traveltips.wpengine.com interviews Pauline Frommer, renowned Guidebook Author and travel expert, at the 2015 Travel & Adventure Show, as she answers the age old question: Aisle or Window? She also goes on to explain a bit about airplane etiquette involving armrests.
So, aisle or window? AISLE! You don’t want to feel trapped when you are flying, especially when traveling long distances. There is easier access to the bathroom, and you get the welcomed feeling of having more space. However, while sitting in the aisle is widely preferred, window seating also has its benefits. If you are wanting to sleep on the plane for instance, the window seat is where you want to be. The window is also preferable when traveling with kids or an infant. Privacy then becomes an issue when nursing your baby, or simply getting them to sleep.
So now that we know the best seat to sit in, let’s discuss airplane etiquette. Which armrests actually belong to which person? Is it acceptable to put your seat back down? Or what to do when you want to sleep and you’re sitting next to Chatty Kathy.
First, armrests: According to Frommer, everyone should have great sympathy for the person stuck in the middle seat. Therefore, she believes that that person owns both of the armrests to either side of them, and the luckier people sitting in the aisle and window seats have the other armrest to the inside or outside respectively. She says to be nice and have sympathy because the person sitting in the middle is in a horrible position as it is.
Now to reclining your seat. There is a debate on whether or not people should be allowed to recline ones seat. While some say, if it reclines, go for it, and others think it’s an invasion of space for the person behind you. The trick here is to first look at the person sitting behind you. Are they tall, short, working on a laptop, or sleeping. If they are short or already sleeping, it is likely that putting your seat back won’t bother them, however if they are tall or working, you might want to ask them if it is all right to do so, or just keep your seat upright.
Lastly, what to do with the Chatty Kathy. Experts say if you really don’t want to engage in conversation with your seat mate, then you can slowly open your book and begin to read, or put in your earphones, or if all else fails, shut your eyes and go to sleep. The person sitting next to you should pick up on the hint and stop talking to you.