7 Ways to Survive a Flight in the Middle Seat ...


It’s time to share some ways to survive a flight in the middle seat. We all know how to bag the best seat on the plane right but, what if you failed and you have ended up in a middle seat? It’s not so bad on a short hop, but being confined to the middle seat on a transatlantic or intercontinental flight can seem like a day in purgatory. That is, unless you know how to survive a flight in the middle seat or find a way out of it.

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Ask to Be Re-seated after Take-off

If you’re sitting on a plane before take-off wondering how you’re going to survive a flight in the middle seat, you need not worry prematurely, as there may still be hope! Depending upon the airline that you’re flying with, the time of day and where you’re flying from/to, there may be free seats that you can move to after take-off. If this is not an option however, you may like to ask the flight attendants if it’s possible for you to change seats with another passenger, as someone else may also be dissatisfied with their window or aisle seat.


Once the seatbelt sign has been turned off, take the chance to glance around the cabin for any empty seats. It's not uncommon for flights to have a few unoccupied spots, especially if it's not peak travel season or the flight isn't a popular route. Be sure to approach the flight attendants politely; they understand the discomfort of a long journey in a middle seat and will often be sympathetic to your plight. If you're able to relocate, make sure to do so quickly and efficiently to minimize any disturbance to fellow passengers.


Invest in the Controversial Knee-defender Device

A somewhat controversial device, the “knee-defender” is a small plastic clip-like device that locks the seat in front of you in the upright position. (Purchase here gadgetduck.com ) While this may not be the politest way to survive a flight in the middle seat, tall passengers who have experienced having their legs crushed by the discourteous travellers in front of them, may not be too worried about manners on a long haul flight!


The Knee-defender might raise some eyebrows, especially from the unlucky person hoping for a nap inclined backward, but let's face it – personal space is a rare commodity in economy class. Think of it as your little piece of real estate protection. Rather than enduring discomfort and potential knee bruises, assert your space with this nifty gadget. Be prepared for potential confrontations, though; you might want to have a polite explanation ready. After all, you're not stopping their comfort, you're preserving yours! Remember, mutual respect goes a long way even at 30,000 feet.


Keep Busy

Keeping busy is certainly the most productive way to survive a flight in the middle seat. Why not upload all those books you’ve been meaning to read to your Kindle for the flight, or watch all of the movies you’ve missed whilst you’ve been busy working? You may even like to get a head start on some work if you’re on a business trip, or read up on your holiday destination if you’re going on vacation. Thinking about ways to keep busy before you board the plane is also a great way to make sure that you won’t run out of things to do during your flight.


Make Good Use of Your Tray Table

The worst thing of being in the middle seat on a long haul or overnight flight is being unable to sleep. Very few people are able to comfortably sleep upright, and your neighbours will most likely be rather unappreciative if you fall asleep on their shoulders. In situations like these however, your tray table can come in extremely handy! All that you need to do is place your pillow or rolled up jacket on your tray table, and voila, you have somewhere comfortable to fall asleep. If not, invest in one of those inflatable neck pillows so at least your head won’t be rocking forward.


While it may seem like a makeshift solution, this little trick can be a game-changer in terms of comfort. Positioning it just right, you can create a sort of 'nest' that mimics the angle of a recliner. This makeshift bed will help your body relax more than you might expect in the cramped quarters. Don't forget to adjust the tray table height, if possible, to suit your size and preferred sleeping position. And if you’re worried about cleanliness, a disposable tray table cover or a large scarf can offer a hygienic barrier between you and the table.


Mark Your Territory

Another of the bad things about flying in the middle seat is being sandwiched between the neighbouring passengers, with basically no room for your arms or legs. An essential tip for those looking to survive a flight in the middle seat is consequently to mark your territory early. If you strive to be the first in your row and claim the arm rests and leg room as your own from the very beginning however, you will find the flight to be a lot more enjoyable. After all, one guy has the window and the other the aisle – they shouldn’t begrudge you that little morsel of extra comfort.


Asserting your space immediately can be done politely; a subtle yet effective strategy is to place a small item like a book or a travel pillow on your side of the armrests. While body language also plays a pivotal role, a casual draping of the arm over the rest or a gentle placement of the legs can establish your position without a word being said. Remember to be considerate and flexible, though; a flight is a shared experience, and reciprocal respect goes a long way in ensuring a peaceful journey for everyone involved.


Use the Bathroom before Take-off

Trying to climb your way over your neighbour in order to get to the bathroom is just one of the many challenges of surviving a flight in the middle seat; and unless you’re a trained yogi or Olympic gymnast, you most likely don’t want to have to try this! It is therefore essential that you make sure you use the bathroom before take-off and take advantage of any time that your neighbour decides to get up to stretch their legs.


Be proactive about your comfort. Pre-flight hydration is crucial, but drink modestly if you're trapped in the middle. Scheduling your fluid intake can minimize inconvenient trips to the loo, especially when both seatmates are in the land of nod. If the seatbelt sign dims, seize that moment! A discreet, “Excuse me, I need to step out,” is all it takes. It's not just about relief; it's a chance to keep your legs from cramping. No one wants to do the awkward shuffle more than necessary, so time your breaks wisely and avoid the mid-flight squeeze.


Headphones Are Your Friend

Sitting in the middle seat can potentially expose you to chatterboxes on two separate fronts, which for most people can be extremely frustrating on a long haul flight. The best way to survive a flight in the middle seat is therefore to buy yourself a nice new set of headphones, which you can wear for the duration of the flight. You need not actually listen to anything, but people will assume you are and keep the annoying chatter to a bare minimum.

There are some times when being really polite and generous of spirit is to your own detriment. It really can be a terrible start to a trip if your 12+ hour flight is uncomfortable. Don’t go upsetting anybody just to survive a flight in the middle seat, but fight your own corner too. Does being in a middle seat bother you?

(p.s. if you want some tips on how to bag the best seat on the plane check this out travel.allwomenstalk.com)

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Don't go upsetting anybody, you say?? Do you not think the person stuck in the middle seat in front of you might be upset if you use that rude knee defender device? How about that person in the window seat who might have to use the restroom while you are draped across your tray table sound asleep? Unbelievable how self-involved some people can be!

How many people are actually going to go to the Middle East?

Recline away!!!! What's the point if you can't agitate the person sitting behind you - lol

Very helpful

I think a neck pillow would work better than using the tray table...I wouldn't want to block anyone and prevent them from going to the lavatory or anything!

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