Recent submissions about airplane etiquette brought to mind a situation I encountered recently. While my experience is very tame, laughable really. compared to the horror stories I read in the past couple of weeks, I thought it might be worth sharing.
I had booked the window seat on a short, regional flight. Given that I didn’t really feel like paying more to upgrade to the front of the plane or to a roomier seat, I was pretty satisfied with my choice all in all: a window seat towards the back of the plane. I decided to pre-emptively grab a snack before boarding and so, boarded at the end of my boarding “zone”. I wasn’t late by any means but this meant that most of the passengers around me were already in their seats with the majority of the overhead baggage space taken. Still, it was my choice to board later and my snack was worth it :). I located space as close to my area as I could and proceeded to my seat only to find it taken. As I smiled at the man and told him it was my seat, a flight attendant hurried over, informing me that even though it wasn’t the man’s seat, he was in it so he could sit next to his wife and I wouldn’t mind sitting elsewhere, would I? She directed me to an aisle seat two rows ahead. I don’t remember her exact phrasing but I remember feeling bullied into accepting. Even though it was a question, it wasn’t really a request but more of a fait accompli. I was taken aback and murmured something about it not being a window seat but I didn’t put up a fight. The seat I was directed to actually belonged to someone else (not the man who stole my seat) so they didn’t even get that right.
It worked out in the end because my new seatmate had a wife in the same row across the aisle. More trades happened but this time, they were actual trades between affected parties, not in absentia. I moved into the window and I got yet another new seatmate who turned out to be entertaining but that’s a story for another day! Overall, it wouldn’t have been a big deal as it was a short flight but it’s the principle of it. I’ve seen this happen to others for longer flights in much the same manner. What happened to asking for a favour rather than demanding it? Is it commonplace now to assume that passengers will happily inconvenience themselves to accommodate people who want to sit together but who, for whatever reason,couldn’t be bothered to make arrangements? When did flight attendants become bullies?
Before someone points out that I could have exercised my polite spine, I’d like to point out that on a longer flight or poorer seat exchange (middle seat), I would have :). But the point of this story is that I shouldn’t have to! 1009-18
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