A few months ago, I was on an Air Berlin (tightest economy seats ever, for the record) flight from JFK to TXL, and I encountered and interesting scenario. The plane had a 2-4-2 seat configuration, and I was seated in 25K by the window.
The passenger next to me was pretty restless during the entire overnight flight and did not ever go to sleep. I, on the other hand, wanted to try to get as much sleep as possible considering that I had a full day in Oslo the next day.
As I lowered my eye mask to try to catch some ZzZzs, I creeped the tiniest bit of my elbow onto the shared middle arm rest so that I can rest comfortably without spilling over. It was literally the tip of my funny bone. I am small, so my elbow bone really doesn’t take up much surface area to begin with. Anyway…
Moments after I did that, I immediately noticed a nudge to my resting elbow and thought nothing of it. I adjusted myself in my seat and proceeded to try to fall back asleep. It then happened again… and again, becoming a more forceful nudge with each time. It didn’t take long for me to realize that what he was doing was deliberate, so I gave up and kept my hands on my lap until we landed.
It wasn’t much longer until my seat mate decided to turn on his reading lamp while the rest of the cabin was dark, cross one leg over another, and spill his elbow over to completely invade not only the entire arm rest, but my personal space as well. At this point I was too tired to engage in the silly game of “elbow wars” with a grouchy German man, so I let him “win”. Inside my blood was boiling though.
Now the unspoken “etiquette” of the “who gets the middle arm rest” debate in a typical window-middle-aisle scenario is without question, always the passenger seated in the middle, but what about in more “complex cases” such as a 2-2 seating arrangement?
What would you have done? Has a similar “battle of the armrest” situation happened to you before? Would love to hear stories/ sound advice!