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Seat Swapping, Seat Poaching and Seating Etiquette: The Definitive Thread

Seat Swapping, Seat Poaching and Seating Etiquette: The Definitive Thread

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Old Oct 11, 17, 8:52 am   -   Wikipost
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The Definitive Guide to Seat Poaching

1. Don't do it.
2. Alternatively to #1: Asking politely (and not demanding) to swap for an equal or better seat is acceptable by most (but the final decision always lays with the original seat holder)...but, be warned, some FT'ers may breathe fire at you.
3. Keep in mind that Point 2 is not seat poaching.
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Old Mar 19, 16, 1:26 pm
  #781  
 
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
FAs ought to be empowered to reward a volunteer for giving up a window or aisle for a middle seat to accommodate a parent and young child. Maybe a voucher, or free drink and food. At least try to arrange it so the middle seat they have to take is less of a sacrifice. Maybe an upgrade to the next class if it isn't full.
They are ... I had FA who was grateful that I swapped a bulk head seat with another PAX who just had to sit there and was bugging the FA multiple time. I was happy to swap cause I got an aisle seat with some leg room. The FA gave me a free drink and snack.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 7:26 am
  #782  
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
While it's common on FT and easy to blame someone's "lack of planning" or accuse them of being too cheap to pay for advance seat assignments, IROPs can and do happen, as do last minute booking situations which can't be foreseen (family emergencies, etc.).
This is true, but it's still not my problem, it is theirs. I am not trying to punish people for their lack of foresight, cheapness or ignorance of seat booking..I am simply trying to retain the seat I picked. In many ways, they drew the short straw through no fault of their own, but I am still not giving up my seat unless something better is offered.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 12:47 pm
  #783  
 
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Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
This is true, but it's still not my problem, it is theirs. I am not trying to punish people for their lack of foresight, cheapness or ignorance of seat booking..I am simply trying to retain the seat I picked. In many ways, they drew the short straw through no fault of their own, but I am still not giving up my seat unless something better is offered.
Fully agree here and I understand both sides. However, let's all try to be nice to each other since we don't know what each other is thinking or the circumstances of why people would deny or ask for a seat change. The "don't ever dare to ask me" mentality is just...well...wrong.

On a recent flight when my wife decided to tag along at the last minute with my 3 1/2 year old, we sat in different seats. I was in C+ and wifey was 6 rows behind me with the kid. I did not "poach." I walked back when the guy next to her was about to take the aisle seat and asked if he wouldn't mind switching with me and even mentioned that I have a C+ aisle seat to swap (hey, more leg room!). His response was a puffing "No. Why should I?" No skin off my back, really - for me, it's more relaxing to sit away from the kid since his ears pop when the plane descends and he cries. No skin off my wife either - she knows how to take care of my son alone.

But my point is, a simple "no, I would prefer my seat" would have been understood and ended the conversation. We didn't want to intrude, but I felt it was best for all of our comforts for me to make an effort. We don't have to sit together, but we would prefer to be together in case I am needed, even it's to talk to just pass the time. He doesn't have to move, but I figured that he might want a C+ seat instead of sitting next to a potentially-crying kid.

After the flight, my wife was telling me that when my son needed to go to the bathroom and when he said to the guy "excuse me, sir, I need to go make pee pee," he gave him a dirty look. Why? I'm just not sure how we evolved into this mentality. There is no way anyone's day can be THAT bad!
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Old Mar 22, 16, 12:59 pm
  #784  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
They are ... I had FA who was grateful that I swapped a bulk head seat with another PAX who just had to sit there and was bugging the FA multiple time. I was happy to swap cause I got an aisle seat with some leg room. The FA gave me a free drink and snack.
I witnessed an FA give a free drink to someone who acquiesced to a seat poach last year as well. Of course, the free drink might also have had to do with the fact that the guy was one of the most attractive people I've ever seen. I'm honestly talking Clooney/Gosling level attractiveness. It was the only time in my flying experience that I've seen multiple flight attendants openly gawking at and flirting with a passenger almost to the point of being unprofessional. Usually the reverse happens.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 1:47 pm
  #785  
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Originally Posted by LGANightOwl View Post
Fully agree here and I understand both sides. However, let's all try to be nice to each other since we don't know what each other is thinking or the circumstances of why people would deny or ask for a seat change. The "don't ever dare to ask me" mentality is just...well...wrong.

On a recent flight when my wife decided to tag along at the last minute with my 3 1/2 year old, we sat in different seats. I was in C+ and wifey was 6 rows behind me with the kid. I did not "poach." I walked back when the guy next to her was about to take the aisle seat and asked if he wouldn't mind switching with me and even mentioned that I have a C+ aisle seat to swap (hey, more leg room!). His response was a puffing "No. Why should I?" No skin off my back, really - for me, it's more relaxing to sit away from the kid since his ears pop when the plane descends and he cries. No skin off my wife either - she knows how to take care of my son alone.

