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Aisle Seat Coveters

Austin, Texas
1 post
2 reviews
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Aisle Seat Coveters

So before I took my recent trip out of the country, I lurked on these forums a lot. I read a few stories about crazy people trying to get aisle seats when they didn't reserve/weren't assigned one, but I never thought I would experience it!

I have a deteriorating SI joint, and being able to stretch out my legs a bit allows me some pain relief. Knowing this, I booked early and paid an extra fee to choose an aisle seat on my flights to and from Europe. On the way there, no problem. On the way back...oh, boy.

I was in a row of three seats. In the middle seat was an older (70s or 80s) woman and in the window seat was an older (60s or 70s) man. While apparently not together, they were both quite late, boarding the plane just before the door was closed. Both boarded unassisted, and both seemed quite hale (though I would hate to make assumptions).

From the moment each of them saw me (I am 29 but look about 17 -- I get carded to buy lotto tickets, I am physically small, quiet and generally non-confrontational...keep this in mind for later!) it was ON. I stood up quickly with a smile to allow the two of them into their seats. The woman says something like, "oh, it must be so nice to get an AISLE seat." Then she stands there for about fifteen seconds just staring at me. Gentleman has already taken his seat, and it is awkward and uncomfortable. I suppose she was waiting for me to offer to give up my aisle seat. With a huff, she takes her seat.

Gentleman leans across woman in the middle and says, "did you have to do something to get an aisle seat? Think they'd save them for the people who need them." I smiled nervously and said, "yes sir, I booked far in advance and paid an extra fee. I've had extensive surgery and I will be having my hip replaced later this year or early next, and being able to stretch a little and take pressure off my hip and spine is very helpful." He gives me stink eye and says, "uh-huh," like he doesn't believe anything I've said. I happen to glance at the woman in the middle, and she is rolling her eyes. At the time, I thought at the gentleman...HA!

Throughout the first half hour of the flight, the woman continues to make comments each time she opens her carry-on (stored under the seat in front of her) about how much easier it would be to maneuver if she had an aisle seat like mine. Each and every time she digs through her bag, she jabs me HARD with her elbow, even when I am crammed on the far side of my seat and there should be no way to "accidentally" hit me that hard. When the refreshment trolley comes, she reaches across for her drink and says to the attendant, "so sorry I have to reach! I don't have a nice aisle seat like this young girl, you know." She gives the attendant (a very kind gentleman much closer to my age than hers) a pointed look that I guess meant, "don't you agree that she is a terrible person?"

For the first two hours, the gentleman in the window seat kept getting up every 5 to 6 minutes. Of course, we had to shuffle to let him pass. Each time, he would make some sort of comment about how much easier it is to get up and down when one has an aisle seat. Occasionally he would visit the loo, but mostly he just walked up and down the aisle before coming back. Finally, the attendant came over and told him that other passengers were trying to sleep and that if he didn't need the facilities, he needed to stay in his seat. He crossed his arms and pouted like a 5-year-old and started mumbling under his breath. All I caught was "aisle seat."

About three hours in, I put on my headset, started a movie I'd seen before and pretended to be asleep while I listened to the dialogue. About four hours in, I really *did* fall asleep. Immediately, the lady in the middle was elbow-jabbing me. I woke up and took off my headset.

"You need to move. I have to use the restroom."

Gritting my teeth, I stood and let her pass. At this point, I had just had enough and some little imp took over my body. As she headed down the aisle I said, "maybe you'll fine some manners in there!"

She turned, looked shocked, and then hustled off. When she came back, she mumbled "sorry" as she took her seat. Neither of them bothered me for the (relatively short) remainder of the flight.

What in the world makes people who didn't reserve an aisle seat think they're entitled to one...especially to the extent of bullying someone else?!

Crazy people!

1. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

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Removed on: 2:01 pm, October 20, 2013
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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15,241 posts
72 reviews
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2. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters


Unfortunately there are just some people who do this kind of stuff.. I'll call it the passive aggressive stunts, that make travel (which for many is already hard) harder.. but in the end, they're there.. and you've got to find a way to deal with it.

