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Being Asked to Trade Seats: How Would You Have Handled This?

Being Asked to Trade Seats: How Would You Have Handled This?

May 23rd, 2010, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,895
I covet my aisle seat. I research and book my seats months in advance. I like to help out as much as the next person, but in this case, I would have told that woman 'sorry, I'm not trading my asile for your middle'. No excuses necessary.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 23rd, 2010, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,120
I have a friend who is an FA for SW and they do get more involved.

Thanks to their uncivilized seating "process", they have to get more involved.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 23rd, 2010, 01:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
I don't think I have been asked to change seats. I cannot recall. I have offered to change seats when I realise someone is separated, but only if it is a "like for like" swap, or better for me, once the plane has taken off. I would say no to someone, even a parent if the change didn't suit me. I would say no as to why I didn't want to swap. I would suggest they speak to the flight attendant to perhaps ask someone else.
MissGreen is offline  
May 23rd, 2010, 02:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,090
Let's say you buy a theatre ticket 6 months in advance, research where to sit, explore your personal preferences for seating. Arrive at theatre. Person arrives and wants to switch - for whatever reason.

Most people would not accomodate this person. Not sure why a plane is different.
gail is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
If a flight isn't that long, I don't see the point in changing seats. The last time I agreed, the woman who asked me to change was so surly that I thought never again. Then I ended up with such a delightful seat companion, maybe. Depends upon the situation.

It seems a little weird to even worry about where I'm sitting, unless it's a truly great seat in 1st or Bz class or a truly terrible seat at the back of the plane. We are all going to arrive at the same time. What's 5 - 8 hours?
LSky is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,116
Even the middle seat? LSky you wouldn't mind a middle seat for an 8 hour flight, when you started out with a window or aisle? You are a better person than I.
suze is online now  
May 24th, 2010, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,203
I select my international flights on AA 777's and 767's based on seating availability (yes I know it could change, but that is rare) so it's a big NO. I want the seat I booked and actually selected that flight so I could have THAT seat.
I would only do it if it was for the same exact seat on the opposite side.

In coach I almost always take exit row, so there are never children issues.
Once I was on an exit row and the lady across from me asked if I would switch to the bulkhead 2-5-2 aisle so she could sit next to that gal next to me. I told her that my answer would depend on who sat in that seat at the end of the boarding process. She glared at me like I was the devil. Seriously she made all sorts of comments under her breath and was generally a jerk about it.
WELL, sure enough a lady with 2 little kids sat in the bulkhead. NO. NO WAY. I REALLY dislike sitting next to kids on a long flight. They cried and fussed the whole way. Not the sad 'my ears hurt' cry, but the 'give it to me' cry and the "I dont want to sit down' cry.
Whew! I dodged that bullet!
TxTravelPro is offline  
May 24th, 2010, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
Oh suze, thanks for thinking that of me but I said, "Depends upon the situation." The chances that I'll switch again are really slim and it would have to be a really good reason.

Not just some bitchy mother that wanted to sit with her kids. (The guy I ended up sitting next to was happy to be rid of her. I bet her husband didn't want us to leave. There went his r & r.) If someone had a broken leg and needed the aisle, I'd consider giving up my aisle seat. Other than that. No.
LSky is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,711
I'm torn on this one. I must admit I never thought to ask anyone to see their seat assignment.

I've volunteered to trade with people to let families sit together. Usually it has worked OK, especially if the flight is not too long. People have reciprocated when my family was split up by change of equipment or lack of seat assignments.

A couple of times I've been burned.
On an overnight flight I had chosen window in a 2-4-2 configuration. The woman next to me was trying to get organized with her husband who was a few rows ahead in an aisle on the center section. I offered to switch and they were thrilled--they were setting off on their honeymoon. Turns out my traveling companions in the center section were all rowdy burly guys headed back to an overseas oilfield assignment who filled up two rows save a seat or two like mine. No sleep on that flight, but due to passengers, not the seat.

In reverse, on another overnight flight a woman asked me to trade my aisle on center section seat for a window in a 2-3-2 so she could sit with traveling companion. I agreed. I've never been on a plane that the entertainment box took up all but about 6inches of the underseat space like that. I was miserable because of the seat--I should have stayed with my carefully chosen seat, but I had forgotten what seatguru warned.

One time I was a pain to others. I was traveling with my elderly mother and for some reason couldn't get seat assignments despite booking months in advance, so they gave us two center seats whereas usually I could get my mother a bulkhead or two for us together so I could help her. The GA said see the FA. The FA said stand in the galley until everyone boards and we'll see what we can do. No one wanted to move, but someone did finally move from their window to a center to put us together, but there was a lot of grumbling from folks seated in the general area as seating became a general discussion. In fact, now that I think of it, there was more conversation than usual among the passengers, so I wonder if the folks in that area were traveling together and had booked aisle-window combos and were disappointed that all the centers were being filled in as the plane filled up. I wouldn't have cared for myself, but my mother was rather deaf, diminishing eyesight, and not very limber, so she felt awkward getting in/out of her seat and vulnerable seated between strangers when she didn't always understand the announcements, the flight attendants asking her questions, etc.

