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men women airplanesI don’t usually buy into gender generalizations, but several assertions in the most recent Wall Street Journal Middle Seat blog rang true with me as a female flier. I do like to check a bag, I do try to make myself as small as possible in my airplane seat, and I don’t care if I’m flying on a 737, 747 or 1234 as long as I get where I want to go.

According to the blog post, entitled “He Carries On, She Likes to Check,” the plane travel habits of men and women can vary drastically.

In simple terms, she likes the window seat with the shade pulled down, while he likes the aisle seat and wants the shade up.

Women’s Travel Tips

Other differences: She checks bags, while he carries on. She curls up in the corner of her seat to avoid contact with strangers, while he dominantly claims his space and the armrests. She wants a blanket; he doesn’t get cold.

While I actually prefer the aisle seat and don’t much care if the shade is up or down, I do prefer to check a bag – I just don’t want to be bothered with having to lug a suitcase around with me – and I will grab a blanket if one is available.

And I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve sat next to a man who takes up every bit of space he can get away with, including both armrests (if he’s in the middle) and even some of my legroom. And what do I do about it? I curl up in the corner and hope we never make contact!

Surviving the Middle Seat

Another generalization into which I fit – he (my husband included) can tell you what type of plane you’re flying on at first sight, while she couldn’t care less.

Do you recognize yourself in these generalizations?

— written by Dori Saltzman

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6 Responses to “Do Women and Men Fly Differently?”

  1. Nancy Wrigley James says:

    I don’t know about how they ‘ride’ differently — but apparently they (pilot) fly differently:

    It’s a fun little booklet my niece wrote.

  2. MaryB says:

    I don’t at all agree with these generalizations. I carry on almost always. My bag has been lost >50% of the few times that I have checked it and if you add up all the time spent checking the bag and waiting for it on the carousel, that adds up. I always want the aisle. I do dress in layers to deal with the dramatic changes in temp when traveling – I try to avoid using the airline blankets – I travel with a silk/wool pashmina that is quite compact. I claim my space as I do get tired of the guys thinking the can take my leg space. Although, to be honest, the guy or gal in the middle does deserve a break when it comes to arm rests. And, I also always know the type of plane, as well as the best seats on each type of plane.

  3. Petra says:

    I definitely don’t know the plane. But I think my husband does. I know planes by 3-3, 3-3-3 or 3-5-3, which describes how many seats there were in each aisle. If someone asked me to describe the plane afterwards, I would only be able to tell them whether or not there was a center aisle. I prefer the window and checking my bag. And yes, definitely try not to touch the person next to me. Yes to blanket too. Guess I’m the stereotype!

  4. Barbara says:

    The same thing happens to me when a man sits next to me no matter what seat he is in. Out go the arms onto ‘our’ armrest and out go the knees into my knee space. Since I’m 5’9″ with a 35″ inseam it’s makes it hard for my legs. So I don’t try to keep from conflict. I spread out my knees to include every inch of what is supposed to be my space. Almost 100% of the time they pull back into their own space. And there’s never been a conflict. I do give in about the armrest if the guy (or a woman) is in a middle seat, it’s so uncomfortable there having some arm room can help.

  5. Barbara says:

    Sorry, I meant I don’t try to keep from contact…not conflict (although I do try to keep from that too!)

  6. Kara says:

    Its true that strangers sitting next to women make them feel embarrassed…. Every women traveling alone could have experienced this at least once in a life time.

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