While this is very much "Monday morning quarterbacking" if you will, I tend to be a fan of direct contact.. that's not to say you start an argument or altercation-- but sometimes a direct conversation works..

I might have said "I am sorry you didn't get an aisle, I really am.. however, in my case I did reserve and pay for it in advance. Therefore, I'd really be very appreciative if you extended me the courtesy of being a bit more cautious with your elbows as you move around. This is the same courtesy I will of course extend you."

Travel Safe,

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
4,753 posts
16 reviews
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3. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

To all the people who don't understand about couples who don't like being split up during a long flight - here's a perfect example of why they feel that way. When you sit with someone you know, it really cuts down on the amount of stupidness that you have to endure from other passengers.


Exeter, United...
Level Contributor
1,190 posts
57 reviews
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4. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

There are also those who covet window seats and love to lean right over into you to look without any warning.

You just can't win!

May I say that I thought you handled the situation admirably. There are many, for a whole gamut of reasons, who feel a sense of entitlement wether because of age, status ( real or imagined). If one just seeks to be well mannered that is all one can do.

Level Contributor
1,350 posts
11 reviews
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5. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

Good for you. I think you handled this quite we'll. Why people think they deserve something for nothing is beyond me! You did the smart thing by booking early and reserving a seat. Maybe they'll learn a lesson and reserve a seat in the future.

By the way good luck on your surgery- and don't take any grief from anyone!

Motherwell, United...
Level Contributor
2,645 posts
57 reviews
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6. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

I find it weird that so many people covet the aisle seats.

As a relatively big guy I much prefer the window seat so that no-one will annoy me or vice-versa. I tend to go to the loo before departure and stay in my seat until landing if possible. That way I can sleep uninterrupted for a long period of the flight.

My other half can of course still cause havoc in the middle seat of 3 ;-)

Kind regards


Edinburgh, United...
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2,016 posts
45 reviews
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7. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

Can't believe that, I never fail to be shocked and disappointed at some peoples lack of manners and general human kindness.(you'd think id learn right enough!) Good for you for not lowering yourself and still making your point! It clearly worked :-)

Level Contributor
5,600 posts
43 reviews
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8. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

My husband prefers the window but I do not. I have long legs and many aircraft have a window side curve that occupies some of the legroom. I am content to let anotehr passenger take the middle seat--we don't require to be side by side and we don't chat much. Many men are content to sit for long hours without visiting the lav. Many women need to visit more often. We usually prefer the starboard side so I can lean aisleward to sleep and he can lean into the window--much the way we sleep. To each their own!

I doubt many people would be as diplomatic as GOPBI suggests but it is a great theory. My handling would be more "imp-driven".

Destination Expert
for Israel
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33,909 posts
30 reviews
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9. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

I think you deserve a medal for self-control. Waaay before you made your comment to the women I would have told her that I reserved the aisle in advance and if she didn't like it she can, next time she flies do the same. I would NOT have shared my medical need or the fact I paid for it. ( unless ALL advance seat reservations require payment) If all do I would indicate, I opted to pay for advance seat reservations, no one stopped you from doing the same. I also would have commented after I was jabbed. While the two of them were muttering I probably would have told them, if they don't like the way the airline runs they can complain to the airline. ( or post a rant on TA--since you know what would have happened here -:)

I always sit in an aisle. I get up frequently and I like it. I understand people climbing over me BUT this is reasonable and there is vindictive. I don't deal well with vindictive and as I said above, I will respond.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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53,911 posts
15 reviews
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10. Re: Aisle Seat Coveters

I am very keen on aisle seats. When I choose one, I do so knowing that I will have to get up when those in the other seats will have to use the washroom, and when the person sitting next to me says 'excuse me, would you mind if I ...' then up I get so they can make their way.

Had I been in a situation similar to the one 789ct described, I would have been sorely tempted to feign sleep from wheels up to wheels down after the initial comments from the other two pax.

The pax in the window and middle seats were well out of order.