Knee wars: Delta Air Lines flight diverted by seat recliner fight

Two passengers argued over a reclining seat during a Delta flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Fla. Monday. The flight was diverted to Jacksonville, Fla.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
A Delta Air Lines flight lands at Tampa International Airport in Tampa , Fla. On Monday night, a different Delta flight was diverted to Jacksonville after dispute between two passengers.

 A Delta Air Lines flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Fla., was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat.

Jacksonville station News 4 Jax reports that Delta says the flight was diverted Monday night.

Passenger Aaron Klipin told the station a woman sitting next to him got into an argument with a passenger behind her. The woman was trying to recline her seat while the other passenger was trying to sleep on the tray table.

Klipin says 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.

The plane landed in Jacksonville and continued on to West Palm Beach. Delta says local law enforcement removed the unruly woman from the plane.

Just last month, a United Airlnes flight was also diverted when two passengers got into an argument over a reclining seat.

The fight started on a United Airlines flight 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.

The dispute on United Flight 1462 from Newark, New Jersey to Denver escalated to the point where the airline decided to divert to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein.

The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device, like all major U.S. airlines. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.

The fight started when the 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, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.

A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.

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