POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 17, 2013
Question: What is the proper thing to do when your seatmate is so large that you lose your own space? I sat for three hours next to a man who invaded my space. He was easily in the 400-pound range.
Answer: If you can't find a way to make it work, you have to talk to a flight attendant. I would do this as soon as possible after you board. Obviously, you don't want to embarrass your seatmate by ringing the flight-attendant button and explaining the problem in front of him, but you do have the right to your space. The flight attendant can try to reseat one of you.
Q: Is it possible to get a partial-day or hourly rate at a hotel without looking like one is there for unsavory purposes? I have a couple of hours between when my flight lands and when I have to give a speech at a meeting, and I'd love to have someplace to change and freshen up. It doesn't seem to make sense to get the room for a full night because I'm going from the meeting straight back to the airport.
A: It doesn't hurt to call the hotel and ask. If you explain your situation the exact way you did in your question, it won't seem sleazy at all. If the hotel is not full, they might be happy to work out something with you. I did this once myself for a medical reason -- we were driving home from a weekend trip when my husband got a bad migraine. There was no way he could sit in the car until his medication kicked in, which usually took a couple of hours. So we stopped at a random chain hotel, I explained what was going on and they were happy to give us a half-day rate. Also, check at hotels near (or in) your airport. Many of them offer day rates as a matter of course.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.