While posting comments from other parts of the site—like the Southwest Seating Policy post from not long ago—is the cheapest form of editorial we could possibly muster, sometimes they’re just too good to not draw extra attention to. Gander writes:
There are definitely ways to ensure that – assuming you are an A boarder who gets an aisle seat – you can maintain the vacancy of the seat next to you on all but completely booked flights. Since I’m the type that most skittish midwesterners prefer to sit next to on an airplane (young, white, attractive, skinny) I find that it helps to play on other prejudices. The following work for me:
Dressing as flamboyantly as possible (fur hats . . . large sunglasses . . . tee shirts which graphically announce my homosexual proclivities)
Lowering the tray table and using it as a desk while applying simple cosmetics such as mascara or eye-liner. This is something I only do when the flight looks like it’s going to be *really* crowded.
I suppose if none of that is up your alley you could wear a turban?
Finally, a scenario where the prejudices of others pays in your favor. There have to be other places this sort of thing works. If you write about them in the comments, who knows? Maybe we’ll get lazy in the future and cut-and-paste yours, too.