I will also judge and criticize those opinions that are not the same as mine. -Just giving you fair warning.
There was an article on this subject matter in the Wall Street Journal today. They asked a panel of people some questions to get varying answers. More likely is was so they could get a definitive answer for the questions but that didn't happen. So I'm going to prove them all wrong.
1. The armrest
Why is this even an issue? If there were no armrests you would have more space. So I say lift the armrest and cuddle with your neighbor. If they don't look like the cuddling type, then feel them out. The panel says the middle person gets the armrests because middle man is a poor unfortunate soul so they get the "treat" of both armrests.
2. To wake or not to wake to pee.
Well obviously to wake. Are you going to hold your pee? No. Are you going to climb over some unsuspecting slumbering passenger? No, you need their help to get out! We're not all lap dancers who enjoy straddling strangers. sheesh. That one's a no-brainer.
3. Stinky food
Don't bring stinky food on the plane. If your neighbor does then there's not much you can do. Then again, maybe when they get ready to take their first bite you can side sneeze on their food. If you're lucky they'll throw it away. Or maybe get out the barf bag as a hint. Keep looking sideways and start heaving.
4. The Talker
OMG- THE TALKER. Solution: Headphones. Even if you're not listening to anything. Sometimes I actually enjoy talking to my neighbor (surprise!), but not always. You need headphones even if you don't use them. The book trick doesn't work anymore unfortunately.
5. The drunk.
Then don't sit by me if you don't like my dragon vodka breath.
6. Shoulder bags
Ever get smacked by a passerby who has a shoulder bag? Doesn't feel good. Solution: wear it as a backpack or hold it in your hand in front of your body. If you see a bag coming at you, then just grab it. Say "whoooooa there!" like it's a horse. Then they'll get the picture. You need reflexes like a cat!
7. Space invader
I'm not a very large person. I take up minimal seat space and use up less leg room. I actually OFFER up my leg space. I'll even give up my arm rest if i know someone else needs it. But not all passengers are my size. So look, if you're flying on an airline where you get to choose your seat, then do the math. If you're on the bigger side, find a seat next to a smaller person. If you're small then find a seat next to a larger person, or not... maybe they're hoping no one will sit next to them so they'll have more room. Oh look at me... assuming the best in everyone. We all know that we are selfish and self centered once we set foot in the airport and we only look out for ourselves.
8. Noisy kids
Look, people with kids have to fly. Before you take off and are strapped to your seat find out if you have little people behind you. If you would like, find an empty seat somewhere else. Or, make friends with the child-laden people before you take off. See what you're getting into and maybe make a joke like "oh i'm SO looking forward to getting kicked in the back by your little ones" then let your smile fade lighting fast into a dead serious glare.
I make a lot of jokes but honestly, MANY if not ALL problems can be solved by just SAYING something. Vocalize, but don't complain. The words "excuse me", "please", "thank you", "may I ", words we learned around the dinner table at a very young age, go a long way. Why does everyone turn into an asshole on an airplane? We are all in this together. We're all going to the same place, at the same time, in the same plane. Let's complain less and help more. The amount of eye rolling, heavy sighing and tattle-telling I see on flights is ridiculous. It's akin to watching a bunch of 1st graders on a school bus. although they're probably having more fun. There is no such thing as "AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE". It's more like "common courtesy". Treat others how you want to be treated and don't, for a second, think you are above anyone. Unless you are in the air.... then go ahead because you literally are above everyone.