Who gets the armrest in the middle? Is the answer just plane common sense?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, May 31, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    http://www.courier-journal.com/arti...ommon-sense-?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Home|p

    Airplane armrest unrest can start with a nudge, progress to a shove and develop into full-scale combat as you soar through the clouds.
    You may have just dealt with this issue jetting to or from your Memorial Day destination. It's a question that has baffled frequent fliers forever: In a three-person side aisle, who is entitled to the middle armrests?
    “It's a battle with many people, and there is no simple solution,” said John Safkow, a veteran United Airlines flight attendant and creator of cheeky airline information site marthastewardess.com. “They just have to work it out.”
    Some flight attendants and etiquette experts believe in the concept of middle-seat privilege — that the man or woman in that seat has a rightful claim to the coveted armrests. And others, like Safkow, do not think the center-seat occupant is the undisputed master of the armrests.
    During one armrest conflict, Safkow did side with the woman in the middle. But it was chiefly because the guy in the window seat was a colossal jerk.
    “To raise or to lower the armrest is a big issue,” Safkow said. “He wanted the armrest up, she wanted it down — most people do. He was trying to recline over into her space. He was just going to camp out and make her miserable because some people have this entitlement issue going on when they get on the airplane.”
     
    Bob Smolinsky likes this.
  2. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    The guy in the middle owns the armrests... that's just a known fact, since he has the crappiest of all seats. If he/she doesn't want them, then feel free. :)

    As to the armrest being up or down, that's clear cut as always... if I don't know you, the armrest stays down. We're not that close buddy... stay over there.
     
    Jimgotkp, bbbb, rwoman and 7 others like this.
  3. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Good point. It gives the middle seat holder a minior perk in a dismal situation.
     
  4. sparxe
    Original Member

    sparxe Silver Member

    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    63
    Status Points:
    210
    Agreed. That's the best barrier there is.
     
    Exiled in Express likes this.
  5. FetePerfection
    Original Member

    FetePerfection Silver Member

    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    981
    Status Points:
    700
    I recall seeing a video some years back that covered passenger etiquette. The video was pretty specific about the poor guy stuck in the middle and to let him have priority over the arm rests.

    Regarding arm rests up or down, for me, never up when it's a total stranger - that's just too close. Ick...who does that?
     
    Blue Skye likes this.
  6. SC Flier
    Original Member

    SC Flier Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,851
    Likes Received:
    30,839
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Middle seat gets the middle armrests. If a window or aisle seatholder wants (or needs) the armrests, then they can offer to trade seats with the middle seat passenger.
     
  7. mhnadel
    Original Member

    mhnadel Silver Member

    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    318
    Status Points:
    520
    Unfortunately in my experience, men always believe they own all armrests if they are sitting next to an unrelated woman.
     
    Freddie Listo, rofly, kayet and 4 others like this.
  8. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,629
    Likes Received:
    148,027
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Middle seat has arm rest......
     
    Freddie Listo likes this.
  9. SC Flier
    Original Member

    SC Flier Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,851
    Likes Received:
    30,839
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Shouldn't this rule be printed in the safety information card? (...and shouldn't there then be a slot on the outside side of the middle seat armrest into which this card could be inserted?)
     
  10. craz
    Original Member

    craz Silver Member

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    234
    Status Points:
    425
    if the armrest should be Up or down is easy , as long as 1 of the 2 doesnt want it Up it should stay Down.

    As for who gets to use it , I say it depends who gets their arm onto it 1st, and that the person in the middle doesnt own both armrests. Many times the IFE stuff is on the rest between the 2 seats especially if seated at the Window, other times the tray for the person in the window or aisle seat is also in that armrest

    and what about when there are only 2 seats yet they too share an arm rest? 717s,767s,MD-80s & 90s have 2 seats on at least 1 side (both sides with the 767s)
     
  11. gobluetwo
    Original Member

    gobluetwo Silver Member

    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    1,012
    Status Points:
    825
    I agree that middle seat gets the arm rests. What I do find a bit of an annoyance, though, is if the row I'm in has the tray tables in the arm rests and I constantly have to ask the person to move their arm so I can open/close the tray table. I feel bad constantly bothering them, but that's the just the way it is, some things will never change.
     
