Claiming Chairs: Is it proper to reserve a seat by leaving some personal belonging on it?

Q: Is it proper etiquette or even allowable to attempt to reserve a seat or table by leaving some article on the seat or table?



A: Yes, it is fine to “reserve” a seat or table by leaving some article as long as there is no assigned seating.


  1. Jody

    I think it depends on the circumstances. If it’s an “open seating” concert or other event when you know that the person is coming in a reasonable time I think it’s OK. Similarly, for airline open seating (thinking Southwest here) or a cafeteria/buffet when the other person(s) is farther back in line it’s perfectly OK. In cases where you just want a place to put all your “stuff” so you don’t have to hold it, or so you can go elsewhere for awhile and then come back, it’s not OK.

  2. One seat, okay. Two seats, okay. Three seats? I just came from a high school graduation where someone had arrived earlier in the day and taped off two rows of prime seats for their family, then didn’t show up until moments before the start of the ceremony when no other seats were left, and shooed out people who had sat there. Now, that’s a real dilemma!

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