I feel attacked! The Washington Post wrote an article about couples who book aisle and window seats.
I have no shame in admitting that I book a window and aisle seat, hoping we’ll have a less than 100% full flight and the middle seat will remain empty.
According to the article, this is why couples book an aisle and window seat.
Most often, though, one member of the couple offers to switch, and the middle-seat dweller receives an unexpected upgrade to the aisle or window.
“Usually the person is thrilled,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights and an employer of the couple’s gambit when he and his wife, Anya, travel together without kids.
Here’s the seat map from a recent Delta flight. We’re seated in the window and aisle of row 32.
Is this wrong? If someone gets the middle seat, we’ll let them have the window (Sharon likes to have the aisle seat on longer trips). If it’s a short flight, we might even agree to give you the aisle seat, and we’ll take the window and middle seat.
Here’s a picture of us on a Delta flight, when the passenger was glad to take the window seat instead of sitting in the middle.
If they decline, we deal with it. It’s only an occasional flight with someone sitting between us if they don’t want to change.
I’d say it’s more than the occasional flight where you’ll get an empty middle seat. If the plane is less than 80% full, there’s a good chance many of the empty seats are in the middle of the row.
Unlike some, if our plan fails, we don’t carry on like you’re not there. In fact, we’ve had instances where passengers have reached the end of the flight, only then to discover that we were a couple. That’s how we roll. I zone out to music or movies on my sound-canceling Bose headphones, and Sharon spends the flight playing Scrabble or writing posts on her phone.
We’re going to be together for the entire trip (or are coming back from a week of togetherness), and we’re OK with a few hours of alone time. In fact, one or both of us will probably fall asleep for part of the flight.
While some feel this is gaming the system, I feel it’s using the system in place to your advantage. Middle seats are less desirable. If I book far enough in advance to avoid a middle seat, it’s my reward. I know the risk/reward analysis of booking separate seats in the same row, knowing that we may not sit together. That’s a risk I’m willing to take to get a row to ourselves.
If the middle seat person refuses to change, we’re willing to deal with the consequences of our choice.
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