Plane diverted after passenger refused to let woman recline her seat

One of the few luxuries of flying cattle class is being able to recline the seat.

But one passenger on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver was denied just that. The ensuing spat caused the plane to divert to Chicago on Sunday.

A 48-year-old woman wanted to recline her seat mid-flight but was unable to do so because the male passenger behind her had locked her seat with a device called Knee Defender.

The device, which is meant to be attached to the arms of tray tables, limits the amount a seat can be shifted, helping passengers gain protection for their knees and deal with aggressive seat recliners, according to the gadget's website. 

The 48-year-old man refused to remove the device even when asked to do so by the flight attendant. The woman then threw a cup of water at him.

Say no to Knee Defenders

A decision was made to divert the plane following the skirmish. 

USA Today quoted United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart as saying: "Authorities met the aircraft, removed the two passengers and the flight continued to Denver shortly afterwards."

NBC News reported that the plane arrived 1 hour and 38 minutes behind schedule.

Most US airlines, including United Airlines, ban devices which prevent seats from reclining.

Sources: USA Today, NBC News

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