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Who Gets The Armrest, and Other Travel Issues: Are the Debates Finally Settled?

Who Gets The Armrest, and Other Travel Issues: Are the Debates Finally Settled?

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Old Mar 29, 11, 10:03 pm
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Who Gets The Armrest, and Other Travel Issues: Are the Debates Finally Settled?

Scott McCartney, “The Middle Seat” columnist for The Wall Street Journal, addresses a number of issues long debated by FlyerTalk members — specifically, issues discussed and debated here in the TravelBuzz! forum.

The panel chosen to answer the following questions include:
  • Anne Loew, veteran flight attendant
  • Gordon Bethune, former Continental Airlines chief executive officer
  • James Vesper, frequent traveler
  • Richard Wishner, frequent traveler
  • Anna Post, etiquette expert
  • Kirk Hanson, Santa Clara University ethics professor

I am unsure as to whether any of the above panelists are FlyerTalk members.

Anyway, see how you answer the following questions before reading the answers given by each of the panelists:
  1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
  2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
  3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
  4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
  5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
  6. Do you recline your seat?
Do you agree or disagree with the panelists?
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Old Mar 30, 11, 12:36 am
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
  1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
  2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
  3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
  4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
  5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
  6. Do you recline your seat?
Before I look at the link...

1. The passenger sitting in the middle seat. Sitting in the middle already sucks, so it is nice to have a tiny bit more space (the armrests).
2. Generally, do nothing.
3. Hold it as long as possible and hope they wake up. But when you gotta go, you gotta go!
4. Ignore it.
5. Ignore it.
6. Not if there is anyone behind me. If there is no one behind me, then I occasionally do.

As an airline employee, I am seen, but not heard (and I try not to be seen).
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Old Mar 30, 11, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
  1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
  2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
  3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
  4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
  5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
  6. Do you recline your seat?
Do you agree or disagree with the panelists?
1) The armrests are shared.
2) Depends on how badly it encroaches, and how long the flight (I'm rather tall myself). If it went beyond what I'd consider reasonable, I'd politely ask if he could move slightly.
3) If you've got to go, you've got to go... That said, I'd generally make sure, if I were in the window seat, that I went before everybody got settled.
4) See if it passes. It usually does.
5) It will pass pretty quickly. Air vents can help dissipate the smell.
6) Depends on circumstances. On a packed commuter flight, no. On an overnight long-haul, yes.
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Old Mar 30, 11, 3:32 am
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1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
They are shared - but I would hope that the aisle and window seat pax wouldn't fight me for them - after all they have one all to themselves - AND the window or aisle.....

2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
Depends just HOW much they encroach on my space and how long the flight is

3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
Hang on as long as I can - but when I gotta go - I gotta go!!


4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
Politely ask accompanying adults to at least get kicking to stop (kids are kids and you can't stop them being loud and/ or restless) - if no result - get crew involved

5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
Break out small bottle of perfume (sort that comes in cosmetic co free gifts) and spray liberally all over me

6. Do you recline your seat?
Yes - but will put it upright during meals and will always go back slowly. Its my seat - and its got a recline button so i am entitled to use it
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Old Mar 30, 11, 8:34 am
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[QUOTE
I am unsure as to whether any of the above panelists are FlyerTalk members.

Anyway, see how you answer the following questions before reading the answers given by each of the panelists:
  1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
  2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
  3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
  4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
  5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
  6. Do you recline your seat?
Do you agree or disagree with the panelists?[/QUOTE]

1: Whomever DOMINTATES gets the arm rests
2: If the encroaching is bad, ask if he can keep his knees out of your space
3: Politely wake them up, or climb over them
4: If they are kicking MY seat back, ask the parents to have them stop. Failing to stop them gets the attn of the FA.
5: Unless the smell is putrid, I will tolerate it. And the loud munching is just an insane question. There are freaking JET ENGINES outside..how loud could they munch?
6: Yes, but never all the way. An inch or 2. If they didn't want us reclining, they would not have installed reclining seats.
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Old Mar 30, 11, 9:12 am
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Are the Debates Finally Settled?

Apparently not.
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Old Mar 30, 11, 9:41 am
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Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
I already read the article, but I'll give my answers anyway:
  1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
  1. Middle seat gets the arm rests.

  2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
Either ask politely that he move, or simply reposition yourself so that you recover your space.

  • You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
  • Wait as long as feasible, then, gently tap shoulders, apologize and get up.

  • On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
  • Call the FA over and object to the disruptive passengers (so what if they're kids)? If it's your seat they're kicking and they don't stop, ask that either they be moved or you be moved (though if you move, it should only be to a better seat).

  • Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
  • Depends on what it is. If it's a "normal" meal, turn on your air vent and try to ignore it. If it's something like durian or stinky dofu, call over the FA and complain.

