WIBU re: couple hogging spare seat on plane

(129 Posts)
riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 14:02:58

It's a trivial one, but whatever!

So DP and I took a 9 hour flight the other day. Tickets suggested we would have adjacent seats, but due to a weirdly out of synch aisle numbering system on the plane, we ended up being an aisle and a row apart on a plane set out like this:

ABC DEF HIJ

So he was in C and I was in D, but not on the same row. Could just about talk, but with much straining, shoulder-tapping and leaning backwards/forwards into the aisle, and with the noise of the plane and people coming down the aisle all the time it was all very awkard and uncomfortable.

Anyway, there was a couple in seats A and B on the same row as me (in D), but when the plane doors closed no one had sat in C. Perfect, I thought, DP can move into that seat. As I leant forward and said this to him, the man of the couple immediately moved onto the spare seat, and started piling their bags and coats onto the empty seat now bewteen them. The woman tapped me on the shoulder while I was mid sentence to DP, and said very firmly that they would be keeping the seat for themselves so as to be 'more comfortable' during the flight. I smiled and explained our predicament with the weird numbering and how we'd like to sit together, thinking they hadn't understood, but they just kept shrugging and broken recording me with 'no, we're keeping the seat so we can make ourselves more comfortable', while adding more and more of their stuff onto the spare seat.

At this point another random lady sitting in front on them got involved and told them they were being selfish, but they just blanked her, closed their eyes and pretended to go to sleep.

I wanted to get the air hostess involved, but DP (who reeeally hates arguments and is massively non confrontational) said he wouldn't be comfortable sitting next to them anyway now and he really didn't 't want to have to make a big scene to get the seat. So, much to my anger they ended up getting to keep their seat, while I was left to seeth with rage during the whole flight.

So anyway, since I had 9 boring hours to reflect on this I did wonder at one point if they had just as much right to the spare seat to be 'more comfortable' as we did for the purpose of sitting next to each other. AIBU in thinking they were selfish, or were they being no more selfish than us?

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 14:06:40

I think the most unreasonable person here was probably your DH.

I don't know why he thought simply asking a member of staff if the stuff could be moved is confrontational - it isn't.

They were selfish fuckers but if your DH wasn't bothered enough to have a simple word with the staff, I can only assume he wasn't as put out by them as you were.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 14:08:59

Heh, was going to add a bit on the end of the post saying I thought my DP was also unreasonable for being a pussy (which I told him), but since it was already long I omitted that ;-)

ProtegeMoi Sun 24-Mar-13 14:09:27

The seat didn't belong to anyone so whoever got their first gets it really, wasn't nice that they only too it after hearing you telling OH to move but that's life and you had no more right to it then they did. If it was to sit by a child fair enough but adults are quite capable of sitting apart for a flight and if sitting together was so Important the you pay for it.

Where was all their bags beforehand? If on their knee etc. then I'd thought they needed it more to be honest, 9 hours cramped in with bags is horrendous.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 14:09:39

YANBU but is your DH always so wet? You should have involved the cabin crew. If he didn't want to sit next to the rude people, you could have had seat C and put him in your seat.

specialsubject Sun 24-Mar-13 14:09:41

you should have involved the cabin crew if it bothered you that much.

Being two people with the third seat spare is the economy class jackpot so I'd be selfish about it too. It isn't an issue for two grown adults to be slightly separated for 9 hours.

future ref; there is a website somewhere which gives a good guess on the seat configuration for your flight.

NinaNannar Sun 24-Mar-13 14:10:21

you were both pussies imo

him for saying no and you agreeing it

ll31 Sun 24-Mar-13 14:10:28

I suppose really they got there first-you were going to use it for your convenience too. .. think yab mildly u

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 14:10:42

PS in future you can check flight seating plans on www.seatguru.com so that you know what you're getting when you do your online checkin! smile

They were being v selfish. You should have said something to the staff, because they have once again learned that being ignorant twats gives them their own way (I suspect this is how they've got by so far).

ifancyashandy Sun 24-Mar-13 14:12:29

Neither of you had any more 'rights' to the seat than the other. They got there first.

You can't change the outcome. Let it go.

frogspoon Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:06

It was a free seat, neither of you had any more right to it. They got to the seat first do they were entitled to keep it.

It would have been nice if they had moved their stuff to allow you to sit with your husband, but they had no obligation to do so. It's also a shame that no lone passengers were willing to swap with you so you could sit together, but again, they were under no obligation to do so.

I wonder if had you explained to the air hostess that you and your husband were disappointed that you could not sit together due to the numbering system (leaving the couple out of it), they may have perhaps moved you to an alternative seat so you could sit together.

fluckered Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:23

i think the fact it was a 9 hour flight and had nothing else to think about it got to you more. they were bring selfish and igornant however.

BOEUF Sun 24-Mar-13 14:13:27

They were horrendously rude.

trixymalixy Sun 24-Mar-13 14:14:22

I'd have spoken to the flight attendant. This happened to us on our honeymoon flight so I can understand the seating layout. I was fuming as we had checked in really early and from the seat numbers it looked like we were sitting next to each other. We got seats together in the end.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 24-Mar-13 14:15:43

They were being extremely rude and oafish.

