Coach Seats: Don't Get Mad, Get Even?

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Those who are regularly shoehorned into airliners may enjoy Ira Goldman’s new invention. Called the Knee Defender, the beeper-size block of plastic supposedly allows passengers to prevent the seat in front of them from reclining. Although the device has only been for sale about a month now, some debate has arisen in online chat rooms and federal officials are gauging the result of using the device in the air. The discussion centers on whether the Knee Defender would cause confrontations at the flight levels. The safety concerns stem from the design, because the Knee Defender works only when the tray table is down and acts as a barrier to the seat's backward movement. Nevertheless, Alison Duquette, an FAA spokeswoman, told The Associated Press the product violates no FAA regulations, so it would be up to individual airlines to prohibit it. Northwest Airlines has already declared it will ban the Knee Defender from all flights, while other carriers are still investigating the effects of its use. Goldman said he would stop selling the product if the airlines prove it is unsafe, but so far he's not convinced that is the case.