‘Am I the A-hole?’ Man questions decision not to swap pre-paid airline seat at request of hostile pregnant woman

An anonymous Reddit user has ignited a debate centering around air travel etiquette after he refused to give up a premium seat so that a husband could sit with his wife and their baby.

Air travel was already made unnecessarily stressful after the G.W. Bush administration decided after 9/11 that a new government agency (the TSA) must be formed and staffed by the brightest and friendliest people they could find. Added to that were the insane, years-long COVID restrictions and Gestapo tactics against people who dropped their masks for more than one second while in flight.

Now those restrictions have been nixed and they want you to forget what scoundrels they were.

Flying internationally adds an extra layer of stress due to the obviously longer flight times, and when this Reddit user and his wife were asked to swap seats, he refused and a bit of a kerfuffle ensued, the Daily Mail reported.

He laid it out on the popular Reddit forum “Am I the A-hole?”

“My wife and I were travelling on a 10-hour flight from Europe to Asia last week,” the man wrote. “We booked our tickets well in advance and also managed to book the specific seats we wanted – two seats in the first row.”

“We paid for these seats as it was going to be a long journey and wanted the extra leg space.”

“When we boarded, there was a woman holding a baby sitting in the middle seat. This woman, before I even had a chance to put my bag in the overhead compartment, asked me ‘Can I be really cheeky and ask you to switch seats with my husband?'”

“She then pointed toward her husband sitting in the second row (only the first row has extra leg space and requires additional payment to book the seat). She then told me that her husband needs to be next to her to help with the baby.”

“My wife stayed quiet while I politely but firmly told her that unfortunately as his seat is in a second row, I wouldn’t be moving there as I had specifically paid for the seat with extra legroom.”

Evidently, the mother grew angry and called a flight attendant over in the hopes of rectifying the situation that she created. The crew member advised the man and his wife there were two seats available behind a different bulkhead that would provide the same amount of extra legroom.

But, according to the man, the mother wasn’t done expressing her dissatisfaction and made sure to do so within earshot.

“A steward came and requested me to switch with the husband, and I had to tell him the same thing, making things quite awkward,” he recounted.

“The woman then threw daggers at me for some time. Thankfully the steward came back and told me that there were two vacant seats in one of the other first rows and offered to move us.”

“We ended up moving there but could hear this lady animatedly make comments about us to her husband from behind for some time after that.”

“When I recounted this incident to my in-laws they said that I should have just moved as she had a baby with her and that turned into a different conversation about baby expectations,” the Reddit user continued.

“My wife agrees with me that her poor planning is not our problem and that we should have stayed out if there were no other first row seats.”

A poll of readers conducted by the Daily Mail is part of the original article and it’s no contest:

Would YOU switch seats so a family can sit together?

  • Yes 177 votes
  • No 3820 votes

In response to the man’s Reddit post, many users supplied their opinions in support of his refusal to immediately capitulate.

“You paid for extra leg room, and paid for that seat. You were under no obligation to switch. If she wanted to sit with her husband, she should have booked side by side seats,” said one person.

“You had no obligation to her. Why couldn’t she switch with someone in her husband’s row? As for the ‘but she had a baby,’ that’s irrelevant. She could trade off with her husband. She might have a beef with the airlines, but not with you,” wrote another user.

Said another, “I can’t believe there are people who have the audacity to ask someone to switch seats, much less insist. Why is their comfort more important than anyone else’s? Especially if someone else planned & paid for their comfort.”

Another user concurred and added his own anecdote.

“Upvoted and agreed, but just one minor caveat: you can plan meticulously and perfectly only to have the airline take a massive dump on your plan. Like cancelling your flight, rebooking you, downgrading you, not refunding the difference until you point out the discrepancy, and sticking you in the center seat nearest the toilet because it’s the only empty seat on the rebooked flight. If that sounds oddly specific, it’s because it happened to me.”

Now, what would YOU do?

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