U.S. News


Another Flight Grounded Over Legroom Argument

Yet another flight was grounded Wednesday after two passengers got into an argument about legroom. This is the second incident in a week.
Posted at 5:04 PM, Aug 29, 2014

An argument over legroom grounded yet another plane this week. An American Airlines flight was set to travel from Miami to Paris, but it had to land in Boston when two passengers got into a fight.

Officials say 61-year-old Edmund Alexandre was sitting behind a woman who elected to recline. This decision upset Alexandre, and he reportedly asked the woman to move up. But it's what he allegedly did next that cost him.

WHDH reports"The crew asked him to calm down, but he didn't. Investigators say he even grabbed a flight attendant."

So air marshals aboard the flight broke up the commotion, and the plane diverted to Boston.

​When it landed, Alexandre was arrested on suspicion of "interfering with the crew on the flight."

Meaning the argument between Alexandre and the woman wasn't arrest-worthy — but his interaction with the flight attendant was. 

Believe it or not, this is not the first heated argument over in-flight legroom. ​In a similar situation earlier this week, a man and woman got into a legroom argument aboard a flight from Newark to Denver, forcing it to divert to Chicago.

The man reportedly used a device called the Knee Defender to stop the woman from reclining. An official says she retaliated by throwing water in his face. And this has sparked debate. (Video via KUSA)

One woman tells CNN, "People paid for their seats, and they want to push it backward or forward. That's their God-given right."

Others, like a writer for The Boston Globe, defend the use of the device, saying: "I can relate to the gentleman who locked the tray table. … I'm not vilifying the woman who threw the glass of water. We all know this is a matter of airline economics."

The Wire echoes this thought, saying with these legroom battles, perhaps "the fault lies with the airlines and the planes' design, not some unfeeling passengers."

But why is this leg-space debate happening now? CBS reports, "The size of the average airline seat is down from the 32-33-inch range to just 31 inches."

No matter the reason, we feel bad for those other passengers who were also diverted.

This story includes images from Getty Images.