Woman praised for refusing to switch first class seat on plane with child

‘As a parent, you didn’t do anything wrong,’ one TikTok user commented on the viral video

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Monday 24 July 2023 11:03 BST
Woman climbs over plane passengers to get to her seat

A woman has been praised for her refusal to switch her first-class seat on a plane with a child.

On Thursday (20 July), TikTok user Dr Sabra (@lifewithdrsabra) took to TikTok to share the experience she had on her recent flight.

She posted a video of herself seated in the first-class section of a plane along with a caption that read: “POV: Flight agent asks me if I want to give up my 1A seat so a child sits with their family.” The big smile on her face indicated she was pleased with her decision to stick with the ticket she originally paid for.

“That’s a no from me dawg, would you have given up your seat? Also they ended up finding a solution so no, I am not a terrible human being. Also the child was like 13,” she wrote in the caption of the video, which has since been viewed more than 3m times.

The TikToker’s viewers agreed that there was no need for her to switch, especially because of the position of her seat. As one viewer pointed out, her 1A position would not have another seat directly next to it. Dr Sabra confirmed they were right, but the family would’ve still been across the aisle from each other had she switched.

However, Dr Sabra claimed it was not the family’s fault they weren’t sat together, but the airline’s, after one supporter commented: “Never switch unless it is an upgrade. Others poor planning is not your fault.”

“Nope, cause as a mom, it is a parent’s responsibility to plan ahead. Just travelled to Europe for one and a half months with my toddler and no one had to move,” another viewer said, while someone else agreed: “As a parent, you didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I can’t even bring myself to ask someone to please get up so that I can use the loo, but there are literally people out there who ask to trade seats?” one person asked.

“Worst part is the kid is usually like 12 and perfectly capable of being on their own for the flight,” a viewer noted.

The TikTok user’s post comes after the CEO of global jewellery brand CONQUERing recorded a similar incident. Tammy Nelson was flying on Delta Airlines from Cincinnati, Ohio, to San Jose, California, when she was asked to swap seats with a woman who wanted to sit next to her two children.

Nelson told Newsweek that she thought she may have been looking at the wrong window seat, but her ticket confirmed the mother was sitting in her place. “When I confirmed I was looking at the correct seat, I thought she must have just mistakenly sat in the wrong seat. So I said, ‘I’m sorry but it seems you’re in my seat’, thinking she would realise it and move,” she told Newsweek.

The woman did not proceed to get up and explained she thought she could sit in Nelson’s seat since she was with her children. Nelson didn’t want to be difficult, but she confessed to her followers that she tends to get sick on flights and window seats help ease the nausea by allowing her to sleep.

Just like they did with Dr Sabra, people commended Nelson for not giving up the spot she had booked. “The amount of families who aren’t paying to select their seats together is mindblowing! You were 100 per cent right to not give up your seat,” one follower said.

The two influencers aren’t the only passengers to experience a request for a seat swap as there’s been a recent uptick in the number of people sharing their own stories on social media. Most individuals admit they refused to move, and, according to a travel etiquette expert, they are valid in doing so.

Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, spoke to The Independent about the one appropriate instance in which someone can request another passenger to switch their seat after having prebooked it.

If a parent had tried their absolute hardest to find seats next to their children, but was unable to secure them, only then is it acceptable to ask if they can take someone’s spot on the plane, train, bus, or any other mode of transportation.

However, Gottsman encouraged those parents to first ask a “ticket agent or someone from the travel company if there is a possibility of changing or switching seats before you board the plane or train” because you don’t want to “put the person you are asking in an awkward position” or count on their “goodwill”.

The Independent has contacted Dr Sabra for comment.

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