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Travel + Fun

06th Feb 2024

‘I refused to swap plane seats with 10-year-old boy so he could sit with his parents’

Nina McLaughlin

Another day, another plane seating debate

A woman has been praised for refusing to switch seats with a child in order to let him sit with his parents.

The 23-year-old took to Reddit to explain that she had bagged a free upgrade for her 13-hour flight to San Francisco, but that things quickly went downhill.

She wasn’t the only person to get upgraded – some parents also accepted a free upgrade, but did not realise that their 10-year-old son failed to qualify.

“I had booked my tickets a year in advance,” the passenger wrote on Reddit.

“Around about a month or two before the trip, the airline called me saying they’d like to upgrade me to first class due to my points and being a member.

“I had never flown first class before so to say I was so excited was an understatement.

“I made sure to do everything possible in the lounge before my flight and I was welcomed with such a comfortable setting for the 13-hour flight.

“About an hour into the flight, a flight attendant comes up to me and asks me if I’d be willing to swap seats with a 10-year-old boy who was in economy so he could sit with his family in first class.”

The flight attendant explained that she would be able to qualify for ‘another free upgrade in another flight’ or even a full refund if she agreed to move.

“I asked her if there was any chance I could stay in my seat because I genuinely thought I was being kicked out,” she continued.

“She said that the two parents and I were the only upgraded passengers on the flight and there were no other first-class seats available so if there was to be any chance for the boy to sit with his family it would only make sense for him to sit in my seat.”

“If this was a different situation such as they’d overbooked the first class and the boy had purchased a ticket it would be a different story but I got this upgrade because of how much I fly on the airline.

“Also, I may have considered it if the parents had bought their tickets but they hadn’t either.”

The OP went on to explain that she didn’t blame the flight attendant, but felt judged by other passengers for refusing to swap seats.

“I did get shamed by an old woman in the seat next to me who told me that I made a child sit on their own for 13 hours.

“I get a 13-hour flight alone for a child is the scary part but I saw him walk up and down the aisles like every hour to meet his parents so it wasn’t like he was alone.”

Readers responded to the tale, and agreed that the OP was not the a**hole

One person commented: “I’m sure two people in economy would’ve been glad to swap with the parents!”

Another said: “The parents never should have accepted seats away from their kid to begin with, especially not both of them. If they were so concerned, they would have gone back to coach and given up their seats to two other people.”

While a third put: “One of the parents could have gone into economy to join the kid. Why did one of them even leave the kid in economy alone to begin with!”