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Woman Balks After She’s Asked To Sit In Middle Seat So Family Can Sit Together On 8-Hour Flight

Mother flying with two young children on airline
freemixer/Getty Images

As much as many of us may love to travel, we can all agree what a big headache flying and navigating airports can be.

This is especially true if the airline got something wrong about the flight, like someone’s dietary needs or the pre-paid seating arrangements, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor kitsune_chan29 had pre-booked her seat, specifically to accommodate her dietary restrictions and possibly physical restrictions, as she was concerned about being able to reach the restroom quickly.

When she was later accused of not wanting to give up her “precious seat” for a family that had been separated during the flight, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was actually being selfish by advocating for her own needs.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for refusing to switch seats with a kid on an eight-hour flight?”

The OP did not want to switch seats with fellow travelers on a long flight.

“This was my second eight-hour flight on my way home from Africa via Dubai.”

“I had booked an aisle seat so I could get up without bothering others, and I was also expecting a special meal due to health requirements.”

“I boarded the plane, found my seat, and settled in.”

“A family got on with three kids (they didn’t speak much English) and asked if I could switch seats with one of their kids so they could sit together.”

“The father of the family wasn’t seated anywhere near the mother and kids, so it looked to me like they had left their seats for random assignment.”

“I initially said yes, thinking it was just a move across the aisle, but then I realized they wanted me to switch to sit in a middle seat, and I said no.”

Another person on the flight had a lot to say about the OP’s decision.

“Another passenger then got up and said he had a seat in the back that I could move to (no idea how), and I said no.”

“I said that I had booked my seat and ordered a dietary meal, and there was no way I was moving to a middle seat.”

“He then started loudly criticizing me and said he hoped I understood that I was splitting a family up.”

“This eventually attracted the attention of the crew because it was holding up boarding.”

“They got a passenger on the other end of the row to switch and sit somewhere else so their kids could sit together.”

“The other passenger from before then started loudly saying to his kids and the family, ‘Do you understand what happened? She thought her seat was too special so she wouldn’t let you sit together.'”

The OP had heard enough of the fellow traveler’s comments.

“I told the guy to mind his own business, and he responded that he wasn’t talking to me.”

“I was exhausted and sleep-deprived by this point and told him to stop talking about me and to just can it.”

“I don’t think I was in the wrong here. I organized myself beforehand and booked my seat, and felt it was quite unfair to have a random guy criticizing me to half the cabin for not wanting to swap to a middle seat for an eight-hour flight.”


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 reassured the OP that she had every right to stay in her original seat.

“NTA. I’m tired of entitled people thinking someone should sacrifice for them.”

“If they wanted to be seated together, they should’ve booked seats together.”

“Not your problem, and good on you for standing your ground and not letting them (or that random dude) bully you.” – Unlikey_Spirit8593

“NTA. If the family wanted to be together, they could have paid to do so.” – CherryPlay


“You had a legit reason not to move with the meal, and they should have booked seats together, not rocked up and expected others to move to suit them.”

“The random guy was obviously virtue-signaling. He just saw a moment to prop up his ego and jumped on it.” – Gazpacho_Catapult

“I’m a five-foot, two-inches tall, and 115-pound female. I can sit in any seat and be fine. That being said, I usually pay the extra bit to pre-book an aisle seat because it’s convenient.”

“I never EVER move when families ask if they aren’t offering another aisle seat to trade, because it’s not my problem they didn’t want to pay to sit together.”

“I paid. They didn’t. Get the airline to refund me the cost of pre-booking the seat and I’ll consider. Maybe it makes me an AH. I don’t really care.”

“NTA OP. It’s your seat. You paid for it. They’re teaching their kids that the world revolves around them and their problems. Good luck to them.” – telwrynn

“As a family with young kids, I don’t understand why they don’t put families together in the d**n first place. I shouldn’t have to pay extra to sit with my five-year-old.”

“But you are NTA at all. They likely knew they weren’t seated together, so they could have called the airline and made arrangements. I’ve done it multiple times where I didn’t pay extra and I called to tell them I’m with my family, and they at least put one adult and one child together.”

“It’s unfair and rude to assume other people will move for you right there in the moment.” – meganstorm22

“NTA, OP, for wanting to keep YOUR seat. I had a similar experience on a shorter flight (Houston to San Francisco).”

“I had selected an up-charged window seat behind the exit (non-reclining!) row, and when I boarded, a family had pre-boarded and was occupying my seat. I gave a friendly, ‘Excuse me, but my ticket is for the window seat,’ and the family TOLD (NOT asked) me that they wanted to sit together and I could have their ticketed middle seat in the middle of a widebody plane.”

“I replied that I’m sorry they were split but I would like the far more desirable seat that I paid an upcharge for.”

“The husband started berating me and wouldn’t move. I suggested that we could call the flight attendant over to see if the airline could facilitate a change for them, and he huffed and fussed and got out of my way.”

“He turned his back towards me the entire flight like not speaking to him was a punishment!”

“Other flyers may not like it, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping the seat you paid for. Honestly, it’s expected. NTA again.” – 615LoverInTheDark

But others thought the situation was more complicated with children involved.

“Maybe unpopular, but depending on the age of the kids, I might be going for YTA.”

“There are cases where you cannot book seats anymore. An example that happened to us: a flight got canceled and they booked us onto the next possible option. Of course, at such short notice, you are not getting your old seat reservations. Same when missing a connection flight.”

“If the kids are old enough (OP doesn’t say), I would say NTA, but in case of younger kids, it would be a strong YTA.” – Aleydis89

“YTA. It is nearly impossible to book three seats in a row on a flight, not to mention how outrageous the fees would be for that.”

“He didn’t say anything wrong. You thought your seat was too special to let the family sit together. I hope the judgment of the other passengers made you feel like an AH on your precious eight-hour flight.”

“If they had sat by you, you probably would’ve made a post complaining about how bothered you were by someone else’s kids on your little flight.” – xbatb***hx

“You’re asking this on a Western majority website which is an individualistic society when you weren’t in the West and those are collectivist societies.”

“By the standards of that part of the world, YTA, but not by the standards in the West.”

“Your special meal isn’t an issue, they move those all the time.” – Mistborn54321

“YTA. Honestly, it’s a kid. You should have moved. It’s within your rights not to move but that doesn’t make you not an AH.” – amrun90

“I once had a flight canceled and we had to rebook at the airport with no seats together available. My kids (then three and six) were given middle and window seats in one row while I had the aisle seat across from them, but in the row immediately behind.”

“I asked the person in front of me (who WAS across from my kids) if they would switch (aisle for aisle, same legroom, identical seat just in row 15 instead of 14), and she angrily refused.”

“Another person voluntarily switched out of a window seat into a middle for me. No one is entitled to a seat, but in my opinion, if you’re traveling solo and are offered a truly equivalent seat, you should switch.”

“OP is NTA though, as OP was not offered an equivalent seat.” – CommercialHall4227

The subReddit completely understood why the OP would not want to move, as it sounded like she had dietary and possibly physical restrictions to consider, especially during a long flight. Her needs were not any less important than the needs of the family onboard.

However, it seems suspicious that the OP left the approximate ages of the children out of her post, as some Redditors indicated that their rating would change from an understanding “NTA” or “NAH” to a swift and brutal “YTA” if they found out the children were young and in need of a guardian beside them, especially for a long flight.

As much as we each need our own needs to be met, sometimes showing kindness needs to come first, especially if it involves a dependent who could really use a little helping out.

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.