So your DH was in the seat directly in front on the man of the couple? I would have asked him to swap with you, then I would have put my seat back as far as possible. See how comfortable the fuckers are then! grin

Yes I know whoever gets there first can have it, and no one had any "right" to it, but they sound really bloody selfish to me. They wanted it for bags, you wanted it for a person to sit in. They could have at least offered it to you half way through.

fluckered Sun 24-Mar-13 14:16:32

i loathe flying and get very panicky on taking off and landing. on a flight home after hols we were seated seperately (feckin transfer bus picked us up first insisted we sit at the back and were last in queue to check in and board the plane i KNEW this would happen so my panic was building). i was seated beside a couple who were lovely but the more they chatted to me being nice the more i could feel the panic and tears building. dp is like yours .. hates fuss in public etc. however he asked for a person on the other side of the aisle would be mind moving into the middle empty seat so i could at least be near him. oh the relief. i was so grateful to dp and this man. jsut to have dp on other side of aisle made all the difference to me.

thezebrawearspurple Sun 24-Mar-13 14:18:25

I can't blame them for not wanting him to sit next to him and have to deal with the pair of you talking across the aisle for nine hours. Unnecessary torture, most people hate being next to loud, gobby people on flights. Next time bring a kindle or ipad and headphones to keep yourself entertained. yabu.

dopeysheep Sun 24-Mar-13 14:19:16

I was on a flight where the mum and two kids were on one side, then the aisle, then me with a spare seat in the middle and the dad in the window seat. I asked if he wanted to swap to be nearest to his family and he said thanks but 'no not really. It's more peaceful here."

I think the couple were a bit selfish but flights are dog eat dog aren't they?

ChunkyPickle Sun 24-Mar-13 14:19:19

First come first gets in my opinion.

Did you check if any of the people sitting next to you were singles and would swap (aisle seats are quite desirable so you'd be in a strong position)

I always check where we're seating when we check in (if I haven't picked seats first) - plus I try to be early as I find the check-in staff are much nicer then smile

JuneChurch Sun 24-Mar-13 14:22:59

Neither of you had any right to it. They probably had had the same idea, they just got there first. These things happen.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 14:23:59

They were been selfish but I'm not sure I blame them. Though if it was me I'd probably have let your Dh have the seat. However I'd have been wishing I'd said no and kept my bags there. grin

Having an empty seat next to you on a long haul flight is like winning the lottery.

To be honest on a flight I'd take the opportunity to read, snooze, watch tv, etc. I would be too upset at not been next to Dh.

BalloonSlayer Sun 24-Mar-13 14:25:02

Blimey I had to re-read the OP to check that it really was your DP you were talking about and not your toddler whom you had to supervise for 9 hours.

Why on earth did you have to make such a ridiculous fuss about trying to get seats next to each other? It's not like you were sitting at opposite ends of the plane.

I mean : Could just about talk, but with much straining, shoulder-tapping and leaning backwards/forwards into the aisle, and with the noise of the plane and people coming down the aisle all the time it was all very awkard and uncomfortable. How absolutely dreadful for you! How did you cope? hmm

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 14:26:56

I meant I wouldn't be too upset at not been next to Dh.

CandyCrushed Sun 24-Mar-13 14:27:04

I think it was a bit pushy of them but not exactly crime of the century. I think that if they nabbed it first then fair play to them.

Is there a reason you didnt book seats next to each other to start with?

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 14:29:28

Hmm, interesting split of opinion so far...it's good to see both sides.

I do feel the need to say that thezebrawearspurple we are not loud or gobby, and I'm not sure where you got that from unless its the fact that yes like most couples we would like to be able to quietly speak to each other, on and off, over the course of 9 stationary hours..

thezebrawearspurple Sun 24-Mar-13 14:31:34

Sorry for that assumption op, not sure where I got it frombiscuit

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 24-Mar-13 14:34:01

Had they paid for the seat possibly? Maybe they had had someone else in their party that couldn't make it at the last minute.

ShellyBoobs Sun 24-Mar-13 14:50:16

I would find it incredibly difficult to be arsed about who sits where.

I fly several times per month for work and if I'm travelling with colleagues, I often sit away from them purposely. I just don't see the need to sit next to someone just because you're travelling with them.

For holiday flights I'll make sure DD is sat with either OH or me but other than that we don't particularly try to sit near eachother.

Just sit wherever and read or otherwise entertain yourself instead of getting upset at not being glued at the hip to your DH!

Flights are something to be tolerated, not enjoyed, IMO.

Maat Sun 24-Mar-13 14:50:54

It would have been nice of them to let you have the seat.

However, I think if I was in their position, I would be more uncomfortable stuck in the middle seat with a stranger on the aisle as I feel claustrophobic - so I don't think it was just about having a seat for their bags.

You were only inconvenienced by not being able to chat easily.

Follyfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 15:00:47

There is a moment at the start of a long flight when the doors close and you realise that the empty seat next you is not going to be filled. Its always really nice when that happens. I hate being in the middle of three seats so if there was an empty seat next to me, that would be wonderful and it would be tempting to consider it was 'free' for my use. When the seatbelt light goes out, there's often a bit of a free for all and if they got it first, thats their good luck really.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 24-Mar-13 15:03:45

Am I the only one wondering how much hand luggage the other couple had with them, and why the cabin crew didn't ask them to secure the bags in the overhead lockers when doing the pre-flight check? I've been told off before for not having pushed my handbag far enough under the seat in front!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 24-Mar-13 15:06:29

OP... however 'non-confrontational' you say your husband is, surely if he would have wanted to sit nearer, he could have and would have made that happen, wouldn't he?

squeakytoy Sun 24-Mar-13 15:07:42

This is why I always prebook seats. It removes the problem.

