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Woman Balks After Tall Man On Flight Demands She Give Up Her Seat So He Has More Legroom

Two people on airline seats.
Ivan-balvan/Getty Images

As exciting as travel is, one part of traveling by plane no one likes is cramming into an airline seat for a lengthy period of time.

Particularly if you have to sleep on the plane.

Luckily, most airlines give passengers the opportunity to choose their seats ahead of time—or to even pay a little extra to ensure they are in a conveniently located seat or have a little more legroom than others.

Despite being aware of this courtesy, some travelers choose to instead rely on the kindness or cooperation of others.

In order to ensure a comfortable flight and make sure she would make her connection, Redditor Such-Error-34 chose to pay a little extra to choose her specific seat.

Once on board, another passenger asked the original poster (OP) if she would switch seats with him, as he was uncomfortable in his assigned seat.

Being perfectly happy where she was, the OP politely declined his request, which her fellow passenger took anything but graciously.

Wondering if she was in the wrong for her decision, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to give up my airplane seat to a tall person?”

The OP explained why she was unwilling to swap seats on a recent flight:

“Hey everyone!”

“Bit of a weird situation and I’m not sure if I am TA or not.”

“Happy to have my perspective challenged.”

“Last week I was taking a 12 hour flight that I had booked months in advance.”

“At the time of booking I paid extra to choose my seats.”

“The seat I chose was $55 extra and right at the front of the plane (trying to arrive somewhere on time upon landing).”

“The seat also happened to be an extra legroom seat and I am a 4’11 female.”

“I check in, board, sit in my seat as usual, but as soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off I had a man come over and ask to change seats.”

“The first time he asked politely saying that he is 6’4 and flying is painful for him can we please change seats.”

“I was open to it until I saw that his seat was way in the back of the plane and so I told him no sorry I paid extra to sit up front.”

“He kind of got increasingly mad and wouldn’t leave saying that there’s no reason someone of my height needs extra legroom (I told him I paid to be up front).”

“I suggested that he ask the other people in those seats if they could swap but he refused saying that he wouldn’t want to bother other men or split up couples.”

“He kept getting rude and angry so I just called over a flight attendant who told him to go sit down.”

“For the rest of the flight he would walk past for no reason slamming into me (I was sitting aisle).”

“Was I in the wrong?”

“Should I have swapped with him?”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to give up her seat to her tall fellow passenger.

Everyone agreed that the OP was under no obligation to give up her seat after paying extra ahead of time, with others agreeing that not only should the obnoxious tall man have thought to do the same, but found his behavior blatantly sexist as well.


“People think that a single woman is a target, especially on a plane.”

“A years ago, flying with my kids to Toronto.”

“They sat together, I sat across from them.”

‘The woman behind them said to the man sitting on the aisle, ‘Would you mind switching with my husband?'”

“Then motioned to the man sitting next to me.”

“That passenger said, ‘I much prefer the aisle seat’.”

‘She turns to me and says, ‘you can switch with me then’.”

“I said no, I had to watch my kids.”

“She said, ‘you can watch them from back here’, and I said I was afraid not.”

“She then said, ‘Yes, you can watch them from here’, to which I finally said, ‘listen! Unless you are going to watch my kids, and in fact, take them home and raise them later, don’t bother me again’.”

“She was practically belligerent to me, but let the male passenger off the hook quickly.”

“I’m 5’8″, it had nothing to do with my height.”- Horror-Friendship-30

“So my brother is 6’6″.”

“You know what he does when he has to fly?”

“He makes sure to get an emergency exit row or whatever row has the extra leg room.”

“He usually has to pay for it.”

“Any tall person with a lick of common sense KNOWS they have to do this for flights.”

“This tall person knows they will need more leg room but chose to try to get out of paying for it by getting a person to switch.”

“OP was totally in their right to say no ESPECIALLY AS THEY PAID EXTRA and tall person does not have the right to be a jerk about it.”

“Did tall guy offer OP to reimburse her for the extra amount paid?”

“Of course not.”

“Also gotta love that the guy targeted the lone woman and wouldn’t think to ‘bother a man or couples.'”

“Guy was a jerk nuff said, the end NTA.”

“To make it clear, I think it’s bs that airlines make tall or larger (play sized! Thanks cmpalm!) pay more.”

“But that’s the reality and the airlines are definitely also the AH for this.”- Jedisilk015


“Next time he can plan better and do what you did buying your seat instead of harassing the only small woman he thought he could bully into giving in.”

“If he kept running into you, you needed to have a word with the flight attendant.”

“Unacceptable to have to deal with violence on a plane.”- ParsimoniousSalad

“Every time he slammed into you, you should have called the flight attendant again to report the assault.”

“Someone who repeatedly assaults another passenger should be blacklisted permanently by the airline.”

“NTA.”- MarramTime

“My mum was 4’11.”

“She often found that guys thought because she was little, she could be easily intimidated.”

“It was usually pretty entertaining watching them try: she was the master of the quick putdown.”

“I suspect this guy picked you because he thought he could intimidate you.”

“He could easily have paid to upgrade.”- MegC18


“You had your own reason that you needed to sit there.”

‘If he wanted a specific seat for a specific reason he should have paid for it.”

“Also wtf?”

“He didn’t wanna bother other men?”

“So he walked over and proceeded to harass a 4’11 female instead?”

“If anyone was to be determined TA it would be him for such a terrible comment.”- Mikasa_Audrey

“Tall person here.”

“If I want more leg room, I can pay for it like everyone else.”

“I don’t pay for the cheapest seat possible and then try to get someone shorter to give me the more expensive seat that they purchased for free.”

“You aren’t allowed ask someone in business or first class seating to switch to a cheap seat.”

“Wtf do they think they can do it in coach?”

“NTA.”- AbleRelationship6808


“Us taller folk know flying coach is uncomfortable, so if we need to be pain-free for a flight, we have to pay extra.”- srgonzo75

“No way are you the a**hole.”

“No no no.”

“In fact you should have notified flight attendant that said passenger was harassing you by constantly banging into your seat.”

“If it continued then you should have asked the flight attendant to notify police that you would like to press assault charges on said passenger and to have them standing by upon landing.”

“You should still be reaching out to the airline and complaining that on-flight staff failed to keep you safe from an aggressive passenger.”- bobojcd

“I’m 6’4” and usually try to purchase seats with extra leg room.”

“If I don’t, I would never ask someone to switch to me because I’m tall.”

“If you offered unprompted, then all your drinks would be on me.”

“Wi-Fi as well.”- CompletePromotion248

“NTA, this guy was being beyond ridiculous.”

“As a tall person myself I sympathise that flying is uncomfortable but I’d never go around demanding other peoples’ seats that they’d paid extra for.”- McCretin

There’s no denying that flying for hours in a seat you barely fit in is uncomfortable, to say the least.

Even so, people who made the conscious decision to pay extra to choose their sheets should not feel obligated to give them up.

For that matter, people who chose their seats and *didn’t* pay extra are also under no obligation.

Doing so is a courtesy, which is 100% their choice.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.