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Woman Demands Man Give Up His First Class Seat Because She's 'More Important'—So The Pilot Steps In

Photo: DC Studio / Shutterstock and Suhyeon Choi / Unsplash
A photograph of a tired-looking flight attendant with her head resting on a hand against a background of a flight interior.

The most infuriating people in the world often are those who simply think the rules of life don’t apply to them, and just like in any customer service business, air travel attracts its own frustrating folks.

In Reddit's “r/EntitledPeople” subreddit, users are encouraged to share stories of their brushes with those who fit this exact demographic. Some are irritating but harmless, others are downright terrible, and others end with unexpected consequences. As the old saying goes; play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

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One man says a fellow plane passenger demanded he gives her his first-class seat.

The Reddit user explained the life situation that had led him onto the plane that day: he was an Airline Captain living in Atlanta, Georgia although he treated Houston, Texas as his more permanent home. To get to his job, he would need to commute between the two states.

There were usually some options for a commuting pilot to get a seat on the flight without having to pay extra, but on that day, most of the options were not available. The jump seat in the cockpit was taken, and if he took a “pass riding” seat, he could potentially be bumped off the flight in favor of a paying customer.

With that in mind, the pilot bought the last seat in first class and got ready for his flight.

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After taking his seat, however, he was approached by a displeased passenger. “​You are sitting in my seat,” a woman told him. “You'll need to move right now.” The pilot checked his boarding pass, confirming that he was in the correct seat, and did not have to move.

The woman insisted he was an employee, not a passenger, and that the seat belonged to her. After refusing to show the pilot her own boarding pass, he declined again to move. “You'll need to resolve this with the flight crew,” he told her. “I'm a passenger.”

She disappeared in a huff and then reappeared with a flight attendant to back her up. The attendant asked to see the pilot’s pass, and confirmed that he was in fact a passenger who had paid for his flight, and had this seat.

“Ma'am, that's his seat. He paid for it,” the attendant informed the passenger, who was having none of it. “Well then throw him off, dear,” she replied. “I've upgraded to First Class and that is now my seat.”

The attendant asked to see her boarding pass, which she refused to turn over, claiming that she had already shown it when boarding, and didn’t need to show it again. The poor flight attendant had a few more clarifying questions to ask, trying to find a way to clear up the miscommunication, but the passenger refused to answer most of them.

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Eventually, the issue had to be taken to the top: all the way to the current captain.

The Captain handled the conflict with ease. He informed the passenger that he had spoken with the Gate Agent and apologized for the awkward situation.

“The Agent has corrected your paperwork, and has a voucher for future travel for you as well,” he told her. “Please go fetch your new boarding pass and your voucher and we'll be on our way.”

After she stepped off the flight, however, the Captain then instructed the attendants to close all the doors and prepare for the flight.

His “offer” to the woman, although genuine, also worked as a trick to get her to willingly leave the flight without having to call security, or endanger any attendants.

According to some comments on the post’s thread, this is actually a common strategy for airlines. Although airline security does exist to help remove rowdy passengers, it, unfortunately, can cause a bigger problem than it solves.

Frustrated passengers can get even more aggressive, refuse to leave, or even escalate the situation into physical fights. In order to avoid a scene, as well as to keep the flight schedules running smoothly, convincing a passenger to leave and get their paperwork can be much more helpful.

The entitled woman from this flight did not appreciate the genius of the captain’s trick, however, and realized the betrayal quickly. The author of the post added smugly to his story: “As we push back from the gate I can see the EW pounding on the glass next to [the] jetway.”

A couple of commenters on the post’s thread were skeptical about the authenticity of this story, pointing out that removing the woman’s bags would have taken more time and slowed down the departure anyways.

The pilot countered, however, pointing out that the events he was referring to had taken place before 9/11, and the restrictions airlines had to follow after the fact. In the 90s, when he was a pilot, there was no such rule, and the Captain was able to take off without returning the woman’s bags. She would likely have to wait for them to be flown all the way back to her.

She picked the wrong flight to mess with!

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.