Also, I should have been taking a flight with my husband and my mum some years ago. My mum died two weeks before the trip. Her seat was all booked and paid for. I didnt want anyone else sitting on the 3 seat section with us.

Montybojangles Sun 24-Mar-13 15:09:43

Having been a woman squeezed in the middle seat between my (average sided) OH and a stranger (another average build man), I would have done exactly the same thing as that couple in their situation. 9 hours is an awfully long time to be squeezed between two blokes who hog the armrests.
Take it as a life lesson to check more carefully next time you book your seats. It's never bothered me if I've had to sit apart from those I am travelling with, always carry a book, or music to listen to.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 15:10:25

CandyCrushed, there was no online check in available and were not asked to state seating preferences at check in. We checked in early and assumed we'd be put together, saw our tickets were for supposedly the same row in adjacent seats, and thought no more of it.

OrangeFire - there was a massive bag decanting operation going on in the middle seat before take off, ie getting things out of bags and piling them on the seat. I think they did put bags back under seats/into lockers when flight took off, I guess it was just coats/blankets/pillows/books etc there at that point.

lljkk Sun 24-Mar-13 15:13:16

yanbu ,they were territorial & selfish. I don't get it, either.

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 15:15:57

So interesting to read threads like this. I always offered to move to accommodate families/couples before we had dc / when I was single. I can't imagine not saying yes in this couple's position.

Internet is fascinating because people say what they really think - so now I know why others never offered to move smile

Op, YANBU - I would also have wanted to speak to my DH during a flight that long and would prefer to be next to him than sit on my own.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 15:22:08

I agree Welovegrapes! It's interesting that some posters think we were being unreasonable for not going further to claim the seat, whereas others think we were being unreasonable for already having made way too much of a fuss as it was...

thebody Sun 24-Mar-13 15:23:35

The only dread on a flight is sitting by the toddler from hell!!!

They were rude. You and your dh are pussies and should have spoken to cabin crew as soon as you realised the mix up and they would have sorted it.

You didn't so can't really complain.

BegoniaBampot Sun 24-Mar-13 15:24:54

They sound very rude but maybe your husband was happy for some peace and quiet you should have farted all over rude couple or got up to go to the loo every 5 mins if it meant climbing over them.

GreenLeafTea Sun 24-Mar-13 15:25:55

You should have just asked one of the flight attendants if they could have found you two seats together. They often can if the flight isn't full.

cocolepew Sun 24-Mar-13 15:31:02

They were incredibly rude.

VBisme Sun 24-Mar-13 15:33:54

The seat was free, everyones seat was allocated. They saw an empty seat and used it, not sure why you feel you had more right to it than them.

CandyCrushed Sun 24-Mar-13 15:39:02

No online check in for a 9 hour flight! Yikes! There must have been some way to book your seats beforehand. What about families?

At least you will know for next time to ask to sit together when you check in confused

They were rude but had as much right to claim the seats anyone else.

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 15:45:49

The seat didn't belong to anyone so whoever got their first gets it really

Yes. that. ^

It is one of life's great joys to find that there is a spare seat next to you on a plane so you can spread out a bit. Unless it was a case of separating a young child from its parent I'd be extremely reluctant to give up that benefit to cater to someone else's whim instead. Only one person can benefit from an unclaimed seat and I don't really see how anyone can argue that they have priority over anyone else in this situation. Both sets of people are looking to gain an advantage that they are not strictly entitled to, so it has to be the nearest person, unless someone else gets there first, imo.

Those people clearly checked in early in the hope of that single seat not being filled, and you clearly didn't check in early enough or you'd have managed to sit together. Your loss.

No-one chats much on a plane anyway.

BegoniaBampot Sun 24-Mar-13 15:54:37

Yes,we all give a silent yeah when we have a spare seat next to us. But if someone explained they would like their other half/ child or whatever to sit there then who would continue to sit their hogging it for their handbag of hanky. Saying that, was on long haul recently and the plane had loads of spare rows (4 seats together). The scramble once the seat let sign was off was funny. Luckily I had a whole 4 seats to myself!

ModernToss Sun 24-Mar-13 16:04:14

I can't imagine not saying yes in this couple's position.

Me neither, but flying brings out the very worst in people. There's a special level of hell reserved for those arseholes who push their seat backwards into your knees without so much as an 'Excuse me' or 'Do you mind?'

LinusVanPelt Sun 24-Mar-13 16:04:51

YABU.

It wasn't important for you to have your DH beside you (as others have said, it would have been different if you were travelling with your young child or someone else who needed looking after), except for your own comfort and convenience.

It wasn't important for them to have an empty seat between them, except for their own comfort and convenience.

They were no more selfish than you were. It would have been kind of them to let you have the seat, and it would have been kind of you not to have made an issue of letting them keep the seat. As it stood, with them getting there first and you trying to make them feel guilty about doing exactly what you were going to do (i.e. claim the good fortune of an empty seat as your own), I think good for them for letting you pressure them into prioritising your comfort over their own.

The only person I feel sorry for in this situation is the person sitting next to your DH, who must have been temporarily delighted to think that the empty seat was going to be besider her / him, only to be disappointed when you didn't succeed in getting your own way. smile

LinusVanPelt Sun 24-Mar-13 16:06:15

* for not letting you pressure them

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 16:10:01

{grin] Exactly Linus.

