Since I was first old enough to purchase a young person’s railcard, I have travelled quite regularly by train across the UK. It’s easy, convenient and depending on where you are travelling can be quite cheap as well. I’ve also travelled by train in other countries, notably when I went interrailing with a group of friends. Stations are fantastic places to people-watch, as are trains themselves, and as you begin to stack up the number of journeys you have taken, you begin to spot patterns in people’s behaviours. One of these is the classic window seat discussion.
From what I’ve observed, the window seat discussion usually happens when people are travelling in a pair, either as a couple or friends. It will inevitably not take place until they are standing in the aisle right next to their allocated seats (if they have a reservation), or better yet, not until after they have sat down, in which case this usually involves some rearrangements in seating. This isn’t a problem as such, after all if you are going on a long journey then you want to be as comfortable as possible, but can cause huge problems for the rest of the carriage.
If there is a huge queue of people trying to get onto the train/find their seat/return to their seat and two people are blocking up the aisle having a discussion on who sits by the window, it is incredibly annoying. Just sit down and work it out once everyone else is comfortable! Fortunately, unless I’m having a particularly bad journey, I have gone past finding this irritating to just seeing the funny side.
I’d like to bet that a lot of people who have this discussion are repeat offenders, and if that’s the case, why not have the discussion on the platform before getting onto the train? Alternatively, whoever gets onto the train first could sit by the window seat as that makes the most sense. Or, you could make an arrangement with your travelling partner that whoever gets the window seat one way, has to travel in the aisle seat on the return journey.
I’ll be honest – I don’t get what all the fuss is about (unless it’s on a plane!). Train windows are big enough for you to see out of whichever seat you are in. Unless it is a particularly spectacular journey, then most people don’t spend that much time watching the scenery as they are too busy reading/working/sleeping/using electronics. If you suffer from travel sickness, I’ll let you off, but otherwise, next time you get on a train and have this discussion, just be aware that you might be annoying everyone getting on behind you, or amusing someone like me.