Children are separated from their parents, couples are split, tall passengers squeeze into middle seats, and anxious flyers are away from where they’re comfortable.
But what to do you do if you’re asked to swap seats but absolutely don’t want to?
It’s a question that has passengers divided with some saying swap and others saying don’t.
According to BBC’s Auto article ‘When is it ok to switch plane seats?’ most flight attendants are happy to accommodate seat changes were possible, but often it can be quite a headache.
Exit rows, bulkheads, extra legroom seats and more come at an additional cost to passengers on most flights, so passengers cannot be moved from these seats to accommodate others who didn’t pre-book.
“It’s not fair for flight attendants to move or let people move to these seats when one or more paid extra to sit there.”
There are also circumstances were a passenger didn’t pay extra but did pre-book their favourite seat, so again they shouldn’t be forced to move.
According to body language expert and author Judi James, you shouldn’t be afraid to say no you need to remain firm while polite.
In an interview with the Daily Mail online she said “When the other traveller asks to give them full, polite attention. Use eye contact and a pleasant facial expression. That way if you say ‘no’ you will seem less stubborn and inflexible.”
While most passengers understand that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your seat, whether pre-booked or not, it is recommended that you move if you can; and as Caitlin Moscatello told Conde Nast traveller, it can come with perks.
“On a flight from Miami to New York, a couple travelling with their child was in a panic because they hadn’t been able to book three seats in a row, and economy was sold out. I offered up my aisle seat and volunteered to sit in a middle seat they had been forced to book due to a lack of options. A minute after I squeezed into my new spot, a flight attendant came and grabbed my carry-on out of the overhead bin. “Come with me,” he said, gesturing to the front of the plane. I enjoyed a first-class flight home. Karma is real, folks”.At the end of the day whether or not you swap is up to you. As long as you’re polite in rejecting your fellow passengers request you can fly easy and if you accept you can be sure you’ve made someone’s day.
For additional resources on Seat Swapping Etiquette follow these links: