Taking ownership of the middle seat on a QF 737-800

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visitant

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Just seeking opinions from the learned community here at AFF.

As a relatively infrequent flyer, but QP member, I am usually able to get seated around row 4 or 5 on a 737-800. Having just returned from a quick trip to Melbourne, I experienced something on both legs that has me puzzled and which I haven't experienced before.

On the ADL-MEL leg, I was seated in 4A (window). 4B was vacant, and Mr 50ish Platinum FF was seated in 4C. Upon sitting, he immediately took ownership of 4B. No big deal, I thought, but a bit presumptuous. He put his paper, tablet etc. on the seat.
When the time came for the meal service, he also took ownership of the table at 4B so that he didn't have to have his food interfering with his newspaper (broadsheet by the way) reading. I gave him a bit of a glare as if to say "WTF?", but he just ignored me.

Similarly, on the return MEL-ADL flight, I was seated in 4F. 4E was free and Ms 50ish Platinum FF was in 4D. Exactly the same thing happened! She immediately claimed E for her cough, and used the spare table during the meal so that she could keep reading the paper!

Is there a protocol here, or did I just share the row with a couple of alpha male/female a-holes? Is there something that I could have done? At this stage, I think I'll probably sit further back in the plane to avoid the high status FFs. As an aside, the artificial gushing over these FFs by cabin crew was cringe worthy, but they seemed to lap it up.

To me, this seems rude and arrogant, but maybe I'm being a bit sensitive. Would appreciate your thoughts.
 

opusman

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It's technically their shadow, so you could argue they have some sort of claim on it :)
 

RooFlyer

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No protocol that I'm aware of, just courtesy and a bit of self awareness. Rude and arrogant I think sums it up if they have taken total control of the vacant space. I do put stuff on both the middle seat and the middle table, but hopefully I've never annexed the whole lot :)

If it were me, I'd say something like. Excuse me, I'm just going to put [this] down here (on your side of the middle seat). That is, don't ask, just do. Hopefully they would scoop their stuff onto their side - more or less; this has happened to me, on both sides of the coin. If not, I'd just put my stuff carefully over/whatever their stuff. If they get aggressive or huffy, not much you can do, except if you are on a window, go to the loo a couple of times, necessitating them either gathering the table etc up or your squeezing past them uncomfortably.
 

dk4

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... claimed E for her cough, and used the spare table during the meal so that she could keep reading the paper!
If you want to use the middle seat, just move some of the stuff on it towards the other person, and put your stuff there, no biggie!

Don't be a whimp, the other person will share, IMO they probably just assume that you don't need/want the space if you don't take/use it. (In fact they probably fly so frequently, they are just use to having the space there, it's no big deal for them, so they use it and expect you to do the same if you want.)
 

RooFlyer

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It's technically their shadow, so you could argue they have some sort of claim on it :)

Several strategies in that case, especially if they are being oafish.

1. Its a shadow, unoccupied seat, not a comfort seat for them.

2. They don't know that the OP isn't WP too.

3. Push the call button, smile sweetly and say to the FA 'I think my seat is broken - do you mind if I sit in the middle?' then do so (assuming they OK it), and put YOUR stuff in your former seat :mrgreen::D

... again this more direct approach if they are demonstrably being weapon-heads.
 

robd

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If you want to use the middle seat, just move some of the stuff on it towards the other person, and put your stuff there, no biggie!

Don't be a whimp, the other person will share, IMO they probably just assume that you don't need/want the space if you don't take/use it. (In fact they probably fly so frequently, they are just use to having the space there, it's no big deal for them, so they use it and expect you to do the same if you want.)

+ 1 for this.
 

samh004

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I just put what I can't fit anywhere else in the middle, it usually ends up being shared space. This would appear to be consistent with robd and dk4.

As for the table, only ever pull it out if directed to do so, for example a crew member might suggest putting a meal tray there etc. Sometimes happens.
 

Aussie_flyer

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I usually just share it. I get the table out and put a drink there on my half of the shared space.
 

significance

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I'll put my stuff in a shared middle seat and expect the person on the other side to do the same, if they care to. I try to keep my stuff to my side of the middle seat, at least until it's clear that the other person won't be using their half. After eating, I'll pull the middle tray down and put my meal tray sideways on my side of it, which leaves room for the other person to do likewise. This lets me get my laptop out and keep working, and makes it easier for the attendant to reach the tray of the person seated at the window.
 

Slime

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You had a nice comfortable seat so don't let the nonsense of other passengers worry you and certainly don't get involved with them cause you won't win and it will just upset yourself.
 

medhead

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The accepted protocol is to share the space for any empty middle seat. I note the OP has not stated whether they used the full seat and full table or half of the table. If only half then No they are not A-holes. Just people who travel frequently and know how to make best use of the available space.

Very rarely I find someone who takes the whole seat. I just put my stuff on my half on top of their stuff. They soon get the message.
 

Aussie_flyer

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one option is to get annoyed, grit your teeth, do nothing about it at the time then post about it online at a later date :)
 

harvyk

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If no one is there it's a shared space, consider it a free bonus. You don't need to ask for permission to use it, and conversely neither do they. You would have been perfectly entitled to place your own stuff there and on the tray table.

I would suspect that the person in the C / D seat was just more use to the protocol, and probably thought you'd be too if you're managing to get seats that far forwards.
 

Archphoto

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I'll put my stuff in a shared middle seat and expect the person on the other side to do the same, if they care to. I try to keep my stuff to my side of the middle seat, at least until it's clear that the other person won't be using their half. After eating, I'll pull the middle tray down and put my meal tray sideways on my side of it, which leaves room for the other person to do likewise. This lets me get my laptop out and keep working, and makes it easier for the attendant to reach the tray of the person seated at the window.

x2 - I always view it as a shared space. A couple of times I've done it, and the person in the window seat has commented that they hadn't thought of using the tray table, for the drink or to stow their meal tray once they'd finished eating so they can continue to work/read paper/etc.

No biggie - be polite and it's all good. :)
 
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MEL_Traveller

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When the time came for the meal service, he also took ownership of the table at 4B so that he didn't have to have his food interfering with his newspaper (broadsheet by the way) reading. I gave him a bit of a glare as if to say "WTF?", but he just ignored me.

one response could be 'what a good idea!' (as the table is lowered) and you also move your empty meal tray to the other half.
 

Milboo

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I had this on my flight back from SFO this week.

There was an empty bulkhead row of 3 in Y+ (My ticketed cabin) and I asked the FA if I could move which she okayed. At same time, another guy had the same idea but I got there first and got the window.

He sat in the aisle seat and proceeded to put all his stuff etc in the middle seat. I simply picked it up, piled it on one side and claimed the half closest to me for my stuff and smiled at him.
 

BAM1748

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As someone else said, just put your stuff on top of theirs on the middle seat. Who cares, it's an empty seat.
 

BVT

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If I have the opportunity I colonise the middle seat, but always share. Never had a problem. I do it as soon as I can and the other pax usually gets the idea very quickly.
 
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