I’ll Take An Aisle Seat

January 5, 2009

in Seat Stories

Last April (2008) I flew from Calgary, AB, CA to Orlando, FL. I had purposely booked an aisle seat on the right side of the plane (A “C” seat) because of a recent elbow injury to my left elbow that I wanted to protect from passing drink carts. I should also mention that although I love flying, I can get very claustrophobic and don’t like sitting anywhere but the aisle.

I get to my seat and found a family seated there and the father – seated in my assigned seat – tells me that I booked my seat before they could and that there were no seats left together for their family (like it’s my fault I picked my seat and screwed up their plans) so I could just sit in his seat. Thankfully it was an aisle seat, but it was on the other side of the plane and I sent five hours paranoid that something was going to hit my elbow and I’d spend my vacation in as much pain as I’d spent the last few days before my vacation.

Signed, AH

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Julicans January 19, 2009 at 6:26 am

Wait a minute! A "C" aisle on the right side of the aircraft would leave your recently injured elbow very exposed to the drink carts and anything else in the aisle. But it was very thoughtful of you to let the family sit together, I'm sure that they were grateful for your kindness.


CaptStevenM January 19, 2009 at 9:29 am

I hate it when that happens. I had a window seat assigned one time and when I boarded and got to my seat, a young mother was sitting in the middle seat and had placed her infant in myseat (window) and set up his bassinet and everything. Then looked at me and said "Do you mind if we switch seats?" I couldn't really say now since she was already set up. I had to sit in the aisle seat and couldn't sleep because I kept getting hit by the drink cart and people going by.


Michael January 22, 2009 at 8:06 am

Hey Julicans…a "C" seat puts the left elbow towards the window and the right elbow to the aisle.

Window ABC Aisle DEF Window


Julicans January 23, 2009 at 4:28 am

On some A/C the C is on the left AB CD


bill January 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm

To those of you who switched seats but were not happy about it, why didn't you just say no. I don't understand why people like to complain about something they brought on themselves. Why can't you just be happy about doing something nice for someone else?


sexygal December 25, 2016 at 6:04 pm

I don't understand that either! They should just say "no" like you said!


Diablo January 6, 2017 at 12:23 am

Some people have a hard time saying no, because they don't want to come off as rude. An act of kindness at their own expense, if you will.


JL March 9, 2009 at 7:47 am

If you ask me to switch seats and you are offering like for like, I'll consider switching. However, if you have taken my seat without asking as if it was your right, I will always get the FA to move you out of my seat. It is discourteous to take something that doesn't belong to you and you will get the same treatment in return.

Why has it become that the person who is asked to give up their assigned seat is the discourteous one and the person who takes a seat that isn't theirs, is courteous? Generally speaking, people choose seats for a reason. I choose my flights based upon my ability to get the seat of my choice. Others should do the same and not rely on other passengers to accommodate them.

Exposing an injured elbow in the aisle is a reason to get the FA to move the other guy back into his assigned seat.


sexygal December 25, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Excellent post and great words! I like the way you were "straight forward" and to the "point!" I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you!!!


litchik April 2, 2009 at 9:12 am


Get over yourself already. People "take" your seat and then ask when you arrive there b/c they have to get out of the aisle. If they leave their kids or put the luggage elsewhere it is much more disrupting more passengers and leads to longer boarding times. This is why FAs often tell passengers to do exactly what gets your hackles up.

Try going through life with less of a chip on your shoulder and more benevolence toward your fellow passengers on the plane and the planet. All your travels will be more pleasant if you do,


Annie April 2, 2009 at 9:43 am

hmmm … I would have just said no


Chris April 2, 2009 at 9:44 am

I find it very annoying to walk down the aisle and find someone sitting in my assigned seat. Take the one provided you first, then switch. It's obnoxious and arrogant.


brian April 2, 2009 at 9:56 am

you sound like a pussy


Diablo January 6, 2017 at 12:25 am

Takes one to know one mate, mind your ego.


Darrel April 2, 2009 at 10:59 am

Wow, what a difficult person you are. If you are so paranoid about your elbows, keep them within your seat or get a non-aisle seat. Wow.


Brian April 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

That's your flight from HELL? God, I wish all my flights could be that horrible. Get a life dude.


Please April 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

I've come across people in my seat on various flights spewing the sheepish, "Oh, do you mind…" and they all seem surprised when I insist on actually sitting in the spot I reserved. I love the ones that get straight up rude about it. LOL. Just stick to your guns, say "No," and call the FA if all else fails.


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

wow, if thats the worst you got, you're on the wrong site. please.


The Dude April 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Dude, it was a family that wanted to sit together. Completely acceptable and understandable. You should be happy to help others out, especially when there's a fair trade involved. Next time wear an elbo pad or something.