TheRealFellatio Sun 24-Mar-13 16:10:14

Oh FFS.

everlong Sun 24-Mar-13 16:11:33

They were nobbers.

You were too polite.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 16:11:47

It was a budget airline. I presume the lady at check in thought she was putting us together, since in fact she gave us tickets for the same row number in adjacent letters. It was only once on the plane that it became clear the row numbers were out of synch across aisles for some weird reason. The plane on the way (same airline, same model of plane) didn't have this issue, the row numbers matched up.

I did ask the air hostess if there were any pairs of spare seats together, there weren't, only a few singles. We could have gone round enquiring if other people next to singles could have switched, but we weren't that set on sitting together to do all that.

I guess that I keep coming back to them being selfish because they already had the advantage of sitting together and wanted the extra space on top of that, whereas we weren't sitting together, neither did we have any extra space. I assume had the situation been switched, they would have wanted to sit together (since yes, they talked plenty throughout the flight, leant on each other to sleep etc) and would have felt entitled to having the seat in that situation too. So I see them as being selfish by not doing the whole 'treat your neighbour as you would want to be treated' thing, because I would have acquiesed in their position.

But from this thread, I see that a) quite a lot of people adhere to dog eat dog as opposed to treat others the way you would want to be treated, and b) even people who don't do the whole dog eat dog thing don't see there being a clear right or wrong thing to do in this situation. Which is fair enough and why I started the thread.

And yes I KNOW that this is a trivial issue (as I said in the OP) anbd hardly the great moral question of our times. And of course it was no massive torture to sit apart from DP, just a bit annoying. As another poster said, probably the reason it got to me was because I had 9 hours to dwell on it.

Well I think they were selfish. Yes it is great to have that empty seat but it is also nice to be seated with your travelling companion.

It reminded me of a flight I was on once. Quantas from Bangkok to London. Row of four seats. Me in on in aisle and a nice elderly lady the other end of the row. She was lovely and we chatted away about various things and her family etc etc as you do, through the meal service. After the meal service I went to the loo and when I came back she was stretched out asleep on the three seats in the row leaving me with one! Obv I was only entitled to one but I have to say I was dumbfounded! One of the stewards noticed and was equally shocked. He asked would he wake her and ask her not to take up all the spare seats but I said to leave it. He did keep me supplied with gin and tonics all the way through the flight as he reckoned I deserved it!

BegoniaBampot Sun 24-Mar-13 16:41:07

I would have sat there seething the whole time - a whole bloody 9 hours as a captive seether, would have been plotting revenge- but I can be a bit of a seether. Did I mention I can be a bit of a seether?

whiteflame Sun 24-Mar-13 17:19:52

If there was a seat next to me on a long haul flight, I'd be amazed if someone else thought they could have it without a good reason (child, scared partner, etc).

Did you treat them as you'd like to be treated? They wanted the seat and so did you. You wanted them to give it up, they wanted you to give it up. So you can't complain really.

Sorry, I would have done exactly what this couple did. I hate being squashed on flights which is exactly what happens when you go from sitting two in a row to three in a row.

I'm also a really nervous flyer and like to be able to squirm and have books, laptops etc easily to hand. I know that's really mean of me but on a nine hour flight when I'm feeling like crap I really don't have it in me to care much about other people wanting to chat. (I would care if it was parents wanting to sit with their children).

EuroShaggleton Sun 24-Mar-13 17:29:43

I think they got there first, fair and square. If they had moved as requested, one of them would have ended up squashed into the middle seat, next to a stranger (which everyone knows is the most rubbish place to be if you have a row of 3).

On a long flight, most people end up plugged into the entertainment or read for most of the flight anyway, so being a few feet away from Mr Euro wouldn't bother me.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 24-Mar-13 17:30:54

I'm amazed at the number of Mumsnetters who would have selfishly clung on to this spare seat as a handy place to keep their bags and coats knowing that it meant another couple on the same flight were unable to sit together. It was a 9 hour flight, not a quick jaunt to Europe. Am really surprised.

Yanbu, and all bags etc are supposed to be kept in the lockers to prevent flying missiles in an accident !

MimiSunshine Sun 24-Mar-13 17:41:24

Row of three, a couple sat either side of an empty seat. You and OH sat separately across an aisle, both couples eyeing up the empty seat.
They're thinking great, we can still be sat together but sit a bit more diagonally and have a bit more leg room without reclining seats too much.
You're thinking, great OH can ask them to move up and sit straight across from me.
It would be nice if they did that but who in reality wants to sit in the awful middle seats for 9 hours? Neither of you were owed it, they were technically more entitled to it seen as it was closer to them. So yes it's annoying for you but that's just your bad luck and they're good fortune

Montybojangles Sun 24-Mar-13 17:41:39

I think perhaps we all place different importance on sitting together. It's happened to me on a number of flights, it's 9 hours, not days. the poor bloke has to live with me for years, I'm sure the break wont kill us. As I generally listen to music, read a book or try to sleep its pretty irrelevant where he sits.

I personally wouldn't have asked the couple to be squished up so my OH could sit opposite me, I would have been conscious we were comfortable as in aisle seats, while one of the other couple would have had to be quite squished up. Economy seats are not known for generosity. Guess we all think differently. I would have felt a bit selfish Restricting their comfort for something so minor, so different strokes for different folks.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 24-Mar-13 17:46:45

I'm not sure I would be bothered about not sitting with dh on such a flight either, but these two did want to sit together and asked, presumably nicely. It takes a special sort of arrogance to point blank refuse and think you are entitled to have the spare seat just because you are closer to it.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 17:47:15

Mimisunshine, the spare seat was on the aisle, not the middle seat. But they then moved into it, using the newly-spare middle seat for 'comfort' space.

