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Argument over legroom causes United Airlines flight diversion

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(CNN) — Do airline passengers have the right to recline?

That simmering debate among fliers escalated Sunday aboard a United Airlines flight that was diverted after two passengers argued over the use of a device that blocks reclining.

A Knee Defender, a gadget that “helps you stop reclining seats on airplanes so your knees won’t have to,” was at the root of the disturbance. The rubber grips attach to tray in front of you  and retails for just over $20.

United Flight 1462 from Newark to Denver was forced to divert to Chicago’s O’Hare airport, according to United Airlines. The airline said that it does not allow the use of the recline-blocking device on its aircraft.

The argument occurred in the Economy Plus section, which provides passengers up to five inches of extra legroom compared with standard coach seats.

Authorities met the aircraft and the two passengers were removed from the plane before it continued on to Denver, United said. The passengers were not arrested.

WSBTV in Atlanta said one of the passengers reportedly threw a cup of water into the man’s face, who used the Knee Defender.

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