Long time lurker, first time poster. I really enjoy the stories/ethical dilemmas but have never offered one before.
BG. Thursday morning I board a flight to Las Vegas. I was traveling alone but meeting some close friends for an annual guys trip. I get seated early in the boarding process and settle into a window seat in a middle row of the plane. It is a four hour flight and I planned to work on my laptop for the better part of the trip. I start reading a book until we takeoff and the use of electronic devices became permitted. Midway through boarding, 3 women, late-40ish (10 years my senior), stop at my row.
They spend 10 seconds looking at their boarding passes and then ask if I would kindly trade seats with one of their group so they could sit together.
What seat, I ask. "Uh, the middle seat in the last row."
Now if this were a family with children or an issue of special needs, I think I would have approached this slightly differently.
I thought for a moment and responded, "I am afraid that won't be possible," and turned my attention back to my book.
The two ladies took their seats, with the third lady hovering in the row in front. I generally ignored the continued pleas, which ranged from slight flirtation to the "but we want to sit together" rant I expect to hear from my own children when they do not get what they want. They pleaded with the stewardess for some assistance. Turns out the rear seat passenger had just assumed they were all sitting together and she never bothered to actually check if the airline had assigned her a seat. After a few minutes, the stewardess took a stand and told them if they wanted to sit together, they could all move to the back of the plane. They took her advice, and two travelers stuck on the last row eagerly accepted the move to seats that actually recline and were not in direct proximity to the bathrooms.
It was nice to have a succinct, polite response to what I viewed to be an unreasonable request. I avoiding moving out of some perceived obligation to be the nice guy to these ladies, or starting an argument. Either would have put a cloud on my trip. Thanks!