Woman Praised for Refusing to Switch Plane Seats With 'Rude' Mom and Child

A passenger has been praised online after refusing to swap seats twice on a 10-hour flight.

In a viral Reddit post on the site's popular r/AmITheA**hole forum, user tresspassingchickens shared the story, which now has nearly 10,000 upvotes and hundreds of comments.

In the story, the woman explained: "I am 6'5" and have damaged knees from soccer, so legroom and the ability to get up and walk frequently is a must. I booked an aisle seat in economy plus for the above reasons. Normally I try and get bulkhead seats or business class if reasonable, but this was a last-minute flight for a death in the family."

The other two passengers in this row of three were a woman and her toddler, and the Redditor recalled that the toddler was screaming in the waiting area—and continued to do so once in the middle seat.

"I have very sensitive hearing due to ruptured eardrums," said the poster. "So I put in noise-canceling earphones but those can only do so much when the source of the sound is less than a foot away. A flight attendant took notice and asked me for my drink order prior to takeoff, which I guess shows how visibly uncomfortable I was."

To add to the ordeal, during the flight the passenger in front reclined their seat and by the time they reached cruising altitude, the poster said her knees were starting to burn so she decided to go for a walk.

"When I came back the woman asked me if I would switch to the window seat," she said. "I said no and explained I'd be getting up repeatedly throughout the flight and didn't want to have to climb over them. The flight was overnight, so I'd be waking them up as well."

On her next walk, the passenger was met with the flight attendant who said there was space in business class and asked if she would like to move up. But as they were close enough to the seat, the woman with the toddler overheard and asked if they could be upgraded instead.

"The flight attendant just shrugged but I said I'd take it," explained the poster. "It was an aisle seat and the middle was empty, so the two of them could have taken it too. I couldn't refuse the chance to get a bit of sleep."

After the flight and while waiting in customs, the Redditor overheard the woman from the flight talking about her: "She called me a p**** and kept raising her voice to make comments about me to her son like 'that mean lady wouldn't let you have nice seats,' I don't know why it was offered to me first, but AITA?"

But Reddit users overwhelmingly sided with the poster, saying that she was not in the wrong for refusing to swap seats.

"NTA," said one comment. "Who overhears someone getting an upgrade and pipes up requesting they get it instead?"

Another commenter wrote: "Sad to say but some parents think the fact they have kids entitles them to all kinds of special treatment. A smile, patience, extra lollipop sure... but first-class upgrade over a 6'5" adult? No."

Travel advice site Only Wanderlust surveyed more than 1,500 airline passengers and asked what annoys them most about other passengers on their journey. Top of the list with 9 percent of those surveyed ranking the number one annoyance was someone kicking your seat from behind. While crying babies or children ranked number six on the list of airplane annoyances.

"You were offered the seat first, I don't see the problem here," wrote one commenter on the viral post. The poster replied: "Just feeling weird about it, it's not every day I get called a p**** in front of hundreds of people at an international airport, haha."

Tresspassingchickens told Newsweek: "I do feel better after the responses. I probably wouldn't change anything since I don't think any of it could be avoided really. Some people said I should've contradicted her in the customs hall, but I don't think confrontation would've helped anything."

"It sounds like you were stuck next to an incredibly rude and tiresome woman," wrote another Redditor. "If I were you, I'd enjoy that fact that she pointlessly made herself miserable for hours on end."

Interior of a commercial airplane
File photo of the interior of a commercial airplane with passengers in their seats. The internet has sided with a passenger who refused to give up her seat twice for a "rude" mom and her child. ViktorCap/Getty Images

UPDATE 04/22/2022 at 3:04 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from the Reddit poster.