Exclusive! Kicked Off A Plane Over Air Seat Rage
Original Airdate: 9/5/14
He's the businessman who sparked an uproar mid-flight when he used a gadget to stop a passenger in front of him from reclining her seat.
James Beach was kicked off the plane and the incident triggered a national debate about the right to recline.
It happened two weeks ago on a United flight from New York to Denver.
INSIDE EDITION set up two rows of typical airline seats so Beach could demonstrate what happened.
Beach wanted to work on his laptop, so he used a device called the "Knee Defender," which consists of two plastic hooks that slot into the arms of the tray table and stop the seat in front from reclining.
Demonstrating how the device works, Beach instructed, "You slide the device down the arm of the tray table and you push it into the seat and it locks into place."
Unfortunately, the woman sitting in front of Beach really wanted to recline her seat.
Beach described what happened next, "The flight attendant tried to see what was going on and I said 'I have her seat locked.' The flight attendant asked, 'How do you lock her seat?' and so I showed her the device."
It turns out the Knee Defender is banned by most airlines and Beach was asked to remove it, which he did. That's when, he says, the woman in front slammed her chair back.
Beach recalled, "The force was powerful. She was pissed off when she found out I had it locked."
Beach shoved the chair right back and started to reinstall the Knee Defender, but the woman stood up and threw a cup of soda at him.
"I was in complete shock," Beach remembered.
The flight was diverted to Chicago and James Beach and the woman were kicked off.
Dr. Phil told INSIDE EDITION, "We've got to work together on this stuff. So somebody comes in, blocks the seat in front of him, so that person is sitting up the whole time. They're not blocking their own seat so they don't recline. I mean, come on, you've got to have some empathy here and understand what's going on."
INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney asked Beach, "Do you regret the way you handled it?"
"Absolutely," Beach replied.
Beach says he is sorry he lost his temper and he learned a lesson he wants to pass on to his three children, Emma, Will and Addy.
"Take the high road and don't let your anger take the best of you," Beach warned.
Despite the embarrassing mid-air squabble, James Beach says he's going to keep fighting the recliners.
"Don't you think they have the right to recline their seats?" McInerney asked.
"My conclusion over the last week is you have the right to do it, but not without my consent," Beach said.