avoid the exit row.

4. This highly amorous couple could have been across the aisle from you.

5. You could have been on this flight. When Samuel L. Jackson starts talking about monkey-fighting snakes, it’s time to take the train.

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