Also am surprised by the preference for aisle seats, I generally prefer a window so you can lean against the wall to sleep/doze/read. Agree that middle seat is the worst of all though.

I guess we should have said at check in that we wanted two seats together, though again I think the check in lady thought thats what she was giving us. By the same token, I guess the other couple could have asked for two aisle seats together if one of them being in the middle seat with a stranger on the other side was such a problem.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 24-Mar-13 17:47:57

YABU. Middle seats on a long flight are rubbish. It would have been selfish of your DH to make someone sit in a middle seat just so he could sit next to you.

Maat Sun 24-Mar-13 17:48:15

I was once squashed in the middle seat on a 9 hour flight. The lady on the aisle seat popped a couple of sleeping tablets, covered herself in a blanket and slept for almost the entire flight.

My bladder nearly burst before I had to disturb her so I could go to the loo.

It was the most uncomfortable flight I have ever been on.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 17:50:25

And technically if the empty seat was actually the one between them then your Dh still wouldn't have been next to you.

I don't think I'd give up an aisle or a window seat for a 9 hour flight which you wanted one of them to do.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 17:51:27

Ah sorry, see it was actually the aisle seat. But yes one of them got to the aisle seat first so they'd still have had to have given it up for your Dh.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 17:51:33

Viva, the empty seat wasn't between them. They had window and middle seats. The spare seat was on the aisle, directly across from mine in the next row.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 24-Mar-13 17:51:46

I think yanbu.

But then I think its rude to recline on short flights and know that many on here think its their right as they paid for their seat no matter how inconvenient it is for the person behind with a baby on their laps [remembers own thread a couple of years ago] wink

There is something about plane travel which seems to bring out the worst sort of 'I'm alright Jack' behaviour in some people.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 17:52:14

Sorry, X post.

Hulababy Sun 24-Mar-13 17:53:09

They were really selfish. Very surprised they didn't just move over tbh at your request. I'd have asked the flight attendant if it was possible for your DH to move, if nothing else just to annoy the selfish couple more!

BTW - had that issue with seats once before flying to New York. Was really odd. But we didn't know beforehand and had actually prebooked our seats beforehand (we had also checked in online) but the seats were changed, for all 7 of us, when we got on. It was apin as the 3 children wanted to sit together, but then the flight hosts wouldn't let them as there was no supervising adult sat directly opposite - because of the strange seat numbering and their mess up with seat allocation!

simplesusan Sun 24-Mar-13 18:05:17

think I would have spoken to the air steward. The other couple are not entitled to 3 seats as they only paid for 2.

I hate anything like this though.

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 18:15:27

This thread is reminding me of how few people got up for me when I was heavily of and struggling on the tube. I have ALWAYS stood for pg women, the elderly, anyone with obvious mobility issues and people struggling with small children.

I could not believe the number of people who deliberately ignored me, my badge and my massive bump. Once someone (woman around mid twenties) actually point blank refused to stand up.

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 18:15:43

Heavily pg not of

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 18:16:28

It's not the same issue, but same approach - I've paid for a seat, why should I stand/be uncomfy?

SuckingDiesel Sun 24-Mar-13 18:26:57

Free seat next to you on a flight is the next best thing to being upgraded. I've only once been asked for the free seat next to me. A woman approached just after the sealtbelt sign had gone out and said 'Mind if I sit here? My seat is back there with my husband but he's an arsehole and I might kill him if I have to spend the next 5 hours stuck beside him'. Couldn't refuse a request like that, could I? grin

Montybojangles Sun 24-Mar-13 18:36:54

Would always stand up for pg, elderly, infirm individual on a train/bus/tube. Think it's an entirely different thing really.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 18:43:34

Welovegrapes - I actually have a colleague who is lovely in most ways yet refuses to stand for pregnant woman (she does for eldery/injured/disabled however). She has this weird 'you chose to get pregnant' thing...it's very strange as like I said she is generally really nice and kind in other ways. From some conversations we've had I think she actually has deep seated issues / fears relating to pregnancy and childbirth (doesn't plan on having any children naturally, but rather adopting) and it stems from this. Maybe she was the one, or someone like her, who refused to stand for you...in any case, I'm sorry to hear that it happened to you. I don't think that my plane issue is really as bad as that.

hopefloats Sun 24-Mar-13 19:27:10

That sort of thing would never happen in first class.

<clutches pearls>

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 19:35:09

They were being unreasonable - the cupboard type things above your heads are for coats etc, but perhaps they hadn't flown before, or were just thick and didn't realise that.

I would have involved the cabin crew, or moved their stuff to my DHs empty seat (empty after he'd moved to sit beside me, that is) and told them that unless they could prove they'd paid for that particular seat for their coats then the aforementioned garments would be sitting elsewhere. Then I would have joined them in their silly game of 'let's pretend we're asleep'.

One of the wonderful things about growing older is that you no longer put up with this sort of nonsense.

montage Sun 24-Mar-13 19:35:31

Why didn't you ask the person beside you in seat E to swap with your DH?

Or you swap with the person beside your DH?

Or you swap with the person across the ailse from your DH?

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 19:40:48

I suspect because it's more inconvenient for actual people to move rather than coats and bags (which should have been stowed anyway....)

