Woman Backed for Why She Refused To Return to Booked Seat on Plane

A plane passenger who allegedly complained about being seated next to a mom and her baby has received a storm of criticism on Reddit.

In a post shared on Reddit’s “Am I The A****** (AITA) subforum, user Aggravating-Worth643 claimed she and her 19-month-old son were harassed by an adjacent passenger after being moved to a different row by a flight attendant.

The 31-year-old mother was traveling on a three-hour flight. “My son, being under 2, has to sit on my lap. I also had a big backpack with all the necessities that I keep on the floor and easily accessible. It can get crowded fast, but it’s just how it is when you travel alone with a young child,” she explained in the post.

The mom and baby were assigned to a random seat in a row with no empty seats. Just before takeoff, a flight attendant offered to move them three rows up to a row with two available seats to provide more space. “I was delighted and accepted right away. The flight attendant helped me move my things and explained the situation to the other passenger on row nine,” the mom said in the post.

However, the passenger in the new row did not appreciate the change. “She started complaining to the flight attendant that she was planning to sleep on the flight, and that it would be impossible now. That she specifically chose this seat while checking online because the row was empty and it’s gonna be a nightmare now,” according to the Reddit poster.

Was the passenger’s reaction towards the mom and her baby understandable?

Nick Leighton, an etiquette expert and co-host of the weekly etiquette podcast Were You Raised by Wolves?, told Newsweek: “It’s certainly unreasonable to expect to have seats one hasn’t actually paid for. Just because a seat may be unoccupied at check-in is obviously no guarantee that this will still be the case at takeoff.”

Despite the passenger’s reaction to the mom in the latest post, passengers believe you are “allowed to bring a baby” on a plane because “74 percent of travelers aren’t monsters,” according to a June 2023 survey conducted on behalf of travel booking website Kayak.

‘Should Be Ashamed’

The flight attendant in the Reddit post told the “complaining” passenger that both seats were standard and that the woman only paid for her own seat.

According to the mom, the woman allegedly told her that she “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.”

The poster ignored the woman during the entire flight and that “got her even more angry, but she finally stopped complaining after a while,” the mom said.

The mom said her son cried only once during the flight and she “got some stinky eye 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.”

‘Entitled Expectations’

Topsie VandenBosch, a licensed psychotherapist, echoed Leighton’s earlier sentiment. She told Newsweek, “The passenger’s complaint about being seated near a parent and infant was completely unfounded,” noting that there was never an indication that her flight purchase “would also receive the luxury of an entire row.”

She added that “the passenger’s complaints reflect that she had entitled expectations beyond the reality of her purchase,” adding that the flight crew “prioritized appropriately” by accommodating the solo parent and her baby and “nothing was ‘taken’ from the passenger.”

‘A Lack of Empathetic Awareness’

VandenBosch said: “The very fact that the passenger felt disrupted by the infant’s presence demonstrates a lack of empathetic awareness. Her expectation of having undisturbed solitude on a flight was unreasonable, given the circumstances.”

Leighton added: “Parents traveling with children should be given a tremendous amount of grace. That was a real missed etiquette opportunity here. If this fellow passenger didn’t want to sit next to a child, they could have asked if there was another seat available elsewhere.”

Reddit users shared support for the mother and criticized the other passenger’s reaction.

Unfair_Rain said: “NTA [not the a******], you paid for a seat, the other passenger paid for her seat only, not the entire row. Sounds like other passenger was an unpleasant person, which isn’t your fault.”

BaitedBreaths wrote: “Absolutely. If she had paid for all three seats, it would be different, but she had no right to those seats. At the time of booking, that row was empty, but there was no guarantee those seats would remain free.”

MerlinBiggs noted: “NTA. If she wanted the row to herself, she should have bought the empty seats.”

Logical_Read9153, however, was sympathetic towards the other passenger, saying “I’m not going to give judgment, but as a person who does not like kids, if I was the lady in that seat originally I would be p***** to see a kid so unexpectedly next to me.”

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment via the Reddit messaging system.

Woman holding baby on plane.
A stock image of a woman holding a baby on a plane. A post about a plane passenger who complained about having a mom and her baby being moved to her empty row has sparked…

iStock / Getty Images Plus

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