Marital Bliss: Why My Wife & I Never Sit Together On Flights
My wife and I never sit together on flights, and it makes us both a lot happier. OK, maybe not “never”, but we almost never sit next to one another when flying in economy. Does anyone else do this? It keeps us both happy and comfortable for the flight.
No one likes the middle seat, let’s all be clear about that. In a world of constantly-shrinking seat space, it’s the worst. When choosing seats for a flight in economy, what do you pick? If you’re like us, you choose the aisle seat + the window seat. Then, you hope no one will wind up in that middle seat between you, right?
What if someone shows up for the middle seat?
That person sits in the middle, just like the ticket says. We don’t change seats. Why? First of all, we aren’t going to hold a 4-hour conversation for the whole flight. Second, we’ll probably watch movies or listen to headphones for a good portion of the flight. I’ll probably even work on my laptop for a while. One or both of us might take a nap. If we don’t “need” to be right next to each other, then why not opt for comfort? We’ll keep the seats we like.
In order to not be rude to the middle seat person, we avoid interacting with one another across that person. We don’t pass snacks back & forth or talk over the person. If that person gets up to go to the bathroom or falls asleep, we use those opportunities. That way, the person isn’t “stuck” in the middle of our lives. When people ask, “Are you together? Want to switch?” my wife replies with a bit of a joke. “He’ll probably fall asleep, so it’s like I’m traveling alone anyway.” The lighthearted response is a “no” that doesn’t come off as rude but lets that person know “you’re sitting in the middle”. We’ve never had someone get upset or insist on switching after that reply.
No one likes the middle seat. It’s the most uncomfortable seat in the row. Since neither of us wants it, and we don’t “need” to sit there, we don’t. Obviously, when flying business class (there’s no middle seat) or longer economy flights where we might lean on each other while sleeping, we will switch to give that other person the aisle or window seat. If the flight is a day flight under 5 hours, though, we don’t swap.
We stopped switching seats maybe a year ago. It was my wife’s idea, since she got tired of “your turn, my turn” with the middle seat. Now that we (almost) never sit together on these shorter flights, we both feel a lot more comfortable during the trip. My wife gets the window seat that she likes, and I get the aisle seat that I like. Ideally, no one comes for the middle seat, which is what we know everyone really hopes for.
If that person comes, what do you do? Does anyone else put the stranger in the middle?