Should the Middle Seat Passenger Get Both Armrests on a Plane? A Travel Expert Answers the Controversial Question

The debate was recently reignited by a passenger who claimed their flight attendant had specific “armrest rules” in a post shared on Reddit

<p>Getty</p> Middle seat passenger using both armrests


Middle seat passenger using both armrests

An airline passenger reignited a classic travel debate after they claimed a flight attendant was enforcing “armrest rules” during their recent trip.

The passenger said the flight attendant told everyone on the plane to use one armrest only, either to the right or left of them depending on where they were sitting, in a post shared to Reddit earlier this month.

“To my surprise, he was very emphatic that no person gets two armrests,” user littleike0 wrote on the forum. They claimed that the crew member’s reasoning for the rule was to “keep the armrest on the aisle clear for carts and people walking down the plane.”

“He emphatically stated that no armrest drama would be tolerated,” the user continued. “Feeling sorry for all the folks in middle seats on this flight, [I] mentioned to my seat mate she was welcome to use both armrests.”

Related: Airline Passenger Who Says Person in Middle Seat Reached Over Them to Close Shade Recounts Petty Revenge

<p>Getty</p> Aisle seat passenger using aisle armrest


Aisle seat passenger using aisle armrest

The original poster (OP) ended their retelling by asking their fellow Redditors if they’ve ever heard of these “rules” before. The comments section was quickly flooded with users’ opinionated responses.

“That's a ‘no’ for me. I'm an aisle seater, and that aisle armrest is mine,” one person wrote. “The middle seat gets his/her two, I get mine on the aisle.”

Another added, “I only ride aisle, cause I'm a short stocky wide dude...armrest is mine so I can lean that way, and not on the middle…”

One user asked, “Why do we need rules like this? 🙄 If I’m on the aisle and get bumped it’s my bad.”

Related: Plane Passenger Outs Woman for Cheating at Wordle on a Flight — but Fans of the Game Are Divided on the Rules

Others emphasized that the middle seat passenger should always get both armrests as they have the least amount of space.

“I always assumed the middle seat got both armrests because, let’s be honest, the middle seat SUCKS. I always felt like it was the least I could do for their troubles.”

However, some thought that the flight attendant’s alleged rule did serve a valuable purpose.

“I actually agree with that. It’s always so annoying brushing past people who are leaning out into the aisle.”

Related: Plane Passenger's Photo of Someone's Coat Covering Seatback TV Screen Sparks Debate: 'Ready to Get Triggered?'

<p>Getty</p> Passengers smiling on the plane


Passengers smiling on the plane

PEOPLE spoke to travel advisor Nicole Campoy Jackson of Fora Travel to get to the bottom of the airplane etiquette issue.

“My rule of thumb is: always be considerate of the person in the middle seat,” Jackson says. “If you're in a three-across seating setup on a plane, the window passenger gets the window and window-side armrest; the aisle passenger gets the aisle armrest; and the middle passenger gets to decide how they'd like to use the two in the middle.”

She emphasizes that the middle seat is “claustrophobic enough” and those passengers shouldn’t have to be “relegated to one armrest.”

However, there are situations where sharing the middle armrest may be the best option, according to Jackson.

“If you're a taller person and have a hard time getting comfortable without the use of a bit of that armrest, then there's no harm in sharing. Give the right of way to the middle passenger, but also get comfortable.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

Jackson says that while she understands where the flight attendant is coming from with their rules, there is no reason to avoid the aisle seat armrest for the entire flight.

“I assume that bumping into passengers left and right down the aisle would get annoying for everyone involved. But there are many hours on a plane during which the cart is not being pushed. So, must you avoid that aisle armrest the entire time? Of course not. If you're awake and can scoot in a bit to avoid getting bumped? Then, do!”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.