Monday, November 05, 2007

Aisle seat or window seat?

A nice string to debate has formed in the comments from my previous post about whether one can straight up take an aisle seat when both are available? And what is the courtesy?

I don't impose any rules or etiquette on anyone, they can take whatever seat makes them happy. BART is truly first come first serve. Just like on Southwest Airlines, when you are in Boarding Group A, most people take the aisle seats even though it slows down the rest of the boarding process since you have to get up and down for passengers who come in later. HOWEVER...I do think people who take the aisle seat MUST get up when someone is trying to get into the window seat. And NO, just scooting your legs to the side, or crossing your legs to make room, is not good enough because I still need to crawl over you. As long as someone is willing to get up whenever the window seat is being taken or vacated, I'm fine with them taking the aisle seat.

Personally, I always slide into the window seat on BART except when sitting in one of the four-seat areas where it's not as tight for people to walk in and out of. In fact, an aisle seat in one of the quad-seat areas is generally my #1 go-to seat whenever it's open!


Anonymous said...

I usually prefer to take a window seat, mostly because I'm lucky to be at the 2nd stop in the morning, so it's available more often than not, and because my trip is about 35 minutes, I usually nap in the morning. This keeps me from having to get up for someone else. Same in the afternoon, although, I don't nap in the afternoon. To me, due to the length of my commute, it's more convenient to me, and others who may have a shorter commute, to sit in the window seat.

I agree with the 'get up to allow someone the window seat if you're in the aisle seat' *rule*. Not only is there not enough room to get by if the person in the aisle seat doesn't get up, it's plain rude.

Josh said...

While I like the easy in/out of the aisle seat, I usually slide over to the window side as a courtesy. I prefer to be able to remain seated and read my book for the entire trip rather than needing to pretend like I'm in church with all the sitting and standing. :-) Plus, I try to be in as few people's way as possible.

The aisle makes sense more so if you're on a short trip.

The foursquare seats are nice, you avoid this problem, except the leg room on them is terrible.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, take the aisle seat if you like it better, but if that leaves a window seat open, you should get up and offer it to someone else without being asked.

Anonymous #3 from the previous post, assuming he isn't just stirring the pot, is completely out of line. Would you stand in a doorway and say it's the other person's responsibility to ask you to stand aside before they can go through? Would you lounge right in front of the cash register at Starbucks, sipping your coffee, and make the person behind you ASK you to please get the hell out of the way so he can get some service?

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant "Comment #3, by Anonymous, at 10:52 AM."

You don't have to slide over to the window seat, if you like the aisle. But you are rude to just sit there and not get out of the way unless asked.

I tend to slide into the window seat by default. However, I get off at Fruitvale, so that often means my seatmate has to get up to let me off. That's still better than making him stand the whole way, but it might be worth a quick negotiation as to who is getting off first. Of course, somebody else is going to take the empty seat, so you have to repeat the process with that person, so the total amount of musical chairs is probably more effort than it is worth.

Anonymous said...

I think the car crowd size is a factor in people's behavior on this.

Anon at 8:48 above seems use to traveling in cars with no empty seats, they assume there is someone to offer the seat to and thus they insist you should always stand and offer the window seat to someone.

However, if you're traveling when the the car has several empty seats and new passengers come on board I think their pattern becomes problematic.

Personally I prefer the foursquare seats, then an aisle seat. I will stand before taking a window seat. I don't like the window seats, I feel trapped in them. If I'm sitting in an aisle seat I will always stand to let people in and out, but if the car is not crowded I assume someone will ask if they want the seat.

Anonymous said...

When there are multiple seats open, this isn't even an issue. You just choose the one that is least inconvenient to the other riders. That generally means in priority order:

1) At a bench with two empty seats, rather than sitting right next to somebody. We like our space, and when somebody makes a point of sitting next to you when it isn't necessary, you wonder whether he is up to no good.

2) When no double seats are open, take an aisle seat next to somebody. It is more polite to not make your seatmate get up if it can be avoided.

3) When no aisle seats are open, take the next open window seat. That person has to get up to let you in, but that is the price he pays for taking the aisle seat.

The person insisting on the aisle seat is the one making the situation more difficult, by blocking access to the open window seat. Therefore the onus is on him to mitigate that, by proactively making it easy for the standing passenger to take the window seat. The rider who is content to let someone stand, without even an inquiry whether she would like the open seat he is blocking, is simply rude.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "foursquare' seats - those may be a thing of the past, at some point. This morning, I happened to board one of the newly (I assume it's newly) renovated cars. My first tip off was that the seat was extremely clean. Then I started looking around - noticed that the 'half-wall' next to the handicap seats, at the doors was gone. Noticed a new vertical bar between the 2 handicap seats (to the front of the seats, but still between - sorry, not a good description). Then I noticed there are some hanging thingies from the top bar (for us short people) for people to hold onto, although there could be more of these throughout. Then I notice there are no foursquare seats...turn around to see the other end & the same thing. It looked roomier, without the foursquare seats, but they didn't add anymore seats, at least on one side of the train, the other side just had them all facing the same direction. I also noticed a lot more vertical bars, from the aisle seat back to the parallel bar on top, throughout, seemed every other seat either had a hand rail on the seat back, or a vertical bar. Also, as I prepared to off board, I noticed that one of the handicap areas had been replaced with a 'bicycle priority' section. The first seat was also one of those flip-up seats & had a note to flip up the seat when you lean your bike against the bar (there was a parallel bar about waist high to lean the bike against). All in all, I was rather impressed. Not only at the cleanliness (obvious since it's new), but it really did seem roomier, and although, I'm fortunate enough to normally have a seat (due to my schedule), I'm thankful BART is using those hanging things from the top parallel bar - I'm sure many other shorter people will be thankful. I suppose the only thing I'd say they could've done differently is to use different material for the seats instead of upholstering them with the same material they use now. I'm sure some form of plastic would be easer to clean. All in all, a definite improvement for BART. I look froward to more train car renovations.

Sorry for the long comment, just wanted to relay the changes I saw.

BTW - If I recall correctly, the train car number is 2059. Look for it if it's on your route.

bartmusings said...

thanks for sharing your observations! i will definitely be sad to see the 4-square seats gone. they are my #1 choice typically, mostly because i feel like i have more room to look around, breath, and cross/uncross my legs more easily (not that much easier, but a little tiny bit). you dont have to look at someone's head so close to you, which is a huge plus.

anyway, why do i even bother since i'm always standing these days anyways!

Anonymous said...

Window seat for sure, I take the train from sfo to the east bay, once I transfer at daily city I hit the ipod lean against the window and pass out.