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Conversation Online Ensues After This Olympic Athlete Shared How She Refused To Switch Plane Seats With An Entitled Couple
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People, Travel2 months ago

Conversation Online Ensues After This Olympic Athlete Shared How She Refused To Switch Plane Seats With An Entitled Couple

Even if you fly with the cheapest airlines and they have really cramped seats with no room for your legs, some seats are better than others. Many people consider themselves lucky if they get a window seat as you can observe the clouds and look down at Earth from a bird’s view. If you need to get up a lot, you may prefer the aisle seat and nobody really likes the middle seat.

To get their preferred seat, some people pay extra money and when someone wants to switch because they got separated from their family or friend, it is very annoying. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask, because they might not mind, but if they do, showing your dissatisfaction is quite rude.

This woman from Canada went on TikTok to vent about a similar situation she got into and just genuinely didn’t understand why people expect you to agree to switch seats and their request more often sounds like a demand.

More info: Reddit

Woman wonders why people still expect others to switch seats on the plane when some travelers actually pay more for a specific seat

Image credits: cyndiesel

The author of the TikTok video is Cynthia Appiah, a 32-year-old Olympian Athlete who debuted in 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics where she represented Canada in the Bobsleigh category. Her team is based in Calgary and the woman herself is from Toronto, so she often takes flights between these cities.

Seeing that there are a lot of discussions happening on TikTok regarding seat switching in airplanes, the athlete decided to share an incident that she experienced a couple of years ago.

Cynthia Appiah is an athlete that has to take the plane a lot for work and remembered her experience of someone wanting her to take their seat on a plane

Image credits: cyndiesel

For that flight, Cynthia bought a seat in the Premium Economy class, which offers a bit more space and may come with more free baggage or a prioritized check-in. That means it is more expensive, and if you choose a specific seat, you pay extra.

Because the athlete likes to get up from time to time and hates being an inconvenience when she goes to the washroom, she pays the extra fee to always take the aisle seat. This time wasn’t an exception.

When she got to her seat, someone was already sitting there and Cynthia told the passenger that it was her seat

Image credits: cyndiesel

While approaching her seat, Cynthia realized someone was sitting there, so after checking if that was really her seat, she informed the woman sitting in it. Turns out, the woman wanted to sit with her boyfriend so she offered to switch seats.

Although the woman’s seat was Premium Economy as well, it was a window seat, so Cynthia refused. There wasn’t a big fight there and a flight attendant’s intervention wasn’t necessary, but the woman was clearly disappointed this didn’t work out.

The woman was aware of it and asked if she could switch seats as she wanted to sit with her boyfriend

Image credits: cyndiesel

The point the athlete wanted to make was that if you want a specific seat, you have to book it in advance and not hope that someone will allow you to switch them. If you don’t want to pay for having the right to pick a seat, then deal with the consequences of being put in a random seat and separated from your traveling companions.

People in the comments completely agreed that if you are relying on someone’s kindness to switch seats on a plane, then you should be prepared to hear a negative answer, because that someone is supposed to sit there even if they didn’t pay extra for it.

The seat that Cynthia booked was an aisle seat as she likes to get up from time to time but the woman’s seat was near the window

Image credits: cyndiesel

There are no rules or laws against switching seats on the plane and you are entitled to the seat that is written on your boarding pass, so even if the person who asked you to switch might think that you are being rude by refusing to go somewhere else, you don’t owe them this favor. As it is a favor, whether they want to sit next to their traveling companion or if they want a better seat.

Mel Magazine also acknowledges it: “A person asked to switch seats often feels obligated to say yes for fear of being rude, even when it means a more unpleasant flying experience,” even if they would never request such a thing because they perceive the person asking as rude.

The athlete wasn’t comfortable switching and refused, to the woman’s disappointment that she didn’t try to conceal

Image credits: cyndiesel

It is especially hard to say no if it’s a parent wanting to sit with their child or a couple wanting to travel sitting next to each other. Also, if you do say no, it creates confrontation and you never know how badly the person wants that seat.

Here on Bored Panda we have covered several such stories when a passenger refused to switch seats and the person asking created a scene. If you click on the links here and here, it will take you to a couple of such articles.

