Passenger Refuses to Let Someone Sit in Extra Seat He Bought to Keep Empty

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
By

Feb. 1 2024, Published 8:58 a.m. ET

Passenger “Mocks” Flier for Purchased Extra Seat to Keep Empty
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257

The price discrepancies between first-class seats are often exponentially different, especially when it comes to international flights. But let's say you want to have a little bit of extra room on the flight and don't mind paying extra for it, but you don't want to pay five or six times the cost of economy.

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So what's an air commuter to do? Well, if you're flying and don't like feeling cramped, you could adopt the "budget first class" approach: buy a second or third seat in your row so you have the whole thing to yourself.

Of course, if you know you're going to make your flight, you could even pay more for the other two seats and make them fully refundable, and then just process the return a few hours before boarding. The chances of someone else booking those seats so close to departing are pretty low, meaning you'll get those sweet seats to yourself.

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That is if someone else doesn't try to sit in them and hassle you for it. That's where buying the seat comes in, however. This is exactly what Redditor @Dramatic_Safe_4257 did "during a 3-hour flight," but it seems like there was at least one passenger on the plane who didn't take too kindly to their multiple seat purchasing comfort "hack."

paid for empty seat airplane
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257
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The Redditor said that their friend has "severe social anxiety" and wanted to give her a little bit of extra space on the flight so she wouldn't feel cramped or intimidated by a bunch of strangers getting all up in her space.

So, they decided to buy an extra seat for the sole purpose of it being empty during the flight, however, when someone came into the space, @Dramatic_Safe_4257 said that they had to tell them to back off because they purchased the seat: "We were seated on the left side and paid extra for the third seat in our row because my friend has severe social anxiety and this was her first time flying. She was sitting by the window and I sat next to her and this guy came over and sat on the armrest of the empty seat to talk (very loudly) to his relatives who were seated on the other side."

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As it turns out, the guy was dubious at first as to whether or not @Dramatic_Safe_4257 was telling the truth, and then they decided to ridicule them for the entirety of the flight out of what seemed to be spite: "I immediately tapped him on the back and told him the seat was not available because we paid for it. He seemed skeptical, but stood up and started loudly complaining about it to his relatives and mocking me."

paid for empty seat airplane
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257
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The Reddit user continued: "After that, he stood next to us in the aisle during the majority of the flight and kept being loud and very gestural (a member of the staff even told him to keep it down at one point) and leaned really close to me with his a--, possibly as a way to provoke me."

@Dramatic_Safe_4257 remarked that they felt as if flight staff could've ultimately done a better job of assessing the situation and checking in on them as they thought it was evident from the way the other passengers were acting that they were being rude and disruptive. They even questioned how the man was able to get up in the middle of the flight to pester them.

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They uploaded their story to Reddit's r/AITAH sub to discern as to whether or not they were, indeed, the a--hole in the situation, and judging from numerous comments left by other users on the platform, it didn't seem like folks thought that @Dramatic_Safe_4257 was in the wrong for asking someone to not sit in a seat they paid for...even if it was empty.

empty paid for seat on flight
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257
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One commenter penned, "NTA. You paid for it, no amount of his complaining is going to change that."

OP mentioned that they've been in similar situations while aboard an airplane and flying with families: "I've had a similar experience, also with large families flying together. Very often, they start treating the airplane like their living room. It's hard to say anything because you don't want to be alone against a large group."

Someone else wondered why a member of the airline crew didn't just try and address the issue even after pressing the assistance button: "If you push the button for the flight attendant, don't they come over and see the issue, without you saying anything?"

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empty paid for seat on flight
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257

One person said that they would've "accidentally" spilled their drink every single time the "obnoxious" person started pointing their butt in OP's direction or hovered near the seat.

However, another user on the platform shared why this wasn't exactly the best idea: "You really don't want to start drama on a plane. It's a small, closed-off environment with a large crowd of people all sausaged together and the only help you have against someone going postal is a sky marshal (inter-US flights only), those flight attendants, and the co-pilot"

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empty paid for seat on flight
Source: Reddit | @Dramatic_Safe_4257

They continued by saying while they don't like being a "narc" the best course of action in that scenario, probably, would be to get a member of the airline crew involved, even if it was done in a "discreet" manner so as to not call any attention to themselves or worry about retribution from a passenger from someone who wasn't happy about being tattled on.

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