  • Do you recline your seat?
  • Absolutely, though never during meals.
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    Old Mar 30, 11, 9:50 am
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    Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
    1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
    2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
    3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
    4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
    5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
    6. Do you recline your seat?
    1. I've always felt the middle seat should have first dibs on the armrests (and I never fly middle seat).

    2. Ask him if his name is Larry Craig.

    3. I usually fly aisle seat but if I do have the window I try to get up to use the restrooms when the middle or aisle PAX is also getting up.

    4. Ask the parents if I can have permission to beat their kids.

    5. Try not to be too jealous.

    6. After making sure the PAX behind me doesn't have a computer open.
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    Old Mar 30, 11, 10:03 am
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    Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
    1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
    2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
    3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
    4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
    5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
    6. Do you recline your seat?
    1. Usually I'm able to share with others. Either take the forward or rear part.
    2. Pretend to sleep and lean on him
    3. I will go when aisle seat person gets up (even if I don't really really have to go). If I'm the aisle seat person, I'll usually inform the window seat guy to just wake me up if he needs to get out.
    4. I have always try to endure and sleep it out
    5. Inform the FA
    6. Yes
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    Old Mar 30, 11, 6:41 pm
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    1. Manners and common sense dictate that the middle seat gets the armrest.
    2. Stretch my own to the limit of my seat.
    3. I rarely, if ever, take a bath on a plane. In the unlikely event that I was sitting in a window seat, when my seatmates go to the lavatory I would probably take the opportunity to go then, whether I really need to or not. If I had to go and they were asleep I would gently wake them.
    4. Turn around and politely explain to them that there is no Santa Claus and that their parents have been lying to them. Then tell them that they were adopted.
    5. Turn the air vents on.
    6. In business or first always. In economy: on a short flight probably not, unless the person in front of me reclines and I'm feeling hemmed in. Long or night flight then I probably would, but would try to assess the needs of the person behind me. During meal service never. And when I recline I always do it slowly so that I don't cause chaos behind me (exception here: see my answer to 4.)

    Last edited by BadgerBoi; Mar 30, 11 at 9:39 pm
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    Old Apr 2, 11, 10:26 am
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    Originally Posted by Canarsie View Post
    1. You're in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
    2. A tall man sits down and his knees jut out wide, encroaching on your space.
    3. You're in the window seat and two strangers in the middle and aisle seats are asleep. You have to go to the bathroom.
    4. On a long flight on a full plane, some kids are getting restless, speaking loudly, and kicking seatbacks.
    5. Your seatmate brings a smelly meal on board and loudly starts munching.
    6. Do you recline your seat?
    1. Middle seat gets both. But if they start going past the edge of my side of the armrest, I take it over for as long as possible.
    2. Tough one. As long as it seems like he's trying to contain them, I just lean the other way as much as possible.
    3. I have never needed to go to the bathroom on a flight and only sit in aisle seats or middle seats unwillingly. If the window sitter woke me up to use the bathroom, I'd ask to switch places with them--if he did it twice, I'd insist.
    4. I don't mind the restlessness or loudness, but I can't take the seat kicking. My approach is to look back at the kid first. Then if it continues, I turn around and look at the parents. I've never had it continue after this. If it did, I'd probably just sit and seethe as I'm too chicken to actually say something.
    5. The smell will pass soon enough. I can barely hear fellow passengers talk, there's no way I could hear someone munching.
    6. My first tactic is to try to figure out if the person behind me is reclining. If they are, I immediately do. If I notice them get up from their seat, I also recline right away. If it's not a red eye and I can't figure out if they are reclining and they never get up, I will just slightly recline it. If it's a red eye, I recline slowly, as soon as we are allowed.
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    Old Apr 2, 11, 10:58 am
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    I have this tiny little question: How would you divide the armrest if say there's no middle seat?
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    Old Apr 3, 11, 10:33 am
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    Originally Posted by tothetrail View Post
    3. I have never needed to go to the bathroom on a flight and only sit in aisle seats or middle seats unwillingly. If the window sitter woke me up to use the bathroom, I'd ask to switch places with them--if he did it twice, I'd insist.
    - bolding mine

    And just how would you insist? I usually try for an aisle since I tend to have to go several times during a flight, but there have been times when I've specifically chosen 10A or 10F on certain AA configs (due to more legroom) and still had to get up several times to go. Just try to "insist" on changing seats with me. No way.
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    Old Apr 5, 11, 8:27 pm
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
    - Just try to "insist" on changing seats with me. No way.
    +1
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    Old Apr 6, 11, 4:04 am
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    If you KNOW you need to use the facilities several times during a trip - isn't it a tad selfish to seat yourself by the window so you will have to inconvenience the middle and aisle seat passengers with your constant comings and goings?

    Don't get me wrong - I'm a window seat afficionado myself - but I ensure that I "go" before boarding and really only ask to be let out if I absolutely need to - otherwise I take the opportunity to go when my seat mates do to minimise the need to disturb them.

    Life in the cramped conditions of steerage is hard enough without having to get up and down all the time - particularly when trying to sleep....
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