Delta Flyer Demands Plane Land Over Reclining Seat Fight

Passenger was taken off the plane, but no charges filed.

ByABC News
September 2, 2014, 7:10 AM

— -- A Florida woman aboard a Delta flight flipped out after another passenger reclined her seat and demanded the airline immediately land the plane so she could get off, police said.

So they did.

The flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to West Palm Beach was rerouted to Jacksonville late Monday, the airline confirmed, the third flight diversion caused by passengers fighting over reclining seats in about a week. Police removed the unruly passenger, Amy Fine of Boca Raton, from the plane and, after an interview, she was escorted to the rental car area and released without incident, according to a report from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

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Fine, 32, has not yet responded to a message from ABC News.

The flight landed in Jacksonville at 9:30 p.m., and finally arrived in West Palm Beach around 11 p.m., 90 minutes past its scheduled arrival time. Jacksonville is about a four hour drive from West Palm Beach.

Fine was resting her head on a tray table and became irate after the woman in front of her leaned her seat back and struck Fine on the head, sparking an argument, flight attendants told airport police.

When the staff tried to calm down Fine, she reportedly told one of the flight attendants to "eat sh-t and die," according to the report. Fine told police that two of her dogs recently died and she is very emotional.

Passengers told ABC affiliate WPBF the passenger who reclined her seat was an older woman who was knitting. She was not identified.

"The flight attendant came over, and that just exasperated what was going on, and then [Fine] demanded that the flight land," one flyer told the station. "She said something to the effect of, 'I don't care about the consequences. Put this plane down now.'"

Delta confirmed the diversion in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the captain elected to divert to the closest airport,” the airline said. “Local law enforcement met the flight and removed the passenger.”

Clashes over shrinking legroom contributed to two incidents last week. A Miami to Paris flight landed in Boston Wednesday after air marshals on the plane restrained a man who fought with a passenger trying to recline in front of him, a law enforcement source told ABC News.

That incident came days after a man on a United Airlines flight used a product called a Knee Defender to keep the seat in front of him from reclining. The woman in front, unable to recline, got into an argument with the man and reportedly threw a cup of water in his face. Both passengers were seated in United’s Economy Plus section, which gives fliers extra legroom for an extra fee.

The argument prompted the Newark, New Jersey-to-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago, United Airlines confirmed, adding that the unidentified passengers were not allowed back on when the plane continued on to Denver.