But my point is, a simple "no, I would prefer my seat" would have been understood and ended the conversation. We didn't want to intrude, but I felt it was best for all of our comforts for me to make an effort. We don't have to sit together, but we would prefer to be together in case I am needed, even it's to talk to just pass the time. He doesn't have to move, but I figured that he might want a C+ seat instead of sitting next to a potentially-crying kid.

After the flight, my wife was telling me that when my son needed to go to the bathroom and when he said to the guy "excuse me, sir, I need to go make pee pee," he gave him a dirty look. Why? I'm just not sure how we evolved into this mentality. There is no way anyone's day can be THAT bad!
I'd have jumped at a seat change.
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Old Mar 22, 16, 11:27 pm
  #786  
 
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Accidents happen

Delete

Last edited by jtjackson; Mar 29, 16 at 6:19 pm Reason: Delete
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Old Mar 23, 16, 2:39 pm
  #787  
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Originally Posted by jtjackson View Post
About twenty years ago, I got hung up at outbound immigration and just made my 7am flight BKK-NRT (on NWA) only to find a young french guy in my (business class) seat. I asked him to let me have my seat. I was coming off an all nighter after a hard week trying to close a deal, so I probably wasn't overly friendly. He insisted that it was now his seat, I was too late, he needed to get up a lot, - on and on. Luckily, the FA was right behind me and she made him move to the window (we were in a 2 seat section next to the galley). I thought situation was settled.

Just before takeoff, I set my book on the armrest while I put my laptop in the seat back pocket. He knocked the book to the floor.

OK. Maybe it was an accident. So, a few minutes later, I put my book there again and he immediately knocked down again. He said "oh, an accident". I asked him if he was going to do that the whole flight. He said "not if you give me back my seat" (meaning my seat). I pointed out that there were other empty seats if he didn't like the one he was in. (There were empty seats in the section - just no more aisles). He just gave me the evil eye.

After climb out, FAs handed out water bottles. He knocked mine off my tray table! "Oh, an accident". Then he demanded I get up to he could go to the lav. He made a point of trying to push past me after I stood to let him out (I was twice his size - almost comical).

And he left his water bottle on the armrest between our seats.

As he was walking away, I decided I wasn't going to spend the next six hours putting up with him, so as I was sitting down, his water bottle had an "accident" onto his seat. Funny thing -those old NWA seats were "cupped" and well padded, so they would hold the contents a water bottle (who knew?).

When the guy came back, I stood to let him in. He sat down without looking and immediately started yelling and swearing and threatening me (in two languages, at the same time). It was all I could do to keep a straight face. The FA came over and the guy was so upset she couldn't understand him (he was demanding she make me switch seats, but she didn't understand Frenglish). He was so loud that the purser came and motioned me into the galley to find out what was going on.

I told her about the poached seat and his "accidents" (maybe not ALL the details of all of the accidents...). I said I didn't really would prefer no to sit with him in his agitated condition - so if she wanted to give him my seat it would be OK to move me somewhere else. I guess I was feeling a little guilty. I thought she would ask me to move to a seat further back in the plane.

She thanked me for my cooperation, told the FA to give the guy my seat. She then asked me to grab my bag and follow her, which I did - right into an empty first class seat.

As we were preparing to land, she came by and thanked me again for being so cooperative (!) and gave me vouchers for several thousand miles! (Frankly, I was a little embarrassed, but I took them anyway).

These passive-aggressive types are all too common. What they tend to forget, especially the ones that make a point of getting up to the lav every 20 minutes after being kicked out of your aisle seat, is that they are leaving themselves vulnerable. They leave their stuff in the seat, or in their underseat bags. You could do all manner of things they may not discover until later, and will never be able to prove. What's to stop me from breaking open a pen and smearing the ink inside their purse or on their seat? How about simply stomping on their bag, crushing everything? Or spilling a nice cup of coffee in their purse?

The worst I ever did to an aisle seat poacher after her 10th trip to the lav and after her constant abuse of the FA, was to put my ice cubes into her gucci purse.
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Old Mar 23, 16, 2:44 pm
  #788  
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Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
These passive-aggressive types are all too common. What they tend to forget, especially the ones that make a point of getting up to the lav every 20 minutes after being kicked out of your aisle seat, is that they are leaving themselves vulnerable. They leave their stuff in the seat, or in their underseat bags. You could do all manner of things they may not discover until later, and will never be able to prove. What's to stop me from breaking open a pen and smearing the ink inside their purse or on their seat? How about simply stomping on their bag, crushing everything? Or spilling a nice cup of coffee in their purse?

