What Do You Do When People Ask You To Switch Seats?

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What do you do when people ask you to switch seats? Normally when we are flying as a family and can’t get our seats together, I feel fine asking someone to switch for an equal seat. You know, an aisle for an aisle; so to speak. But, what would you do if a mom traveling with her daughter asked you to switch seats; an aisle for a middle seat?

What do you do when people ask you to switch seats?

I know, to some people this really might not be a big deal. Believe me when I say that we have had people tell us flat out “No.” But, on a recent flight Mr. Weekly Flyer was traveling and I was at home with the Baby Weekly Flyers (2) and he texted me the following:

What do you do when people ask you to switch seats?

My response:

What do you do when people ask you to switch seats?

Good Karma indeed:

What do you do when people ask you to switch seats?

Bottom Line

If you hadn’t guessed, this is a guest post from Mrs. Weekly Flyer. I was actually surprised that Mr. Weekly Flyer took the middle seat; that was really nice. I am not sure I would have done the same (I hate the middle seats.) But, it is the holidays after all and hey, karma works both ways! What do you do when people ask you to switch seats so they can sit with their family?

Happy flying!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Nope, can’t do that. Everyone has a need, whether it be relational or other. If I am not flying in FC or BC, then my aisle seat becomes a safe haven for my 6 foot frame.

  2. I for one am very annoyed when people ask to switch seats! Be for real, there are very few reasons when advance plans could not have been made that would justify this. On the occasions that my husband and I have not been able to get seats together, it never even occurred to me to ask anyone to switch. It’s just rude.
    I recall on one trip, we were asked to switch so that a family of three could sit together. Flight attendant moved us to first row of economy across the row from each other where we could not talk or sleep. We booked that flight 6 months in advance so that so that we could sit together and then we couldn’t. It was very annoying .
    How about this… Plan ahead. If you can’t get seats together, learn from it and book earlier next time.

  3. Doesn’t hurt to ask. I normally travel alone and will move if asked (unless I drank alot of coffee that day). I always plan ahead for an aisle seat.

    As people get older I understand they tend to be more claustrophobic so best for them to be in the aisle seat. Don’t ask them to move.

    End of report.

  4. I’m okay with switching if I’m getting an equal or better seat (aisle for an aisle as you say), but I would have said no in this case depending on the length of the flight. I would also never ask to switch unless my proposition met this criteria. As others have said, there were most likely many opportunities to remedy the situation outside of asking once on the plane – paying for seats next to each other, booking earlier, checking in as soon as possible, and asking the gate agent nicely.

  5. A little over 5 years ago, I ended up booking three seats at T-23 hours so that we could get back east for a funeral. My wife was 7 months pregnant and my 18 month old son was very big for his age and we ended up with three legs in each direction. Suffice it to say we were not able to get any seats together at booking. We made ourselves known by phone, at the check-in counter and to the GAs as soon as we arrived in the boarding area. Finally, on some of the flights, we ended up having to negotiate in the cabin. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end but we didn’t end up negotiating in the cabin for lack of trying beforehand.

  6. Why is it that a couple seated in 7A and 10B will never offer for the person in row 7 to move back!?

    I will NEVER under any circumstance move further back in the plane for a swap. If someone wants to swap it has to be an aisle for an aisle or window for a window and it absolutely must be further forward on the plane.

  7. Of course I’d switch for a family/child. If you’ve ever been in that spot and yes it does happen even when you plan like crazy…not everyone gets to be superplanners like we all are…it’s not a good spot to be in. A child sitting next to their parent is good for everyone. I probably wouldn’t switch for a husband/wife thing unless it was ‘equal’ seats and in those cases, it usually is since a pairing like that has to be Aisle/Middle or Middle/Window. So the most common case is small children with their parents….and the answer is emphatically, YES YES YES….because empathy and selflessness is lacking these days as evidenced by the responses here. There are more important things than ones self and even for a very large guy like myself who wants that dang Aisle, I’m going to say yes to a mother asking to be next to her child because my mom raised me right. More importantly, I would hope someone would treat my wife or mom with the same respect so I want to be the change I want to see in this wonderful little planet of ours. And no, it is NOT rude to ask. Jeez people. You are so scared of saying “No” that you don’t want people to even bother you with a request? If you want to say no, fine….but it’s perfectly acceptable and polite to make a request of someone like this.

  8. So you got upgraded because you switched and jumped over the person next on the upgrade list? Or you were #1 on the list and so you would of been upgraded regardless?

  9. Why can’t these people plan like the rest of us? You booked last minute and couldn’t get seats together? Too bad. You didn’t bother to sign in to your reservation and pick your seats? Too bad. You don’t fly enough to be elite and get priority access to the better seats? Too bad. I don’t feel obligated to move for anyone when I put my own time and energy picking my seat and watching the seat maps constantly to see if a better one becomes available, just so you can come along and expect me to give it to you.

  10. I have been asked to reseat once, and have refused. It was a Southwest flight, 100% full, this guy was the last one on. The last middle happened to be in a row where I was at the window, and the flight was daytime MDW-PHX. I was excited for the scenery. So I declined – I was a through pax from ALB, and was therefore able to choose my seat in advance of all other pax. The guys excuse was that it was his first flight, and he wanted to see the Grand Canyon, which we didn’t fly over anyways. He snored in my ear for 3 hours. Then, towards the later part of the flight, he got upset he couldn’t send a text message in flight, and informed me he was a pilot in training for Spirit – he even had the namebadge. Lesson of the day: Don’t fly Spirit, and keep my seat if I want to.

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