For the third time in nine days, a fight over reclining seats caused a commercial airline flight to be diverted.
This time, a Delta Air Lines flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Fla., made an unexpected stop in Jacksonville on Monday night after a passenger became irate when the woman seated in front of her reclined.
The unhappy passenger, said Aaron Klipin, who was on Delta Flight 2370, had been trying to sleep with her head on the tray table, according to Jacksonville’s WJXT. “This woman sitting next to me, knitting, tried reclining her seat back, the woman behind her started screaming and swearing,” Klipin said. “The flight attendant came over and that exacerbated what was going on.”
The angry passenger, Klipin said, “demanded the flight land.”
According to ABC News, the passenger “said something to the effect of, ‘I don’t care about the consequences. Put this plane down now.'”
Amy Fine, 32, of Boca Raton, Fla., “was escorted off the plane, interviewed, then released,” according to WJXT, which cited the Jacksonville Aviation Authority police report. “Fine said she was hit on the head with the seat in front of her reclined, and they ‘did have words,’ but claims she was not disruptive,” WJXT reported.
Delta told ABC that the pilot chose to abide by the passenger’s request out of an “abundance of caution.” The plane eventually continued on to its final destination.
All three flight attendants were interviewed, telling police Fine was “disruptive and very loud,” demanding that they land the plane immediately.
According to WJXT, a flight attendant told police “that Fine told him to, ‘Eat (expletive) and die.'”
“In her interview, Fine told officers she just had two dogs die and she was very emotional,” the station reported.
Although ever-diminishing legroom aboard commercial airlines — especially in the economy section — has been an issue for some time, the passenger confrontations in recent days have spotlighted it.
On Aug. 24, two passengers in the Economy Plus section of a United flight got into a fight after one attached a “knee defender” device to the seat in front of him, preventing its occupant from reclining her seat.
The “knee defender”-deploying passenger refused to remove the device at the request of the flight attendant, and the flight was diverted after the woman threw a cup of water at the man behind her.
Just days later, a French passenger got into trouble on a Paris-to-Miami flight after confronting the flight crew about a reclining passenger.
Edmund Alexandre followed a crew member down the aisle after complaining about the seat in front of him. At one point, Alexandre grabbed the arm of a flight attendant. Unfortunately for Alexandre, there were air marshals on board his plane. They detained the Frenchman, who now faces federal charges for interfering with a flight crew.