Sick And Tired Of Being Asked To Change Seats

February 21, 2010

in Airplane Stories

This happened on a flight from San Francisco to New Orleans connecting through Dallas. I was flying to visit family for a long weekend and had packed just a small carry-on.

My flight to DFW was easy and hassle free. However, once I boarded the plane to go to New Orleans things got interesting. I was traveling alone like I normally do and generally don’t mind changing seats to let people travel together. The FA asked me to move one seat back, no problem, I did so with my bag over my head. I’m settled with my book and the FA comes back not once, but twice, asking me to move to accommodate a family. I finally asked, “What’s the deal, it’s an hour and a half flight. Can the marriage not take that long of a separation?” I never got an apology or a thank-you from the family or the FA.

I moved 7 rows in front of my carry-on because it would not fit in the new position. The only good that came out of this was that my bag was passed when we landed like a trophy of war. I insisted rightly that if I moved, my carry-on should get to me before I had to deplane. I no longer exchange seats for anyone.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron February 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

That's your choice, but not a flight from hell.

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Jody February 22, 2010 at 1:42 am

I can definitely sympathize with this poster, as I also travel alone. Too many times people have the attitude "that person is alone, he/she won't mind moving." I booked my flight early enough to get my choice seat, and I don't think I should be inconvenienced because somebody else didn't. (before you scream, I *have* changed seats before)

Sometimes I book a seat at the front of the cabin because I have a tight connection to make. When I decline, I do so politely — and people still get resentful.

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Demotage February 22, 2010 at 1:54 am

The thing that really cheezes me off is when there is already someone sitting in my seat when I arrive. I will move for someone if they offer a seat equivalent or better than I have, but if they are already there, and they give me attitude about it, I won't. I always reserve a window seat because I can lean against the wall to sleep. I once came upon a man sitting in my seat – his wife was in the middle and he had the aisle. So there wasn't really any reason for him to switch except that he wanted the window. It was a middle aged couple, so it wasn't like it was some kid on his first flight or something. I told the guy that he was in my seat and he didn't ask me if I would switch, he just told me to sit in his seat because it was 'just as good'. I told him that I preferred the window. He said "I'm already sitting in it". So I told him that I reserved the window because I was claustrophobic and needed to look out. I'm not, and I'm not sure why I said that. I guess I felt I needed a reason why I wanted my seat. The funny thing is he tried to convince me that the aisle would be better for my claustrophobia. At that point, I just told him I wanted the seat I reserved, and his wife chimed in, annoyed at him, and told him to move, which he did, but he still had to get one more shot in telling me I could be more reasonable.

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Greg February 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

'I have to mention that I am a fairly big guy – not fat, just big.'

I bet your ugly though…….

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Increasedosologist February 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

I would recommend betting a large amount, although my mom still loves me.

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Increasedosologist February 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

This is all so funny and lame. I have a standard drill that is 100% unfailing and may be preventative against future such behavior by that particular person. When I get to my seat and someone is in it, I make a face like an army drill instructor about to rip recruits head off, take a really dip breath and just literally explode my lungs out into his face with my seat number “17A!!!!!!!”. It’s not really directly into their face since they are sitting in the window seat and I am standing in the isle. The results are extremely effective though. They scramble out of my seat with their hands shaking. Sometimes they mumble to their seatmates “sorry it didn’t work out”. On a quite a few occasions I got an upgrade to the first class. And in general after this every pax on the flight seems to behave better toward one another, much less attempted seat switchings, overhead compartment usurping, and even talking and making unnecessary noises and babies crying. I have to mention that I am a fairly big guy – not fat, just big.

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david February 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

yeah and if ya make a loud enough noise im sure that they will take you off and ask you a few questions

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Jody February 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

Make sure you're reading your boarding pass correctly when you do that, though. One time a man (yes, a large man) tried it on me and it didn't work. He hadn't read his boarding pass correctly and he had a different seat than the one he was shooting for (mine).

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crella February 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

You very often have to pay for aisle seats, exit row seat etc. If people want to sit together, why don't they reserve seats? Leaving it to the luck of the draw isn't very bright, and you have to impose on other people.

I got on a plane to KIX once in Detroit and someone was sitting in my seat. I got upgraded to business, my lucky day!

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MF February 23, 2010 at 5:25 am

Increasedosologist – Have a little dignity.

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Increasedosologist February 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

Dignity is a responce to courtesy. There are some lines that people should not cross when interacting with other people. If they don't know where those lines are then dignity when dealing with them becomes worse than worthless. Your own dignity becomes a weapon for them to use against you.

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Frannie February 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

As an amputee I always reserve the aisle seat as it can be difficult for me to get to the aisle if I need to use the restroom. There have been several times that I arrived at my seat to find someone already sitting there. As a general rule, they move once I let them know that they're in my seat. The last time, however, the man sitting there was belligerent right from the moment I mentioned he was in my seat. After a minute of trying to deal with him I simply lifted my pants leg to show him why I wanted that seat and told him if he could "beat" that he could have it. He moved very quickly at that point!

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HB June 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I've only had this experience flying in the US. In Europe, Asia and Australia, this has never happened to me (and I put in about 100 flights per year, mainly in Australia).

On one occasion from LAX to JFK, a wife, husband and child were all allocated separate seats, but the wife asked us to move so they could be seated together. They'd checked in late. I ended up sitting next to a fascinating woman for the entire trip, and was pleased I'd agreed to change.

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Kiri the Can Opener March 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I'm sure it will come to Australia at some stage.

In fact, I did the same thing myself once by mistake. The woman who owned the window seat where I had mistakenly place myself was not amused even though i aplogised and let her know it was an error.

I have once seen an Economy passenger place his rollaboard above me in Business class on a flight from Sydney to Brisbane, so these behaviours have a way of spreading from one continent to another.

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Increasemypenissize June 22, 2010 at 1:30 am

IncreaseDODOlogist….What a load of SHITE you write!

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Adam September 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Look at the guys who usually ask people to move. They're usually those dopey, geeky types who want to make a project out of everything. Just sit in the goddamn seat you were given and deal with the flight.

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Plaineir March 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

My Mom and I were flying together on this one occasion, and we were supposed to sit in completely different seats for the whole 8 hours of the flight! By that, I mean they were MILES away from each other, or so it seemed. Luckily, after security, I was lucky enough to be able to convince them to change – we made a big deal of my peanut allergies, lol. I COULD possibly die from a reaction, though, so… I guess it wasn't THAT far-fetched or crazy.

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Kiri the Can Opener March 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm

What happens when family members aren't able to sit next to each other on a flight? Do you explode or something?

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Plaineir March 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Depends on how serious it is – obviously, trying to seat a toddler away from a parent does not go down well, and if someone has a medical condition (like I do) it's not a good idea, either. 😛

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Kiri The Can Opener March 4, 2011 at 8:20 am

Oh now I understand; you didn't explain that you are a toddler.
If it's that important to you then in future make sure that your seats are allocated together when you make your booking, as most people seem to manage to do. That will save you the indignity of having to invent a "medical condition" at the gate.

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Plaineir March 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Actually, I'm 15, and we did book our seats together. We paid extra to have them together, too. I actually do have severe allergies, though. I wasn't kidding about that.

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Plaineir March 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Nice toddler joke, though. 🙂

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Kiri The Can Opener March 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

hehe, thank you. It sucks if you paid extra for particular seats and they didn't give them to you.

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