In general, there are two types of people in this world.
Those who opt for the aisle seat on a plane (so they can move about with ease and get the first glorious glimpse of the drinks/food cart) and those who go for the window seat (so they can snuggle up against the Perspex and drink in the view of planet earth … as it's gently poisoned by carbon emissions).
Perhaps there are some individuals who have been starved of human contact and dig the intimacy of the middle seat, but thankfully we're yet to encounter those psychopaths.
Each seat position comes with an unspoken code of conduct. We've already touched on middle-seat etiquette, so let's look at the responsibilities that come with the window seat.
Here's what you should do next time you find yourself in this tightly held position in the tin can in the sky.
BE MINDFUL OF HOW YOU CONTROL THE WINDOW SHADE
Spider-Man taught us "with great power comes great responsibility" and nowhere is this truer than when you're in the window seat and have control of the window shade. Part of the joy of this seat is you can enjoy the lofty view. But a by-product is it can throw glare straight into your fellow passengers' TV screen (or eye holes). So if you want to have the shade up, it's a cool move to speak up and encourage your fellow passengers to let you know if it's bothering them. This will portray you as a True Top Dude and earn you goodwill when you disrupt them for your next 2867 toilet trips.
GET ON THE PLANE EARLYISH SO EVERYONE DOESN'T HAVE TO STAND FOR YOU
Standing up for anything (the national anthem, old people on a train, equality) is an utter nuisance, so if you want to get off on the right foot with your adjacent passengers, don't make them stand for you upon first meeting. Don't leave your run for the plane until the last minute.
Not only will you potentially miss out on bag space in the overhead compartment (and have to stand there looking helplessly at a hostie who now hates you), you'll have to get your row-mates to stand while you scramble to the window seat, interrupting them from that episode of Big Bang Theory they just leaned into.
KEEP WHAT YOU NEED WITH YOU
If you are in the window seat and are up and down like a jack-in-the-box fetching items from your bag in the overhead locker, you will receive your fair share of filthy looks.
Keep the vital things you need for the flight – water bottle, book, headphones, sombrero – in the seat pocket or in a smaller bag under the seat in front of you.
DON'T CHOOSE THIS SEAT IF YOU HAVE A BLADDER THE SIZE OF A PEA
It's just common decency. If you have any kind of issue that means you need to go to the toilet constantly, opt for the aisle seat so you don't have to disrupt everyone when you need to go to the bathroom. To this point, don't drink 19 litres of fluids before the flight if you're in the window seat. Sure, it's important to stay hydrated, but don't be a dick about it.
IF YOU CAN, TIME YOUR TOILET BREAK TO GO WITH THE OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR ROW
A row going to the toilet on a long-haul flight should have all the synchronicity of a performance of Swan Lake. As the aisle passenger makes the move to head to the bathroom, the middle and window occupants glide up in unison to make the trip. It's a thing of beauty.
RELINQUISH YOUR ARM REST TO THE POOR SOUL WHO COPPED THE MIDDLE SEAT
The middle seat is the short straw. No window to look out of smugly while blocking everyone's view with an artfully placed shoulder and no easy mobility from the aisle seat. The least you can do is orient yourself towards the window and give that wretched individual a small amount of dignity by allowing them to claim both armrests. A sympathetic look in their direction every now and then wouldn't go astray either. They have obviously done something terrible in a past life to deserve this.
WHEN THE HOSTIES TELL YOU TO RAISE THE WINDOW SHADE UPON TAKEOFF AND LANDING, DO IT
Apparently, they ask you to raise the shade so it's easy to see if there's anything amiss out the window at theses critical parts of the flight. You can take it upon yourself to help with this job if you are in the window seat – if you notice the wing is on fire, do everyone a solid and press your call button.
DON'T HOLD CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR MATE FROM FOUR ROWS DOWN WHO HAS POPPED BY TO SAY HELLO
Reliving the wild time you just had in Kuta over the heads of your fellow passengers while they're trying to sleep may result in a mid-air incident.
USE YOUR MAD TETRIS SKILLS TO STACK YOUR FOOD TRAY BEFORE RETURNING IT
Dinner time on a long flight can be a riotous affair. Nothing interesting has happened for hours, then somebody hands you a tray with a mystery array of culinary delights on it. It's all you can do not to cry with relief at the break in monotony. So while you may tear through that meal with the enthusiasm of a child at a funfair, it's important not to hand back a tray dripping with yoghurt and croissant crumbs over your fellow travellers. Nothing will make the remainder of the flight awkward like spilling a milky coffee on that poor wretched middle-seat passenger from a precariously loaded tray.
DO NOT STAND AS SOON AS THE PLANE LANDS
There is no point standing there like an impatient hunchback of Notre Dame with your dumb head smushed against the overhead compartment. Nobody is going anywhere while the doors open. So just sit tight.
WHEN YOU ARE WAITING FOR YOUR BAGS IN THE AIRPORT, DO NOT STAND RIGHT UP AGAINST THE CAROUSEL
This has nothing to do with the window seat, just a general community announcement for anyone who have ever been on any plane, anywhere. If everyone takes one big step back it will give the impression we're slightly evolved from the Neanderthals.
This article was first published on news.com.au.