They could decide that stewards and stewardesses may decide who wins these disputes. Or have someone special on the plane just for the purpose. Or have specific rules to be applied.
Someone should be allowed to use a knee defender but then the person attempting to recline should be allowed to complain. If the person using the knee defender can show them reclining that far would be too burdensome they should be allowed to use it. If not then the airline should tell them to take it off.
In any case the disputants should be told at the beginning of the flight that they are to civilly press a button for assistance and then complain, they are not to shout or swear and definitely not to assault the other passenger. And if they do then the other passenger will automatically be ruled in favor of.
Let's face it, traveling can be a pain. There's security, delays and cramped quarters. And it seems every year, airlines are taking more and space away from its coach travelers. In an already compromised "personal space" situation on a flight, passengers who are seated in front of us have the option of taking away even more of our precious personal space when they decline their seats. Unless it's a chain reaction of declining seats, someone is losing out. For airlines who refuse to either provide more space for its passengers or disengage the reclining features, the knee defender is the only option to prevent further space intrusion.
Two years after this debate, my answer hasn't changed: As far the airlines allow reclinable seats, people has to understand the space behind and filled by the upper-half back of that seat belongs to the user of that seat. If there are people feeling uncomfortable about that, they could think aforethought and asking the casher to ubicate them in front row or "emergency exit" seats or paying the airline for his/her seat AND the seat in front of him/her.
However, I'm also sympathetic about them and I support their askings for non-reclinable seats (with the sole condition these are ergonomic) or related alternatives.
There should be absolutely no debate on this. By using a knee defender you are violating someone else's right, assuming no agreement was made between you and the other passenger. No one should sacrifice for your selfish need. If necessary you need to politely ask to the person in front of you. What if he or she says no? Well tough luck because they have just as much right as you do.
I understand that people do not like being intruded upon while flying, but you chose to fly, and to fly in economy! I completely understand that most people cannot afford first class, but if you're that concerned about legroom, fly in extended legroom seats, like Economy Plus on United, or don't fly. You're flying on a plane. It's not your plane. You don't get to decide if other people recline.
I don't think it is a good idea to have people se the knee defender. I think it is going to cause a lot of issues and more frustration for travelers. People are going to want to recline and can not and will lead to arguments and even worst. I feel they should just ban them and save all the turmoil.
No, I think that is very rude. I think people should have the ability to let the seat back a bit if they want to. I'm not shore a knee defender is the right answer to this problem anyway. I feel that there needs to be more understanding on people sitting behind.
No, passengers on commercial flights should not be allowed to use knee defenders, because they are unfair to the passengers around them. Having the seat in front of you recline is part of what you sign up for when you buy an airplane ticket. The passengers should be able to buy a seat knowing they can recline if they want to.