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If you have not reserved seats on a train can you reasonably expect other passengers to stand to accomodate you and your DC?

(156 Posts)
Upwind Wed 03-Sep-08 10:39:24

I went on a long train journey on Friday afternoon & had reserved a seat. When I had lugged my bags up the length of the very long train to get to it, I found a sleeping toddler in my seat. Her mother asked me to sit elsewhere and she made the same request of the men who had booked the seat she and her DS were in. The men she had ousted stood in the corridor.

There were no seats available at rush hour that were not booked for most of my journey, and I moved twice in an effort to accomodate the family. When my ticket was inspected I was told I would have to move to my allocated seat if another passenger claimed theirs and I heard the guard clearly explaining to the mother that she would have to move if the people who booked her seat requested them. At Newcastle, the seat I was in was again claimed and now there seemed to be no other seats left. Being pregnant and tired, I did not feel able to stand and so asked the woman to move. She was aggressive and confrontational about it and I wound up loudly stating that were I not pregnant, I would stand but had booked a seat because I needed it. She vacated the seat angrily, scattering shitty wipes on the seat as she left.

So - was I being unreasonable to ask her to move? It would certainly have been easier for an obviously pregnant woman, travelling alone, to find a seat somewhere on the crowded train. But I could not face carrying my bags down the train again and was feeling paranoid about bashing my bump!

Was she being unreasonable in expecting other people to accomodate her on a Friday evening given that she had not reserved seats for her DC? The train guard said as much when she asked that he sort seats out for her. I think that had she been polite she would have been perfectly reasonable to try it on. Had she seemed in any way grateful I suspect I would have tried a bit harder to find a seat (e.g. by actually looking in the next carriage).

Or were the other passengers surrounding this being unreasonable in not offering their seats to resolve the situation?

suey2 Wed 03-Sep-08 10:42:51

she was BU. And shirty with it!

MarmadukeScarlet Wed 03-Sep-08 10:43:01

You had booked the seat, it was yours.

Why couldn't the sleeping toddler go on her lap?

FluffyMummy123 Wed 03-Sep-08 10:43:47

Message withdrawn

differentID Wed 03-Sep-08 10:45:04

People are generally too scared to say anything any more in case they get assaulted. Oh, and she was bvu

Upwind Wed 03-Sep-08 10:45:29

I considered suggesting sleeping-toddler-on-lap but decided that might seem patronising & she'd probably thought of it!

Ceolas Wed 03-Sep-08 10:47:03

She was definitely bu. shock that she had the nerve. I never would have.

But after that, I don't know. You didn't stand your ground over your booked seat. So why should other passengers have to give up their booked seats to accommodate you?

Or maybe it's society bu that we can't amicably look out for each other... hmm

platypussy Wed 03-Sep-08 10:49:27

YANBU - I would have had her shifted by the guard immediately kids or no kids.

platypussy Wed 03-Sep-08 10:51:29

Also what Ceolas said - you should have stood your ground in the beginning.

Ronaldinhio Wed 03-Sep-08 10:51:47

She was bu.
To be fair though she might not have known that all the seats were going to be allocated before starting her arduous journey with the squiddlies as they don't inform you.
Why do they allow people to book train tickets when they know that the train is full and they will have to stand for hours?
You can sit in First if the train is full and you're pregnant...for future reference.

nervousal Wed 03-Sep-08 10:52:18

She IBU - she should have booked seats herself - thats the whole point.

Ronaldinhio Wed 03-Sep-08 10:53:23

I'm thinking of trying it still as post baby belly is still convincing!

zippitippitoes Wed 03-Sep-08 10:55:27

i would have told her to move at the outset

i cant imagine doing anything else

it wouldnt have occurred to me to do anything else

you are extremely nice

poppy34 Wed 03-Sep-08 10:55:41

yanbu - and I would have thought its a fair bet on a friday that train would fill up (that line is usually pretty busy if its the east coast intercity one)..

wannaBe Wed 03-Sep-08 10:56:12

I'd have told her to move. And if she'd refused I would have gone and got the train manager to tell her to move. Having a toddler does not excuse her behavior. You'd reserved the seat, therefore it is yours, and what happens to her child is her problem, not yours.

