If you’re in the aisle seat, is it fair game to go to sleep?
And if you’re not in the aisle seat — and you have to use the lavatory — do you wake the person sitting next to you in order to get up and go, or do you hold it?
Does it depend on how long the flight is?
I always prefer an aisle seat over a window, ‘to control my own destiny’ trumps gazing out at the scenery. I’ve always thought that meant I am obliged to accommodate any request for my seat opponent to get out. And on any flight 3+ hours I assume that will happen once, usually after a meal if there is one.
Of course, banking on free upgrades, I’m not always in the aisle because most people prefer aisles. And upgraded late I get the leftovers.
American domestic first class 2-by-2 seats
American 787 economy seats
So that means if I need to use the lavatory I have to ask someone else’s forbearance. I’ll take preparations on a short-ish flight not to need the facilities, but if I do I think it’s reasonable to ask the person to get up. Even if they’re asleep.
The only times I’d really try to avoid that? If the person in the aisle seat sleeping:
- is my boss
- is a client
Taking the aisle seat means you control your own destiny, but it comes with the inherent risk that you’re going to have to accommodate the passenger next to you. But it’s still a cost-benefit calculation.
Does the aisle seat passenger have an obligation to be accommodating to those in the window (or middle) that need to get out? Is it ok to wake the person in the aisle? Would you wait it out to see if they get up on their own? Would you ask a flight attendant to wake them for you — is that passive aggressive, or less confrontational?
Herringbone business class seats onboard Delta
Reverse herringbone business class seats onboard Cathay Pacific
On international flights, in business class, that’s a really strong reason I think to pick a carrier with ‘all aisle access’ (generally 4-across seating … window — two middle seats — window). Goodness knows I don’t want to be woken, have to wake up someone, or climb over them (or be climbed over!) mid-rest.