  12. Exiled in Express
    Original Member

    Exiled in Express Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Likes Received:
    6,837
    Status Points:
    4,410
    Middles seat gets both in a 3 seat row, window gets it on a 2 seater. The only reason the arm rest comes up is if I am going to attempt sleeping over the entire row.
     
    viguera likes this.
  13. SC Flier
    Original Member

    SC Flier Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,851
    Likes Received:
    30,839
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Anyone using the armrest has the obligation to give reasonable right of way to the IFE controls and tray table. Anyone wanting access to the IFE controls and tray table has an obligation to be courteous in such a request (until reason is given to throw courtesy out the window).

    Similarly, anyone in the middle and/or inside seats has an obligation to give right of way for the window seat occupant to get into the aisle. Unfortunately, some people don't realize that this may mean that they should actually get out of their seat to let them out -- even in many exit rows.
     
  14. RSSrsvp
    Original Member

    RSSrsvp Silver Member

    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    154
    Status Points:
    420
    Not true, if she is attractive and isn't wearing a ring I always offer to share it. :cool:
     
    bbbb and viguera like this.
  15. Bob Smolinsky
    Original Member

    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    14,569
    Status Points:
    10,575
    Common sense for rational people.....middle has the priority for placement.....
     
    bbbb likes this.
  16. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    Yeah if you're dealing with 2 seats and it's a stranger, the armrest definitely stays up. Problem is that people "drift" into your general space... and if they fall asleep that can only mean trouble. More than once I've seen someone stray into someone else's seat, and even though the armrest wouldn't completely stop it, just the physical contact with the thing is enough to jar someone into going back into their own space, even if they're sleeping.

    Sadly, common sense is not necessarily common, and you have people that figure they'd rather get that extra inch or two of space, even at the risk of bumping into a complete stranger.
     
  17. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    6,846
    Likes Received:
    12,715
    Status Points:
    11,770
    Interestingly on my flight yesterday I went to sit in my seat (I was late boarding) and found the gentleman seated in the aisle seat in my row had raised the arm rests on the entire row. I took my window seat and the young woman behind me took the middle seat. I lowered my arm rest to be polite but the other man seemed to be blocking the woman from lowering her arm rest with his elbow.

    It was interesting seeing two strangers maneuver around these issues. He clearly thought he needed the additional space, she clearly thought she didn't want him to have unrestricted access to her personal space.
     
  18. torbster
    Original Member

    torbster Silver Member

    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    1,370
    Status Points:
    775
    Two people can use one armrest if one's arm is in front / behind the other's, but it's easiest if one seat is reclined and the other not..

    But maybe something like this could be the future?:
    [​IMG]
     
    sobore, RSSrsvp and SC Flier like this.
  19. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    Then people would be fighting over who goes outside/inside the armrest. :)
     
    torbster likes this.
  20. SC Flier
    Original Member

    SC Flier Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,851
    Likes Received:
    30,839
    Status Points:
    16,520
    We can consider that when it's no longer necessary to give instructions and a demo about how a seatbelt works.:rolleyes:
     
    travelingmore, ctporter and torbster like this.
  21. Take.me.away

    Take.me.away Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    46
    Status Points:
    95
    Agreed, until, especially if in the middle, I make it clear that at lest PART of the real estate is gonna be mine! :eek:
     
  22. N965VJ
    Original Member

    N965VJ Silver Member

    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    818
    Status Points:
    635
    I wouldn't want my arm wedged in there during during a sudden deceleration, or moderate-severe turbulence. :eek:
     
  23. wolfsatz
    Original Member

    wolfsatz Silver Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    119
    Status Points:
    320
    Good heavens! Yes, the middle seat should get priority for the armrest, it's the one benefit they get for the crappiest seat on the plane. And who puts the armrest up when seated next to a stranger, seriously??
     
    Bob Smolinsky, bbbb and travelingmore like this.
  24. BurBunny
    Original Member

    BurBunny Silver Member

    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    375
    Status Points:
    475
    Unfortunately, in the era of IFE, not going to happen.
     
  25. Makes sense that middle seat would get it, but I didn't figure this out until very recently, and I consider myself a fairly savvy traveler. Unfortunately, now that I know this, I just get angry when others take "my" armrests. I usually travel in the middle seat as I kindly let my hubby take the window, and I do demand the armrest between us.
     

Share This Page