Will that be a Window or Aisles Seat?

20140321_133818We’ve all been there.  You’ve made the decision to travel and fly to your destination.  Once that decision is made and your ticket is booked, next comes the second decision, choosing your seat.  If Business class is your style or covered by an expense account, this story is not as relevant since space isn’t as much an issue.

Strategy is required to make your seating decision.  If it’s a longer haul and you need to catch up on sleep…window has always been my first choice. In fact, I choose the window for short haul’s as well.   I get settled in my little corner, unpack my things, stuff my shawl between the seat and window and know  my journey  will be as uneventful as possible unless I have to arm wrestle to place my elbow on that joint arm rest, I’m pretty much left alone.  Not the same for those who choose the aisle seat.  And for those poor people who sit in the middle seat…..God bless you!

Aisle seat selection means you will have some level of interruption.  It comes with the seat.  People like me tucked away in the corner, with a view of the tarmac and the sky at some point, eventually need to stretch our legs or go to the “toilet”.  Unless you’re wearing a “Maximum Absorption Garment” aka adult diaper, you need to move and displace a number of people.  I often think of that former female Nassau astronaut who drove 900 miles across 5 states in her effort to kill, unsuccessfully, her former lover’s new girlfriend in Florida.   She wore her diapers as a time saving strategy to reduce pit stops and bathroom breaks which would have slowed her down. Perhaps she was on to something i.e. flight pants! 

Today’s planes are designed to stuff as many people as possible, especially if you have not upgraded within the coach section of the plane.  I can’t believe we now have 3 areas to upgrade within coach class.  Who would have believed the airlines could get so clever.  But they did, and at a great cost to comfort.  If you don’t want to pay for the extra leg room (only a few seats here) or agree to pay to save lives and direct traffic in an emergency….you are in tight quarters.

You cross your legs for as long as possible, refuse to drink and decrease your chance to get up, but these strategies are not guarantees.  I was on a flight to Denver recently and found myself in need to reach the restroom.  I nudge my neighbor and declare my intentions.  She then nudges her neighbor, the guy in the aisle seat and we start the symphony of movement.  My balance is pretty good but you’re standing in an awkward position, knees bent like in a sitting position, you try not to cling to the seats in front of you but no luck there and you move as fast as you can across the row.

It’s not one swift saunter across the row.  Oh no.  There are a couple of pit stops along the way.  There is no other way than to find some balance by sitting on the 2 arm rests to get out.  Now if this doesn’t get you in the mood to move a little faster, nothing will.  A little pressure down there just makes you wish you had a pair of those astronaut flight pants.   Unlike those anticipated slow dances from your high school Sadie Hawkins dances, where you waited for the “grinder” songs, this is reminiscent of grinding but with no Donna Summers within hearing distance.

You hope like hell no one is watching but you know they are.  I too like to see the techniques of others trying to do the same thing.  You’re stuck and this is one form of in-flight entertainment not mentioned in the company magazine.   Besides, you interrupt at least 5 people in your attempt to perform the bathroom athletics so the least they can do is watch and learn.  The return trip to the window seat requires as much effort only this time, you can only laugh at yourself, enjoy the ride and start designing those in-flight pants for shy people who just want to go while staying in place!



  1. Hi Francine..a great morning read with my coffee this a.m.! I always try to get an aisle seat, my seat of choice too, and I too refuse to do a bathroom stop while flying…but sometime necessity prevails and all sorts of antics ensue in the process…you have to smile! N.xo

  2. Oh Francine, too true! I am amazed at the number of times people invite me — men and women — to just high-jump OVER them on my way to the aisle. As if I can get out of a window seat without seriously invading their personal space! I am now that irritating person who asks that everyone get up and out…

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