NEW YORK — The businessman whose dispute with a fellow airline passenger over a reclined seat sparked a national debate about air-travel etiquette says he’s embarrassed by the way the confrontation unfolded and that he regrets his behavior.
But don’t expect James Beach to stop using the Knee Defender, a $22 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front from reclining. He just plans to be nicer about it.
‘‘I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed by what happened,’’ Beach told The Associated Press on Wednesday. ‘‘I could have handled it so much better.’’
The argument became so tense that the pilots of the Aug. 24 fight diverted the Boeing 737 to Chicago. An AP story about the incident started a broad public discussion of whether passengers should be allowed to recline. In the days that followed, two other flights were diverted under similar circumstances.
Beach, 48, reached out to The Associated Press to clarify a few things about the episode, primarily that he initially complied with flight attendant instructions to remove the device.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week