The ‘Secret’ Button That Allows You A Bit More Room On A Plane


by Anna Brech |
Published on

Anyone who's spent 14 hours on a flight to Bangkok with their knees uncomfortably wedged against the seat tray will know that space is a rare commodity on a plane.

And those on the aisle seats are arguably worst off.

Granted, they don't have to clamber over their companion each time they need the loo. But they also have nowhere to lean on (unless their neighbour happens to be a loved one) and their space is invaded by passing passengers and trolleys.

But frequent air travellers claim there is a little-known hack that can relieve the claustrophobic tension of those in the aisle seats.

According to Insider, there's a "magical button" on the underneath of the aisle seat armrest.

"To find it, slide your hand under the armrest, close to the hinge and feel for the button," they say.

"Press it and you are now free to move that armrest up so it's flush with the back of your seat, giving you the freedom you deserve. A simple move with a big reward: no more armrest digging into your side and a little swing room for your legs."

Ah, the joys of air travel... ©Getty

For some reason, airlines don't generally advertise this outer aisle armrest function and most people assume it's fixed in place.

It is a mechanism that is primarily designed for safety and is meant to help passengers make a quick exit in the event of an emergency.

Not all airlines will have the buttons beneath the armrest, but it's definitely worth checking for.

In a situation where real estate is more precious than a Manhattan rooftop pool, we'll take anything we can get for a squidge more wiggle room.

And of course, more space helps ward off the effect of seat-reclining too. This fraught area of plane etiquette is responsible for a host of in-flight arguments between passengers.

A YouGov poll found 53% of Brits think it is unacceptable to recline a seat on daytime flights, but 55% of Americans believe the opposite.

The pros at Debrett's advise passengers to "ease your chair gently into a reclining position, which will avoid a sudden invasion of the limited legroom of the passenger behind".

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