Seating on a plane…

I stumbled upon this article on by Isaac Serna-Diaz on…

Man posts complaint after plane passenger refused to give up middle seat so he could sit beside his girlfriend

Given some of the more frightening exchanges one hears about with air travel, I feared this would be another of them, with the impatient dude who wanted to sit beside his girlfriend getting in some altercation with the man who sat in the middle seat.

Turned out not to be the case, but as a somewhat frequent flier, I was curious as to the general consensus regarding this situation.

See, on my last trip back home from visiting my daughter, we were in a really small aircraft that had two seats on either side of the aisle. My wife and other daughter had the seats on the left side of the aircraft, window and aisle, and I had the aisle seat on the other side of the aisle. This way, we were “together” even if separated by an aisle.

In the two seats ahead of mine and sitting beside the window was the guy I mentioned in my Metropolis review (you can read that here). As the aircraft filled, a couple -man and woman- appeared and they had the seat directly in front of mine and the window seat beside me.

The man asked me if I could move to the aisle seat in front of me so that he and his girlfriend could have the two seats together. I told him that I would rather stay where I was as my wife and daughter were directly across the aisle with me.

The guy seemed… well… for a second there I truly believed things would go ugly. Not that he did anything, mind you, but again, you get used to reading about altercations on aircraft over stupid things and I wondered if he was the type that wouldn’t take no for an answer.

My fears -whether real or not- amounted to nothing as that gentleman then asked the guy in the seat in front of mine and by the window if he wouldn’t mind going to the window seat behind him and next to me. He agreed to do so and that was that.

Yep, he’s the young guy who was watching Andor on his cellphone.

I didn’t think much about that until this article.

So the situation in the article was somewhat different. Here we had a larger aircraft with three seats on each side of the aisle and in this case the gentleman and his girlfriend were kept apart by a guy who had the middle seat and didn’t want to give it up.

Reading the article, it seemed people fell on either side (pardon the unintended pun). Some felt it was rude of the guy in the middle seat to not move over either way, to the window or aisle, and let the man (who happens to be a writer for Saturday Night Live) sit next to his girlfriend.

Others noted that perhaps the passenger was a nervous flier and taking the middle seat was his way of coping with flying.

Me? I side with the passenger who didn’t want to move. All the way.


Easy: You get to pick your seats. The man and girlfriend (in my case as well as in the one in the article) obviously procrastinated in either getting their ticket or checking themselves in.

If you know you’re going to fly and you want to sit with your loved ones, then how about you make it a point to both get your ticket and assign yourself a seat well in advance that will have you and the rest of your party together?

Mind you, I’ve had situations where my family and I have had to sit in different seats. Once, my elder daughter was some five rows and across the aisle from where we sat. Once, many years ago and when that same elder daughter of mine was a small infant, my wife and I were forced to sit separately and my then infant daughter was one of those wailing kids that drive everyone on a flight psychotic…

…to this day, my wife tells me I was damn lucky to have a separate seat and that the passengers around her were glaring at her with daggers in their eyes. As someone who has had flights with crying kids, I don’t blame them at all.

But this too can certainly happen as well.

So my point is this: Shit happens and there are times when you don’t get your way and it sucks but that’s life.

If the guy in the story above was comfortable in the middle seat and didn’t want to give it up, it’s on you that you didn’t get seats assigned next to each other rather than the fault of the man who obviously got the seat he wanted (for whatever reason) and refused to give it up.

Tweeting about it, while interesting, doesn’t solve the problem.

Get your seat’s assignments earlier and you won’t have to worry about such a problem cropping up.