A person on an airplane using both armrests.

End the Debate: Who Gets the Armrests on a Flight?

One of the most challenging decisions when flying is picking your seat. Some prefer to sit at the front of the plane, and others don’t mind the back.

However, no matter which row you choose, the debate about who gets the armrests goes on.

This is a hot-button topic that can ignite fiery discussions among passengers. Which side are you on, and who is right?

Let’s find out!

Passengers Fighting Over Armrests

With three seats and only four armrests, passengers can get a little possessive of where they let their arms rest. If you’re sitting next to someone you love or are close to, it may not be a problem.

However, if you’re next to a stranger taking up more than their share of space, it can lead to a more serious situation.

Avoiding a fight over the armrests requires everyone to follow proper airplane etiquette. Unfortunately, because this debate has been raging for years, it’s clear that not everyone does. We hope to help end the argument so you can peacefully travel the skies.

Who Should Get the Armrests on a Flight?

Airplane seating etiquette dictates that the individual sitting in the middle should get both armrests. This is usually because the middle seat is the least desirable. You don’t have the benefit of the view out the window or the ease of getting out of your seat by sitting next to the aisle.

While the person sitting in the middle has the right to forfeit the armrests by not using them, they have the first right to refusal. However, even if they’re not using them, we strongly encourage you to be kind and leave them available for them.

Giving up an armrest is a small compromise for the luxury of not having to cram yourself between two other individuals.

It’s Not as Clear as You’d Think

Unfortunately, as we mentioned, there’s quite a debate about this topic. Some selfish people will do all that they can to sneak their way into getting the armrest. This can create quite a problem, especially if it’s a long flight or tensions are already high.

While a majority of passengers have no problem following airplane armrest etiquette, some soreheads do. They’ll only think of themselves and do just about anything they can to make those around them miserable.

We wish you the best of luck if you’re unfortunate enough to get stuck sitting next to one of these passengers.

How to Avoid Fighting Over Armrests on a Flight

Luckily, you can do a handful of things to avoid fighting over armrests during your next flight. We’ve compiled a few tips to ensure everyone in your row has a smooth flight and gets along.

A person reading in an airplane while using the armrest.

Follow the Unwritten Rule

Regardless of your seat, it’s always best to follow the unwritten rule that the middle seat gets both armrests. Following this rule helps ensure you don’t upset those in your row. No matter how long your flight, everyone can rest their arms without worrying about creating a scene.

Problems can arise when you buck the trend or go against the grain. Your fellow passengers will likely know this expectation unless it’s their first flight. This is why most people interpret it as rude if a passenger in the aisle or window seat takes up the middle seat’s armrests.

Be Courteous and Communicate

The next thing you can do is to be courteous and communicate with your fellow passengers. Being respectful can go a long way in your interaction with them. Sometimes, they may not know what they’re doing is rude or might not be paying attention.

Giving them a soft and gentle reminder that you’re in the middle seat may be all you’ll need. However, make sure you do it calmly and peacefully.

If you come across as rough or aggressive, it will likely cause the situation to go south quickly. You don’t want to escalate the problem or make a mountain out of a molehill.

Share the Space

When all else fails, share the space. Unfortunately, this may mean that you sacrifice getting to use the armrests. Depending on the length of the flight, this may not be that big of a deal.

Again, it’s best not to make the situation any bigger than it needs to be. As Green Day’s song reminds us, nice guys finish last.

Are you wondering if RV life is for you? These 5 RV YouTubers share what RV life is really like!

Use Alternatives

When possible, it’s always a great idea to use alternatives. You can place jackets, pillows, or other items between your hips and the armrest. This will give you a soft place to rest your arms without taking up the armrest.

Additionally, remember that there’s often a tray table in front of you that comes down. If you need a place to relax your arms, you can put it down and lay your arms on it. Armrests are a more natural and comfortable position. However, this can do the job in a pinch.

Empty airplane seats before boarding.

Offer a Compromise

Finally, the last available option is to consider a compromise. This can take some effort to work out but allows both passengers access to the armrests for an equal amount of time.

If you’re able to negotiate a compromise, everyone wins. However, ensure it’s fair and all parties are happy with the outcome.

Share the Armest with Your Fellow Passengers

While the unwritten rule states that the middle seat gets to use both armrests, the important thing is that everyone is happy. If you’re not in the middle seat and need to use both armrests, communicate with the person sitting next to you.

They’ll likely have no problem offering it up, especially if you have a medical condition or share with them.

Do you have any other tips to ensure a peaceful and comfortable flight? 

If You Want the Latest Travel News, Join Our Mailing List

Don’t rely on biased RV industry news sources to keep you informed. Stick with Nomadic News. We publish articles and breaking stories that matter to you every weekday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Article

New Grand Design Rig Attempts To Compete With Airstream

Next Article
A man running away from a bear.

The Wrong Way to Handle a Bear Encounter

Related Posts