The lesson that Cynthia wanted to teach here was that if you need to sit in a specific spot, book it advance and don’t try to bully it out of other people before departure

Image credits: cyndiesel

Image credits: RubyGoes (not the actual photo)

You can watch Cynthia’s video below

@cyndiesel Seat selection is your friend. I promise you. #airplane #seatswitching #canada ♬ original sound – Cynthia Appiah OLY

If you do want to ask someone to switch seats, a Delta flight attendant for 28, Leigh Masterson, who spoke to Mel Magazine, said that it’s fine if you switch a seat that has the same ‘value.’ For example, if you switch a window seat for a window seat. The flight attendant also suggests being polite regardless of whether you are the person requesting a switch or the person to whom this request is addressed.

In which circumstances would you switch seats with someone? Would you ever ask for such a favor yourself? How do you feel about people taking your seat and only then asking if it’s alright to switch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

People in the comments of the video agreed that if you don’t pay for a specific seat, you have to be content with what you get

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Tams21
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The way I see it is that it's fine to ask and switch seats if they say yes but the moment someone takes someone else's seat before asking, it's not really asking but expecting. It would always be a no from me.

Hey!
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I came here to say the same. You do not, I repeat, you do not sit before asking to exchange and the other person agrees. Doing this beforehand is disrespectful and entirely selfish as someone shy or not wanting to make any trouble would say yes just because of the person already sitting there. That is not right.

Load More Replies...
lenka
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hate being asked even. I had two international flights (7 hours and 14 hours respectively) recently and both flights there was someone sitting in my allocated seat. Both times I was made to feel guilty for wanting the seat I paid extra to sit in. One was a father who told me I hated children because I wouldn't sit next to his kid and another was a woman pretending to be asleep while her obese husband poured himself into half of the seat they were offering me. Both times they were rude, entitled and confrontational. If you take the seat first its not really asking is it. Its rude. Pay for your preferred seat or sit in the f*****g seat you were allocated.

Janine B.
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would have told the father that I don't hate children but I always feel the urge to eat them. 😂

Load More Replies...
Jaguarundi
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I book 2 seats for myself (I have a hidden handicap) so I get priority boarding automatically so that I can get my seats without any nonsense. I pay more, of course, than the premium or business people do who get to board after me. I feel bad for the gate personnel and the flight attendants because so many "privileged" people feel that they are being mistreated by my boarding before they do since they don't understand the program. That empty seat beside me, with the "OCCUPIED" tag, just puts icing on their cakes. I'm just glad that the flight personnel have my back every time that I fly and can redirect these people away from me.

Melanie Wilberforce
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've heard from multiple people that some airlines will sell your extra seat again, it's common practice on a full flight.

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Tams21
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The way I see it is that it's fine to ask and switch seats if they say yes but the moment someone takes someone else's seat before asking, it's not really asking but expecting. It would always be a no from me.

Hey!
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I came here to say the same. You do not, I repeat, you do not sit before asking to exchange and the other person agrees. Doing this beforehand is disrespectful and entirely selfish as someone shy or not wanting to make any trouble would say yes just because of the person already sitting there. That is not right.

Load More Replies...
lenka
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hate being asked even. I had two international flights (7 hours and 14 hours respectively) recently and both flights there was someone sitting in my allocated seat. Both times I was made to feel guilty for wanting the seat I paid extra to sit in. One was a father who told me I hated children because I wouldn't sit next to his kid and another was a woman pretending to be asleep while her obese husband poured himself into half of the seat they were offering me. Both times they were rude, entitled and confrontational. If you take the seat first its not really asking is it. Its rude. Pay for your preferred seat or sit in the f*****g seat you were allocated.

Janine B.
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would have told the father that I don't hate children but I always feel the urge to eat them. 😂

Load More Replies...
Jaguarundi
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I book 2 seats for myself (I have a hidden handicap) so I get priority boarding automatically so that I can get my seats without any nonsense. I pay more, of course, than the premium or business people do who get to board after me. I feel bad for the gate personnel and the flight attendants because so many "privileged" people feel that they are being mistreated by my boarding before they do since they don't understand the program. That empty seat beside me, with the "OCCUPIED" tag, just puts icing on their cakes. I'm just glad that the flight personnel have my back every time that I fly and can redirect these people away from me.

Melanie Wilberforce
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've heard from multiple people that some airlines will sell your extra seat again, it's common practice on a full flight.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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