The worst I ever did to an aisle seat poacher after her 10th trip to the lav and after her constant abuse of the FA, was to put my ice cubes into her gucci purse.
Do people really leave their purses behind at their nonD1 seats when they go to the lavatory on a flight?
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Old Mar 23, 16, 4:40 pm
  #789  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Do people really leave their purses behind at their nonD1 seats when they go to the lavatory on a flight?
Absolutely they do.
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Old Mar 23, 16, 10:33 pm
  #790  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Do people really leave their purses behind at their nonD1 seats when they go to the lavatory on a flight?
Ah yes, the riff raff in coach are FAR more likely to steal from you but you can absolutely trust anyone in a premium cabin
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Old Mar 24, 16, 7:40 am
  #791  
 
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
Ah yes, the riff raff in coach are FAR more likely to steal from you but you can absolutely trust anyone in a premium cabin
I think MSP's point is that D1 seats are more protected than Y seats. It's very easy to subtly reach over and screw with someone's belongings in economy, but in a 1-2-1 J setup, you have to cross an aisle or stand up and reach over the center barrier to mess with your neighbor's belongings, which would draw the attention of the FAs and everyone else in D1.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 7:50 am
  #792  
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Originally Posted by BOSTransplant View Post
I think MSP's point is that D1 seats are more protected than Y seats. It's very easy to subtly reach over and screw with someone's belongings in economy, but in a 1-2-1 J setup, you have to cross an aisle or stand up and reach over the center barrier to mess with your neighbor's belongings, which would draw the attention of the FAs and everyone else in D1.
I'm in a 2-2 D1 configuration right now, so that doesn't always apply.

And you'd be amazed at how little attention people pay to each other unless the other person is trying to avoid attention.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 3:55 pm
  #793  
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I am the "jerk" who never swaps. I would swap for an upgrade, but I have never been offered one to swap. I hear stories of it happening here on FT but to me it never has.

I select my seat carefully, well in advance, and frequently with more money. I am not giving it up, short of a class upgrade. As such, I have won that desirable seat fair and square, and those who covet it have lost, fair and square. Wolves and sheep...

I simply do not care if you are separated from your companion, and I don't think having a companion gives you more entitlement than I have as a solo traveler. Nor does being a parent. Particularly with fully grown adults who should be able to withstand being separated from their companions for a few hours. But even with kids as part of the equation, the airline needs to sort it out and it's not my problem until the FA specifically asks that I vacate the seat. And even then I will resist a little and request that the purser or GA ask.

I don't care if it was a lack of foresight or a run of bad luck with the flights that separated you. It's not my problem and should not be made into my problem. I am sure someone else will be willing to swap.

We talk a lot about hypotheticals and unusual situations in seat swaps. Apologists for seat swappers will say things like "What if it's a 3 year old with Multiple sclerosis and a mom in a wheelchair??". But let's be honest here...the vast majority of swap requests and poaching is done by perfectly able bodied people who can only offer a less desireable middle seat further back, families who seriously expect to not only get upgraded together, but to get seats together as a result, people who simply like your seat better, and people who think they cannot be apart from their adult companions.

I would even go further and suggest that polite requests are rare. Most of the time it starts with barking commands such as "You are going to have to" or "You need to" or as in the case of poachers "sorry, I am sitting with my.."

Politely declined requests are infrequently met with similar politeness. Instead, it's typically an indignant response, accuastions of rudeness, or a scene.

So, I always say no.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 4:13 pm
  #794  
 
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Recently, I had an empty window seat next to me in FC, SJU-JFK. I moved over to the window for takeoff, and some guy then asked if he could take the aisle seat. I told him no, since I prefer the aisle seat. He didn't seem pleased, but I was assigned the aisle, and there was no way that I was giving up the rare pleasure of having an empty seat next to me. I sat in the aisle seat for most of the flight anyway.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 5:13 pm
  #795  
 
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Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
I am the "jerk" who never swaps. I would swap for an upgrade, but I have never been offered one to swap. I hear stories of it happening here on FT but to me it never has.

I select my seat carefully, well in advance, and frequently with more money. I am not giving it up, short of a class upgrade. As such, I have won that desirable seat fair and square, and those who covet it have lost, fair and square. Wolves and sheep...

I simply do not care if you are separated from your companion, and I don't think having a companion gives you more entitlement than I have as a solo traveler. Nor does being a parent. Particularly with fully grown adults who should be able to withstand being separated from their companions for a few hours. But even with kids as part of the equation, the airline needs to sort it out and it's not my problem until the FA specifically asks that I vacate the seat. And even then I will resist a little and request that the purser or GA ask.

I don't care if it was a lack of foresight or a run of bad luck with the flights that separated you. It's not my problem and should not be made into my problem. I am sure someone else will be willing to swap.

We talk a lot about hypotheticals and unusual situations in seat swaps. Apologists for seat swappers will say things like "What if it's a 3 year old with Multiple sclerosis and a mom in a wheelchair??". But let's be honest here...the vast majority of swap requests and poaching is done by perfectly able bodied people who can only offer a less desireable middle seat further back, families who seriously expect to not only get upgraded together, but to get seats together as a result, people who simply like your seat better, and people who think they cannot be apart from their adult companions.

I would even go further and suggest that polite requests are rare. Most of the time it starts with barking commands such as "You are going to have to" or "You need to" or as in the case of poachers "sorry, I am sitting with my.."

Politely declined requests are infrequently met with similar politeness. Instead, it's typically an indignant response, accuastions of rudeness, or a scene.

So, I always say no.

Good for you, feel better now that you've made your public declaration? FWIW, I have no issue with your position - it's your seat and you're free to do with it as you wish. The fact that you're compelled to publish a manifesto explaining your position is a bit strange however...
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