Strug­gling for space, view in the mid­dle seat

The Star (Kenya) - - Sasa Leisure -

T he only thing worse than get­ting the mid­dle seat in a plane is sit­ting there on a long flight. That’s what be­fell John Od­hi­ambo last week as he trav­elled to South Africa to at­tend a cor­po­rate con­fer­ence. Od­hi­ambo, a first-time flier, was un­able to find the cov­eted win­dow seat, doom­ing him to the cen­tre in a four-hour econ­omy class flight.

He sat be­tween mar­ried cou­ples, who seemed to be fre­quent pas­sen­gers. The econ­omy class typ­i­cally only has 31-34 inches be­tween each row of seats, plac­ing leg room at a pre­mium. Od­hi­ambo, who had car­ried his back­pack, rested it next to his feet, mak­ing for awk­ward sit­ting.

To make mat­ters worse, his neigh­bours’ knees kept knock­ing against his. More­over, they had leaned on the arm­rests, de­priv­ing him the chance to rest his own arms.

The man on his right kept en­gag­ing him in con­ver­sa­tions he did not fancy. Od­hi­ambo de­cided to ig­nore the man, but his ef­forts were fu­tile.


Stud­ies show that di­vert­ing your fo­cus away from your dis­com­fort can be your best de­fence against the tra­vails of fly­ing in the mid­dle seat.

When trav­el­ling on long flights, the planes you board will al­ways have TV mon­i­tors in their seat backs. Watch a movie, com­edy or foot­ball.

If you want to de­ter a chatty neigh­bour, en­gross­ing your­self in a book or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic can spare you from un­wanted con­ver­sa­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to travel ex­perts, as far as air­line eti­quette is con­cerned, you are en­ti­tled to both arm­rests as the mid­dle seat pas­sen­ger.

Con­sider check­ing in your lug­gage if stuck in the mid­dle seat. If you still have a bag, stuff it un­der the seat in front of you, and re­dis­tribute as many of its con­tents as pos­si­ble to the lug­gage checked in.

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