Three weeks later since returning and still going through a few things and wanted to debrief on this one point.
Before I took a break from blogging, I saw this post from Scott @ MileValue and I locked it into my memory for when I took my flights in economy. Even though MileValue quality has eroded in recent years becoming one giant advertorial, something like that post has some good value.
The trick came in handy when I needed more space or to navigate into the aisle easily. While there are tons of seat configurations, it worked on the flights that were on with the Boeing 737 (AS metal) and 707 (HA metal). Not sure where else it is applicable.
He did have one error in his picture which I modified and display below:
The lever is actually at the end of the arm rest where the blue arrow is, not the orange arrow.