Unwritten Rules In The Air.
When I fly, I do my best to get a window seat. There are wondrous things to see, whether it’s the constantly changing cloud formations between here and the mainland or the intricate pattern of squares, circles and rectangles as you fly over corn and soybean fields in the mid-west. And of course there’s also a bit of claustrophobia when I can feel the plane descending and I can’t see out.
The other day, I came across an article about in flight etiquette and was ashamed to admit that of the two issues discussed, I’m guilty of one and have never really been aware of the other.
1. Who controls the arm rest?
This is only an issue in Economy Class, but it should be obvious to any considerate human being that there’s just one arm rest between you and the person sitting next to you. I just never think about that and it’s always well into a flight when I suddenly realize that my arm has been comfortably hogging the armrest.
2. Who controls the window shade?
I confess, I have been blissfully unaware of this one for all these years. As an inveterate window-seat-occupier, I have always assumed: “My window; my window shade.”
Some airlines—Hawaiian Airlines is one—sends a flight attendant around after the meal and when everyone either starts napping or watching their little TV screen directing everyone to lower their window shades.
Next time I fly, I’ll try to remember to share the arm rest, and I’ll lower my window shade half way. Then we negotiate.
There is nothing more horrible than being stuck in a metal tube hurtling through the air on a nice day and not being able to look out the window. When I was traveling frequently between Boston and either Tucson or California for work, I always got a window seat and tracked the geography below. Wonderful things to see! But I had several seat-mates grumble about “all the light” and on one trip the United flight attendant admonished me, “Sir, I thought I told you to lower your window shade!” and she reached all the way across from the aisle and slammed the shade down. Now, on the few flights I take each year, I get an aisle seat and take a good book. No use fighting it. No one on Amtrak has ever told me I can’t look out the window and watch the passing scenery!
Even though I think you are older than me, you must not have my need to visit the bathroom about once every 2 hours. Therefore I always choose an aisle seat if possible. I also choose a seat where someone has already chosen the window but the centre is free, hoping that it will not be allocated. Was lucky both ways to Australia this Christmas although I did not pay to choose a seat and therefore on the return I was given a window seat (however most of the trip was in the dark) but fortunately the guy on the aisle had his family sitting behind us so got up several times allowing me to make 2 trips to the bathroom in 3 and half hours.