Parents Frantic Over 16 Year Old Daughter Sitting Alone On A Plane, Would You Switch Seats?
An airline passenger reports that they were asked to change seats to help parents sit with their daughter on a long haul flight.
- He was with his wife, they were in the window and middle.
- One parent was next to him in the aisle seat, and the other parent in the adjacent aisle.
- Their daughter was in a completely different row, and they wanted her moved next to them.
He really didn’t want to give up his seat with his wife – they had split up their stuff optimized for travel together, for instance they planned to watch shows together on his laptop. But the parents were “frantic” over their daughter sitting alone.
I think I normally would’ve stood my ground, but these people were clearly panicked. There were some airline protests going on at the time, so I figured they were in an unfortunate situation with a little girl.
So I agree, gather my stuff, and start start walking down the aisle to my new seat.
The man changing seats discovers that the girl he’s changing seats with is… 16? “[S]he was literally taller than my wife. In typical teenage fashion, she seemed uninterested in the whole ordeal.”
The poster says they moved to an exit row seat, where the teenager had been seated – and this was miserable rather than an upgrade because they wound up next to a toddler.
[T]here is a ~16 year old girl playing with her phone in the exit row. That is when I realize she is the daughter the parents were panicking about.. I was moved to a seat next to a toddler
While re-seating situations like this happen all the time, I don’t believe that the story is genuine – because of the exit row toddler. The U.S, Australia and China require children to be 15 to sit in an exit row. Europe requires a child to be 12.
Interestingly, while as a general matter flight attendants can require re-seating of anyone they believe to be unable or unwilling to assist in an emergency. However I’ve never heard of, for instance, an 80 year old or someone that is overweight being denied an exit row seat.
I was once asked to change seats so that a couple could sit together, only to learn that they were already seated together, they just didn’t like the bulkhead, and they stuck me with the bulkhead (I don’t like the bulkhead either!).
A reader once gave up his premium seat so that a family could sit together only to have the family sell that seat to another passenger and not actually sit together.
You should book seats together if it is at all possible, even if it’s more costly to do so. You shouldn’t impose a cost on other passengers to save yourself money, though sometimes you can get away with it. Don’t be guilted into switching, you have a (usufructuary) right in your seat. If someone wants it, they can buy you out of it. Though you can certainly be kind and generous if you wish, just do your due diligence about what you’d be getting before you agree.
(HT: Jonathan W)