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Who “owns” the space underneath your seat, especially if you are seated at a bulkhead

Who “owns” the space underneath your seat, especially if you are seated at a bulkhead

  1. db0

    Hello everyone,

    here is a question for you, who “owns” the space underneath your seat, especially when you are at a bulkhead? What about the one in the -blocked- middle?

    The question stems from a bad flight experience I had last night. This intra-Europe C with LH, so the middle seat is blocked. I board the aircraft and there is a gentleman (most definitely not one but more about that later) already seated in his seat behind mine. I place my carry-on in the overhead compartment, hang my jacket and proceed to take my seat while carrying my laptop bag with me. I try to place said laptop bag underneath the (blocked) middle seat immediately to my left, but realize that the man behind me has already put a large carry-on there, so there is no space. Thinking nothing of it, I try to place my laptop bag underneath my seat for easier access later on after 10k feet.
    Immediately, before I even had the chance to put my back against the back of my seat, the man behind me starts kicking the laptop bag so hard, that it actually cleared the little metallic base that is located under the seat and landed back where my feet were! I look down and then turn around to see what had happened. The man asked me to put the bag in the overhead compartment otherwise, “I will break your laptop if you leave it there”. !!!
    I asked him if he was serious about breaking my laptop over this, which he repeatedly said that he would. Mind you, my laptop bag is pretty small, and this is C with ample leg space, so it is not like I was intruding into his own leg space and he was not exactly a basketball player either. He said that I should put my bag in front of me, which I am not allowed to do being sat in a bulkhead seat and all, then he made some condescending remarks about me flying for the first time (good one!) and then I ended up calling the purser to settle this because although this was not in the US, I am pretty sure that if he had insisted on kicking my laptop bag and ended up breaking something inside it, we would have ended up in a fight and then quickly thrown off the plane.

    Now, I know that usually you put your stuff in the seat in front of you, which I had none. The man had put his things underneath the middle seat, obviously without bothering anyone since his middle seat was also blocked. So this sounds to me like one of those “I want to eat my cake and have it too” cases. But him proceeding to kick the living daylights out of someone else’s delicate (i.e. not kick resistant) private property and threatening to break it unless they remove it left me speechless! What would have happened had I reclined my seat? Would I get kicked too? This is not the behaviour of an adult.

    In any case, what is your opinion on the matter? I know this could have been handled differently in a million different ways with a million different outcomes, but which one would have been better? What to do when someone makes threats like these?

  2. rickyw

    Ouch, sounds like a case of someone on a power trip. With that said though, I don’t think he was wrong. As it has always been explained to me when sitting in the bulkhead, all your luggage is required to go in the overhead bins, not underneath the seat. That’s direct from every flight attendant.

    Granted, I’ve never flown LH intra-Europe before, and not sure where your flight originates from, but it could also be more custom for that area for passengers to utilize the space underneath.

    No doubt the other passenger could have handled things in a much more polite way, but I unfortunately don’t think he was in the wrong

  3. David W

    That passenger should not have been so rude. If he had continued, cabin crew should have been notified.

    However, your personal items, like the laptop bag is supposed to go into the space under the seat in front of you. This applies for all passengers so technically the space under your seat is for the person behind you. In the bulkhead seats where there is not a seat behind you, all your stuff including personal items, has to go in the overhead bins. This is something cabin crew is supposed to announce to the cabin I think.

    Personally, I’d never place personal items under my own seat or under the seat next to me – I cant see it and the person behind be would have easier access to it than I would.

  4. Georgio

    Technically speaking the space is his – after all they do say that in the safety briefing – but he shouldn’t have been so aggresive. He sould’ve at least asked first.

  5. Rob in Miami

    This is a hilarious post. Bulkhead has NO space under a seat. You need to have all of your items checked or in the overhead bins. Period.

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