The surprising thing about the recent uptick of in-air passenger disputes over reclined seats isn't that they're happening—it's that they didn't happen more before.

Last week, a couple of travelers were booted off their flight from JFK after one employed an ingenious (and wicked) device called the Knee Defender, a $21 gadget that deprives the person in front of you their right to recline into your lap for their nominal increase in comfort.

On Monday, it happened again, this time with a flight originating at La Guardia brought back to earth after a couple of quarreling passengers battled over what each considered their space.

According to CBS New York, one passenger, who was attempting to catch some rest by hunching over her tray table, found herself rudely awakened by the reclining seat in front of her. Rather than kick her tormenter's chair a few times and move on, however, she demanded the West Palm Beach flight be landed immediately, screaming at flight attendants until the aircraft was eventually brought down in Jacksonville, less than 300 miles north of the plane's final destination.

There are no winners is this war, though the biggest losers are irrefutably the other passengers forced to land within 45 minutes of their destination at the behest of two adult-sized toddlers.

Why do seats recline in the first place? It's clear that we as a species lack the civility to manage this responsibility in a reasonably respectful manner. Has anyone ever been markedly more comfortable after reclining their seat two inches? Has anyone ever happily dozed with their face pressed into the tray table? Moreover, what sort of misanthrope reclines their seat within an hour of arriving at their destination?

If we can't glue the chairs vertically in place forever, passengers should be given air rights to the space surrounding their seats. They can choose to sell the space to their neighbor in front for a standard sum, but the privilege of reclining should no longer be assumed. A similar fee should apply to leg-spreaders and chatterboxes. Problem solved.