Author Topic: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?  (Read 11210 times)

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bopper

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2012, 09:20:09 AM »
I think I would have taken one look at the replacement seat situation and gone back to the mom and say that switching to that seat isn't going work out for you so she needs to talk to the Flight Attendent about another solution.


MindsEye

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2012, 09:33:22 AM »
I'm willing to give up my seat to help out a situation like when a family gets split up.  However, if I'm giving up my aisle seat, I'm only willing to accept another aisle seat.  If you can make that happen, I'll gladly move to help someone out.  But if you can't?  Sorry, I'm not moving.

Ditto.  If you want me to give up the seat that I selected when I booked my ticket (and may have paid extra money for, in the case of economy plus seats) then I will only give it up for an equal or better seat. 

fountainof

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2012, 10:49:29 AM »
When I went on a flight when I was 18, I had some sort of baby/toddler situation, I don't recall exactly but the FA asked me to move to a middle seat somewhere else because the kids had to sit on the parents' laps so they wanted the whole row.  I would have been okay staying beside the parents and kids as long as I got the window as I had headphones and I would have just ignored them but I didn't want to sit in the middle at all.  Instead I was bumped to a first class window seat and enjoyed it!  I even got a meal!  So I think it is best sometimes to approach the FA in the case of people sitting in wrong seats, and stick to your guns as sometimes there are better options than accepting two large people touching you all flight.

sparksals

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2012, 01:04:48 AM »
I do this all the time when pre-selecting seats on the plane.  If you look at the seat choices on the seat map, especially on a flight that is mostly full, it is the aisle/windows that fill up first with many middles empty. 

If someone sits in the middle, like they did on our flight from Helsinki to Paris recently, my husband asked if she wanted the aisle and she agreed.  We had a great convo with the girl who recently moved to Helsinki for a job and was going home to Paris for a visit.  I think she enjoyed practicing her english with us.

Had she said no, we would have politely accepted her decision and not pursued it any further. 

Herim

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2012, 12:17:59 PM »
Sometime it is.

Sophia

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2012, 02:45:19 PM »
I think it is not rude, particularly if you offer the choice of who to switch with.  Some people like me prefer the window. 

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2012, 04:57:48 PM »
It does seem rude to me but I don't think I can articulate why.  It feels like using your status as a couple to manipulate the likelihood of getting more space which increases the chance of a single traveler having to sit between strangers.

Realistically, the odds of a couple having to sit apart are low; almost always someone will be willing to swap out from being seated in the middle if they can.  So the move gives couples an advantage that single people don't have in getting a favourable seating situation.  That is why I never do this when traveling with my husband. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 05:04:28 PM by Miss Unleaded »

BuffaloFang

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2012, 05:27:38 PM »
I think it is not rude, particularly if you offer the choice of who to switch with.  Some people like me prefer the window.

So what if the couple was only willing to give up the aisle seat? Ie, if you only wanted the window, then the couple declines to swap at all? would that be rude? 

BuffaloFang

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2012, 05:29:49 PM »
It does seem rude to me but I don't think I can articulate why.  It feels like using your status as a couple to manipulate the likelihood of getting more space which increases the chance of a single traveler having to sit between strangers.

Realistically, the odds of a couple having to sit apart are low; almost always someone will be willing to swap out from being seated in the middle if they can.  So the move gives couples an advantage that single people don't have in getting a favourable seating situation.  That is why I never do this when traveling with my husband.

Could you please explain?  Wouldn't timing of your booking plays a bigger factor - if the couple booked last minute it's likely they'd have to sit apart in various middle seats as well, no? and if you booked before the couple, you could choose either aisle or window?

Jaina

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2012, 07:07:13 PM »
I think everyone else has voiced it really well so I just want to say something that came to mind, in the case of the stranger declining to switch.

You have to be sure you and your partner are able to fly without talking much to each other. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I hate hate haaaate when I'm stuck between two people (in a class, at a show, anywhere really) who keep talking in front of/behind me to each other. I feel like I have to stay back or have to lean forward, and it's just really distracting. I also have anxiety so it kind of makes it worse that I basically have no peace.

ITA. It's not rude to hope you get an empty seat, but it is rude to act like you have an empty seat when you don't. Talking over the person in the middle (or passing things back and forth, or trying to watch the same DVD) are all no-nos.

Agreed, it's not fun when that happens. My husband experienced it recently while flying for work-- he was sandwiched between two people who clearly knew each other and chatted over him throughout the flight. Is there any polite way of asking people to stop, when they do that?

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2012, 07:08:25 PM »
It does seem rude to me but I don't think I can articulate why.  It feels like using your status as a couple to manipulate the likelihood of getting more space which increases the chance of a single traveler having to sit between strangers.

Realistically, the odds of a couple having to sit apart are low; almost always someone will be willing to swap out from being seated in the middle if they can.  So the move gives couples an advantage that single people don't have in getting a favourable seating situation.  That is why I never do this when traveling with my husband.

Could you please explain?  Wouldn't timing of your booking plays a bigger factor - if the couple booked last minute it's likely they'd have to sit apart in various middle seats as well, no? and if you booked before the couple, you could choose either aisle or window?

