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08th May 2024

‘I refused to swap seats with a kid to let them sit next to family on an 8-hour flight’


Was she in the right?

A woman has sparked a debate online after revealing how she refused to give up her pre-booked plane seat so a child could sit alongside their family.

The woman, who shared her story in a Reddit forum called Am I The A**hole described how she purposely booked an aisle seat on her long-haul flight from Africa to Dubai so she could get up and move around the cabin without bothering anyone, as well as pre-booking a special meal due to her health requirements.

She described the incident and asked fellow Reddit users to weigh in on whether she was right or wrong to stick to her guns?

“This was my second 8 hour flight on my way home from Africa via Dubai,” she explained.

“I had booked an aisle seat so I could get up without bothering others and a special meal due to health requirements. I boarded the plane, found my seat and settled in.

“A family gets on with 3 kids (they don’t speak much English) and asks if I could switch seats with one of their kids so they can be together. The father of the family wasn’t sat anywhere near the mother and kids, so it looked to me like they had left their seats to random assignment. I initially said yes, thinking it was just a move across the aisle, but then realised they wanted me to switch to sit in a middle seat and I said no.”

AITA for refusing to switch seats with a kid on an 8hr flight?
byu/kitsune_chan29 inAmItheAsshole

She continued: “Another passenger then gets up and says he has a seat in the back that I can move to (no idea how) and I said no. I said that I had booked my seat and ordered a dietary meal, and there was no way I was moving to a middle seat. He then starts loudly criticising me and saying he hopes I understand that I’m splitting a family up. This eventually attracts attention from the crew because it’s holding up boarding.

“They got a passenger on the other end of the row to switch and sit somewhere else so their kids could sit together. The other passenger from before then starts loudly saying to his kids and the family “Do you understand what happened? She thought her seat was too special so she wouldn’t let you sit together.” I told the guy to mind his own business and he responded that he wasn’t talking to me. I was exhausted and sleep deprived by this point and told him to stop talking about me and just can it.

“I didn’t think I was in the wrong here. I organised myself beforehand and booked my seat, and felt it was quite unfair to have a random guy criticising me to half the cabin for not wanting to swap to a middle seat for an 8 hour flight.”

The woman finished the post by asking other users of the open forum: “Am I The A**hole?”

The top comment, with over 11k up-votes, kept their response plain and simple. They wrote: “NTA. If the family wanted to be together they could have paid to do so.”

Another user shared the same sentiment: “NTA. I’m tired of entitled people thinking someone should sacrifice for them. If they wanted to be seated together, they should’ve booked seats together. Not your problem and good on you for standing your ground and not letting them bully you.”

In fact, scrolling through the many comments underneath the post, it’s difficult to find a single person who thinks the original poster was in the wrong.

Some people shared their own stories of similar incident’s and reinforced the stance that you should always remain in the seat that you paid for.

Username 615LoverInTheDark wrote: “NTA. I had a similar experience on a shorter flight (Houston to San Francisco). I had selected an upcharged window seat behind the exit (non-reclining!) row, and when I boarded, a family had pre-boarded and was occupying my seat. I gave a friendly “excuse me, but my ticket is for the window seat” and the family told–NOT asked–me that they wanted to sit together and I could have their ticketed middle seat in the middle of a widebody plane.

“I replied that I’m sorry they were split but I would like the far more desirable seat that I paid an upcharge for. The husband started berating me and wouldn’t move. I suggested that we could call the flight attendant over to see if the airline could facilitate a change for them and he huffed and fussed and got out of my way. He turned his back towards me the entire flight like not speaking to him was a punishment.”