Those of us who have traveled by plane before have at least one interesting story to tell.
Unfortunately, many of those stories involve a loud passenger or a haphazard seating arrangement.
In fact, one seating request had quite a few people confused on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Grom92708 found himself not wanting to get into the middle of it.
But when more people had to get involved to solve the problem, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he had done the wrong thing.
He asked the sub:
“AITA [for refusing] to switch my assigned seat for a woman’s religious beliefs?”
The OP was recently asked to switch seats on a plane.
“I am heading to summer lacrosse camp, and once we were seated, a woman asked me to change seats.”
“She explained that in her religion, it was taboo to sit next to two males, due to possible ‘sexual issues’.”
“I advised her that I was gay and did not have any sexual interest in women.”
The woman did not appreciate the OP’s reply.
“The lady then went to the flight attendant (FA) and told them her religious convictions and my comment.”
“The FA looked at her and said there was nothing they could do.”
The OP later wondered if he was in the wrong.
“The portly gentleman next to her said he had a bladder issue.”
“Another gentleman in the aisle finally agreed to switch.”
“AITA for refusing to switch?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP had the right to the seat and didn’t need to move.
“NTA. You don’t follow her religion. It’s your choice whether you want to switch or not.”
“It was her choice to buy an airline ticket not knowing who might be seated on either side of her. If she was that concerned about it, she should have made better plans beforehand.” – pallas_athenaa
“There are religions that prohibit men and women from sitting next to, or generally mingling with, each other if not married or related. It’s been an issue on flights from and to certain areas.”
“This doesn’t sound like one of those situations. She can sit by one man, but not between two? She brought up your comment about being gay, with the flight attendant? Sounds like any reason to get out of the middle seat.” – Basic-Neighborhood10
“NTA but this is definitely a thing for Ultra-Orthodox Jews.”
“However, it’s most certainly not OP’s responsibility to accommodate her beliefs.”
“She was aware of the problem with sitting in the middle seat ahead of time, and even from the perspective of Jewish law, it’s 100% the responsibility of the individual to avoid situations they know might compromise their faith.” – cantankerousgnat
“I’ve moved twice on planes for this reason. I’ve decided I’ll never do it again. I don’t think I’ve ever received a thank you for going out of my way and frankly, I always end up in a s**ttier situation seat-wise.”
“I tend to travel alone (so it’s easier to move me about a cabin) but it’s not my problem to solve.” – ClassicEvent6
A few were also offended on the OP’s behalf.
“There are times when accommodating someone’s demand becomes unreasonable. This is one of those times, and I find it offensive that they automatically assume all men are lusty animals.” – Master-Manipulation
“NTA, if potentially sitting next to two men bothers her so much, she should have bought 2 seats tbh (to be honest). Don’t take a plane if you’re going to complain about sitting next to people.” – JessDoesntMess
Others of a similar religious background confirmed the woman needed to plan ahead.
“My religion doesn’t allow me to sit or touch men who aren’t my father, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers except for things like if your doctor was a man, etc. However, there are situations where that is not possible like being on a plane.”
“I travel a lot bc (because) I’m a foreign student and I go back and forth a lot during the holidays. It’s a gamble when traveling that you won’t know the gender of the person sitting beside you and she should know that she would need to just deal with it for the few hours that she is on the plane.”
“I know how she feels since she would be stuck between two men and she would feel trapped, I know that feeling since I felt it when I started to travel alone.”
“That feeling happens bc we grew up learning that boys and girls are separate and it’s a taboo for a girl to touch boys. Bc of that it leads to anxiety when put in a situation like that.”
“Is it f**ked up? Yes. Are there ways to deal with it? Also yes. But we can’t blame her for how her culture and her religion taught her.”
“My solution for this problem? Booking the Isle seat so that whenever I feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed, I would be able to get out of my seat and take a breather in the back. She is allowed to ask if she can change seats. But if you say no then she has to deal with it.” – BornTheme3419
“I see it this way: I’m a wheelchair user so I know if I’m flying, I have to triple-check the airline knows, or I’ll be left expected to climb a huge flight of steps.”
“When you have a chronic illness/disability, it’s drummed into your head that you ring ahead.”
“If your religion also requires special accommodation, I don’t know what stopped a lot of these people from planning ahead.” – h*efort0es
“NTA. As a religious person, I expect to accommodate myself to the world, not the other way around.”
“No kosher food? I bring my own. Job requires Saturday work? I don’t apply. Can’t get into the club without bowing to a statue of Molech? I’ll go home and play Scrabble.” – Big_Metal2470
While most of the subReddit could appreciate that the woman had religious beliefs to observe, they could also appreciate the OP’s seating preferences.
This is one of those instances where a person should always plan ahead if they have specific needs, whether physical or religious or otherwise.