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Redditor Called Out For Not Giving Tall Brother Free First Class Upgrade On Long Flight To Hawaii

Tall man cramped in airplane seating
NORRIE3699/Getty Images

Let’s face it: some people in the world refuse to be happy about good results or perks unless they are the ones receiving them.

Unfortunately, this seems to be increasingly common among adult siblings who try to outshine and outearn their family members, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Abbyissostupid traveled frequently for work and worked a lot, so when it was time to go on a trip with their family, it wasn’t that surprising that they received an upgrade offer for a first-class seat.

But when their family spent the rest of the trip shaming them for not giving the seat to their brother instead, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was more important to have a fun trip than to play comparison games with their siblings.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not letting my six-foot-six tall brother have the free first-class upgrade seat the airline gave me on our 12-hour flight?”

The OP was excited to celebrate their father’s hard work and retirement.

“We are at the beginning of my dad’s retirement family trip.”

“He is paying for all of us to meet as a family in Hawaii for a week since he is retiring after working at the same company for 42 years. There are six of us, but my brother and I live in the same part of the country.”

“I guess it’s relevant to say I am five-foot-one and my brother is six-foot-six.”

The OP received work benefits while traveling with their family.

“I fly all the time for work and have quite a bit of status with the airline for which my dad bought our tickets.”

“Earlier today, we were all boarded and ready to go when a flight attendant came up to me and whispered that they had a first-class passenger not show up and they needed the coach seat to accommodate a standby passenger.”

“She said I had by far the most status of anyone on the plane so they were willing to move me to first class for free.”

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah,’ and I took it in a heartbeat. I told my brother I’d see him in 12 hours and to let me know if he wanted any food or drinks, and I grabbed my stuff and moved.”

“Needless to say, I had a nice flight.”

The OP’s brother didn’t appreciate the ticket upgrade one bit.

“When we landed and were waiting for our shuttle, my brother was so pissy but wouldn’t tell me what was going on. He didn’t speak to me the whole shuttle ride.”

“We had a nice hello with the rest of the family, but after I got down from my shower, my mom took me aside and said what I did ‘was awful.'”

“I asked her what she was talking about, and she said that I should have given my brother the seat.”

The OP wasn’t so excited about the vacation anymore.

“I thought that would be the end of it, but all five of my siblings and my parents are upset with me, and the vacation is off to a very rough start.”

“I was trying to play with my niece and nephew in the lobby while waiting for brunch, and my sister said, ‘No, they only like to play with people who give a sh*t about their family. What were you thinking?'”

“I asked her if this was about the first-class thing, and she said, ‘What do you think it’s about?'”

“I said that he never asked me to switch with him, and she said, ‘An a**hole makes people beg, family members don’t.'”

“I’ve been by myself since brunch and not having much fun.”


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 pointed out that it probably wasn’t an option for the OP to “share” anyway.

“OP! Tell them that it wasn’t even an option for him to move to first class. If you had declined, they would have moved the next person on the list, not your brother.” – Nekawaii19

“I had something similar happen to me years ago on Air Canada. It was a Vancouver to Toronto red eye. I was flying with my adult daughter and got tagged for an upgrade.”

“I asked about letting her fly up front instead and was told the seat is only available to the status holder. I was exhausted from a week working away so I took it.”

“No one shamed me for it. NTA. Your brother was getting a free vacation and being jealous of your status was rude. And ill-informed.”

“Too many people think the life of a road warrior is all peaches and cream. It isn’t.” – BetAlternative8397

“Traveling frequently for work is exhausting and is difficult on your personal life. Those reward points and status perks are hard earned and should be enjoyed.” – DrStrangepants

“If he wants the upgrade, HE can spend thousands of dollars and countless hours flying or get a travel credit card and start earning points like the rest of us.”

“My sibling is a huge travel nerd, so he has several ways of earning points, and he is often willing to share them with us. But when he only has enough for one upgrade, obviously, he gets it. I would never be mad about that, what the f**k, OP’s brother?” – lotteoddities

“OP, you need to send a group text, ‘I was offered an upgrade in my seat because of my status with the airline. If I had turned it down, they would have gone down their list. The seat would not have gone to my brother. But if you guys are going to hold onto this all trip and make me feel unwanted and unloved, please let me know now so I can just avoid all of you and enjoy a vacation by myself.'”

“Then, OP, follow their lead. If they have jerky responses, say, ‘Got it.’ Do the rest of the trip by yourself. If they walk into a room, leave. Have your meals at different times and different places from them. Sign up to do fun things. Don’t just be treated badly.” – crystallz2000

Others didn’t like the entitlement and victim mentality expressed by the OP’s family.

“If it was important to him he should have paid for an upgraded seat instead of whining like he’s some sort of victim.”

“My husband traveled for work internationally, frequently, for years. He was a member of several ‘red carpet’ like clubs. He got offered upgrades all the time to reward loyalty. When we traveled together, that loyalty was not transferable unless he covered my travel on his airline cards.”

“Tell your family to get over it as your brother wouldn’t have been next in line to get the upgrade.”

“NTA. I hate victim mentality.” – Alert-Cranberry-5972

“Not to mention, the brother tried to claim some sort of moral superiority by not ‘asking’ for the seat, but then he turns around and has no problem complaining and turning the whole family against the OP? That’s definitely worse. Your family has some interesting priorities, OP. NTA.” – Suzibrooke

“My uncle is six-foot-eleven. He started paying for the upgrade because buying two seats wasn’t a guarantee he would end up with two seats when he tried to sit in coach when he and my aunt (six-foot-one) were just starting out.”

“OP’s brother didn’t just get to be six-foot-six overnight. He’s had plenty of time to adjust to how he fits in the world. He wasn’t uncomfortable with the situation until he realized his sibling got something he didn’t.”

“And the rest of the family needs to stop encouraging his childish behavior.” – Elenakalis

“The family is saying OP should have given the seat to the brother because that’s what family does… Then how about the entitled brother as well as the rest of them AHs show some love and happiness for OP since they are family and they got to have a first-class seat because of all the hard work they do?” – ZameenPeAasma

“One time, I flew to Japan with my family. My parents booked their flights and my sibling’s, and I booked mine. They all got bumped to first class while I sat alone in economy. They even did a dance when they were leaving me behind!”

“Life is way too short to get butthurt about what seats you get.”

“Flying to a vacation is an incredible privilege that the vast majority of people in the world will never experience. Boohoo!” – SalamanderCrazy1871

After receiving feedback, the OP felt validated.

“Wow, this totally blew up. Thank you for commenting, everyone. I only saw my family for a little bit yesterday, and they were still mad at me to varying degrees.”

“I have a really good friend who lives here in the military, so she hung out with me instead, and we met some really fun and cute guys at a dive bar. So my vacation will be great no matter what.”

“But reading your comments really gave me to confidence not to give a crap (or try not to, at least!) about what happened and still enjoy my trip, so thank you.”

The subReddit couldn’t help but shake their heads at this situation and what the OP’s family chose to fixate on during (checks notes) their luxury family vacation to celebrate a successful retirement.

Because the OP was working hard, clearly following in their father’s footsteps, and being rewarded for it by receiving upgrades, it seems like the family should be happy for the success continuing rather than complaining about who is more deserving.

Here’s to hoping the OP made many fun new memories on the trip, with or without their family’s help.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.