Knee Defender: The American Way?

The Knee Defender is a little slice of America–like a stone-wall General Patton with a scoundrel-ed Bernie Madoff bent. Or maybe the other way around?

The Knee Defender is that crafty plastic armament you wedge into someone’s airplane seat to keep them from reclining onto your knees. After all, the best defense is a good offense. And it works. The Knee Defender recently sparked enough offense to ground a U.S. Airlines flight and get two combatants kicked off!

A device so clearly designed with warfare in mind shouldn’t be named “Knee Defender” but rather “Knee Warrior.” Take note, Ira Goldman.

And why do you need a Knee Defender? Because you’ve sat behind some soundly sleeping, inconsiderate jerk, and you feel that American urge to stand your ground.

You’ve learned that on an airplane, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a chair is a good guy with a Knee Defender.

So now, you’re ridin’ dirty, packing two Knee Defender clips in your pocket holsters. This time, in still of the night, when an unidentified person enters your chair neighborhood–or even starts walking your way down the middle of the aisle, you can slip out your Knee Defenders and…Defend. For you are a Knee Defender and, in the words of Patton, you play to win.

But of course, Knee Defender, that’s ridiculous.

The Guardian emplores hot-headed Americans to be nice–forget the Knee Defender and remember “aeroplane etiquette”: balanced diplomacy gets you farther than surreptitious attack. When it comes to the armrest (where the Knee Defender simply won’t work), they suggest:


“Look to international relations – US-China is a good model. Civility is paramount. Gradual encroachment is key. Get in behind their elbow. If you lose the higher ground, wait for their inevitable trip to the toilet. OK, it’s not exactly like international relations.”

Should balanced diplomacy fail, The Guardian still advises ditch your Knee Defenders for the cabin crew, your

“personal secret police, [who are] expert at meting out polite cease and desists.”

In the end though, fear of reclining invasion lingers. All other options could fail and you’re likely to bring the Knee Defenders anyway. Should turbulence rattle your spurs, should your fingers tingle near your Knee Defenders, you know two little clicks is all it takes. Come and take it.