Each of us should show kindness, but often people are not willing to do a kind gesture to a stranger if it affects their comfort.
Many airlines do not allow you to choose the seat you travel in if it is economy class. Others charge a fee to do so, which drives up the price of airline tickets. Even if you buy several tickets together to travel as a family, you may find yourself in the unpleasant situation of each passenger having a seat at each end of the plane.
So you can appeal to the kindness of other passengers and try to negotiate a change of seat when boarding. For example, you can trade an aisle seat for a window seat, or a seat at the end of the plane for a seat at the beginning. In any case, no passenger is obligated to switch seats with another passenger, and many discourage it, but it is often a relief to the person requesting the change and these acts of kindness are appreciated.
One Reddit user recounted his experience as someone who was asked this favor, and ended up in the position of the bad guy. He was on an international flight from Japan, he had a window seat. Next to him in the middle seat was a young girl, and next to her was her father in the aisle seat.
His indignation was palpable
When boarding, a woman, the girl's mother, asked to change seats so she could sit next to her family. The woman's original seat was located one row back in the middle. The Reddit user explained that “she asked me, and only me, to switch seats with her so she could sit by the window (next to her daughter) and I would take her ‘middle seat, one row back'” .
Her response was quick, direct and chilling: “absolutely not” . The Reddit user explained that “it's not my problem that they didn't book together” . He added that the couple and the girl were traveling with a tour group and that they did not try to ask for an exchange with one of them, “they could have asked for an exchange of three seats instead”. This further annoyed this traveler.
According to him, it was a “substandard swap,” as they were trying to trade a window seat for a seat in the middle, surrounded by strangers. Some Reddit users felt it was better to “trade seats with this woman than to have to spend the entire flight next to a girl who isn't yours.” Others called him a “heartless man” and were outraged by the situation.
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