When you’re stuck in the middle

How do I make the most of a middle seat?
print story
print story

Wouldn’t it be nice if they made the middle seats just a little bit bigger? If you always seem to draw the short straw, there are ways to make your trip more palatable.

First, try to check in online as early as possible to sidestep the problem completely. If this fails, ask at the airport counter if any other seats have become available since you checked in.

If you are destined for a middle-seat fate, put as much of your hand luggage in the overhead bin as possible so you can have maximum legroom. Try not to worry about asking the person in the aisle seat to let you out if you need to get in your carry-on. Hopefully, they will be young or slim or both. As soon as everyone is seated, stake your claim on the most comfortable parts of both armrests. This is an unwritten rule of aircraft entitlement.

During the flight, pretend your seatmates don’t exist and that you are in your own little bubble — read, work, watch a movie, meditate, sleep. Keeping busy makes the time go faster. For the sake of convenience, try to time your bio-breaks with everyone else in the row.

And if none of the above will work for you? Simply shell out for the Premium Economy upgrade and be done with it.

Top 10 ways to be a better travel companion

You don’t have to be the life of the party nor as quiet as a mouse — you simply have to go with the flow.

  • Be on time for the airport. No one wants to start a vacation stressed by your tardiness.
  • Don’t be: whiny, fussy, grumpy, hoity, bossy, shirty — or anything ill-tempered that ends in “y.”
  • Never complain unless it is impera­tive to your comfort — and then do it nicely.
  • Don’t fixate — on how bad lunch was, on last night’s mattress, on your aching feet.
  • Be ready to adapt when plans change. Everybody likes a good pivoter! This ability is what sepa­rates travellers from mere tourists.
  • Learn how to nap. Sleeping when you can gives you the energy
  • you need to be an amusing and intrepid travel mate.
  • Know when to shut up — especially if you talk to yourself. No one wants to hear you vocalizing every thought that comes into your head.
  • Be honest. If you need some time alone, say so. If you’re asked for your opinion, give one.
  • Be helpful. Offer suggestions, take your turn at leading or navigating or driving, carry your weight.
  • Be quick with your wallet — no one wants to travel with a tightwad.

Call to action
Do you have a travel question?
Doug has the answer! Email your question to [email protected] and it may appear in an upcoming issue.

more from the author
Photo of Bermuda
Photo of a Senior woman enjoying in the high ropes course
Photo of a tip jar
Photo of a man walking on beach
more travel
Photo of Bermuda
Photo of a Senior woman enjoying in the high ropes course
Photo of a tip jar

We want to hear from you!

We welcome your feedback and want to hear from you. Letters may be edited for length and clarity at the discretion of the editor.