Woman Praised For Refusing To Switch Seats With a Family on Her Second 8 Hour Flight

By Emma Williams

Switching plane seats with children is very contentious, and everyone has an opinion on it. One woman was praised for refusing to change her seat on a recent 8-hour flight from Africa to the US after initially getting grief from a family with children on her journey home.

The Second 8 Hour Flight

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The woman reached out to Am I The A**hole (AITA) readers to ask if she was right to refuse to switch her aisle seat. She knew that traveling home from Africa via Dubai would be tiring, especially as she had booked a special meal due to health requirements. After finding her seat and settling in, the woman was asked if she could switch seats so a family could sit together. 

She Initially Said Yes

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The woman explained that she was approached by the mom, who could not speak good English, who asked if she could switch so her three children could sit together. The original poster (OP) said yes, as she thought she would be moving to another aisle seat just across from where she was. She said she could not switch seats when she realized she needed to sit in a middle chair. 

The Father Was Nowhere to Be Seen

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The OP went on to say that the children’s father was sitting at the other end of the plane, which indicated that the family had not bothered to pre-book their seats so they could all sit together. People will be randomly assigned seats on a plane, and families that want to guarantee that they will be seated together should pay to book, which didn’t happen in this case. 

Boarding Was Held Up

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The conversation between the two women started to gain attention as the mom and kids were holding up boarding. This led another passenger to insist that the OP switch her seat so the family could sit together. The passenger loudly criticized the woman, but she refused, saying she was tired and had booked her seat specifically for an aisle seat.

The Crew Was Alerted to The Drama

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Once the cabin crew noticed what was happening, they asked another passenger to switch so the mom could sit with her children. With the issue seemingly resolved, the woman sat down and settled back into the second flight of her journey. 

Passenger Creates a Scene 

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The other passenger who tried to intervene started shouting at the kids, saying, “Do you understand what happened? She thought her seat was too special, so she wouldn’t let you sit together.” He insulted the woman, shouting, “She thought her seat was too special, so she wouldn’t let you sit together.” The woman told the man to mind his own business, but he refused to admit he was talking about her, which was strange as it was obvious he was talking to her. 

The Woman Was Exhausted

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The OP told readers that she was sleep-deprived and exhausted and felt that she deserved to relax after being so organized in booking her seat. Usually, booking an aisle or window seat is done so people avoid the dreaded middle seat. Believing she was right in her actions, she asked readers if she was the a**hole in the situation. 

The Family Should Have Paid To Sit Together

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Straightaway, one person jumped in to say that she was “NTA. They could have paid to do so if the family wanted to be together,” This seemed to be many people’s opinion, with another saying, “It would take way more than a refund to get me to move.”

Some People Thought The Woman Lacked Empathy

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Other readers thought the woman was selfish in not switching seats and believed she would have empathized with the mom more. One parent noted, “It’s not always possible to get seats together, and sometimes, even if you pay for seat selection, the airline will move you into ‘equivalent ‘ seats.”

It May Not Have Been The Family’s Fault

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One reader said that there could have been an innocent explanation, pointing out, “In fairness, not all of these families are separated because they didn’t book seats together.” Airlines are often at fault when they cancel and rebook planes and do not keep families together. This was the case for one reader who said, “I flew once with a 2yo, and I will swear up, and down that, I booked two seats together. Got on the plane, and we’re across the aisle from each other”.

From the response from readers, it seems that opinion was decided on whether the woman was out of order or not moving. One thing agreed upon was, “The real a**hole here is the heckler and the airline who didn’t sit (sic) minors next to the parents on the same reservation.”

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