Man Backed for Refusing To Give Up Airplane Seat for New Mother With Baby

A man was backed for refusing to change seats when a new mother asked him to swap with her husband so he could help take care of their baby.

Posting to the r/AmITheA**hole Reddit forum—stylized AITA—u/Bratster22 asked if they were in the wrong for not switching seats. He earned nearly 6,000 upvotes for the post, "[Am I the A**hole] for not giving up my seat on the airplane?" and over 800 comments.

He says that he and his wife had booked tickets on a 10-hour flight well in advance, including picking out the specific seats they wanted. Both he and his wife are tall, he says, and so they booked two seats in the first row of their section. The seats cost extra, due to the extra legroom they provided for the long flight.

When they boarded, however, their seatmate was already seated—a woman holding a baby.

"This woman, before I even had a chance to put my bag in the overhead compartment, asked me 'Can I be really cheeky and ask you to switch seats with my husband?'" u/Bratster22 wrote.

Her husband was sat in the row behind, which did not have the extra legroom that u/Bratster22 had paid for. He cited this as his reason for declining her request. He said she said she'd also paid the fee, and despite this, her husband was still sat in the tighter seat—but u/Bratster22 still refused. A flight attendant was called over and again he was asked to swap seats, and again, he declined, pointing out that he and his wife had paid extra.

"She then threw daggers at me for some time. The baby started crying after a while as well," he wrote.

After a bit, the attendant came back to report that there were extra front-row seats in another section, and u/Bratster22 and his wife could be seated there, giving them the extra legroom they paid for, plus allowing the mother's husband to help with the baby. Though this solution was fine with u/Bratster22, and he and his wife agreed to the swap, he said that he could still "hear this lady animatedly make comments about us to her husband from behind for sometime after that."

While his wife's parents thought u/Bratster22 should have just given up the seat since there was a baby involved, his wife agrees that "her poor planning is not our problem," and that if there were no other front-row seats, he would have been justified in staying. He turned to the subreddit to settle things once and for all.

baby plane airplane seat legroom travel aita
In a Reddit post, a man is being backed for refusing to give up the extra legroom he'd paid for so a father could sit next to a new mother and her baby. Dmitrii Guldin/Getty

Whether or not to change seats is a frequent problem with air travelers. Seats continually get smaller, with legroom shrinking from 35 inches in 1978 to as low as 28 inches, according to FlyersRights.org, while the number of passengers on each flight goes up, from 77 percent in 2005 to 89 percent in 2019.

Similarly, there have also been many AITA posts about seating etiquette. Often these posts are on the side of the person refusing to give up the seat. For example, one woman who bought an extra plane seat so she could be more comfortable was supported for refusing to give the extra seat up for a man who wanted to sit near his girlfriend.

Another woman, who is 6'5" and has knee injuries, was backed for accepting an upgrade after a woman and her child repeatedly asked her to take a cramped window seat. And a couple was also defended after refusing to give up a seat for a child who was afraid of flying.

As in those cases, u/Bratster22 was backed for holding firm.

"Why didn't she offer the extra leg room seat to whoever was sitting next to her husband?" u/pmang76 asked in the top-rated comment with over 9,000 upvotes.

"Mommies always demand you give them your seat, even if you paid extra and booked ages in advance. This happens to me regularly when I fly and I am so sick of it. Good on OP for saying no to the untrammeled tyranny of mommies. I realize this is an unpopular opinion (and I love both mommies and babies, but not this) [Not the A**hole]," u/sculptural_candle wrote.

"[Not the A**hole] - Those parents shouldn't take out their lack of planning on you. I wouldn't blame them for asking, but the response from them was inappropriate," u/WellingtonGreenIII wrote.

"[Not the A**hole]. Having a baby doesn't automatically entitle you to whatever you want, especially because booking is in advance and they had ample time to do the same amount of planning as you. They tried to spring it on you on the plane hoping to get away with it," u/KiraSelene wrote.

"[Not the A**hole]and that's coming from someone with 4 small kids. You shouldn't be expected to cater to her needs just coz she has a baby. If she didn't plan her trip properly that's her problem!" u/Nevali4 wrote.

Newsweek reached out to u/Bratster22 for comment.