How to get a seat on the London Underground

Sitting down whilst on public transport.

Before I moved to London, something I clearly took for granted.

To have the honour of getting a seat during your commute is a rarity. It’s treasured by commuters. Celebrated as an achievement. It’s success.

I often congratulate myself when I manage to do it. (Not out loud, I’m not a maniac.) Just a little ‘well done Tom’ in my own brain.

I can see why it makes people so happy. I love sitting down. Sitting down is one of my favourite things to do. I love a good sit down. With a warm drink. And a biscuit.

So what’s the secret to getting a seat on the tube? How can you guarantee that you won’t end up with your face in the armpit of a sweaty bloke from Croydon.

Here are 5 ways to guarantee that you’ll get a seat on your way to work.

Go to work early, but not too early.

Going to work early.

An obvious one. Sounds easy doesn’t it? What can possibly go wrong?

It’s not as easy as you might think. You have to try to get the balance right. You have to get a train that’s early enough to avoid the morning rush but late enough to miss, what I like to call, the late night crazies.

The late night crazies are a small community of Londoners that you’ll find on the tube between 5am and 6am. Too early to be commuters. Too late to be getting in from a night out.

They are often talkative and dangerous. Identifiable characteristics:

They keep eye contact with you at all times.

They have several plastic bags with them.

They look like they want to be your best friend but also kill you.

Be (and act) pregnant

My wife is heavily pregnant.

You might think that would be enough to get her a seat on the tube. You might think she’s meeting the criteria.

You would be wrong.

Sadly, nobody gives my wife a seat. I’ve maybe seen it happen a handful of times. Always women. Never men. It’s a horrible thing.

If you want to get a seat on the tube whilst heavily pregnant, you have to really sell it.

My wife hasn’t yet come around to this as it involves looking a bit weird. Basically, as the train approaches, you clutch your pregnant bump with both hands and you say “Ooooo I’m very pregnant”.

Then comes the pregnant waddle. You waddle on to the train. Again, a few “Oooooo”‘s wouldn’t go a miss at this point.

Finally, if there’s still nobody offering you a seat. Rub your belly in the face of the bloke in the priority seat.

He will move.

Be (and act) elderly

Again, you can’t just be old and expect a seat.

Similarly to my last point, there’s a set way to do this.

Basically, as the train approaches, you clutch your back with both hands and you say “Ooooo I’m very old”.

Then comes the old person waddle. You waddle on to the train. Again, a few “Oooooo”‘s wouldn’t go a miss at this point.

Finally, if there’s still nobody offering you a seat. Sit on the bloke in the priority seat.

He will move.

Throw up

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about London, amongst many things, it’s that commuters don’t like vomit.

Vomit can get you not only a seat, but a couple of seats. Potentially your own carriage.

We’ve all been there.

“Oh wow, there’s loads of seats here that nobody is taking advantage of. I wonder why nobody is sat here?! I best quickly take my seat and…”

Oh dear. Somebody has been violently sick. The only saving grace is that you get to watch the next person who get’s on the train do exactly the same thing.

The moment they clock the vomit is the best bit.

There is always one maniac who sits next to the vomit regardless. The kind of person who would use a public toilet no matter what condition it is in. Psychopaths.

Take your own seat

If you tried going early, being pregnant, being old, throwing up and you’re still not getting a seat.

Take your own.

Those camping chairs are foldable, lightweight and they have got a drinks holder built it.

Ideal.