Who Gets the Armrest on an Airplane: There is NO Debate

Airplane travel can be a stressful experience. From navigating crowded airports to dealing with cramped seats, airline passengers often find themselves in close quarters with strangers. One common source of tension is the question of who gets the armrest on an airplane. I have had enough of it, Today we will discuss airplane armrest etiquette and offer some helpful tips for maintaining harmony during your flight.


The Window Seat

Airplane seats typically come in rows of three, with window, middle, and aisle seats. The general consensus among frequent flyers is that the person in the middle seat has the most claim to both armrests. This is because the middle seat is considered the least desirable due to its lack of personal space and absence of a window or easy aisle access.


In recognition of these disadvantages, it is generally accepted that the middle seat passenger should have access to both armrests as a small consolation. Meanwhile, those seated in window or aisle seats can enjoy the armrests on their respective sides but this is incorrect. Im positive someone sitting in the middle seat convinced everyone to believe this because everywhere online you look there are a bunch of people agreeing that the middle seat gets 2 armrests.


The reason why the window seat gets the extra armrest is if you look closely at the armrest on newer airplanes such as the 737 Max for American Airlines the number of the seat is placed on the front of the armrest. The armrest on the opposite side of the window also controls the passenger’s seat and is usually where things such as the table trays and seat recliner buttons are located. If you ever sit in the emergency row of an airplane you will notice that there are no flip-down table trays or tv screens in front of you. That is because the table tray is located inside the armrest. If you pull the table tray out then the middle person would not be able to share the armrest with you because the lid flips out towards the direction of the middle seat passenger preventing them from using it.


Sharing is Caring

While the window seat passenger may have dibs on both armrests, it’s essential to remember that airplane travel is a communal experience. If you’re sitting in the window seat, try to be mindful of the comfort of your fellow passengers. Be open to sharing the armrest if someone else reaches for it, and avoid taking up more space than necessary.


If the person sitting next to me wants to share the armrest I normally have no problem with it. I remember one time on a flight coming back from a Thailand trip I just left Los Angeles and was heading to North Carolina. There was this older lady that woke me out of my sleep by poking me. I look up at her and she is pointing at me to move my elbow off the armrest. I thought it was rude so I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. So she does it again. I pointed at the number and letter of the seat that was on the armrest and went back to sleep. Please don’t wake me out of my sleep lol.


Communication is Key

If you find yourself in a situation where armrest usage is unclear or contentious, don’t be afraid to communicate with your fellow passengers. A polite conversation can often resolve any disputes and lead to a more comfortable flight for everyone involved.


For example, you might say, “Excuse me, would you mind if I use this armrest for a little while?” or “I noticed you’re not using the armrest; do you mind if I use it?” By addressing the issue directly and courteously, you can avoid any passive-aggressive behavior or lingering resentment.


Be Flexible

Finally, remember that every flight is different, and passengers may have unique needs or preferences. For instance, someone may have an injury or disability that requires them to use a particular armrest. In these cases, be flexible and understanding, even if it means sacrificing your own comfort for a short time.


In conclusion, airplane armrest etiquette is primarily about being considerate and respectful of your fellow passengers. By following these guidelines and being open to communication and compromise, you can help create a more pleasant flying experience for everyone on board.


Please let me know below in the comments. What are your thoughts about who gets the armrest on an airplane and why? Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

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