Imagine being called “heartless” and cussed for not switching your seats with a mother who wants to sit with her kid in a long-haul flight. “Wow, can you believe that?” sighed one passenger after a parent started fussing about his refusal. Little did the guy know the woman’s husband was watching from a corner.
Seating arrangements in planes are first-come, first-served, and in some cases, you’d get some added perks like extra legroom. But would you trade your comfort for someone who wants to sit with their kid? Beware: the exchange is not always worth it. One guy downright refused to swap his seat with a mother who didn’t stop condemning him.
Bulkhead seats usually have ample legroom than the other seats of the same fare class. It’s an added advantage to passengers, especially if the flight is considerably long and tiring. Because of this, not many passengers would be willing to swap seats even if the request is being made from parents who badly want to sit with their kids.
It’s one of the most common excuses of all. You’re seated next to a kid or spouse of someone who’s sitting several rows away, and they’d wonder if you’re ready to switch so they can spend the flight together. Well, it sounds nice. But not everyone would be willing to move from their comfort zone, and one guy proved he’s no exception either.
“I PAID FOR THAT EXTRA LEGROOM & I’M NOT MOVING”
One person explained on Reddit how his five-hour-flight journey kickstarted with a mother cussing him mid-flight. What seemed like a peaceful flight turned into a nightmare when a mother approached the guy and asked him to trade his seat so that she could sit with her kid. However, he refused and said he’d paid for the extra legroom, but the woman didn’t stop condemning him:
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! WHAT KIND OF [expletive] WON’T LET A MOTHER SIT WITH HER SON?!?!?!?!”
The passenger stood his ground and politely asked the woman to see if someone in her row volunteered to switch places with her kid. He ignored her and looked at the guy at the window in the same row. To his dismay, he was the woman’s husband, and he never bothered to give up his seat either.
SCREAMING KIDS ADD TO THE NIGHTMARE
Some people realize the seat isn’t for them after booking in advance and mostly walk to someone in the aisle seat requesting an exchange. However, there are many reasons why people who want to benefit out of extra legroom refuse to trade their seats. A cabin crew member explained her thoughts on this, saying:
“Most airlines make people pay upwards of 50 extra bucks to sit in those seats and charge them when they book the ticket. It’s not fair for flight attendants to move or let people move to these seats when one or more paid extra to sit there.”
Though some people can vaguely guess their request for a seat exchange would be turned down, they keep trying. Think you might be having a bad day with a delayed flight or uncomfortable seat? Your frustration mid-flight would’ve hardly started until you hear a screaming kid near your seat.
“PLEASE CONTROL YOUR CHILD”
For instance, another Redditor faced a similar scenario where a parent tried negotiating a seat trade so that her son got the window seat to look outside. However, the bizarre requests didn’t stop there. The Redditor lost his cool when the mother couldn’t control her child from grabbing his phone. He shared his experience, saying:
“I just simply raised my hand so the child couldn’t reach, so I said in a louder tone, “please control your child,” which made the mom grab the boy and freak out at me and her screaming at me that I shouldn’t be such an [expletive] and only think about me.”
Despite feeling inconvenienced, some people agree to switch places in exchange for another comfortable seat. But does the person who first requested a seat swap approve? Not really. For instance, a person named Onne Vegter explained on Quora he’d refused to swap seats with a woman because she wasn’t willing to give up on her emergency exit seat.
“SEAT SWAPS BEFORE TAKEOFF CAN BE RISKY,” CLAIMS PILOT
Many passengers have divided opinions after a downright refusal to switch places. And upon refusal, they’re mostly treated differently and are often lashed at for no reason. However, a pilot made a shocking revelation why switching seats before a takeoff can be very dangerous.
“Four passengers seated themselves forward from their assigned seats before takeoff. My first officer was flying, and he experienced problems when he rotated the aircraft: It was very heavy. This was a very critical situation because the runway was very short, and we would not have been able to stop,” pilot Magnar Nordal explained.
In sporadic cases, people are forced to move seats, and this time, the pressure doesn’t come from co-passengers. For instance, a woman was asked to switch seats owing to ultra-Orthodox beliefs.
IT CAN BE HURTFUL FOR SOME
Melanie Wolfson paid for an aisle seat but was shocked to find two men in the window and middle seats. One of the male passengers climbed over the seats to avoid any physical contact with her.
The man asked another male passenger to swap seats with Wolfson. In the end, she switched places to avoid any delay to the flight. In a similar incident in 2020, Wolfson faced the same dilemma during her flight to London.
However, she refused to swap seats, and the two ultra-Orthodox men switched places with female passengers. Shockingly, the crew never intervened in Wolfson’s matter both the times until she sued them.
It’s hard for most passengers to say no to someone who wants to sit beside their loved one. Typically, people are even willing to pressurize co-passengers for swapping out their aisle seat for a window or vice versa. However, you don’t have to swap seats if you don’t want to. It’s totally up to you to decide.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you paid extra or chose the most appealing freebie seat, the seat allotment printed on your boarding pass belongs only to you. Unless otherwise requested by a crew member, you aren’t required to switch places with anyone else.
However, if a co-passenger requests you to switch places and you find a valid point in it, the decision is entirely up to you. It may seem impolite to downright refuse a parent’s request to sit next to their child, but others would consider it rude to even ask in the first place. After all, maybe you’d paid extra for this particular seat or chose it after careful research.
If you decide to turn down the request to switch seats, doing it politely and in a friendly tone may help soften the blow even though you don’t owe an explanation for why you’re not okay with swapping. Have you been in a similar situation where someone requested you to switch places on a flight? How did you react? Your comments are much appreciated! Thanks for reading!