Why sitting in the middle seat on a flight doesn’t always mean you get both armrests, according to experts

SITTING in the middle seat on a flight doesn’t mean that you get both armrests, a survey has found.

Flying and going through an airport is somewhere where rules and etiquette are completely different from life outside it.

Those sitting in aisle seats can stretch their legs out (stock image)


Those sitting in aisle seats can stretch their legs out (stock image)Credit: Getty
Getting a good seat on a plane can be the perfect way to start a holiday (stock image)


Getting a good seat on a plane can be the perfect way to start a holiday (stock image)Credit: Getty

An airport bar is the perfect place for a beer at 7am, despite it being frowned on in normal life.

But one contentious area where debate rages over etiquette is whether the person in the middle seat on an air plane gets both armrests on either side of them.

A survey has found that there isn’t a general agreement among travellers that the worst seat in the aisle should get both armrests.

Stuck in between two strangers without much space and only a view of the back of the seat and the back of the head in front of you.

The window seat gets the view and control of the shade while the aisle seat has more room for the flyer to stretch their legs and get up when they want.

A 2023 survey carried out by ticket seller Kayak found that only 43 per cent of air travellers think the middle aisle gets both arm rests.

Meanwhile, it found that 57 per cent of flyers thought this wasn’t the case.

One flyer, Joe Shulz, 38, told USA Today that he flies two or three times a month and agreed with the majority.

He said he viewed the armrests as less of a place to put your arm and more of a physical barrier between the flyers.

“Regardless of whether you chose to sit in the middle, I don’t think you’re entitled to the armrest,” he said.

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“As soon as that person in the middle puts their arms on the armrests, you’re getting jabbed by their elbows.”  

Meanwhile, flyer Ryan Gregg, 49, said middle seat sitters should get both armrests as a matter of common courtesy.

He said: “It’s the one thing you get for being stuck there.”

Behaviour expert Judi James previously told Sun Online Travel that the no man’s land of the armrest is a battle that will never end, because the battle for space is inbuilt into us as human beings.

She said: “Space is something that humans and animals fight wars over – it’s the most inflammatory thing.

“It’s why people whose garden wall if half a centimetre to the right can fight with their neighbours for years. We can’t avoid being territorial.

“We even adopt personal ownership of things that really don’t belong to us, like our chair in the office, or our seat on a plane. It brings out the warrior in us.”

Budget airline launches plane with no middle seats

By Kara Godfrey

AN AIRLINE has ditched the dreaded middle seat on a number of their flights – and has even thrown in some complimentary booze.

Most passengers avoid the middle seat, with the cramped section ditched in favour of the aisle or window.

However, a budget airline has launched a number of flights where you no longer have to worry about being stuck in it.

Canadian Porter Airlines uses Embraer E195-E2 planes, which work on a two by two seating arrangement.

This means you only ever have to pick between the aisle or the window seat.

And despite being a budget airline, they are including a number of extras that others often charge for.

That includes free beer and wine, as well as snacks and WiFi.

If you pay extra, you can then get extra legroom, carry on luggage, two checked-in bags, WiFi and cocktails.

The new flights launching from Toronto to San Francisco, LA and Florida.

The person sitting in the window seat gets a view and can control the shade (stock image)


The person sitting in the window seat gets a view and can control the shade (stock image)Credit: Getty


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