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WIBU re: couple hogging spare seat on plane

(129 Posts)
eslteacher 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:


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?

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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