A plane passenger has sparked a debate about travel etiquette after refusing to allow a fellow passenger to sit in the empty seat next to them.
In a recent Reddit post shared to the popular “Am I The A**hole?” subreddit, the passenger explained that during a three-hour flight, he and his friend had purchased the last seat in their row because it was her first time flying and she has severe social anxiety.
“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,” he explained in the Reddit post.
The passenger then got the man’s attention and let him know that the empty seat was “not available” because they had paid for the extra room. According to the post, this led to the man complaining about the situation “loudly” to his relatives and “mocking” him.
“After that, he stood next to us in the aisle during the majority of the flight and kept being loud and very gestural (a member of the staff even told him to keep it down at one point) and leaned really close to me with his a**, possibly as a way to provoke me (I was sitting close to the aisle at that point because my friend was taking a nap and resting her legs in the middle),” the story continued.
The Reddit poster mentioned that he was surprised the flight staff didn’t intervene, but he doesn’t fly often enough to actually know what the standard is. “Aren’t you supposed to remain seated, unless you have a good reason not to?” the plane passenger questioned.
“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,” the post concluded, before asking what commenters thought about the situation.
Many people went on to defend the passenger for refusing to give up his seat. “You paid for it, no amount of his complaining is going to change that,” one comment read.
Another commenter agreed, writing: “You paid for the seat. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. I had someone do that to me once and WOULD NOT LEAVE. They just stood with their butt in my face on a long flight. After asking them numerous times to move, I got out a pen and ‘accidentally’ lightly jammed it in their butt and dragged it down their leg. They still didn’t leave but I felt better having gifted them something special too. I’m glad you laughed at him.”
“While he didn’t know your reasons for the third seat (your friend’s social anxiety), he assumed you just hogged it, presumably for no good reason. He assumed the worst and acted childish, instead of respecting your boundaries (and money spent). Also you paid for it,” a third commenter pointed out.
Other commenters suggested that it would have been worth pressing the call button for a flight attendant to quickly put a stop to the situation.
“The seat WAS taken. It was paid for by you. I would have 100 per cent called a flight attendant and explained that this passenger’s behaviour was causing issues,” one comment read.
“Nothing will ever change in life if you don’t take action. This person was bothering you so you have the power to alert a flight attendant to what was happening. Can’t let people like him win because that’s basically what happened,” another commenter agreed.