Plus-Sized Passenger Calls Out Teen For Publicly Embarrassing Her By Switching Seat Mid-Flight

People on airplane
Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

Airplanes seem to be increasingly uncomfortable.

Now passengers have to pay premium prices to get reasonable seats in “premium plus” or “economy plus” cabins.

Redditor throwawayonaplane recently had an uncomfortable flight when they found themselves seated between two plus-sized passengers.

The Original Poster (OP) turned to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) when their attempt to handle the situation turned awry.

She asked:

“AITA for embarrassing a plus sized passenger on a flight?”

She went on to explain.

“I [19-year-old female] just got off a flight from Las Vegas to New York. My assigned seat was a middle seat, and both people next to me were plus sized.”

“I wouldn’t have any problem with this in any other situation, but plane seats are terribly small and neither of my neighbors were able to fit comfortably into their seats.”

“On either side of me, my seat neighbor’s shoulder was on top of mine and their thigh was on top of mine as well.”

“It was a pretty long flight and was kind of uncomfortable, so about an hour and a half through, I walked up to the flight attendant and explained the situation as privately and gently as I could, and I asked if there were any other seats available.”

“She managed to find a seat a few rows behind mine that I could sit in.”

“Getting my bag from under the seat in front of me and moving was pretty awkward, but the rest of the flight went fine.”

“After I got off, though, the woman I was previously sitting next to was waiting for me.”

“She essentially told me that I had embarrassed her and the other man and that traveling while plus-sized is hard enough without ‘people treating fatness like a contagious disease’.”

“She also said that I made it a public demonstration to everyone that plus sized passengers are an “inconvenience” and opened the door to fatphobia on flights.”

“I really didn’t mean for it to come across that way, but I can understand how it did and everyone on the flight saw me move, so now I’m wondering whether I should have just stuck it out, it’s wasn’t like I was being suffocated or anything.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:


“You did not make a “public demonstration” nor contribute to fatphobia in any way. You weren’t comfortable, and you discretely asked for another seat. She’s an AH for saying that drivel.”

“The biggest AH is airlines for making seats smaller for the past 20+ years. It sucks now compared to when I flew in the 90s.”

“Edit: Yes, airline seats are narrower.”

“‘In 1985 none of the main four US carriers offered a seat less than 19 inches wide.’”

“‘Since the beginning of the twenty-first century until 2018 average seat width decreased from 18.5 to 17 inches, and sometimes as low as 16.1 inches.[3]’”

“Source: Rosie Spinks 18 December 2019 (10 July 2018). “Airline seats are getting narrower—and passengers don’t like it”. Quartz.” – KronkLaSworda

“NTA. Her anger is misdirected.”

“She can go ahead and be mad at the airlines for not accommodating people of her size, but it’s a perfectly normal human response not to want to be touching someone you don’t know and to take steps to make that not happen.” – that_was_way_harsh

“NTA, and I’m fat.”

“The best answer would have been to say ‘These seats/airlines are really fat phobic and designed to make us uncomfortable, so I figured if there was a way to give you more space, it was the kinder thing to do.’”

“But also, don’t stress this.” – tulleoftheman

“NTA. I’m not plus-sized, I’m fat.”

“So maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for plus-sized people, but speaking as a fat person, if you were sitting next to me, I would be very happy that a solution was found that made everyone more comfortable.”

“I’m very aware of when my fatness is invading another person’s space, and I am more embarrassed by that.”

“You talked to the attendant quietly. It’s not like you stood up and started shouting and calling them pigs or anything like that.”

“What you did was find a solution that allowed everyone to sit comfortably and maintain dignity. Again, NTA” – BlueRFR3100

“America makes larger everything now. I’m a nurse, and we have bariatric beds, chairs, wheelchairs.”

“Car manufacturers are now mostly marking SUVs and vans for the sole purpose of more space for our “growing” population.”

“The only industry that hasn’t caught up with this is the airline industry. It get it. They can’t maximize profits with larger seats. You can only make planes so big.”

“Neither of these things is your problem, though. Plane tickets are expensive, and they’re not getting cheaper.”

“You paid for your ticket, as did they.”

“That doesn’t entitle them to whine when the size of their bodies interferes with your comfort, and you request to move because they’re invading your space, however unintentionally.”

“You didn’t fat shame anyone, and the woman’s own issues with her body type were being projected onto you. That’s not your problem either. It’s hers.” – Background_Ruin_3631

“I am sure everybody was more comfortable with you moving and making that middle seat empty.”

“It sounds like you were as discrete as anybody could be. You should have said, “I moved and gave you more room. You are welcome”. And walked away.”

“NTA those seats are terribly small.” – YouthNAsia63

“F*cking absurd. How clueless & self-absorbed can a person be?”

“She is pissy that you sought other seating arrangements bc her body was literally spilling into your seat and resting on top of you. What bullsh*t.”

“You did the right thing by moving. You bought a seat on a flight, and she doesn’t get to invade your area. NTA” – BeeYehWoo

“This wasn’t you fat shaming. This was you looking for comfort.”

“Her feeling uncomfortable was her problem, not yours. You didn’t publicly shame her. You handled the situation extremely well.”

“NTA” – anaisaknits

“NTA at all. You gave it a try. It did not work out, you moved. That woman who confronted you had a chip on her shoulder and is an AH.”

“As for others witnessing what happened, NO ONE WILL CARE/REMEMBER.” – [deleted]

“‘She essentially told me that I had embarrassed her and the other man and that traveling while plus-sized is hard enough without “people treating fatness like a contagious disease”.’”

“So you moved without telling these people they are flat out obese and you’re uncomfortable, and the woman flipped out and said you’re embarrassing her by saying to you she’s plus sized and you’re treating people with fatness like it’s a disease?”

“She’s the one who is embarrassing herself by calling her and the man flat-out fat. All you did was get up and move for comfort not only to yourself but to them as well.”

“NTA. You didn’t call them fat. You didn’t insinuate they are fat, all you did was get up and move.” – ibe404error


“You’re not treating fatness as a contagion.”

“Fat people on an airplane are indeed an inconvenience when their fat impinges on your seat. The problem here was that your neighbor’s body didn’t fit within the confines of her own seat.”

“I’d have thought that it would have been uncomfortable for your neighbor to have to be pressed up against you, and your neighbor would also have been better off after you moved to another seat.” – _mmiggs_

“NTA – I’m a plus-sized person, and I wouldn’t have been offended. Why should I make it uncomfortable for other people when there are other seats.”

“That person has their own issues” – Fluffy-Environment38


“You were discrete when moving.”

“She needs to understand her size causes issues for other people, and they shouldn’t be forced to endure uncomfortable situations because of ‘not hurting her feelings’.”

“You did nothing wrong. You said nothing to them and didn’t announce your move to the entire plane. She’s the AH for confronting someone over nothing.” – yukidaviji

“No. All passengers are renting space. If they can’t fit in their rented space, they are ‘stealing’ your space.”

“At some point, a very large person would need to buy a second seat. You are not shaming them. You simply wanted the (not very to begin with) comfortable space you paid for.”

“NTA” – PA_Archer

The OP went on to add some edits to her original post.

“I know hardly anyone that was going to comment something rude is really going to listen to me, but for whatever it’s worth, the blatant fatphobia in the comments isn’t helping anything or anyone.”

“Cut it out.”

“I posted this to get some insight on if and how I maybe could have handled the situation better, not to give an example of how ‘all larger people are xyz’.”

“And if you don’t literally know every single larger person that has ever lived, you have no business commenting anything like that in the first place.”

Hopefully, we can all learn how to make these conversations more comfortable.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)