Skift Take

U.S. airlines will have to come out and be more vocal about whether they explicitly ban the usage of devices such as Knee Defender, now that it is in the public consciousness. But regular Americans have spoken: they frown upon such devices.

A big national debate is consuming America these days — or at least the poor plebians who fly economy class in airlines.

If you’ve been reading Skift or any other national media, you know what’s happening:

It started after a reclining incident between two passengers on a United Airlines flight led to a nasty exchange of words and liquids, and since then the sales of the world’s most passive-aggressive travel accessory have skyrocketed.

The debate centers around seat reclines on planes, who has the right for more legroom on economy seats, and if it is ethical (and even legal?) to prevent passengers from reclining their seats.

We thought it would be a good idea to ask Americans. The results demonstrate that a majority of travelers are in favor of not allowing the use of Knee Defender.

But it is not as overwhelming as many would hope it to be.

The question we asked Americans over the last few days, using Google Consumer Surveys: “Should airline passengers be allowed to use Knee Defender, a device that blocks the passenger in front of them from reclining their seat?”

» The topline result: Majority of adult Americans, about 66 percent of them, don’t want to allow use of such devices, while about 34 percent of Americans think it is fine.

Important: This survey — not served to Skift users — was administered to about 600 of U.S. internet population from Aug 29-Sep 1, through Google Consumer Surveys. The methodology is explained here. See previous Skift Surveys here.

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» Meanwhile, more American males than females are OK with using Knee Defender and similar devices to block reclining of seats, as the chart shows below, though the difference isn’t drastic.

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» As for the income level, older Americans are more keen on their right to recline, while younger ones are more permissive of using the Knee Defender.

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» Lastly, richer Americans are more keen on defending their right to recline than any other income range in U.S.

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Tags: in-flight, skiftasks

Photo credit: Southwest Airlines newer, skinnier seats, though won't do anything for the seat recline debate. Southwest Airlines

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