Passenger Refused to Change Seats and Found Her Stuff Tossed Into the Aisle

by Anthony Losanno
Plane Seats

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Another passenger is reporting a bad experience onboard over a seat change refusal and a fellow passenger deciding to take the seat anyway when she went to the lavatory. The 23-year-old woman was shocked to find her seat occupied and her belongings in the aisle when she returned.

AITA for not giving up my plane seat?
byu/Smart-Jellyfish1111 inAmItheAsshole

According to her Reddit post, she was seated in a middle seat between a woman and her son (who she estimates was six or seven years old). The woman initially demanded that the poster take her aisle seat so that she could sit next to her son. She said she would take the window seat, which made the other passenger snap at her audacity to ask that her son “give up his seat as he is a child and deserves the window seat.” A flight attendant was called and she told them to keep their assigned seats. The woman asking for the change grumbled and allegedly kicked the other passenger throughout the flight.

Later in the flight, she got up to use the lavatory. When she returned, her seat was occupied and her bag and jacket were thrown into the aisle. The flight attendant was called again and all passengers returned to their assigned seats.

Passenger Seat

This reminds me of a similar situation that I wrote about back in July (more here) where another passenger refused to swap seats.

Anthony’s Take: This is unacceptable. I give the woman credit for standing her ground against the mother and child. I’m not sure how they would have booked a window and aisle unless they were hoping the middle seat would remain empty. I’m not sure why the woman being asked to move would want to stay in the middle next to someone so hostile, but she booked the seat or was assigned it. It’s her choice whether she wants to move.

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FrequentWanderer January 18, 2024 - 7:17 pm

Which airline???

And I will always take the aisle if someone wants to switch. I mean, the mother offered aisle or middle, and this person WANTED the middle?? How bizarro

Unless it’s a redeye. Then I might agree to window

Ron Symic January 25, 2024 - 10:44 pm

As a veteran air line employee I see this happen quite often where guests purposefully book a A and C or D and F seat hoping that no other guests would book the middle seat. Full flights eliminate the greedy attitude immediately.

John January 18, 2024 - 7:35 pm

Use the seats you booked. Touch someone’s stuff and be arrested.

RPCV January 18, 2024 - 8:17 pm

Knowing she was traveling with her son, why didn’t she purchase two seats together to begin with. Window and Center seat. Booking an aisle and window seat and hoping the center seat is empty doesn’t exist anymore.

derek January 18, 2024 - 9:15 pm

The mother and son were in an excellent bargaining position but failed to use it. If they had 20A and 20C, there would be a great chance of switching with 25A and 25B. Even if they were in the last row, like 50A and 50C, maybe 49A and 49B would switch.

Boraxo January 18, 2024 - 8:47 pm

Wow – the nerve! Crazy mamma should have taken the middle seat originally if that was so important to her. Otherwise she is stuck at the mercy of others and has no right to complain. Instead she was selfish and tried to game the system.

My teen complains about strangers in the middle seat. I told her the only option is to take the middle herself as I will not give up my aisle seat. Everyone has choices in life. Don’t take it out on strangers when you f up.

Lara S. January 19, 2024 - 9:41 am

I don’t think the woman is an A-hole for not switching seats, but I do think it is a bizarre choice that most people won’t understand and might assume you are trying to be an a-hole, especially if you don’t articulate why you don’t do aisle seats. No, you don’t HAVE to do this but it is part of the social lubrication that makes things easier for humans to get along. Anyway, for two reasons I would have taken the seat- one, aisle is better than middle, even if you prefer window the most, and secondly, now you’ve got a mom trying to talk to and reach over you to hand things to her kid which is going to be annoying even if the mom wasn’t a complete turd about not switching, and was pleasant, she still needs to communicate with her kid. Yes, the mom should have booked two seats together, but gosh just for ease of travel and to make my own life better, I’d have taken the aisle.

Brian January 26, 2024 - 5:30 pm

Having flown over 5 million miles, I’ve seen this before. Actually, something similar has happened to me. I was in the middle seat, B. A and C asked me to move to the aisle seat, C… which I hate sitting in because I always get bumped. They said no, they wanted the window. They told me they booked A and C hoping B would stay open. I politly told them I’d keep my middle seat. They called the flight attendant over to get me to move, the flight attendant told the folks in A and C to keep their seats and that was that. If they wanted to sit together, they should have booked A and B.

Lars January 19, 2024 - 12:07 pm

If she didn’t insist on retaining her middle seat for the sake of spite, it’s unclear what benefit was obtained by insisting on retaining the middle seat.

I’m surprised someone in another middle didn’t overhear the situation, and tell the lady they’d trade their middle for her middle, such that they could then switch to the mother’s aisle.

I do think the lady owes some explanation as to why she is bitterly clinging to a seat which is universally regarded as the least desirable on an aircraft.

Mari C. January 29, 2024 - 2:35 am

She doesn’t owe them a seat change nor an explanation.

D'oha January 19, 2024 - 5:14 pm

The part about the kid moving to the middle seat was confusing. Did the middle seat lady tell the mom that the kid should stay in the window seat? If I were she, that would have been the perfect solution, because a kid in between two adults would have given everyone more room. The whole conflict here doesn’t make any sense.

The Man January 21, 2024 - 1:55 pm

You book a seat, it’s yours, you don’t need to explain to anybody. Why would anybody else get involved, when the Ar*” h*!÷ and her son couldn’t be bothered to sort out her own seating before , like when she booked.

NanS January 25, 2024 - 7:21 pm

I was recently on a flight where I booked (and paid more for) an aisle seat. Before we took off, the flight attendant asked me if I would exchange seats with a woman so she could sit next to her children, who were in the middle and window next to me. I said sure, if it’s an aisle seat. At which point the flight attendant said no, it’s a middle. I said absolutely not!!! Maybe I look like a sucker because I’m a little old lady, but I can’t believe the flight attendant even asked me. The kids were in their teens and they were perfectly good seat companions.


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