Plane Passenger ‘Shocked’ After She Says Fellow Flyer Claimed Empty Seat in Their Row: 'I Don't Want to Share'

“I could not believe the audacity,” the traveler wrote in a retelling of the incident on Reddit

<p>Getty</p> Empty seat between two passengers on a plane


Empty seat between two passengers on a plane

An airplane passenger is recalling a rift she had with her row-mate after he tried to claim the open seat between them.

The 51-year-old traveler wrote that she was on a 10-hour flight from Seattle to Seoul, South Korea, when the incident occurred, in a lengthy post on Reddit.

She explained that her seat was in the middle section of a “2 x 4 x 2” seat configuration in which she had the aisle and a man and his “female companion” were seated next to her — leaving one empty seat.

Once the boarding process was completed, the user recalls being excited to see “there were only 3 of us seated in the middle section of the row. Yayyyy!”

She continued: “The guy sitting next to me & his female companion, both moved over one seat leaving an open spot next to me. Awesome! Great to have a little space on a 10hr flight, right? LOL.”

The drama started after they were in the air and the flight attendants began handing out drinks and snacks, according to the user.

Related: Should the Middle Seat Passenger Get Both Armrests on a Plane? A Travel Expert Answers the Controversial Question

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of a drink on a tray table


Stock image of a drink on a tray table

“I needed to grab something from my bag in the OH [overhead] bin. I put my drink on the tray of the empty seat next to me,” the original poster (OP) explained. “I'm looking in my bag & the guy that previously occupied the seat says to me, ‘I don't want to share,’ (pointing to the tray).”

Thinking she maybe didn’t hear correctly, the user said she asked him to clarify what he meant. She says her row-mate then touched the tray table.

“I was shocked, because who does that? I said, ‘What are you talking about? Don't want to share?’ I had never encountered something like this before,” the traveler recalled.

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According to the OP, her neighbor responded: “'This is my seat, I paid for it,” to which she then fired back, “Yeah, and who paid for the seat your friend moved to?”

She adds, “I could not believe the audacity - I was shocked, but remained calm (practicing self awareness).” After her neighbor remained silent, she says she continued to stand up for herself.

“I don’t intend to monopolize the tray for the entire flight, but I'll use it when necessary, and I’ll also use half of this seat (his old seat) for my things. Just like you see my bag sitting here now, it will be here as long as I need it to be here. We should ALL be able to take advantage of the free space in this row.”

After she claimed her fellow passenger finally “nodded and said, ‘ok,’” she ended the lengthy tale by asking other Redditors to share their thoughts on the situation.

Related: Plane Passenger's Photo of Someone's Coat Covering Seatback TV Screen Sparks Debate: 'Ready to Get Triggered?'

<p>Getty</p> Plane passenger puts their belongings on an empty seat


Plane passenger puts their belongings on an empty seat

Implying that the man was acting childish, one user wrote, ​​”’I don’t want to share’ - not even something my 2-year-old gets away with.” Another questioned, “Was the dude a kindergartener?”

Others offered their thoughts on different ways the OP could have handled the situation.

“LOL, you should have moved over into his old seat so that the empty seat was between you and the aisle,” one joked. “Then the empty seat would be all yours. Bonus points for fighting over the armrest with him after you move next to him.”

Another added, “If there's an empty seat between 2 people I think the unspoken rule is that you share the extra space. Just be reasonable about it and let everyone involved enjoy the small gift that is extra space on a long haul flight.”

Many commended the OP for her reaction, writing, “Truly amazing response on your part!” and, “Good patience and response from you.”

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When it comes to seat etiquette, travel expert Nicole Campoy Jackson previously told PEOPLE that passengers should always have “courtesy and understanding that we're all in tight quarters” while addressing the heated seat reclining debate.

She emphasized, “I think the more we can all remember that airports and airplanes are places of higher stress and tighter quarters than normal, the better.”

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