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 24-Mar-13 19:56:25

They could have let your DH move, but they didn't have to. I think being with small children and on honeymoon are the only circumstances where you need to be seated together and others should move to help accommodate this.

I'm not convinced by all this "ask the cabin crew" stuff, though - they have a job to do beyond refereeing fairly juvenile disputes between passengers

SayMama Sun 24-Mar-13 19:56:56

No way would I give up all that space and squash myself into the middle seat just so that a couple I don't know could chat for 9 hours.

Sorry OP grin

intheshed Sun 24-Mar-13 19:58:28

YANBU, it's one thing to think 'yay we got a spare seat to stretch out in!', it's another thing entirely to deliberately turn down a perfectly reasonable request for someone to actually sit in the seat.

But then people are particularly selfish on piblic transport. We live on a prime London commuter route, and if I'm on my way to work on the train I always move seats if, for example I am sitting on my own in a double seat and a parent and kids get on the train. But whenever I do the same route with the kids, if the train is busy and there are just a few single seats dotted around people very rarely offer to move so me and the 2 kids (age 5 and 3) can sit together and I often end up with either the two of them balanced on my lap or my 5yo sat next to a stranger a few seats away.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 20:01:10

montage - The people in seats E and F were a couple, and indeed all the other people sat around us were sat together with their families/friends. No basis to ask them to move.

There were some people in the same position as us, ie one aisle over and up from their travel companion due to the weird row numbering. Some of these people seemed to have worked out swaps where possible.

Sir Chenjin, DP would have had to actually sit on them, seeing as they bodily took the spare seat themselves and moved their stuff into the middle. But that could have been amusing to see.

Well after doing a brief tally of the thread, it seems pretty evenly split between 'they were being selfish and U" and 'you were being selfish and U'. So I don't know what to take from this really.

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 20:01:20

I don't get the whole 'squashing myself in' thing - they still had a seat each!

The coats and bags should have been stowed, and I'm really surprised the cabin crew didn't enforce this on take off.

witchface Sun 24-Mar-13 20:05:27

Dont know who you were flying with but virgin do a thing called seat plus where you can buy an empty seat for a much reduced price to make things a bit more comfy.

So it might have been their seat after all!

SirChenjin Sun 24-Mar-13 20:05:54

In that case I would definitely have got the cabin crew involved Riverboat - people take priority over coats and bags every time! I'd then have spent the next 9 hours telling them all about my children, pets, bowel problems and so on, just to be extra friendly wink

McBalls Sun 24-Mar-13 20:11:33

So many replies saying that both couples wanted the spare seat and they got there first so all is fair...

But it's not an equal claim - it's a SEAT, for an arse, that's what it's for!

I always do a little internal yippee if I get a free seat next to me but I would never object to someone sitting there, I haven't paid for it so I'd look a proper tool trying to dictate what happens with it.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 24-Mar-13 20:42:02

Quite, McBalls. The couple who were on op's flight look like proper tools from where I'm standing, and so would anyone else who tried to "claim" it as "theirs". They didn't pay for it ... what makes them think they can bagsy it? And even if they do think they can bagsy it, then the look like proper arses if they would turn down another passenger with a reasonable request to use it.

cumfy Sun 24-Mar-13 20:44:36

I think that they benefitted slightly more than you would have.

Therefore, YAB slightly U, even though they sound like arses.

There actions have maximised the total utility of the 2 couples IMO.

cumfy Sun 24-Mar-13 20:48:54

Oh, also was it a night flight ?

If you looked like a chatbox from hell and it was a night flight they were DNBU.

Cosmosim Sun 24-Mar-13 21:13:42

I thought it was an unwritten rule if two people have an empty seat in their 3 seat aisle, they automatically have it. I would have thought you rude beyond belief if you started making plans outloud without even asking! I don't get why people think the flight crew - should you have spoken to them - would have made the couple move back just so your husband could take an unassigned seat.

Welovegrapes Sun 24-Mar-13 21:17:50

Cosmo IME flight crew probably would have asked them to move.

madonnawhore Sun 24-Mar-13 21:29:06

Planes bring out the worst in people - especially me. I'm sure I've been a total asshole on flights before.

To be fair, if DP and I found ourselves with a spare seat on our row we'd think 'result!' especially because DP is 6'5" and all elbows and would probably have responded to OP in the same way blush.

riverboat Sun 24-Mar-13 21:36:41

Actually, if one of the couple had been particularly big/tall I may not have asked for the seat. But they weren't.

cumfy - it was partially a night flight, lights were turned off for about 2-3 hours out of the 9, I think. I don't think I look like a chatbox from hell, honestly don't speak loudly (have been told the opposite, that I speak too quietly) or laugh raucously or anything like that. We weren't constantly talking across the aisle, nor would we have been if he had moved, and we certainly wouldn't have been chatting away when people were sleeping. But then I know me, so it's easy to say that, obviously I don't know how I'd come across to others.

justmyview Sun 24-Mar-13 21:45:29

I don't think you had any more right to that seat than they did. If anything, if the extra seat was in their row, I'd say that gave them first dibs

I don't think it's that big a deal to spend an extra 9 hours with your DP, when you have the rest of your life to chat to him

sausagedogfan Sun 24-Mar-13 22:10:20

I'm actually a little bit on the fence about this. I used to hate being on flights and sat away from DH. So much so that I played a hissy fit when we were separated on a 3hr flight because we were late, even though I was being placed in business class as it was the last seat available!!!!!!!!!!

