Ten Commandments for Middle Seat Passengers

The image shows the interior of an airplane cabin. The focus is on the back of two seats, with passengers seated in them. The seats are upholstered in dark blue leather. The seatback pockets contain magazines and safety information cards. One passenger's hand is visible resting on their lap, and another passenger is seen wearing a cap, looking down. The overall scene suggests a typical in-flight setting.
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The middle seat.  Ugh.

To the unfortunate 20 to 40 percent of passengers on some flights, I hear your cry. While I cannot free you from the burden of the dreaded middle seat, I can declare your unalienable rights to maximized comfort and minimized stress while in the hot seat.

Middle Seat

Thou shalt take possession of both armrests. If flying in a 4 or 5 seat configuration, one must share with the other equally burdened middle seat passengers.

Thou shalt not extend ones arms beyond the armrests. Maximizing your space is appropriate. Invading others is not.

Thou shalt likewise keep ones knees and feet in ones own seat perimeter. Manspreading is not appropriate, even in the middle seat.

Thou shalt not insist on having the armrests up unless you are connected to your adjacent seatmate by blood or intimacy. Its an airline seat, not a sofa.

Thou shalt be afforded equal rights to between seat power supplies. Possession of an aisle or window seat does not increase one’s claim on these shared resources.

Thou shalt not use middle seat privilege to claim more underseat storage than appropriate. And thou shalt definitely not insist on putting your bag in your neighbor’s space while muttering that your legs are too long to stow a bag there.

Thou shalt respect the boundaries of intimacy with strangers. Leaning on, lying on, fondling, or drooling on other seatmates is discouraged (even if you ARE connected to your adjacent seatmate by blood or intimacy). The same applies to excessive storytelling, flatulence and other social curiosities.

Thou shalt not ask passengers with aisle or window seats to trade because you “don’t like the middle”. If proactively offered a swap, extend profuse graciousness and buy a lottery ticket upon deplaning.

Thou shalt be respectful of the public space of the airplane. If your middle seat assignment lands you across the aisle from, behind, or in front of your companions, do not talk loudly across other passengers in the hopes that they will switch seats in an attempt to quiet you.

Thou shalt not block the speedy exit of the window seat passenger when it is time to deplane by claiming “I’m going to wait until all these people in the aisle have time to get where they are going”.

Remember that like head lice, middle seats are usual preventable with proper reservation planning.  See our tips for avoiding crappy seats and plan accordingly for your next trip!

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