Do You Know About The Secret Button On Your Airplane Seat?

airplane seatMany of you might prefer to fly in premium cabins to get a bigger airplane seat but the reality is that most of us do fly in coach.

Flying in coach might not be the most comfortable way to travel and space can be pretty tight but there’s a way that some of you can gain a little more room by using a secret button.

This secret button will only be available to those of you who sit in the aisle seat. While the window seat does have its benefits (views, leaning on the side while you sleep), I’m an aisle kind of guy. I like to be able to stretch my legs and get up without bothering or inconveniencing others.

One big problem which restricts movement in an airplane seat is the armrest. While the middle armrest can move up to create more space, you’re out of luck with the outer armrest (aisle side).

Or are you?airplane seatWith the push of one secret button, you can move the armrest up while in the aisle seat.

On the Southwest seat above, the button was more like a small lever. On other airlines, the button is more like a small circular space cut out. When you pushed inside the space, it releases the armrest, allowing for it to go up.

Moving the armrest up on the aisle airplane seat has a couple of benefits.

  1. More space! Stretch your legs without restricted access or move your arm without feeling like your trapped in your seat’s space. (Just watch out for the service trolley!)
  2. When you land, it’s much easier to get out of your seat when the armrest is raised. Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

Did you know about the secret button on your airplane seat? If so, do you use it?

(Just an FYI- not all airlines have the secret button on their seat’s armrests. From what I recall, on a recent JetBlue flight there was no button to be found.)

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17 thoughts on “Do You Know About The Secret Button On Your Airplane Seat?

  1. s.c.bouder- Awesome! 🙂

    H S- I’m actually surprised- when I lift the armrest, nobody on the flights even seem to pay it any attention or ask how to raise their’s.

    Arthur- Good to know! Have only flown Southwest with kids so I’ve never had the exit row.

    Yorkshire Traveler- Enjoy the extra space! 🙂

    Jake Redman- What’s up? Great points you bring up!

    John Carr- No question! It really improves the experience.

  2. This is HUGE when it comes to flying with little kids. So much easier to get up throughout the flight to calm an upset lap baby or get to the restroom for diaper changes. Easier to just let your middle or window neighbor out too.

  3. yes and on SW the 2 row exit row has it on the inside seat (where normally would be a middle seat)–I love knowing trick

  4. I discovered this a few years ago when I was very pregnant and still flying for work. It was a life saver for room in general and literally getting out of the seat to go to the restroom and de-plane!

  5. ptahcha- Not sure if its on seatguru and good point about takeoff and landing.

    Tony- There def can be some nastiness. User beware! 🙂

    DaninMCI- Sometimes the button is very hard to access due to being in a hole. I wonder if the FAs have some sort of tool they use to make using the button easier…

    Daniel Kimberlin- Some good points/ ideas!

    Tracy S- LOL!!!

    John J- Shhhh! It’s a secret…

    Eve Harper- That’s a good idea to use a napkin etc… I usually just take my chances.

  6. A few years back when I had injured my leg and they brought me in on an airplane isle wheel chair, I saw the flight attendant use the button. It is great for getting out of the seat or getting things out of the bin overhead. Also good for organizing child seats. I don’t touch it unless it’s with a napkin or wet wipe. Be aware of nastiness in the hole or rough sharp metal.

  7. “Did you know about the secret button on your airplane seat? If so, do you use it?”

    Absolutely. We have used this “secret button” for years.

  8. makes it so much easier to take your seat though. I always get to my row and pop it up so i can easily step in to let people pass while getting my things situated. I wish more people knew and would do the same.

  9. I use this all the time. Some window seats also feature this. Many armrests have the button in the small germ hole. The ones that seem like they should but don’t, actually have it built into the small metal hinge area many times. If you push on that metal clasp deal toward the very back it will sometimes work. There are a few that don’t seem to have this (or its locked) but most do. It’s like they try to hide this. Also for landing or takeoff these are supposed to be in the down position and most FA’s will remind you of this fact.

  10. Yes discovered this not long ago. Beware though: in searching around the bottom of the arm rest you could encounter some nastiness.

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