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From the Forum

Do You Do the Lav Straddle?

Do You Do the Lav Straddle?
Meg Butler

Fly often enough on flights that are long enough and it’s bound to happen to you: nature calls while you’re sitting in the window seat. But, the stranger next to you is sound asleep, the drink cart is quickly coming down the aisle, and you have a decision to make. Do you try to wake the passenger next to you? Or do you do The Lav Straddle?

I did not know that the awkward scramble over the passenger sitting in the seat between you and the aisle had a name, but now that I’ve read The Lav Straddle in the FlyerTalk forum, I’ll never call it anything else. Says the post:

Seriously, don’t do this. If the aisle passenger is asleep, just wake them up. I actually talk this over before takeoff, esp. on a longer flight. If I’m window or middle, I ASK my rowmates how to best awaken them in case I must.
If I’m on the aisle, I tell them how to wake me and insist they do so if I’m asleep and they need to get up. Honestly, no joke, if I awaken to find someone straddling me with a crotch or butt in my face, I can’t guarantee how I’ll respond.
Crotch-in-face is indeed one of the worst ways to wake up on a plane. But, I have to admit that I’m a lot less direct on a flight. My method is to sort of do an exaggerated, I AM PUTTING MY THINGS AWAY, FOLDING UP THE TRAY TABLE, TURNING IN MY SEAT TO LOOK DOWN THE AISLE TOWARD THE BATHROOM, and hope that the person next to me looks over at me. Then I’ll say “sorry,” half get up and they get the hint and unbuckle their seatbelt to move without either of us saying the word “bathroom.”
And, I have to say, that works 90% of the time. Even when the person has said “wake me,” I find that few people can access a level of sleep⁠—at least not in economy or premium economy⁠—that they aren’t alerted to my movement. When I’m on the aisle, I’m certainly easily alerted to the middle seater’s Pre-Lav Jostle, and wake up to let them out.
I have had to do the lav straddle, however, when flying 2-2-2 business class on a KLM 777-200 that hadn’t gotten the New World Business Class update yet. And, although my seatmate was fully reclined so there was no danger of my rear end being anywhere near his face, it was still very awkward. But the alternative was to shake him awake, ask him to un-lie-flat his seat and let me by which felt more embarrassing.
What I want to know from you all is, do you do The Lav Straddle? or the Talk Before Takeoff? or the Pre-Lav Jostle? Join the convo in the forum thread.
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