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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 Feb 18, 17, 6:53 am
  #826  
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No, I do not get annoyed and it is not a pet peeve. That is because it is perfectly fine to ask another passenger to switch seats. It is just fine to say "no".

I don't pay attention to tone or any of that silliness because it is irrelevant. Sometimes if you listen, you can do a lot better. Sometimes, it doesn't matter, e.g. swapping aisle seats and sometimes it is for the worse. But, only you know what is "better" and "worse" so you be the judge.

I also don't make up immature retorts to people who ask. If someone asks me and the answer is "no" I respond, "no thanks" and that is the end of it. It doesn't matter whether the seat assignment is based on my winning lottery number, it was paid for, I have a bad back, or whatever. That is all my business.

Conversely, if you board and someone is in your seat and a polite, "I think that you are in my seat" does not achieve it's purpose, the next move is to have the crew handle it. The goal here is to get your seat, not win the seat war.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 6:57 am
  #827  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
She's lucky she was allowed to fly after the FA witnessed her tantrum.
I thought so too.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 6:58 am
  #828  
 
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Originally Posted by goodml View Post
On a one hour flight from ORD to DTW my sister and I boarded to find a woman in my aisle seat. ... I put my noise cancelling head phones on and shut my eyes. My sister said she drove her crazy the whole time.
I would have done exactly the same as you. And although I'm usually not amenable to seat swap requests, if asked nicely in advance by someone not already sitting in my seat I would probably have agreed to it for this short a flight, but the way she went about it -- no way.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 7:02 am
  #829  
 
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Duplicate due to thread merge.

Last edited by goodml; Feb 18, 17 at 7:51 pm
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Old Feb 18, 17, 7:32 am
  #830  
 
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About eight years ago, flying the first leg of an Asian trip, ATL-LAX, I'm in 6C, settled in after boarding, when a gentleman gets on the plane and tells me I'm in his seat, 6D. In my firmest voice, I told him he was in the window seat. He insisted, so I showed him the picture above his head and explained to him that his seat was next to the window, but I was happy to get up so he could get to his window seat. While he was getting into the seat, I had a glint of recognition... He tries to be nice, after all we will be sitting next to each other for the next six hours. To break the ice, he asks, "What kind of work to do you?" I say, "I work for an insurance company. You?" Him, "I am a professional boxer." Me, "Umm, so you are Evander Holyfield?" Him, "Yes."

Point: I am willing to pick a fight with a world heavyweight champion over seat poaching.

PS: He may be the greatest person I've ever met. I'm not a fights fan, but wow, just wow, does he understand himself. He was fascinating.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 7:52 am
  #831  
 
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Put me in the side that says if the request is polite and the swapped seat is equivalent then I have no problem helping out a couple who couldn't select adjacent seats because of when they booked.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 8:42 am
  #832  
 
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Since my wife and I have often tried to switch seats (though it has probably been over 2 years since the last time), I'll be understanding. When we got upgrades sometimes it would not be next to each other. We always asked politely and were able to get someone to switch (easier with no middle seat).

But if someone is in my seat and tries to insist they want the seat, I don't have tolerance for the "entitlement" they feel. If they don't immediately move, I'll let the FA take care of it.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 10:55 am
  #833  
 
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Originally Posted by CJKatl View Post
About eight years ago, flying the first leg of an Asian trip, ATL-LAX, I'm in 6C, settled in after boarding, when a gentleman gets on the plane and tells me I'm in his seat, 6D. In my firmest voice, I told him he was in the window seat. He insisted, so I showed him the picture above his head and explained to him that his seat was next to the window, but I was happy to get up so he could get to his window seat. While he was getting into the seat, I had a glint of recognition... He tries to be nice, after all we will be sitting next to each other for the next six hours. To break the ice, he asks, "What kind of work to do you?" I say, "I work for an insurance company. You?" Him, "I am a professional boxer." Me, "Umm, so you are Evander Holyfield?" Him, "Yes."

Point: I am willing to pick a fight with a world heavyweight champion over seat poaching.

PS: He may be the greatest person I've ever met. I'm not a fights fan, but wow, just wow, does he understand himself. He was fascinating.
Great story!
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Old Feb 18, 17, 11:39 am
  #834  
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Originally Posted by vincentharris View Post
I am so tired of having to accommodate people because they do not know how to plan properly.
when have you ever been forced to accommodate someone else?

