Man Refuses to Give Up Airplane Seat for New Mom and Baby

Gillian Sisley

How much accommodation should people be expected to give new parents?

Anyone with children will tell you that it isn't easy to be a parent. There are a lot of logistics and obstacles to navigate that can make things easily frustrating and quickly upsetting. Traveling with young children tends to be one of those exact situations that can cause frustration and upset.

It also isn't uncommon to hear stories about parents feeling entitled to special treatment. There are many in society who believe that they do not owe parents any sort of accommodation or special treatment just because they've chosen to have children.

This sort of situation was highlighted in a recent online post in which a man on an airplane refuses to give up his preferred seat to accommodate a mother and her newborn child.

How much accommodation should people be expected to give new parents?

A Reddit post published on May 23rd, reported on by Matt Keeley from Newsweek, has gone viral with 6,400 upvotes and close to 1,000 comments.

The author begins his post by explaining that he and his wife had booked tickets to Asia on a 10-hour flight. They paid extra to be able to choose the specific seats they wanted with extra legroom, as he and his wife are quite tall, and it was going to be a long flight. They booked two aisle seats in a row of three seats, on the off chance that there wouldn't be someone in the middle spot. He does point out, however, that if there were someone to sit in the middle spot, the couple planned to offer to switch seats with that person, so that the stranger wouldn't have to sit in between a married couple.

With that said, when the author and his wife arrived at their seat, there was a woman in the middle seat holding a baby. Before the author had a chance to sit down, the woman asked if he would switch seats with her husband who was a few rows back. The new mom requested the seat change because she said that she needed her husband's help caring for the baby during the flight.

The author notes that the husband was seated in a row without extra legroom, which was an option the author had paid extra for. When the author declined the request, explaining exactly why he had, the mom became incredibly angry with him. A flight attendant was then called over who also asked the author to switch seats, but he once again declined and pointed out that he and his wife had paid extra to have more legroom.

Seating on planes is getting smaller and smaller, and it's a contentious issue.

Over several decades, in an attempt to increase seat sales and make more money, airliners have reduced the size of seats and legroom in order to accommodate more chairs and maximize sales. This has become a big issue among flyers who feel that it's unreasonable to pay so much money for uncomfortable flying situations, and in some cases, seats that cannot accommodate certain people due to their size.

The mother immediately started glaring at the man for not giving up his seat to her husband, and the baby started crying from all of the noise and upset. Not long after, the flight attendant came back to say that there were some seats available in another section that had extra legroom, and that the author and his wife could sit there instead. That way the mother and her husband could also sit together.

The author and his wife agreed entirely to swap in this situation, but even after they moved the woman was making loud and rude comments about the couple to her husband for quite some time. While the in-laws of the author felt that the couple should have given their seats up because there was a baby involved, the author and his wife felt that the mom's ‘poor planning shouldn't be considered their problem’, and they had a right to stay in the seats that they had paid for.

What do you think? Was the author fully within his right to refuse to change seats to a less comfortable area? Or should the author have been more courteous to the new mom and her child, and switched without any complaint?

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