Tips to keep the middle seat from ruining the flight

Visiting sites, such as, can help tell airline passengers which seats are the roomiest. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – For airline passengers, the request is usually “aisle” or “window.”

But for those times when only the middle seat is available, there are a few things you can do.

Yes, there can be drawbacks to sitting middle, especially if the burly guy a row up thrusts his seat backwards or the kids on either side start playing cars on the armrests.

Looking at sites, such as, can show which seats are the roomiest. Several airlines have started offering more legroom in coach. It is pay to play unless you’re a frequent flier.

The New York Times also points out the cheapest ticket may squeeze you for space, so shopping around helps.

“Just being in the know and being first to make a seat selection is not going to get you the absolute best seat on the plane,” Matthew Daimler, the founder of tells The New York Times.

“The landscape has changed.”

And if all else fails, passengers can buy a set of plastic wedges called the knee defender. The device, which sells for $19.95 on, physically stops the seat in front of you from reclining.

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow Andrew and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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