Kiri the Can Opener January 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Dude, if it was that important for the family to be joined together at the hip for the flight then they should have organised themselves a little better and arranged their seat allocation in advance. If they don't bother to do that, then it's their problem. The family member who was squatting in my seat when I turned up to take my place wouldn't have still been there by the time the flight was taking off. "Oh but we are a FAMILY!!!" Boo hoo.


D-MARK April 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I don't see how this is a problem. I mean, It was a family that wanted to sit together. There are worse things than sitting in a different seat. I mean, give them a break. If you're not traveling with anyone then let them sit together. I mean, seriously. Think of how much of a douche they would have thought you were if you hadn't switched. And it was a five hour trip. I don't see why it's a big deal that you let them enjoy their trip like that.


Katie April 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm

There's an easy solution to this that no one brought up: why not ask the people in the same aisle seat in different rows if they'd mind switching? I bet most of them wouldn't mind.

Then, the father could sit with his family and the other person could protect their elbow, and everyone would be happy.

In that situation, I would have said. "I understand, and I want to make this work for both of us. However, I have an injured elbow that I need to protect or I could be in a lot of pain. Let's ask some other passengers if they would mind doing a 3-way switch."

I'm sure it would have worked out.

No need to get angry or be mean… but still being assertive and getting the seat that you need.


Big D April 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Family or not, if you reserved the seat, it's your call. If you give it up, you have no one to blame but yourself. If I asked you for all of your money and you complied, would you bitch because I was so greedy?

Honestly, you sound like some crotchety old geezer or just a chicken shit. Next time tell the fucker to get the fuck out of your seat. If he refuses, snatch his ass out of it or slap his wife in the mouth. That works every time. Then you won't have to come to some random website to regain your manhood.


Joe Mama April 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

The worst part about this was you were afraid your elbow would get hit? And it never did? That doesn't sound too bad.


NeedleNose April 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm

You wanna choose your seat after you get on the plane? Fly Southwest or AirTran. Otherwise G.T.F. outta my seat! I put a lot of thought into my seat selection when I book a flight. Sorry if your family is split up for a couple of hours – but it's not my problem!


me April 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm

NeedleNose , Airtran makes you choose seats before boarding.


DF April 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Its because of Southwest that people think they can sit anywhere they want. The family should have talked the agents at the ticket counter, then at the gate, then the flight attendants if the agents could not accomodate. To just take the seat and tell the person that was supposed to be in that seat to go somewhere else is extremely rude. The person who wrote the story is correct in saying that its not his fault for booking first. He was the one who planned ahead, not the family.


Anon April 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm

WAHHHH!!!!! Zomg you had to deal with your anxiety to let a family sit together. BOO HOO!!!


Kiki April 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Not a flight from hell by any means! Annoying, but not hellish.


jag April 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm

you worried for hours fearing someone would accidently hit your elbow. it didn't happen.you must have bitched about something else then. that appears to be your nature.you probably told your tale of woo to all who would listen.i don't want to fuckin hear it.stay home and be miserable


sexygal December 25, 2016 at 6:13 pm

You stated "I don't want to fuckin hear it, stay home and be miserable."

If you didn't want to "hear" it, then why'd you even read it?!!?


bp April 2, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Wow. You're too nice. I am so tired of giving up my seat for a "family" or the like. I did recently and wasn't even given the courtesy of a thank you or nod. In fact, the 'family member' demanded I move my bag in the overhead compartment. Why should one be penalized for advanced planning? I will no longer agree to move… they can find someone else to bother.


Sarah April 3, 2009 at 1:37 am

JL, I agree with you.

Furthermore, unless the family consists of a small child and one parent, I don't see the pressing need for a family to all sit together. If the mother was present, I'm sure the father could have survived sitting elsewhere. He also could have sat in his original seat and then politely ask to exchange seats. Just because you are a family, have children, ect. doesn't give you an excuse to be a needy ass.


flyalot April 3, 2009 at 3:50 am

Wow, I am actually surprised at the amount of people who find it ok to sit in someone else's seat and just ask nicely to keep it! I am a laid back person and very non-confrontational, but I preplan my vacations and flights ahead of time and pick my seats baed on my husbands preferences. He's a big guy so I always get him and aisle seat. One flight, he had an aisle seat directly across from his daughter (13 YR OLD). A woman sitting in the middle seat two rows behind him, asked him to switch so she could sit next to her 11 yr. old son. My husband just said "No" and the kid balled like a 2 yr old. Does he owe her anything more than that? when we arrive at the airport and check in, we always get there early enough to make sure we get to sit together, it's called good planning.


