A solo traveler had a less-than-pleasant experience after politely refusing to swap seats with a mother who was seated one spot over from her son
A solo plane passenger says she experienced some shocking behavior from a fellow flyer with whom she'd refused to swap seats.
On Reddit’s AmITheA------ subreddit, a 23-year-old woman raised the age-old question of whether or not a single passenger should have to change seats in order to accommodate a family whose assigned seats are not together.
The original poster (OP) shared that she had to fly cross country to attend her sister’s wedding recently and was seated in the middle seat between a mother and her son, whom she estimated was around 6 or 7 years old.
“The woman demanded that she MUST sit next to her son and I MUST sit at the aisle so she could sit next to him,” she wrote in the post.
After she told the mother that she'd prefer to remain in the seat she booked and did not like to sit in the aisle seat, the mother “started to yell that it is her right to sit next to her son," she says.
The solo passenger offered another solution: "I politely told her that I would be willing to change seats with her son (who had the window seat) and she continued yelling that she NEEDED the seat and that she won’t accept that her son has to give up his seat as he is a child and deserves the window seat,” she continued.
A flight attendant then got involved and resolved the issue, saying every needed to sit in their assigned seat — albeit temporarily. The OP claimed that the mom “kept ‘accidentally’ kicking me the whole flight and made her son annoy me on purpose so I might give up my seat.”
But the most shocking situation occurred when the OP got up to go to the restroom.
When the OP got up, the mother took her temporarily vacant seat. When the young woman returned from the bathroom, she found the mom in her seat and her own jacket and bag “thrown into the aisle.”
She got the crew involved once more and the mother was told to return to her aisle seat.
Reddit commenters were largely in agreement with the passenger that she was not "the a------." “You have the patience of a saint,” one user wrote.
“You handled this situation with a lot of grace. Gave the woman an option and you let the flight attendants do their job,” another said.
The main takeaway from the post, though, was a questioning of why the OP prefers the middle seat, usually the most maligned option by flyers.
“Fighting to keep a middle seat makes you a unicorn,” one user commented.
Another said it was “odd for someone to fight for the middle seat.”
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The question of whether or not a solo passenger must give up their seat for a family to sit together is one that travel expert Nicole Campoy Jackson told PEOPLE should not fall on the single flyer.
Jackson said it’s not the displaced passenger’s responsibility to facilitate a seat-swap, but rather up to the airline and flight attendants to offer customer service for the family. When there's a conflict, “It’s no longer that one passenger’s responsibility," she said.
"Generally speaking, don’t board a plane expecting passengers to shift for you," Jackson added. "especially if your seat is not as comfortable as (or more than) theirs."
A similar situation went viral in July, when a single traveler declined to give up their seat for a family who had not booked seats together. Commenters battled it out on social media, but the consensus was similar, with most agreeing it's more than fine to ask if the single passenger would change seats, but that person has the right to say no.
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