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Flight Attendant Reveals Who Gets To Use Middle Seat Armrests

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Flight Attendant Reveals Who Gets To Use Middle Seat Armrests

It's a source of constant debate among holidaymakers - if you're on a plane in a row of three seats and end up in the middle, which armrests are yours?

Do both armrests belong to the passengers either side of you? Are both yours? Do you have to try and share somehow?

Thankfully flight attendant Boris Millan, author of air travel guide The Common Sense of Flying, has answered the question once and for all.

Appearing on podcast Confessions on the Fly about a chapter of his book on plane etiquette, Millan told hosts Laura 'LJ' Salerno and Flight Attendant Jo: "They did a lot of research in the UK for some reason about this - when you sit in the middle seat, you get to have..."

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At this point, LJ cut in to exclaim: "You get both armrests!"

To which Boris agreed: "It's common sense, guys. It's common sense."

Flight attendant and author Boris Millan. Credit: Twitter/@MillanBoris
Flight attendant and author Boris Millan. Credit: Twitter/@MillanBoris

LJ added: "It's just not being a d***."

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There is actually a surprising amount of consensus on this.

Earlier this year, Reader's Digest reached out to etiquette experts (yep, such people do exist) and they all came to the same conclusion.

Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, told the publication: "When sitting three across on a plane, the person in the middle has dominion over both armrests.

"The person on the aisle has the benefit of being able to move freely and has stretching room into the aisle.

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"The person at the window has the benefit of leaning against the window or being able to see the view, when there is something to see.

"Both the person on the aisle and the person on the window are only being potentially touched by one other person.

"But the person in the middle is not able to easily move or stretch, nor is there anywhere to lean.

"Additionally, they are potentially being touched by two others. Therefore, they have control over the armrests."

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If you're in the middle seat, you're entitled to both armrests. Credit: Pexels
If you're in the middle seat, you're entitled to both armrests. Credit: Pexels

Benét J. Wilson, travel writer for The Points Guy, agreed: "The poor person stuck in the middle seat deserves both armrests.

"The window person has the fuselage and control of the shade. The aisle person has access and can put their leg out when the flight attendants aren't serving."

So there you have it - next time you're in the middle seat you can tell your neighbour that both flight attendants and etiquette experts agree you should get both armrests.

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However, Wilson warned the passenger in the middle seat not to get too cocky and start invading the personal space of other passengers.

He said: "Each person needs to stay in their own space. The middle seat person gets the armrests, but nothing more."

Featured Image Credit: Hanna Kuprevich/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Airplane, flight attendant, Flying, travel

Simon Fearn
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