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The Polite Spine Takes Flight

This is my mother’s story. She handled the rude boor beautifully.

My mother boarded a plane on a trip to visit a friend. She had purchased the window seat. As she found her assigned and paid for seat, she was surprised to find a woman sitting in her window seat. My mother, always being courteous and never offensive, re-checked her seat assignment and yes, she was in fact, assigned to THAT window seat. My mother explained to the woman that the seat she was sitting in was her seat. The Rude Boor said, “I like to see out the window, that’s why I took this seat”. My mother sat in the seat closest to the aisle. It was a 2 person row. She flew to her destination without incident until it was time to exit the plane. As many people do, they jump up and try to be the first off the plane. The rude boor was no exception. As she jumped up to leave, she asked my mother to get up and move so she could get off the plane. My mother said, “I like to be the last one to exit the plane. That’s why I sit at the window seat.” The rude boor sat down and waited. I hope she learned her lesson. Bravo, Mom!   0411-12


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  • justme June 23, 2012, 10:16 am

    Depending on whether the woman seemed aware that she had taken the OP’s mom’s seat, I would have just asked the flight attendant for help.
    Once I was flying with my dad on a very early flight, and when we boarded the plane, we discovered that there was a man sitting in one of our seats. Rather than confront him (note, the flight was pretty sparse, so this was the easiest choice), we just asked the flight attendant for help finding our seats (this also works at concerts!). She looked at our tickets, led us to the correct row, discovered the man sitting there, and asked to see his ticket. Turns out he’d never flown before, and didn’t even realize there were assigned seats. The flight attendant help him find his seat, and we sat down, and all was well .

  • Brockwest June 26, 2012, 3:27 pm

    I’m a learn-by-experience kind of guy, as y’all have sort of gathered. I get mistreated, then think about it later and figure out how to prevent it happening a second time.
    My first time with a seat-stealer was in College. I had very good seats for the Basketball game, 3rd and 4th from the aisle, but someone was sitting in seat 4. I politely told them they were in my seat, but they politely told me that someone was in Their seat, and so on down the aisle. I got an usher and everyone showed their tickets but one out-of-place seat-thief in the middle who refused to move or show his ticket and was allowed to stay, so we took seats 2 and 3, then the seat 1-2 couple were the one’s who lost. It was unfair and I was determined it would not happen again.
    It has happened MANY times over the years. I simply stay firm and polite and say, I’m sorry, these are my two seats, you will have to deal with whoever is in your seats and don’t back down.
    One of my proudest moments was for a spectacular concert, a once-in-a-lifetime event. I had two seats on the aisle. We were approached by two people with a sense of entitlement who thrust two tickets at us and told us they wanted to sit next to their friends, who had the seats next to us, so take their tickets and sit in their seats. Their seats were in last row on the side. I smiled, ever so politely, and said, I have a great idea. Your two friends here offer their tickets to the people next to you in the last row, and you four sit back there. They huffed, “we don’t want to sit in such bad seats!” I smiled politely, and said, “neither do I.” They were livid, and I’m happy to this day.
    I’ve been amazed at how MANY people buy the cheap seats then run down and steal a good seat. I’ve even been told that “they have as much right to the good seats as the rich people.” I stand my ground, politely, but do not back down.
    My worst experience was a plane flight. I had First Row, First class, and arrived with my cancer-stricken wife and myself on with a leg cast from a severe, painful number of breaks. To my surprise, two men were sitting in our seats. I politely showed them my tickets, but they got profane and refused to show theirs. I know the rules, talk to the flight attendant, which I did, but to my amazement, she grumped for me to handle it myself! I had paid a LOT for those seats, and wasn’t going to let them take them, so got more vigorous in my demand they exit. One of the men took my crutches and threw them down the aisle. I explained I was not moving away, the plane would not take off, and that when it was found that he had thrown the crutches, he would be in jail. His seatmate got frightened and they moved with curses, only to take someone ELSE’s seats. Turns out, they had an OLD USED ticket that said Row 1 Seat A and B, and they pulled this scam repeatedly.
    I didn’t realize, but what I SHOULD have down was deplane, and ask the Gate Agent for assistance. (Rule of bad service, find someone else.)

    I do hate the seat stealers. I actually hate to arrived near curtain time, as the chance of my good seats being taken increase as curtain time approaches.

    Smiling, in college, the first time after the stolen seat incident, I came into a concert right at curtain time to find two smugly in our seats. They smugly pointed to the back of the ticket which stated that ten minutes before curtain time, all seats were available even if you weren’t assigned them. Ouch, what a strange rule. I had no choice but to sit in the back. ….but…… smiling, I told my date at intermission not to ask, but follow me. I waited for them to go get refreshments, then went to my reserved seats and eagerly awaited their return. They were livid and I smiled and showed them the back of the tickets that said at curtain time, all seats are released. They actually went to get an usher to complain who looked at them like they were out of their mind. I sort of like that.