Being asked to change your seat on a plane is one of those first-world problems that has been around since airline deregulation. Today, with reduced competition and reduced capacity, travelers are often scattered all over the plane. Throw in some delayed and canceled flights, it is often impossible to have a family sitting together on a flight. With Orlando being my home airport, I hear the gripes almost every week.
But that doesn’t stop passengers from asking to change seats, like in this story about being a jerk on an airplane. Many passengers are willing to change their seat for another to help out fellow travelers, others simply refuse on merit. They chose their seat, they will sit in it. Period. Many are willing to change if it is aisle-aisle or window-window. Everyone is different, no right or wrong here.
I have had passengers request that I give them my seat. Of course, my first question (to myself, not them) is what am I giving up vs what am I getting. I have never said no when it’s only a few rows and the seat is the same, e.g., aisle for aisle. Better yet, I will give up a middle seat all day long for an aisle or window seat. Will I give up an aisle seat for a middle seat a seat in one of the back rows? Extremely unlikely. Unless it is to keep a family with young kids together…. or my guilt of saying No is too strong.
The length of the flight also plays into the equation. Honestly, I won’t die if I have a middle seat in the back of an aircraft for a couple hours. I accepted that with excitement on several flights because I was flying standby and wanted to get home earlier. Yes, I gave up my cushy upgrade just to be home with my family more. Sounds like a good tradeoff to me and a trade-off I have done multiple times.
A couple years ago, my husband and I were flying together (we rarely do and that’s a story for another day) and seated in first class when there was a medical emergency onboard. A passenger was brought to the forward galley and lied down on the floor. Fortunately there were a couple physicians onboard as well as an EMT. We didn’t need even a minute to think about this. We told the flight attendant we would give his wife and son our seats in the forward cabin so they could be close when we landed, we would take their seats in the back of the rear cabin.
Karma makes sense to us, maybe not to others but as you read in the quoted story, bad karma can come back to haunt you.
Do you also have the “it depends” answer when you’re asked to switch seats with another passenger?