I received this email the other day and thought I would post it. What do you think of my response and how would you reply?
This happened to me yesterday and I wondered if you knew what to do in this type of situation.
I had an aisle seat on my flight from Philadelphia to Orlando and I sat down next to a couple with a 7 month old baby. They were in the center and window seat. They asked if I’d be willing to change seats so that I would be in the window. At first, I said no, but then decided to be nice and do it. Thankfully, the baby was super well-behaved and didn’t have any trouble plus the parents were well-prepared. But, I just wondered what travelers should do in these types of situations. Should I have to give up my seat? This has happened on other trips where babies were not part of the equation and someone simply didn’t book their flight early enough to get their choice seat and asked to trade. I always prefer aisle seats.
Make Room for Baby
Without descending into another controversy over children on flights, let me address the travel etiquette of this situation. In a situation with a family with small children who may actually NEED a particular seat, I would generally accommodate them. They need that seat for a reason and you will save yourself a lot of annoyance by helping them out. Plus it’s just the nice thing to do. As for relinquishing your seat to anyone just because they don’t like theirs, I’m not so sure. Nowadays individual seats are sold by the airlines at a premium, depending on cabin location and demand. As a tall person, I need an aisle seat in order to have any degree of comfort and it would take a true emergency situation for me to switch with someone else. Now, if you’re not particularly tall and someone who is 6’3” wants to trade for your aisle seat, I would consider the request. It may not mean as much to you and it will dramatically improve the quality of their flight. But if it’s just some schlub who wants a better seat, I’d politely say no. You did the right thing and carefully chose (and paid for) your seat, no reason to give it to someone who may not have wanted to pay for it.
What do you all think? What should MRfB have done? What is the proper travel etiquette?
If you have any travel questions, please feel free to send them to me at [email protected]