I think what Miss Unleaded is getting at is this:
  • Most people would rather sit next to someone they know (i.e., their partner) than sit next to a stranger.
  • Most people would rather sit next to one stranger (i.e., aisle seat, window seat, or middle seat next to someone they know) than sit between two strangers.
  • Most people would like best of all to have an empty seat next to them, thus giving them extra room.

A couple booking early enough that there are full rows available is guaranteed to avoid the worst-case scenario of being stuck between two strangers--if they book side-by-side seats, one will be against either the window or aisle and the other will be in the middle between their partner and a stranger (or an empty seat, but that's unlikely unless the plane is empty enough for all the rows to have two people or fewer). If the couple chooses an aisle and window seat, they increase the likelihood of having the undesirable middle seat remain empty, at the risk of ending up with a stranger sitting between them. However, because the middle seat between two strangers is undesirable, if it is booked, they will probably be able to trade back to the side-by-side seats they initially passed up. IOW, the couple uses the fact that they are traveling together to increase their odds of having an empty seat between them while taking only a very small risk of ending up in a worse seating situation than if they chose side-by-side seats. OTOH, if they're successful in keeping that middle seat empty, they ensure that another passenger must sit between two strangers rather than an aisle/window seat next to one stranger--i.e., their actions have directly worsened the seating situation for that other passenger stuck in the middle.

YMMV whether you think this is just life or whether you think it's unfair gaming of the system, but I think that's what Miss Unleaded is getting at. I personally would choose not to use this trick for the same reason.

Sophia

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2012, 11:44:54 PM »
I think it is not rude, particularly if you offer the choice of who to switch with.  Some people like me prefer the window.

So what if the couple was only willing to give up the aisle seat? Ie, if you only wanted the window, then the couple declines to swap at all? would that be rude?

They'd be right on the line.  They would also run a greater risk of being told No just out of stubbornness. 

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2012, 02:55:04 PM »
It does seem rude to me but I don't think I can articulate why.  It feels like using your status as a couple to manipulate the likelihood of getting more space which increases the chance of a single traveler having to sit between strangers.

Realistically, the odds of a couple having to sit apart are low; almost always someone will be willing to swap out from being seated in the middle if they can.  So the move gives couples an advantage that single people don't have in getting a favourable seating situation.  That is why I never do this when traveling with my husband.

Could you please explain?  Wouldn't timing of your booking plays a bigger factor - if the couple booked last minute it's likely they'd have to sit apart in various middle seats as well, no? and if you booked before the couple, you could choose either aisle or window?

I think what Miss Unleaded is getting at is this:
  • Most people would rather sit next to someone they know (i.e., their partner) than sit next to a stranger.
  • Most people would rather sit next to one stranger (i.e., aisle seat, window seat, or middle seat next to someone they know) than sit between two strangers.
  • Most people would like best of all to have an empty seat next to them, thus giving them extra room.

A couple booking early enough that there are full rows available is guaranteed to avoid the worst-case scenario of being stuck between two strangers--if they book side-by-side seats, one will be against either the window or aisle and the other will be in the middle between their partner and a stranger (or an empty seat, but that's unlikely unless the plane is empty enough for all the rows to have two people or fewer). If the couple chooses an aisle and window seat, they increase the likelihood of having the undesirable middle seat remain empty, at the risk of ending up with a stranger sitting between them. However, because the middle seat between two strangers is undesirable, if it is booked, they will probably be able to trade back to the side-by-side seats they initially passed up. IOW, the couple uses the fact that they are traveling together to increase their odds of having an empty seat between them while taking only a very small risk of ending up in a worse seating situation than if they chose side-by-side seats. OTOH, if they're successful in keeping that middle seat empty, they ensure that another passenger must sit between two strangers rather than an aisle/window seat next to one stranger--i.e., their actions have directly worsened the seating situation for that other passenger stuck in the middle.

YMMV whether you think this is just life or whether you think it's unfair gaming of the system, but I think that's what Miss Unleaded is getting at. I personally would choose not to use this trick for the same reason.

Yes that's it.  You did a much better job of explaining it than I did. 

sparksals

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2012, 03:03:54 PM »
The odds of sitting next to a stranger when traveling alone is pretty much 100% .   If seated in the.middle seat traveling alone, again odds are 100%.   

Everyone has ample opportunity to choose their seats most of the time.  If I get online in enough time to.choose a window and aisle for us, there is nothing wrong with that.  A solo traveler has same opportunity to choose their seat.  First come, first served. 

As I said upthread, the middle seats fill up last no matter single or companion travelers. 

GeauxTigers

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Re: Choosing seats on a plane: Is this rude?
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2012, 03:21:50 PM »
Couples who desire to sit next to each other also have the option of selecting an airline that flies planes with 2-seat configurations in economy - regional jets, MD-80s, 767s, and larger aircraft in certain configurations. Seatguru is your friend - when booking your ticket you can usually see exactly which configuration is scheduled by looking at the seat chart on the airlines' website and looking at the number and arrangments of the first/business class seats. Of course, the airlines may switch planes at any time.

There's always the option to purchase seats in a premium cabin.