Woman Gets Dirty Looks During Flight After Refusing To Give Up Her Seat To A Dad Who Wanted To Sit With His Family

Although the family may have been upset, she wasn't in the wrong.

woman looking out airplane window astarot | Shutterstock

Drama often unfolds on flights. When a group of strangers is in close quarters for an extended period of time, anything can happen.

One woman experienced some of this drama for herself after an awkward run-in with a family on her flight.

A woman refused to give up her seat on a flight but felt bad about it afterward.

An anonymous poster took to Reddit to ask if she was in the wrong after an uncomfortable encounter on an airplane. The woman stated that she “specifically booked and paid more for" an aisle seat because she felt more “comfortable” in the aisle. But when she got to her seat, someone was already there.


“A man … was sitting next to his wife and daughter,” she said. “I kindly asked him to move.”

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Instead of acquiescing, however, the man argued with her.

“He refused to move and told me to move to his seat which was a middle seat,” she wrote. “I told him I don’t do middle seats and he got mad telling me over and over again that he was sitting next to family and that the airline had messed up his seating.” 

Sensing something was wrong, a flight attendant intervened and made the man move to his assigned seat. However, that was not the end of the ordeal for the woman.


She said she felt bad because “it was a very short flight,” which led her to believe that perhaps she could have stuck it out in the middle seat for the duration of the flight. Additionally, “his daughter looked really sad that her dad wouldn’t be sitting near [her] even though she had her mother sitting there with her.”

Perhaps the worst part of the situation for the woman was the family’s attitude towards her. “They were also giving me dirty looks throughout the whole flight,” she explained. All of this made her feel really bad, she worried she did the wrong thing.

People were sympathetic to the woman's plight.

A look at the comments on the post proved that other Redditors did not think the woman was wrong for refusing to give up her seat. “You booked a specific seat for a reason,” one person said. “They could have booked other seats.” 

“People can ask if others are willing to switch seats, but the person originally assigned that seat has every right to tell them no,” said another.


One person got to the heart of the issue and asked why the family didn’t try to go through the proper channels to make the switch. “He could have asked at the gate before boarding if there were seats together,” they wrote.



It seemed like the logical thing would have been for the family to book other seats where they could all sit together without having to rely on someone else giving up the seat they specifically chose.

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What is the proper etiquette when being asked to switch seats on a plane?

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman spoke to The Independent regarding the rules of switching seats when asked. Gottsman said there was only one acceptable situation to do so, and it was when there was no other possible way for a parent or guardian to be seated next to their child.

However, in the Reddit poster’s case, the child was seated next to her mother, making it unnecessary for her father to switch seats to be next to her as well.

In the case of this woman, it was clearly not necessary for her to switch seats with the man. He wanted to sit with his family, which he should have considered before booking his seat. She did nothing wrong by standing her ground and insisting on sitting in the aisle seat she picked out and paid for.


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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.