Anonymous April 3, 2009 at 5:18 am

If your elbow is that delicate, maybe you weren't fit for travel in the first place. You could have prevented further injury by staying home.


Steven Anderson April 3, 2009 at 8:57 am

Tough luck for the family. I purposely am at the airport way before the start time of the clock of the gate to ensure I get a good seat. If the family wants a better seat then get there on time or rent a car and drive instead but at least don't be so rude as to inconvenience someone else because you can't plan. This has happened to me before and I never give up my seat just because someone can't sit away from their family members for a little 6-7 hour flight. Take a later plane and the lesson of being early if you want a special seating requirement.


JN April 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm

You are nicer than I – I travel quite a bit and I see a lot of families expecting special treatment. The operative word here is "EXPECT" – My question is: What have they done for others besides their own? I bet nothing. Sometimes it is ok to say no to those who EXPECT you to say yes just because they can't sacrifice for once.


Bryan April 3, 2009 at 2:06 pm

You're nicer than I would have been. I would have kicked him back to shit own seat.


jenkins April 8, 2009 at 7:51 am

you people are sissy's you fucking bitch and moan about 'oh this flite was sooo horrible' get over it bitchasses, after your 'horrible' time with flying i hope you all never go on a plane again because then i'm sure you will be back here bitchin and crying like 5th grade sissy's! they make things called c-a-r-s, b-u-s-s-e-s, and t-r-a-i-n-s use them fags


Curtis April 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

WoW, I have two small children ( 1 still needs a car seat when flying ) and we had to fly from NC to Cali for the holidays. I set it up when we booked our fight (and seats) so our Family could sit together (or as close as we could get. Mother / child then right infront or behind would be Father / child. I picked out the seats when we booked the flight (3 months out) and low and behold we go to check in and they have all 4 seats thrown about the plane. I pulled out the print out I got when booking the flight and seats and I was told there is nothing that the Airline could do for me. I was a bit astounded at this as I did everything right, months ahead but my seats were still screwed up. The FA at the counter said there was nothing we could do about it and that we would have to take it up with the FA on the plane. Well since we had children we boarded the plane first and my wife and I set up in Our assigned seats with our children in the seats beside us. We let the Plane FA know what was going on and they helped us out with the problem. The people who were in the seats where my wife and I put our children were very nice and they had no problems moving to our childrens seat.

So the best set up plans can become undone, and all it takes is a bit of understanding by everyone involved and everyone can have a good flight.


Mike April 10, 2009 at 8:56 am

Those that are advocating "do something nice" and "just get along" are idiots, and you're missing the point entirely.

If I pay for a seat, whether it was randomly assigned or I paid extra for a specific seat, or I was just lucky and got what I wanted, the point is that it was assigned to ME. Not the as*hole who has taken it without so much as asking, but ME. These days, I will have, most likely, paid extra for it. Why on earth would I (or should I) agree to move to somewhere else, thereby rewarding the outright theft of another?


jimbob April 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

do you have some gigantic three foot elbow that sticks out into the aisle. or are the stories in the portley section about you?


Anon May 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

These comments are unbeliveable. How is it the poster's fault that they paid for a seat and expected to SIT THERE?! God forbid. They planned ahead and picked the seat they needed to protect their injury and arrived to find someone else sitting there. I don't care if it was the Pope. If I paid for a particular seat, I'm damn well going to sit there. It's incredibly rude to take someone's assigned and paid-for seat and expect them to sit somewhere else no matter who they are. It was their poor planning that caused it. Next time book sooner to get seats all together. If you do want to switch, sit in your own seat and ASK to change. Don't just take it. That makes you wrong.

As for the other jerks saying the poster should just stay home due to their elbow, WTF? So if you injure any part of yourself, you can't fly right? You have to stay home and never fly ever again? Morons.


Siri June 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

My solution for someone taking your seat…..tell them to MOVE. I could care less about their reasons, my answer will always be to MOVE and a long, cold, hard stare until they do so.

It's as rude for someone to take your paid and selected seat on a plane as it is in a concert or other assigned seat setting. If you're not happy with the seat selection then book a different flight.

And to the person that stated that they had their seats changed by the airline, they did it to me and my husband too. Guess what they had to do before the plane took off? They had to find us two seats together again. They had changed our seats the minute we stepped up to the counter. Call the corporate desk when you have trouble with the ticketing agents, and do so right in front of them.


Dr B June 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Should've told that guy to get the f@#k out of your seat.


MW July 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm

How is this a reclining seat story?


Love It! March 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I have flown a lot and just grew so sick and tired of the "Do you mind…." I finally started saying "yes, I do mind" and it's like a slap in the face to people. I always get the 'How Dare You' look.

I have a special place in hell waiting for me because I now find it completely hilarious!


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