Imagine taking 200-300 people, packing them into narrow seats in rows sometimes as close as 28 inches apart, then locking the door and sending the whole assembly five miles into the sky with only vending machine snacks for food.
There is a plastic wedge sold online called "The Knee Defender"
It was created by Ira Goldman, who stands 6'3'' and was tired of being on a flight and having the person in front of him recline the seat smack into his knees.
So, Ira Goldman invented a wedge that fits between the tray table supports and the seat back preventing the passenger in front of you from reclining their seat.
You can then just cross your fingers that they'll think the seat is broken or you can offer the card that comes with The Knee Defender, explaining what you've just done.
It's hard to know which approach is more arrogant.
A passenger used Ira's invention on United Airlines Flight 1462 from Newark to Denver only to discover that the woman in front of him was having none of it.
Both passengers were sitting in United's Economy Plus section, the part of the plane that has four more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.
The fight started when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak.
A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official says. That's when United decided to land in Chicago. The two passengers were not allowed to continue to Denver.
The TSA would not name the passengers.
The plane eventually landed in Denver, arriving 1 hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline's website.
The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.
When "you keep getting your arm whacked by the cart as it comes down the aisle," don't feel guilty, she says. It happens to everybody. "And it's because of the seats."
"It's the wrong dimension. The widest part of your body is your shoulders and arms. And that's much, much bigger than your hips. Several inches wider."
But their customers are the airlines. They're giving the airlines what they ask for which is to test the extremes of how far passengers allow themselves to be squashed into smaller and smaller spaces of discomfort.
This will continue until, and if ever there are enough passengers who also demand that airlines treat them like human beings, not as cows herded into a "cattle pen".
A "cattle pen" is defined in the dictionary as an enclosure for holding livestock. The term describes multiple types of enclosures that may confine one or many animals. It also fits the manner in which the Airline Industry views us as its customers.
All of us need to finally come to understand the only difference between air travel and a cattle pen, is that the cows get nutritionally healthier food to eat than we do.