But I'll tell you a funny story...

One day I got on a train from Cardiff to Swindon. I inadvertently sat down in a seat that had been reserved. At Newport a woman got on whose seat it obviously was, but instead of asking me if I would move (I wouldn't have hesitated in doing so), she stormed off in a huff and complained to the train manager. He came back with her and said to me that the seat was reserved. I apologised and got up, at which point he said "there you are Madam, you can have your seat now, I'll take this lady to sit in first class." grin so she got her seat and I got free coffee and biscuits. grin.

lingle Wed 03-Sep-08 10:56:20

The Other Passengers were being unreasonable. She was in an awful position and so were you. Many other people could have solved the problem.

I was in her position on a cross-country 8 hours journey with two kids under 5. Absolutely awful. I'd reserved my own seat but they were too small for tickets and therefore too small for reservations (I now know the solution is a family railcard).

DS1 sat, I stook holding DS2. The teenagers oppositive eventually said, "we can't bear it, please have our seats" much to the annoyance of their mother (strange - I'd have been proud). Anyway, I got DS1 to write a thank you note to them and passed it to the mother which mollified her. Then I told the guard, who promptly put the teenagers into first class. COOL GUARD.

3kids1cat Wed 03-Sep-08 10:56:28

I have often had to stand with 3 young dc's because we were making an unexpected journey. I would never expect anyone to give up a pre-booked seat for us, and wouldn't ever let a pregnant woman stand so I could stay in a seat. She was BVU imo. You shouldn't feel bad for having the foresight to book a seat.

PrimulaVeris Wed 03-Sep-08 10:58:18

You stood all that way whilst pregnant? shock

She was totally BU, but you should have stood ground at the beginning

lingle Wed 03-Sep-08 10:58:30

Aha, maybe it was the same guard wannabe. He should be on every train rewarding small acts of unnecessary kindness.

Upwind Wed 03-Sep-08 10:58:37

When I got on I was feeling really exhausted from lugging bags and not up to arguing. There were also a few vacant seats at that time but all were booked from Newcastle onwards. It just seemed easier to sit down. It was only when it came to a choice between standing and confrontation that I stood up to her. The guard had told her that everyone should expect crowded trains on a Friday afternoon & so should pre book if they needed seats.

If I had thought they would let me sit in first class I might have tried that, but suspect I would have been directed back to my allocated seat!

It was interesting, because it made me wonder how much I could expect random strangers to put themselves out to accomodate ME when this baby arrives grin

ChairmumMiaow Wed 03-Sep-08 10:58:51

YANBU. Fair enough if they have a tiny baby, especially if they need to feed them.

I've had people stand up on the train rather than take the seat I needed for DS's feet/head while he fed, but I guess if someone had asked for the seat I would have explained that they might just get a good flash of boob or kicked by a feeding baby, but they were welcome to it. I was grateful nobody asked though.

I think its all in the attitude. Asking politely generally gets a much better reaction than expecting something as your right. If you had described her as struggling but being polite etc, then I would have said some of the middle aged fit and healthy commuters should have moved to accomodate them! However, anyone who gets on a rush hour train without a booked seat and expects one is somewhat potty, or has never been on a train!

Overmydeadbody Wed 03-Sep-08 10:59:06


The whole point of booking a seat is so that you get to sit down, regardless of who else is on the trian.

She could have booked a seat. If she didn't it's her problem.

DS and I have stood up numerous times for long journeys because I haven't reserved a seat, I wouldn't dream of sitting in a reserved place and not moving shock

Children can stand, or sit on the floor, or be carried. They don't have to sit down.

fanjolina Wed 03-Sep-08 11:00:42

I think you were more than accommodating enough. You had the foresight to book the seats, and as a pregnant woman you needed it.

She was being unreasonable.

Overmydeadbody Wed 03-Sep-08 11:02:14

If the seats wheren't actually booked, it would be nice if a fit healthy man offered his seat to DS once in a while, but it's not something I would expect.

Upwind Wed 03-Sep-08 11:02:25

Lingle - maybe she was in exactly that situation, her DS looked about 4 so perhaps was too small for reservations?

If that is the case, it is an utterly ridiculous policy!

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