A few weeks ago, my mom went to New York for work and said it was one of the worst flights she’s ever been on. It was a new plane, so the seats were a little bit smaller, oddly shaped, and hardly reclined at all. Worst of all, she was in the middle seat, and the people next to her took the armrests. It was a little bit understandable for the person in the window seat—that seat had no armrest at all on the other side. But the person on the aisle? Did he really need both armrests?
In my opinion, the right thing to do is let the person in the middle have the armrests. They have to suffer so much already, just let them have it! No matter if you have long legs, or whatever, they still have less room than you do! What’s even worse? Sitting in the middle and having the guy on your right jab you in the ribs with his elbow as he pushes your arm off the armrest, which happened to me once.
Other suggestions for showing the middle seat some love:
Help them when you can. Don’t make them reach over you to grab their beverage from the flight attendant. Be polite when they need to get up to use the restroom. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, these are good etiquette tips for everyone.
Be aware of your personal space. And by extension, of the personal space of the person next to you. Their space is limited enough already without you leaning over to get stuff out of your bag and putting your head in their lap.
Readers, what do you do if you’re in the middle and can’t get an armrest? Suffer in silence? Ask politely to share? Arm wrestle?