A few times folks have volunteered to let me move to sit with my husband or teenage niece and nephew, but I've turned them down if the flight was not overnight, not wanting the bother if its not important.
Kay2 is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
In the instance that Kay described, I would trade my seat for an elderly person to sit in my treasured aisle seat. They would have to understand that I drink a lot of water when I fly so I need to get up frequently. That's why I want the aisle.
LSky is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
Lsky-"5-8 hours isn't a problem"? You are definitely a good person because for those of us with long legs and needing a knee replacement I won't switch.
dutyfree is offline  
May 25th, 2010, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,923
Good advice to check the boarding pass! Will do if it comes up.

I always, always select aisle seats to be able to get up and walk around (leg issues) and to get to the restroom without bothering others.

I would relocate only for a family that had clearly booked ahead but got separated through equipment change or other good reason. (Happened to me once on a trip from CA to Ireland!) RA and GA said work it out on the plane.

I would never change an aisle for a middle seat otherwise except in the most dire of circumstances, nor for a window seat for that matter.

Last request to me was a woman wanting to change her bulkhead seat for row #2 so her dog could go under the seat in front of her. Eh, sorry, but no space for my personal item in the bulkhead seat nor for outstretched legs (necessary for health issues), and I paid for upgrade to get the space I need. I took the dog for takeoff and landing (shared neighbor's under seat space) and I thought that was plenty. She was, incidentally, quite willing to let me keep the dog there as long as possible, and to keep her leg room while I gave up mine! She got Fifi back anyway.
annw is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,515
I'm sorry but I don't trade my aisle seat. Period. As someone said, I plan ahead and aisle is important to me. I had a flight attendant ask me to trade seats so the girl next to me could sit by her friend. She had a middle seat and I said "only if it is an aisle, sorry" Got dirty looks but on a 9 hour flight there was no way I would trade for a middle.
southeastern is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
Oh please, dutyfree and suze, let's not go ruining my long cultivated reputation around here as Surly Sultana of Snarkiness! Before you go bothering people up and down the aisle, pleading hopefully, "LSky? Is that you?"
Let me clear it up.
Under special circumstances, I might consider giving up my seat to a very frail and ancient old person, but unless can remember what they used before there was tape, yep, that's right! That old. I'm not budging.
And no crotchty people either. Two crotchty people, one crawling over a frail one every 17 minutes isn't much fun for other passengers.

Anyhoo... is there a Sultana?
LSky is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 306
I prefer window seats and my husband prefers the aisle. He is more flexible than I am. We usually book an aisle and a window hoping the middle seat will remain empty. Sometimes we luck out and have the entire row. More often, someone claims the middle seat and my husband then offers to switch his aisle for their middle so the two of us can sit together. Nobody has ever turned that request down, saying "Sorry, I would rather have my middle seat than your aisle seat." Hubby warns the person he may have to get up a couple times if it's a long flight, but it's well worth it to the middle guy and we always have a pleasant trip.
Jeangail is offline  
Jun 8th, 2010, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 65
It really irritates me to be asked to switch especially when I have paid extra to choose my seat. When I book my flights, I usually pay the $6 fee to choose an aisle seat.

Recently, I had a strange experience. I had just sat down in my aisle seat when the man in the seat next to me asked if I would trade with him (he was in the middle seat). I was just about to say no when he explained in a whisper that he was an air marshall and needed to sit on the aisle. He showed me his ticket or I wouldn't have believed him. Apparently, the FA was supposed to have corrected the error and found him an aisle seat but still hadn't and we were getting close to taking off. Needless to say, I switched with him. He asked me to keep it our little secret...like I was going to stand up and announce it to the plane. Eventually, the FA came back to him but we had already switched by then. I guess for the cause of national security, I can give up my aisle seat.
NewbieTraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2010, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,518
I'm even meaner than Gail. I can't say what I would have done for fear of Fodors banning me, but it's really, really mean. That's why I never trade seats. People are shocked. I tell them I have cancer (true) and I'm at risk for blood clots (also true, I have a chronic one in my neck and will likely be on blood-thinning meds the remainder of my life), and that's the reason I opted for that particular seat.

bookchick is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 624
Was thee a cost implication? If so, I think I would have asked the woman for a refund. Even if she refused you would have made your point.
Fashionista is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4
I've never actually been asked to change seats. I tend to always get the people with a sense of entitlement. I get on the plane and somebody else is already sitting in my seat. Then they try to refuse to move. That's not going to happen. I've even had a case where I got up to go to the restroom and when I came back, somebody had moved into my seat. That's not going to happen either.

If somebody was to actually ask me though, I'd definitely want to look at their boarding pass to make sure I was actually getting their seat and not somebody else's. Then I'd also consider length of flight among other things before I agreed to trade for anything other than like for like.

Even then though, I think it would be rare for me to change seats. Just because I'm switching window for window or aisle for aisle, it doesn't mean I'm getting a similar seat. Maybe their seat is broken while mine is perfectly fine. Or maybe the seat in front of their's has the box for the entertainment system beneath it, giving me less leg room or less room to put my bag.

Unfortunately, you almost never get enough time to consider everything when somebody asks you to change seats. So basically, it comes down to 2 things. Are you happy in your seat? If their seat has something that makes it less desirable, can you deal with it over the course of your flight?
mdlee3 is offline  

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