Feet Under the Seat: Who Gets to Claim the Space?

“I  like to stretch out my legs because of some orthopedic discomfort. Sore knee and back. Not serious, but uncomfortable on a long flight if I can’t. On several flights, the person in front of me has moved their feet into what I believe to be my space, hitting my feet. It becomes the equivalent of the battle over the arm rest.”

Feet Under the Seat: Who Gets to Claim the Space?

Ron S — who is a reader of The Gateposted these thoughts only a week ago in the Comments section of this article pertaining to who is entitled to use the space under the seat in front of you. “I know my feet aren’t protruding all the way to the front of the seat in front, and I never go past any bar or other obstruction under the forward seat.”

You stretch you feet out under the seat in front of you — perhaps hitting the bar underneath it. The passenger seated in front of you puts his or her feet back, hitting yours or maybe scuffing your shoes. Who gets to claim that space?

Ron S believes “that the space under the seat in front of me is for my use, not anyone else’s.”

Arguably, the metal bar under the front of the seat is what defines where the space of one passenger ends and that of another begins — similar to whose bag belongs under the seat — so technically, the passenger should not place his or her feet behind that metal bar; and likewise, the passenger behind the seat in question should not place his or her feet in front of that metal bar…

…but what if the passenger seated in that seat puts his or her feet on the bar itself? What if the shoes of that passenger clash with the shoes of the passenger seated behind? Who wins out in that battle?

Summary

I have stretched my legs out underneath the seat in front of me many times — only to sometimes have the feet of the person seated in front of me go behind the bar under the seat and unexpectedly whack my feet. The latest time that happened was on my recent trip to Europe. Fortunately, I do not wear expensive shoes when I travel; but I do not like when someone scuffs my shoes nonetheless — even if they do fall apart.

I personally agree with the thoughts of Ron S — but if there is a special situation with mitigating circumstances, I would certainly be open minded and understanding. One such example might be if the passenger seated in front of me needed to place their feet under their seat for medical reasons.

Of course, I do not ever believe that the person in front of me knocks his or her feet onto mine under the seat purposely, as I always consider it an accident and simply shrug it off as I adjust my feet — but with leg room seemingly shrinking in the economy class cabin aboard airplanes in recent years, I like to at least try to have as much room to stretch out as possible…

…and generally, people seem to agree that the space under the seat in front of you is yours — but does the same understanding apply to feet as well?

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Feet Under the Seat: Who Gets to Claim the Space?”

  1. Brian S says:

    I think the proper response is to start rubbing your feet on theirs while leaning forward and whispering “goochie goochie goo…who want’s a footie-wootie rub”?
    Either the person is going to pull their feet away or you’ve made a new special friend for the flight.

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