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Mother with baby defended after refusing to return to original seat on plane

‘You were asked if you would like to move by THE CREW so it’s perfectly fine,’ one person reasons on Reddit

Amber Raiken
New York
Wednesday 22 May 2024 15:46 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

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A mother who was traveling with her baby has been defended after she chose not to sit in her assigned seat on a plane.

In a recent post shared to the popular “Am I The A**hole?” Reddit forum, a woman asked if she was in the wrong for not returning to her initial seat. She recalled how she was taking a three-hour flight with her 19-month-old son, noting that he had to sit in her lap during the trip because he was under the age of two.

She explained that she didn’t necessarily have much space in her seat, as she “had a big backpack” on the floor and the plane got “crowded fast”. She noted that once she got “assigned a random seat at check in,” she was then “in a row with no other empty seat”, which she didn’t necessarily have an issue with.

“Although I appreciate it when there is an empty seat next to me, as it greatly improves our flight experience, it’s not an expectation I have and I never ask for it at check up,” the mother wrote.

She shared that once boarding for the plane was completed, a flight attendant asked her if she wanted to move up a few rows, since there were two empty seats, which could give her more space. After acknowledging that she accepted this offer, she claimed that the third passenger in the row was not happy about it.

“She started complaining to the flight attendant that she was planning to sleep on the flight, and that it would be impossible now,” the parent continued. “That she specifically chose this seat while checking online because the row was empty and it’s gonna be a nightmare now.”

The Reddit poster revealed that the flight attendant came to her defense by explaining to the woman that she “only paid for her own seat and that [the airline’s] policy is trying to accommodate young parents if possible”. However, the traveler was still upset.

“The woman then told me that I should be ashamed to impose all this noise on people that are just trying to enjoy their flight. Especially since it wasn’t even my seat and I didn’t even pay for it,” she continued.

After confessing that she’s “really not good with confrontation,” the mother shared how the woman’s complaints eventually came to an end. “I usually end up either crying or apologizing so I just ignored her all the way, as if she didn’t speak at all. That got her even more angry but she finally stopped complaining after a while,” she added.

She pointed out that her son only cried once during the flight, before acknowledging that she doesn’t feel bad about changing her initial seat.

“I got some stinky eyes and some other rude comments but all in all, the flight was way more comfortable for us this way, so I don’t really regret switching seats,” she concluded.

In an edit to the post, she made a few clarifications, explaining that her son was in her lap the entire time and that the empty seat next to them “was just extra space to feel less crowded and not bump elbows”. She also added that she “can’t afford to buy an extra seat just to have more space,” since her child isn’t old enough to sit in his own seat yet. She further clarified that since she’s based in Europe, the flight attendant told her her son had to be sitting in her lap.

Although it depends what airline you travel in Europe, many babies under two aren’t given their own seats on a plane. For example, Virgin Atlantic notes that babies up to age two “usually fly in the comfort of [an adult’s] lap”. However, if travelers require a seat for their infant, they can contact the airline directly about it.

The mother’s Reddit post about her flight has quickly gone viral, with more than 6,600 upvotes. In the comments, multiple people came to the mother’s defense, pointing out that she also paid for her seat and that she has a right to accept a change when offered by the flight crew.

“You paid for a seat, the airline accommodated you and explained to the other passenger. The other passenger paid for her seat only, not the entire row. Sounds like the other passenger was an unpleasant person, which isn’t your fault. If another mother with a young child did pay for the seats near her, I’d almost guarantee she would have complained still,” one wrote.

“The other woman was never guaranteed those two seats would stay empty, they were just empty at the time of her booking,” another added.

“You were asked if you would like to move by THE CREW so it’s perfectly fine,” a third responded. “The other woman was b****ing because she thought she was going to get three seats and could lie down on all of them. Ironically, she was complaining about not getting two seats she didn’t pay for.”

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