Traveling internationally can generate feelings that are equal parts disappointment and excitement, annoyance and joy. Few things frustrate our friends and clients more than getting into an armrest war with a fellow passenger on a plane or train!
Here are a few best practices we follow to avoid such situations, whether we’re traveling for work or not:
- When your flight is full, the person in the middle seat gets both armrests. They are likely feeling the most squished and should be allowed the extra comfort – and this makes things fair for the two passengers on the sides.
- If you are boarding and see that things may get tight, observe the rest of the plane. If it’s not a full flight, ask your fellow passenger if she/he minds spreading to the sides and leaving the middle seat open. Or, ask a flight attendant to help you move to another row.
- On a train, where it’s typically 2-seats by 2-seats, the person on the window gets the middle armrest because the passenger on the aisle already has an armrest. If someone isn’t cooperating, try to move to a different row. If seats are assigned, ask the conductor to help you transfer to another car with an officially empty seat.
The most important thing to remember is your sense of patience – and if someone is exceptionally difficult, ask an attendant to help you! They are trained in conflict resolution among passengers and can often provide help quickly so that you don’t have to get worked up. And remember to take a deep breath.. no flight or train ride lasts forever; it will be over sooner than you think!
In case you are feeling alone in your armrest frustrations – fear not, and for a knowing laugh about what NOT to do on a plane, check out the Instagram account of @passengershaming (not for tender eyes!)
How do you share the armrest when you travel?