The internet loves to shame people who take up more space than they paid for on a plane.
So to avoid any awkwardness, this passenger made sure to buy a spare seat to give him and his travelling partner the extra room they needed.
Unfortunately, it still ended up being a point of contention come boarding – but he’s been praised for standing his ground by commenters on Reddit.
Posting to the ‘Am I The A**hole?’ forum, the man explained: ‘This happened during a three-hour flight. We were seated on the left side and paid extra for the third seat in our row because my friend has severe social anxiety and this was her first time flying.
‘She was sitting by the window and I sat next to her and this guy came over and sat on the armrest of the empty seat to talk (very loudly) to his relatives who were seated on the other side.
‘I immediately tapped him on the back and told him the seat was not available because we paid for it. He seemed skeptical, but stood up and started loudly complaining about it to his relatives and mocking me.’
Despite the man trying to approach things politely, his fellow passenger stood in the aisle for the majority of the journey and seemed to be provoking an argument by leaning into the seat he was refused and talking so loudly ‘a member of the staff even told him to keep it down.’
The post continued: ‘Even after the flight, he kept going on about it to his relatives and giving me dirty looks, but I just laughed at him because I feel he was making a spectacle of himself.’
Because he doesn’t fly often, the man questioned whether flight attendants should have done more, and sought perspective on if he was in the wrong for insisting the seat remained free.
Redditors were quick to defend him, however, including These-Confidence-18 who said: ‘You paid for it, no amount of his complaining is going to change that.’
‘He assumed the worst and acted childish, instead of respecting your boundaries (and money spent),’ replied 80085_420, while Wonderful-Set6647 added: ‘If he wanted to spend the flight with a relative they should have spent extra to get their seats together.’
A number of commenters recommended complaining to staff in situations like this, as staff sometimes can’t intervene unless they’re prompted by a passenger. Others suggested sabotaging the disruptive passenger with an accidentally-on-purpose spill to soil his trousers or some passive aggressive loud complaining of their own.
According to etiquette expert Jackie Vernon-Thompson, standing in the aisle or asking people to swap seats are among the biggest air travel faux pas.
She said: ‘If you need to stretch your legs, take a walk – but you paid for your seat, not the aisle…
‘You also cannot reasonably expect someone in the front of the plane to switch to the rear or in a downgraded area of the plane,
‘In a row, you can’t ask them to sit in your centre seat when they were sat in the aisle or window – they must get an equivalent of what they have purchased.
‘If the seat you’re offering them is a long way from where they’re sat, or a worse seat, just stay where you are. It’s unreasonable to ask.’
While there are a few hacks and tricks to get more legroom without paying over the odds, it’s widely expected that if you want a certain standard of comfort on a plane, you need to factor this in when booking.
Unless you want to be persona non grata on your next flight, cutting queues, hogging the arm rests, and reclining your seat (especially during meal service) are also best avoided.
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