Originally Posted by vincentharris View Post
I really wish airlines would take a hard line and not allow it period.
holy moly

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post

WSTBST = want seats together buy seats together
obviously this is quite frequently not possible

Last edited by Canarsie; Feb 21, 17 at 11:30 am Reason: Consolidation.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 12:03 pm
  #835  
 
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Agree with polite requests to swap if equivalent seats. But be sure you're in your correct seat before you say no. From personal experience. Embarrassing.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 12:19 pm
  #836  
 
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
I've both accepted and rejected seat swap requests. I've also asked to swap with someone and have had it go both ways. I firmly believe in that you should offer the person you're asking to swap the better seat. But what I'm tired of reading about seat swap rant threads is "you should have planned ahead". IROPS happen. Last minute bookings due to emergencies or whatever happen. Equipment swaps happen. Even planning ahead only accounts for so much when so many seats are blocked off to non-elites. You shouldn't have to feel guilty about declining a seat swap (or be guilted in to accepting one) but stop using the "you should have planned ahead" line to somehow ease or suppress your guilt about it because for more people than not it probably has less to do with "not planning ahead".
When people wind up with separated seats, I wish they would just accept that's their luck and accept it unless there is a really good reason to need seats together, such as traveling with a small child. Not just want seats together but NEED seats together. It imposing on people to ask them to change seats and putting them on the spot. If you refuse, you are the bad guy. If you don't refuse and wind up with a lesser seat, you feel like a chump.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 12:23 pm
  #837  
 
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If asked politely and I am getting a comparable or better seat then I am totally fine with moving.

Once was on an intra-Europe flight on Air France in "J" and I specifically had chosen my seat because the position of the bulkhead meant I had extra legroom versus the seat the other person wanted. Plus the guy was nasty about it so no dice.

Different story on JetBlue when I had a standard coach aisle seat and was asked if I would move to the standard coach aisle seat a few rows ahead. From my seat I could not see precisely the overhead bin space by the new seat. Not only did the Flight Attendant say there was enough space, she went up the aisle so that nobody would take the space before I had an opportunity to move my bag. In that case, absolutely I would move.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 1:53 pm
  #838  
 
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It's always entertaining when it becomes an issue and an FA requests everyone take their original seats claiming it's necessary for weight and balance. In fact, I've heard an FA say this within the past week. Most of us choose our seats online. A 350 pound person has the same ability to choose a particular seat as a 45 pound child (assuming equal status and access to the seat) and the system has no way of knowing the weight of the selector, so how could weight and balance be impacted by moving seats?
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Old Feb 18, 17, 2:02 pm
  #839  
 
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I'm in the if polite and equal or better I am fine. Demanding it... I'm not moving. IE taking my seat and then recommending I move...
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Old Feb 18, 17, 2:10 pm
  #840  
 
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
When people wind up with separated seats, I wish they would just accept that's their luck and accept it unless there is a really good reason to need seats together, such as traveling with a small child. Not just want seats together but NEED seats together. It imposing on people to ask them to change seats and putting them on the spot. If you refuse, you are the bad guy. If you don't refuse and wind up with a lesser seat, you feel like a chump.
I don't disagree. I just wish people would admit that it's about "no thanks - I prefer my preferences over yours; tough luck for you" but reverting to "you should have planned ahead" makes them feel that they look less selfish to others. Sometimes it's a no-win situation. Parent with a small child (toddler - old enough for their own seat by law but not old enough to be able to sit by themselves) gets split up due to IROPS or whatever. Both have middle seats. What's the right call on the seat swap?

Originally Posted by CJKatl View Post
It's always entertaining when it becomes an issue and an FA requests everyone take their original seats claiming it's necessary for weight and balance. In fact, I've heard an FA say this within the past week. Most of us choose our seats online. A 350 pound person has the same ability to choose a particular seat as a 45 pound child (assuming equal status and access to the seat) and the system has no way of knowing the weight of the selector, so how could weight and balance be impacted by moving seats?
Part of the reason the FA is saying it is to play to the advantage of the ignorance of much of the public with "well I don't fully understand that it guess I better comply with this aircrew member who knows what they're talking about because it sounds serious".
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