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14th Jan 2023

Train passenger praised for ‘refusing to give up’ first-class seat to elderly lady

Steve Hopkins

The pensioner ‘quite rudely’ insisted the passenger give up her seat

In a story that’s sure to divide opinion, a train passenger has been praised for refusing to give up her first class ticket – to an elderly woman.

The passenger, writing on Reddit, told how she was on a seven-hour train journey from London to Aberdeen when she was confronted “quite rudely” by the pensioner.

She had booked her seat in advance, but was given a ‘priority seat’ on boarding. The seats, located at the start of each carriage, are usually reserved for people with mobility issues.

On the ‘Am I the A**hole’ forum, which is where users ask for a second opinion on their choices they’ve made, the passenger explained how she had paid for the more expensive first class seat because it was a long journey and she hoped to do some work.

She wrote: “First-class seats on trains in the UK can be expensive, but I decided to treat myself because 1), I knew I’d have work to do on the train, so I wanted to make sure I had space/comfort to be able to work, and 2), certain trains in the ‘individual seats’ which means you’re not sitting next to or sitting opposite anyone.

“I specifically booked one of those seats to enable me to work.”

The woman, who identified herself as a 32-year-old female, said that shortly after boarding the train in London she was confronted by an elderly passenger who pointed at the “priority seat” sign and asked her to move.

When she refused, the woman told her that she was elderly and had a greater need for the seat. “I told her I’d booked the seat and she’d need to speak to a member of staff to find her one,” the woman wrote on the forum.

“She pointed out that the train was full and there were no other seats. I apologised but reiterated that I’d booked the seat and wasn’t going to move.”

The elderly woman, she said, had booked a return ticket, but did not reserve a specific seat.

The woman said a train guard eventually came over to help resolve the dispute and asked if either of the women would move to standard class.

The woman stood her ground, saying that while she felt “bad”, she “didn’t want to put myself in severe discomfort because someone else didn’t think ahead and reserve a seat”.

Reddit users sided with the woman, and put the blame on the train company instead: “The train company are the a**h*les here. They sold the disability seats as the most expensive seats on the train.

“Then they tried to get the person who bought those seats to move to standard. Those seats should imo never be sold unless the occupier is disabled. That’s on the train operator. It’s not on you.”

A second Reddit user agreed, adding: “If it was a 1st class seat on a plane and someone asked you to move to economy, you’d tell them to f**k right off. Same applies in my mind.”

“Train attendant here,” wrote a third reader. “You booked and paid for that specific seat. If the lady had specific requirements, she should have booked and stated as such in her reservation.”