No one likes to sit in the middle seat on the airplane.
They are the last seats taken for a reason.
You’re stuck. You can’t get up without asking the aisle guy’s permission. You’ve got nothing to lean your head on like the window lady.
And then there’s the arm rests. It’s a subtle game. Once you’ve established a position, you’d better not move, because the second you lift that elbow, your neighbor is ready to strike. And once you’ve lost position, you can only wait for them to slip up and reach for their water, or scratch their ear.
I think the middle guy should have first rights to both of his arm rests. Aisle guy has his, and he has enough room if he just leans out into the aisle a bit. But beware of the drink cart. Window lady has plenty of room if she just leans toward the window.
So there you go. One arm rest for aisle guy, one for the window lady, and two for the middle guy. Just the way it should be.
There’s another subtle game that is played on airplanes. It’s called the ‘leave me alone, don’t talk to me game”. When you sit down and there are already one or two people on the row, you have to establish early on if you want to have a conversation or be left alone. If you want to be left alone, here are some ideas:
- When your row-mate says hello, look them in the eye, say nothing, and put in your earbuds.
- When your row-mate says hello, pretend you didn’t hear them, and don’t look them in the eye.
- Look busy. Tap away on your phone or laptop, pretend you’re looking at the safety card, rummage in your bag.
- Pretend you’re asleep. Eyes closed the entire flight, no problem. And no conversation.
- Pretend you don’t speak the language. This might backfire when the flight attendant asks what you want to drink.
- Talk about a rare, contagious medical condition that you have.
I’ve seen the opposite approach as well. Once I was on a flight where a guy announced to everyone within earshot that he loved to talk and would probably talk the entire flight. Anyone up for that?
So what have you noticed about armrests or silent treatments on airplanes? Don’t get me started about how rude people can be to families with small children. We were all babies once, right?