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Author Topic: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?  (Read 16128 times)

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BuffaloFang

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Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« on: October 09, 2012, 06:33:10 PM »
Just curious about what eHellions think.

Suppose a couple are flying together. Would you think it rude for the couple to select a window and an aisle seat (leaving the center seat empty) on the hopes that if the plane isn't full, nobody will choose to sit between them? The assumption being that if someone does purchase the seat between them, it's relatively easy to talk the center seat person into swapping for an aisle or a window. (and if the center seat person declines to swap, the couple doesn't mind sitting apart) Does your opinion change if it's a premium seat (like an exit row)? Thanks!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 06:34:59 PM by BuffaloFang »

Hillia

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 06:37:32 PM »
Not rude at all to hope for an empty seat.  As long as you're willing to work with the person who takes the middle seat, I don't see a problem at all.

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SiotehCat

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 06:39:49 PM »
I think its rude to ask someone to switch seats because of something you did deliberately.

It puts the other person on the spot and could make them uncomfortable if they refuse.

Two Ravens

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 07:07:52 PM »
I think its fine for a regular seat, but wishful thinking for a premium row seat like an exit row. If you manage to score two seats in an exit row, I would just sit together since I have never seen a middle exit row seat empty.

SamiHami

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 07:09:27 PM »
It's not rude to ask, as long as you can accept "no" as an answer graciously.

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blahblahblah

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 07:15:37 PM »
Quote
I think its fine for a regular seat, but wishful thinking for a premium row seat like an exit row. If you manage to score two seats in an exit row, I would just sit together since I have never seen a middle exit row seat empty.
Really? In my experience, I've found that the middle exit row seats are more likely to be empty than other middle row seats. I usually fly JetBlue, which charges an extra $65 if you want to sit in the "extra legroom" exit rows, so I just assume that a lot of people aren't willing to shell out the extra cash for a bit of extra legroom if it means they have to be squashed in the middle.

Edited because "I've found that the middle exit row seats are more likely to be empty than other middle exit row seats" makes no sense. ::)
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 07:19:00 PM by blahblahblah »

kherbert05

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 07:27:36 PM »
I think it is fine to offer middle person to switch to their choice of seats. I don't know anyone that prefers the middle seat. If the person declines, I do think it is rude to talk over them during the flight, because you each are basically screaming in the middle person's ear.
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C0mputerGeek

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 07:48:37 PM »
Just curious about what eHellions think.

Suppose a couple are flying together. Would you think it rude for the couple to select a window and an aisle seat (leaving the center seat empty) on the hopes that if the plane isn't full, nobody will choose to sit between them? The assumption being that if someone does purchase the seat between them, it's relatively easy to talk the center seat person into swapping for an aisle or a window. (and if the center seat person declines to swap, the couple doesn't mind sitting apart) Does your opinion change if it's a premium seat (like an exit row)? Thanks!

My response is based on the fact that, during my Road Warrior years, I saw not a single person snatch up the middle seat on a plane as some sort of highly coveted spot.

I would say not rude. I very much doubt that someone will refuse to switch out of a middle to an aisle or window.

buvezdevin

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 07:54:01 PM »
I agree - not rude to book and hope, provided that hope doesn't transmute to expectation.

Once had it happen that I was the middle seat between such a couple.  He, with an aisle seat, asked if I would take his girlfriend's window seat.  I declined to take the window, as I prefer not to see outside the plane (often triggers nervousness about flying, for me) but said I would trade for his aisle seat.  He eventually agreed, didn't seem happy, but it was his choice to book seats not together, and risk having a middle seat occupier who doesn't like the window seat - so he could have kept the aisle and sat apart from girlfriend, or lose the aisle seat.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 07:57:21 PM »
Like buvezdevin, I would be willing to trade for an aisle seat but I wouldn't be willing to trade for a window seat.  I have some mild claustrophobia and the window seat would raise my blood pressure for the whole flight.

I don't think you are rude as long as you are willing to accept that the middle person would have a preference for one seat over the other.
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kareng57

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 09:05:20 PM »
I think it's fine, and it's not comparable to asking someone to switch seats in a different setting such as in a theatre.  While I know that many people prefer a window or aisle seat - I honestly can't imagine that someone would prefer the middle seat.  It's kind of the worst of both worlds.....If it was a couple travelling together, I'd guess that either one of them would happily switch with Middle-Seat passenger, depending on whether he/she preferred aisle or window.  If only one of them would be willing to swap, then it's best not to offer.  Of course, everyone has to graciously accept it if for some reason Middle Seater decides that he/she would prefer the status quo.

Re the exit row - I'd think that you might have to check with the flight attendants, because that row is supposed to contain fairly able-bodied people who are able to open the exit doors.  Of course it shouldn't matter exactly where they are seated as long as it's in the same row - but better safe than sorry.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 09:23:50 PM »
When I've done this, I've phrased the suggestion as "would you like to change seats with me?" so that if they don't want to for whatever reason, they can say "no, thank you." Yes, they would probably realize that I was asking for my own sake: but etiquette is partly about giving each other an easy out, so I make it an offer, not a request.

If I felt that I needed to sit next to my traveling companion, I would select adjoining seats and accept that this meant one of us would definitely be in the middle seat.
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 09:39:15 PM »
It's not rude to ask, as long as you can accept "no" as an answer graciously.

POD to this.

And Murphy's Law says you'll probably get the one person in the world who LOVES the middle seat, and doesn't want to trade!  :P

Figgie

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 09:48:53 PM »
I think that it is fairly common for traveling companions to book an aisle and window seat, hoping that the middle seat remains open.  To increase the odds of this, I would choose seats as far back in the plane as possible, as often those seats are the last to be filled.  Also, if there is someone in the middle seat, be willing to let that person choose whether they want an aisle or a window seat if they agree to your polite request to change seats. 

kareng57

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 10:03:39 PM »
I think that it is fairly common for traveling companions to book an aisle and window seat, hoping that the middle seat remains open.  To increase the odds of this, I would choose seats as far back in the plane as possible, as often those seats are the last to be filled.  Also, if there is someone in the middle seat, be willing to let that person choose whether they want an aisle or a window seat if they agree to your polite request to change seats.


Another option for a couple is to choose opposite-row aisle seats.  Late Dh and I did this the last couple of times that we flew.  Naturally hand-holding will be kind of difficult  :) but at least the two of us could communicate without talking "over" another passenger.