Man Throws Tantrum Over Middle Seat Assignment

With more and more birds choosing to fly South for the winter, air travel becomes more and more exhausting. In 2020, a total of 369 million people flew out of the U.S. That’s thousands of daily flights with someone complaining about a baby crying and people stinking up the plane after taking off their shoes.

Tapping into the rich vein of air travel etiquette from back in the day when it didn’t suck quite so much, one Redditor had a story deployed from his mother’s playbook. It concerned a man who wanted an aisle seat: Obviously, the man was being a jerk about it. The airline clerk gleefully obliged, to teach him a lesson about how sometimes jerks are simply dealt with by treating them the way the rules state.

Bored Panda recently had a question for an etiquette expert: when switching seats on the airplane, what’s the correct way to do so to avoid being annoying? We were super thrilled when our communicated query caught the attention of Myka Meier, the author behind the viral article on and the founder of a Manhattan-based etiquette consulting company called Beaumont Etiquette. Meier also co-founded the Finishing Program at the Plaza Hotel and she was kind enough to assist us.

More info: Beaumont Etiquette | Instagram

Many people would avoid sitting in the middle seat of an airplane if they could

Image credits: Athena Sandrini / pexels (not the actual photo)

So did this man, but his rude attitude in wanting to change seats paid off for another passenger more than him

Image credits: Tim Gouw / pexels (not the actual photo)


Image credits: Natã Romualdo / pexels (not the actual photo)

Image credits: kitteh_pants

Requesting a seat swap? Please don’t neglect the basic courtesy of asking and politely explaining your reason for doing so. Suggest a different seat that’s fair for you both.

‘With two people on a plane, I go by the exact etiquette and you can ask nicely, while seated,’ the etiquette expert Myka Meier says.

First, keep your cool. ‘Approach quietly and in a respectful manner,’ advises Meier. ‘Be polite in your greetings and your asking.’ Smile and say ‘Please’.

Communicating your reason for wanting a change is also helpful. ‘If you want the person sitting next to you to say “Yes” to a seat switch, then you should provide a short reason,’ Meier continues. ‘State your reason for the seat switch – perhaps a family member is sitting nearby, or maybe you need a special need – and people are more willing to accommodate you.

Third, if at all possible, offer something in exchange – a seat of similar or better value. ‘Make it a similar or better seat than the one you are asking the person to give up. The chances are better that the person in the better seat will want to move if you ask a flight attendant ahead [of time] to help you look for an open seat, and you have choices to offer.

If none of those work, ultimately, you can’t do anything else. ‘You have to be good and accept “No”,’ says Meier. ‘You cannot tell someone when to get up from their seat, so if they say “No”, that is good manners; you cannot tell them to give away their seat if they don’t want to.

Image credits: Sergey Zhumaev / pexels (not the actual photo)

Flights run smoothly when cabin crew staff are allowed to do their job and act like proper people, and not the servants of demanding passengers. Photo by Shawn Parkin/TAP/Getty.

Flight attendants are front-line checkers of flight-related craziness on board, as are all airline personnel. A number of airlines are beginning to train their staff in de-escalation. For example, in response to one particularly viral incident, American Airlines began training their team of 65,000 employees in 2018.

Meier points out that one of the main tasks of flight attendants – and indeed of almost all airline employees – is to ensure the safety of the passengers. ‘They’re also helpful when it comes to providing food, drinks, addressing other problems, keeping passengers comfortable, helping them get seated, answering questions, and assisting with special needs.’

‘Normally, the flight attendant is the best person to speak to when there is a conflict,’ Meier told me. ‘She should settle it between passengers as rapidly and diplomatically as possible.’

But that doesn’t mean that passengers can be rude to flight attendants or gate agents, either. The same logic that would apply were you approaching another passenger applies here: a smile and a ‘Please’ can open many doors.

Image credits: Natã Romualdo / pexels (not the actual photo)

There are other common rules of airplane seat etiquette that passengers ought to follow

we asked Beaumont Etiquette’s founder Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette and an etiquette expert on her own, what other etiquette rules passengers should follow so that they make their flight enjoyable for everyone. She offered the following five rules for everyone flying:

Respecting each other’s personal space (which you here substitute for ‘personal bubbles’) is something perhaps more critical than any other flight related topic you mention. Do not enter your neighbour’s space into the window – to hair over your seat – and keep your arms and legs in your seat space as much as possible.

If you recline your tray table, do so slowly and make sure the person sitting directly behind you isn’t midmeal, using his tray table, etc.

Keep noise to a minimum; if there is a shared space involved in living with others it is important to not make others listen to what you are listening to/watching/playing on your electronic gadget. Use headphones if you are carrying an electronic device. Keep voices at a conversational, reasonable volume. Nothing too loud or abrasive is good, especially when coming from people who could have chosen to be quiet.

Be considerate in your use of overhead bins so that others can stow their carry-ons as well.

Be mindful of bathroom breaks, especially if you’re in the aisle or middle seat.

Image credits: Ricardo Oliveira / pexels (not the actual photo)

The men were right; their mother handled it like a lady.

Others couldn’t believe the level of entitlement the man showed

As stories like these happen often, other netizens had their own tales to share.

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