Every female corporate traveler has to establish her position on the well known and much disliked game of musical chairs that (typically) tourist or novice fellow travels try to play. Think of it as your Position Principle. The scenario may go like this: older couple gets on the plane confused, disoriented, and seemingly perplexed that the row numbers start with 1 and proceed in single integers to the back. In other words, you see them starting to look for their row around Row 3 when you know they are in Row 25. Or it goes like this: father and 8 year old get on plane, both have middle seat and they start looking around for who in either an aisle or middle wants to trade with them and have the pleasure of sitting in a middle seat. (Incidentally, they also are surprised that the rows are in sequential order.) Or this: family of five (with a baby) are spread across multiple rows (but all within sight of each other) and want to make a couple of people move so that they can be comfortably in a single row bumper to bumper with each other. (And just think of how fun it is for the person in the sixth seat to be next to that baby!)
My point is this – at any time you can be comfortably sitting in your aisle seat (or if you’re a window woman, your seat with a view!) when you may be asked if you wouldn’t mind giving up your seat to sit in the middle. Your Position Principle needs to take in several considerations. First, age – do you do it for the elderly couple because it’s simply respectful? Second, length of flight – are you more likely to do it on a short flight, a sorta air mitzvah? Third, family first – do you remember the days when you traveled with a baby and try to make it easier for the overwhelmed and under-rested family?
I’m not going to judge your decision here, but you best think about it lest you be caught off guard and feel pressured in the moment and make a decision you regret. For me, personally, I rarely switch seats. I remember doing it once on a short flight for a young couple who clearly wanted to hold hands and make out during the flight. That seemed like a worthy cause to me. In general, length of flight and time of flight are key considerations, followed by age, and then family. As a female corporate traveler, you may have your heartstrings pulled a bit wondering if being accommodating isn’t the right thing to do. Well, look around – are your male corporate travelers playing musical chairs? Um, they are not.
Welcome any readers who want to share their experiences with Musical Chairs and their Position Principles.