I Prefer the Middle Seat on Airplanes
I worked in management consulting for 12 years. In other words, I spent 12 years flying around the country (in economy) giving advice to some of the most renowned and influential companies in the world. In those 12 years, I learned two things: one, consultants don’t do fucking shit, and two, the middle seat is actually the best seat on the airplane.
I only have 500 words, so I’ll save the explanation on the former for another time.
I will begin with the proposition that there are a variety of criteria we must use to determine the superior airplane seat and that for each criterion we evaluate we can assign a numerical rank to the aisle, the middle, and the window.
So let’s start with a few of the categories in which the middle seat is ranked the highest. First, the passenger in the middle is entitled to both armrests, entitled. This is underrated, especially on day time flights. There will be times in which an aisle or window sitter tries to commandeer an armrest. At this point, it is up to you as to whether or not you would like to make a scene. If you do, I assure you, public opinion will be on your side.
Another benefit of the middle seat: you maintain ‘choice of conversation’. If the person in the aisle strikes your fancy, start up a conversation with them. If the person in the aisle is annoying and loud and wants to talk to you about his niece while he chows down a footlong, pivot away from him and strike up conversation with the window seat passenger. This freedom of conversation is a right afforded only to the middle seat. If you are in the window seat and the middle seat passenger wants to talk to you about his marital problems, you are trapped. There is nowhere to go, nowhere to turn. You cannot seek refuge with the person in the aisle. As the person in the middle, all conversation flows through you. If you decide you’d prefer a chatless flight, then a chatless flight it shall be.
The real benefit of the middle, however, is illustrated in the criteria in which it is not ranked first. This is because it is almost always ranked ‘in the middle’, which is fitting, ironic, and funny. Access to the bathroom? Certainly not as good as the aisle seat but exponentially better than the window (somehow, asking two people to get up so you can shit is more than twice as bad as asking one person). Window views? Of course not as good as the window seat, but eons better than the aisle.
So, from a numerical standpoint, you’ve got several categories in which the window is the best, and several categories in which it is in the middle, bringing it to a net average weighted capex adjusted value of first place.
I imagine that most who are still reading this are thinking, ‘I suppose that argument makes some logical sense, but at the end of the day, I never actually enjoy being in the middle’. I believe that is because the ‘middle seat is the worst’ mentality is so entrenched in our society that people don't even give it a chance. They board the flight with a miserable attitude and assume that they’ve been unlucky in drawing the middle straw. Like most things, it's a matter of perspective and attitude. Next time you have a middle seat, make a conscious effort to realize and enjoy all the benefits it affords, and you’ll soon find yourself proactively booking middle seats on empty airplanes.
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*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'I Prefer the Middle Seat on Airplanes' in the style of Claude Monet, Court's artist of choice.*