It has become clear to me that a lot of travelers are not clear on how to get to a non-aisle seat politely. I’ve covered it before, but after a recent flight I figure a rehash is in order. On this particular flight a few weeks ago I had the aisle seat, and when I got to my row I stowed my bag and sat down with my book. I never put my seatbelt on until everyone is seated so I can stand up and get out of the way easily. As I sat there reading my book, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the line wasn’t moving anymore. I glanced up and realized there was a young guy standing there, just staring at me. He hadn’t said anything, so who knows how long it would have taken me to see him if I had been more into my book! I quickly jumped up and he slid into the window seat without a word.
A few minutes later, I was reading my book again when someone just started squeezing in front of me. It completely took me by surprise—I didn’t even see the woman come up! I said, “Hang on a minute!” and again jumped up to get out of the way.
When I have to get into the middle or window seat, I will smile at the person in the aisle-seat and say, “Hi! I’m sitting there.” Then I pause, giving them a chance to get up. If by chance someone doesn’t move I will ask them politely if they mind getting up. Sometimes they ask if they should get up, but typically people are happy to stand up and move out of your way. After all, it’s part of the deal with flying.
Readers, what is your experience with the middle and window seat? Do people usually stand up (or wait for you to stand up)?