August 27, 2014 11:17 am -

A United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver had to be diverted because two passengers were fighting over legroom. Robert Reich thinks there’s plenty of blame to go around.


DEPARTMENT OF DETERIORATING CIVILITY. United Airlines flight 1462 from Newark to Denver was diverted Sunday because of two passengers fighting over legroom. Both were sitting in United’s Economy Plus section, which has 4 more inches of legroom than the rest of coach. The man was using a Knee Defender (a $21.95 gadget, banned by United and many other airlines, that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining) to stop the woman seated in front of him from putting her seat back while he was on his laptop. The woman complained. When a flight attendant asked him to remove the device, he refused. The woman then stood, turned around, and threw a cup of water at him. Soon thereafter, the pilot diverted the flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where the two were removed from the plane, and then continued on to Denver, where it arrived 1 hour 38 minutes late.

Who’s most at fault here? The man who wouldn’t remove his Knee Defender, the woman who threw the water at him, the pilot who inconvenienced every other passenger by diverting the plane to Chicago, United Airlines, which crams people into tiny seats with inadequate legroom, or our entire society that’s becoming less civil every minute?[su_sky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

12 responses to Our Increasingly Uncivil Society

  1. Maxx44 August 27th, 2014 at 11:38 am

    When you by a seat on one of these cattle cars, you also buy the right to recline it, unless, of course, you’re on a plane that has fixed back seats. Those ‘knee defender’ devices are pretty much guaranteed to cause problems. Blame here lies with airline for not insisting that the man remove the devices from his tray table.

    • MIAtheistGal August 27th, 2014 at 11:42 am

      When a flight attendant asked him to remove the device, he refused.

      I think this guy is a jerk!

      • Abby Normal August 27th, 2014 at 11:45 am

        I believe it is a federal crime to refuse to comply with the orders of the flight crew.

        • Carla Akins August 27th, 2014 at 11:59 am

          It absolutely is.

  2. tiredoftea August 27th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    See, if we allowed guns on planes, this never would have happened!

    • Abby Normal August 27th, 2014 at 11:46 am

      NRA: It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad seat-reclining person.

  3. Abby Normal August 27th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Some airlines are considering “standing seats.” Not only can’t you recline, you can’t sit down. You stand for the duration of your flight.

    • Larry Schmitt August 27th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Your airline stock would skyrocket! Think how much more money they could make, with all the extra people on board. Kinda tough on a flight to Europe or Japan, though.

  4. Larry Schmitt August 27th, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I normally like what Reich has to say, but I think that’s BS about blaming society for people’s rudeness. That lets individuals off the hook, and each person is still responsible for his actions. If a lot of people are rude today, it’s not society’s fault, it’s the fault of a lot of individual people. The jerk with the computer and the knee defender is most to blame, and the woman is next. That’s my opinion.

  5. Pilotshark August 27th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Well it`s not the Pilots fault, as he did the correct thing and made sure the aircraft and passages was safe.
    but if the two in the cabin was thinking i am sure it all could have been worked out, people just don’t see anything but themselves anymore.

    • William August 27th, 2014 at 1:59 pm


  6. uzza August 27th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Overpopulation. Whenever a species exceeds the carrying capacity of their range they begin to exhibit abnormal and self destructive behavior. It’s nature’s way of culling the herd.