Now (or rather, pre-DC}, I don't really care. I've done lots of long haul flights alone, and as long as I have entertainment then I'm happy.

I got very grumpy on a flight a couple of years ago with DH and DS, then under two so with no allocated seat, and me heavily pg. We were allocated middle and window, and a woman was sat in the aisle seat. So we were pretty squashed. But there were LOADS of spare seats in the rows behind us (aisle seats, middle seats) so couldn't for the life of me work out why she didn't just move into one! It was even more galling that in quite a few of the rows behind us there was just one person sitting by the window, so they had two spare seats next to them. Of course I moved into one of the spares to give DH and DS more room, but what was the woman sitting next to us, and whoever allocated the seats, thinking?!

As lots of others have said, getting a spare seat on a flight is a JACKPOT and I'm not so sure I'd be willing to give that up.

nooka Sun 24-Mar-13 22:18:18

I wouldn't give up a spare seat for such a small move, nor would I ask. I would do a lot to move out of a middle seat, and if I had the prospect of either having the luxury of three seats for two (the extra seat isn't for coats etc it is to be able to stretch out a bit more) or of voluntarily having someone next to me, with all the potential for squashiness that entails then I'd be very very loath to do so.

But then I've flown a lot on my own so I don't really see that being one seat in front is any great hardship - you weren't together in any case with the aisle between you, and presumably you brought entertainment?

I've happily swopped for families or of course when asked by the flight attendant (no choice then!) but otherwise I'm afraid I would have done exactly what this couple did, and not felt very bad about it either.

PolkaDotCups Sun 24-Mar-13 22:23:34

Me and DH were flying 13 hours on a night flight. The flight really was quite empty with lots of four seat sections empty. We had a window and middle seat.

Right at the last minute somebody sat on the seat next to my DH. Nobody was in the three in front or the three behind us.

As soon as we took off, before the seatbelt sign was off the woman next to DH put in ear plugs, pulled on a sleep mask, put the tray down, popped a pillow in it and went to sleep. With her head on the tray.

Eventually my DH had to wake her so we could go to the loo and she was really annoyed! By then the plane was full of people spread out over multiple seats ... There were no blocks left. I spent a lot of those 13 hours stewing!

Why was it being selfish? Both of you wanted the seat. No one likes sitting in the middle seat anymore than they like being separated from the rest of the party.

TheRealFellatio Mon 25-Mar-13 09:03:51

Exactly Self.

DiscoDonkey Mon 25-Mar-13 09:14:37

They were selfish IMO. But flights seem to bring out the worst in people. I spent a flight seething because the single man sat next who was built like a Arnold swartznegger was offered a spare seat in first class if he wanted it but he declined! So I spent the flight in the middle seat pressed up against dh. Honestly the bloke was huge why? Why would you decline a first class seat? The stewardess did offer it to me but it seemed a tad mean to leave dh on his own in cattle class. See me? Considerate. Body builder? Knob.

DiscoDonkey Mon 25-Mar-13 09:18:56

Another time we on a flight and everyone was boarding the plane a lady sat on the aisle seat was already seated with her baby and had started to feed it and refused to move to let us sit down! "I will move when my baby finished feeding" even when the stewardess came along she was adamant she wasn't moving. The stewardess wasn't taking any shit though as it was going to hold up the flight and she did move eventually, but seriously wtf?!

samandi Mon 25-Mar-13 09:21:21

They were being rude and selfish. And actually you did have more right to it if you had requested (or wanted) seats next to each other. Selecting seats is so much more complicated these days. I tried with DP to select better seats for our flight, we checked in 48 hrs in advance as requested but there were apparently only two seats sitting together left! Work that one out.

riverboat Mon 25-Mar-13 11:09:29

Well I guess I thought they were selfish because sitting with your travelling companion/s is a reasonably normal expectation, seeing as airlines don't just randomly allocate people all over the place thinking no one will care.

Sitting in a middle seat, again normal expectation given that a good proportion of seats on any plane are middle seats.

Whereas having a spare seat next to you is a massive luxury. And they wanted their luxury over my reasonable expectation.

But I see from this thread that a lot of people see sitting with your companion as a luxury, rather than something they would expect by default or even particularly want. Which surprises me, but I absolutely agree that if you have that perspective, I am just as selfish as the couple in my post.

BarredfromhavingStella Mon 25-Mar-13 11:31:24

Why didn't the cabin crew tell them to stow the bags either in the overhead lockers or under the seats as is the requirement on any flight? hmm

MintyyAeroEgg Mon 25-Mar-13 11:33:29

riverboat - come on, you know people just like to be contrary Marys on here smile.

Welovegrapes Mon 25-Mar-13 11:41:30

Riverboat you sound lovely and I would have let you take the seat, as would any nice person.

tomverlaine Mon 25-Mar-13 11:49:29

YABU- if your DH had been moved then one of the couple would have had the middle seat crammed in which would have been horrible for nine hours. So their downside was worse than yours -

Katiepoes Mon 25-Mar-13 12:07:37

They were making the most of the space, I would have done the same. How is your comfort sitting next to your husband more important? I fly frequently for work and trust me, that extra space from having no neighbour is not something I'd hand over easily.

