The Playbook For The Modern Man

A Controversial Answer To The Middle Seat Armrest Debate

Save yourself some embarrassment — and the person next to you a sore elbow.

Battling over the middle seat armrest is an Economy tradition as old as time (and the stale bread roll you will inevitably be served) itself. Do you take the one to your right, leaving the left side for your seatmate? Do you channel your Big Passenger Energy and snake them both? Or do you allow your neighbours to fight amongst themselves and take your pick when they visit the bathroom?

Fortunately for socially awkward people everywhere, Twitter just solved the debate. And for those with a shred of empathy for those who get stuck in the middle seat, the answer might surprise you: the middle seat passenger is not entitled to both armrests.

Posting a personal-space poll, The Rich Eisen Show (a US NFL program) racked up more than 107,000 votes last week, as News.com.au reports, “Sparking fierce debate from both middle-seat supporters and haters.”

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Despite The Middle Seat Rights Brigade busting out Jim Jeffery’s quotes like, “When you’re on an aeroplane, there’s a thing called ‘plane etiquette’, and it goes like this. Window gets an armrest and a wall. Middle gets two armrests. Aisle gets armrest and a little bit of extra legroom. We’re not animals. We live in a society,” it turns out 53% of poll voters are against the middle-seat-sitter taking both armrests.

That said, 47% of people said that it’s only fair enough to yield one of your armrests, despite how tempting it is to stake your claim and hope your seatmate has brittle elbows: “I hardly ever sit in the middle and I always give my armrest to the middle seat passenger,” one Twitter  user said.

A few others backed him up.


Others, however, had little sympathy.

Whatever the case, if you get stuck in the middle seat on your next flight; expect no compassion.

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  • Clementine

    Happy to let middle seat passenger have both armrests but sick and tired of elbows in my ribs

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