How to Survive the Irritating Middle Seat on a Flight

Last Updated on January 4, 2019

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Flight-related problems, like flight cancellations or last-minute booking, are truly upsetting, but what’s even worse is those unexpected circumstances that leave you in a sticky airplane situation; notably the middle seat assignment.

And that’s when your travel excitement is shut down in the coldest way as you can picture the upcoming awkward armrest war, stiff neck, and cramped legs. Honestly, flying in the middle seat is never a fun experience, yet, this doesn’t mean that you cannot make it more pleasant.

Check out these 8 effective ways to successfully survive the dreaded middle seat when flying, according to travel experts. Read more through the next pages.


Place all of your bags overhead

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In case you’re destined to spend your flight in the not-so-pleasant middle seat, you should be aware of the fact that you’ll inevitably feel somehow cramped no matter what. Therefore, you need to free up as much space as you can at the level of your feet. It is highly recommended to put all the items you’ll be using on the flight (such as headphones) in a small tote bag so you can enjoy the most space.

Pack the right equipment

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Sleeping is probably the most enjoyable way to survive the middle seat during a flight. So make sure to pack all the essentials (the right travel pillow, comfortable outfit, headphones, earplugs, and a soft eye mask) that will help you sleep in the most comfortable way possible. You’d want to choose the neck pillow carefully since it’s a key element in avoiding the awful stiff neck and other body aches.


Prepare your body for the flight

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Travelers are advised to avoid foods that are high in sodium at all costs starting from the day before the flight is they want to prevent swelling and stay happy and healthy once they arrive at their destination.

Also, doctors insist on drinking plenty of water to fight off dryness, as well as avoiding caffeine and alcohol because they’ll cause frequent trips to the bathroom. Don’t forget to stand up and walk around during long flights to improve circulation.


Get active before and after your flight

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To loosen tight muscles or joints and maintain proper blood circulation both before and after your flight, you should consider doing gentle aerobic exercise or going for a bike ride, a relaxing swim, or a simple walk.

The point is to get active and help your body cope with the extreme lack of activity when flying. And don’t forget to do a few deep-breathing exercises as well.


Focus on your breathing

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When you’re onboard, it’s important to focus on breathing exercises to ease tension and discomfort. Follow these steps for the best results:

– Take a deep breath until your lungs are filled up.
– Hold it for 5-10 seconds, and then exhale to push all that air out of your lungs.
– Repeat this around 5 times every hour. This will help keep oxygen efficiently flowing through your body.


Load up on entertainment

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If you find it difficult to sleep on planes, then you need a backup activity to keep your mind busy. It’s actually a wonderful chance to finish some tasks, enjoy reading a good book, or binge-watch your favorite series on Netflix.

It’s recommended to download a couple of movies or several episodes to your preferred device and forget about the middle seat or even the entire flight as you watch. Plus, time will fly!


Make friends with your neighbors

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Believe it or not, some kindness can get you several amazing benefits when flying, particularly if you find yourself in a mini fight over the armrests or you need to ask your neighbors to go to the bathroom for the 2nd or 3rd time.

Travel experts confirm that you can actually end up having a great middle seat adventure when you have an interesting conversation with your neighbor.


Politely stand up for yourself

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Every flyer knows that it’s only courteous to give up the armrests for the one sitting in the middle. According to airline etiquette, the middle seat gets both armrests, so you should hesitate to address the issue with your fellow passengers, and make sure to remain polite and calm.



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