Katiepoes Mon 25-Mar-13 12:08:26

By the way Barred - stowing bags is only needed for takeoff and landing.

cumfy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:15:17

Whereas having a spare seat next to you is a massive luxury

YY. This is really my point (upthread) about maximising the "utility" or happiness of the 2 couples:

As it was they had a 10/10 flight you had a 5/10. Average 7.5
If riverboat's solution was adopted it would have been 7/10 them and 6/10 for you. Average 6.5

Indeed it's precisely the point that it's a massive luxury for them and only somewhat less inconvenient for you that makes their solution better.

Do you see that bigger picture ?

cumfy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:22:55

Put another way:

If you had a return 9 hr flight with a seating arrangement per leg would you prefer to have:

1. each half of the seating configuration, as happened
2. each half of the seating configuration, as you proposed

I would strongly prefer 1, and think most people would.

cumfy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:57:44

Hmmmm, well to be fair, I've thought about this even more hmmhmm....

What about the people in DH's row (was that "random woman" in a couple ?)

We really need to consider the utility of all 3 sets (couples?) of people.

Were it to be the case that DH's flight-companions were a couple (and I think from the description they were) then they would have had a 10/10 flight if DH had moved, and thus the total utility of all 3 "couples" would be maximised in riverboat's configuration.

So actually I have changed my mind to YANBU.blushgrin

riverboat Mon 25-Mar-13 14:13:48

lol comfy, I love your mathematical workings. Especially as they end up validating my stance wink

Yes, random lady next to DP and in front of offending couple, was part of a couple herself. Maybe this is why she saw fit to intervene and tell offending couple they were being selfish, she wanted DP to move thus getting that spare seat and 10/10 flight herself!

Yes that is my perspective OP. I don't expect to sit with my DH on a flight. I definitely prefer to do so, but then I also definitely prefer not to be wedged in the middle seat next to a stranger.

You are looking at it as them getting an extra seat whereas I'm looking at it as them getting to 'upgrade' their yucky middle seat to an aisle and gaining an extra seat in the process.

Either way you were both looking to gain a seat that neither of you were entitled to but hoping for and they were there first. You shouldn't have assumed you could move there without asking them first anyway at which point they probably would have told you that they were planning to switch seats as soon as the doors closed.

Oh and if you were really put out you could have insisted on having their extra seat in the middle and I'm guessing they still would rather upgrade their middle seat. I've sat in the window with one of my family members sitting in the aisle with a stranger sat between us and we've declined swapping because we wanted aisle and window and sat there deliberately.

riverboat Mon 25-Mar-13 14:36:41

Technically we were on the plane first, way before they got on. I would also be highly surprised if they checked in before us, since we were in the front 10% of the queue. But I take your point that they moved physically into the free seat first. We were going to wait til after take off.

I'd love to have seen their reaction to me taking their middle seat. Somehow I doubt they would have accepted that.

What about all the other people in middle seats on the plane, most of whom will have had a stranger on one side?

I'm surprised this thread has got so far - I think every angle of analysis has been covered, and there still seems to be roughly a 50-50 YABU/YANBU divide. Looks like stalemate to me...

knittingirl Mon 25-Mar-13 15:24:35

So the other couple ended up with an extra seat which they hadn't paid for, whereas your dh would have taken the empty seat and vacated his, thus only taking the seat he had paid for. From that point of view, they were being selfish and didn't have any "right" to lay claim to the seat.

OTOH, I don't think it's worth getting your knickers in a twist about smile

CandyCrushed Mon 25-Mar-13 16:14:40

I like to sit next to my partner/kids when I fly and I always make sure this happens by not using economy airlines and making sure I can always book my seat ahead of time. I also use SeatGuru.

I still think YABU. I bet you could have prebooked your seats if you had wanted. You chose not to prebook therefore I think you shouldn't be annoyed that you didn't get the seats you wanted.

woozlebear Mon 25-Mar-13 16:16:10

How does anyone have any greater claim to a spare seat than anyone else?

The coincidental timing you describe makes them seem a bit childish, but otoh you sound a bit childish too, tbh, to get so wound up about it.

I don't think I'd be able to outright refuse someone who asked of their DP took a seat next to me, otoh the way you describe the effort you and your DP were going to to talk to each other accross aisles/rows, maybe they were worried if he sat next to them he'd be gabbing away for 9 hours?

All's fair in love, war and long haul flights smile

MrsKoala Mon 25-Mar-13 16:27:18

hhmmm i must say i would have done exactly what the couple did. I have really bad knees (numerous surgeries, metal pins etc) and we always try to get 3 seats with one between, if possible, so i can sit diagonally. I would say me not being in agony and wincing for 9 hours trumps peoples need to have a chat.

I have also developed neighbour repelling tactics. I sit down and immediately get out egg sandwiches and eat them with my mouth open while smiling madly at people as they survey for seating. It ensures i am always the last person to be sat next to grin

shewhowines Mon 25-Mar-13 16:32:58

You have the moral high ground here I think. Your need was greater than theirs. The random woman thought so too.

At least you can rest easy on the fact that loads of the surrounding people occupied themselves for 9 hours, thinking how selfish these people were, too.

I think it is unreasonable not to move a child onto your knee to let an adult sit down. It's even more U to give your bags a priority over people.

There are some very selfish people in this world.

MrsKoala Mon 25-Mar-13 16:41:17

But Shew they didn't give their bags priority, her DH already had a seat, just one row along. They gave their comfort priority over the couple chatting. they just put their stuff on the seat to mark it as unavailable - i presume it was their arms and legs which received the benefit of the extra seat, not their bags. I would also not move my child who had a seat onto my lap so someone who already had a seat could have a chat.

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