Man refuses to switch seats with passenger on flight

An aisle on an airplane (Getty Images/iStockphoto) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
An aisle on an airplane (Getty Images/iStockphoto) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A man has questioned whether he was wrong to refuse to switch seats with a fellow passenger on his flight.

In a post to the Am I the A**hole forum on Reddit, a husband wrote about a flight he took with his wife from Dublin, Ireland, to Washington, DC. The thirtysomething couple discovered they had the entire row to themselves, so he moved to the aisle seat while his wife stayed at the window seat before the plane took flight.

According to the man, the first four and a half hours of the flight were uneventful - until a passenger from the aisle seat across from them came over with their friend and announced that their friend would now be taking the available middle seat between the couple to escape a crying baby.

“She did not ask - she told us this was happening,” he wrote, noting there were three hours left of the flight. He asked her if the flight attendants were aware of this change and after flagging them down, the flight attendants informed him that there was an “agreement was that they could take an available aisle seat but could not disrupt anyone’s seating arrangements”.

Upon hearing this, the man, who was relucant to allow the change, alleged that the passenger began complaining that the man had been assigned to the middle seat, arguing that he shouldn’t even be sitting in the aisle seat. After sitting there for nearly five hours, the man noted that he and his wife had already distributed their items all over the row.

After the passenger and her friend went to talk to the flight attendant for five minutes, the passenger then went back to her seat but yelled at the husband for refusing to move. He recounted that she was “saying that ‘her friend would not be sitting there - not because she was not allowed to, but because I was so incredibly rude’ and that I was a ‘f***ing ***hole.’”

The husband wrote that he ignored her and kept his eyes focused on the show he had been watching throughout the flight.

“The only thing I did this entire time was ask to talk to the flight attendant,” he wrote. “I did not say anything else to this woman, though I would have liked to.”

Users flocked to the comment section to voice their opinions, with some saying that he was right to flag down the flight attendant and verify whether he and his wife could stay where they were seated.

“Absolutely checking with the [flight attendant] was the right move,” one person commented. “The [flight attendant’s] need to know where they’ve moved people in case of emergencies. It’s one thing to shift over one seat it’s another to completely change rows and seat. That’s what they need to know. It’s part of the possibility of identifying passengers in emergency situations.”

An aisle on an airplane (Getty Images/iStockphoto) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
An aisle on an airplane (Getty Images/iStockphoto) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“An empty seat on the plane (within the same cabin) is a surprise perk. Barring exceptional situations, that perk customarily belongs the first person to claim it,” someone else wrote. “You are suggesting that more than halfway into the flight that perk be changed to benefit another passenger. [Original poster] rightly had the superior claim to the empty seat, and clearly the [flight attendant] agreed.”

Another added: “Meh. First come, first serve.”

However, others believed the passenger and her friend were justified in trying to get the seat.

“You paid for two seats, not three,” someone else added. “You didn’t ask the [flight attendant] because you wanted to ‘verify the rules’. You asked because you didn’t want to lose your space and were hoping the [flight attendant] would not permit her to move. You were assigned a middle seat.”

They continued: “So per the [flight attendant], the woman could have sat in the aisle seat, once you moved into your actual assigned middle seat. She’s somewhat an [a**hole] as well for her attitude and rude behavior.”