Man Refused to Switch Seats for Elderly Couple on a 12-Hour Flight Because He ‘Paid Extra to Sit There’

A man sparked online debate by revealing that he refused to give up his plane seats for an elderly couple after paying for an upgrade.

Taking to Reddit’s AITA forum, an unnamed man said a few years ago, he and his partner planned a 3-month trip to around the world. For a 12-hour flight from New Zealand to Los Angeles, he booked premium seats as he needed more leg room because he is 6’3’’ tall.

“Saw a few plane seat related posts so I thought I would add my story,” the Redditor wrote. “Few years ago my SO and I planned a 3 month trip around the world. Our first flight was from New Zealand-LA. 12-13 hours. We booked and paid for our flights and I added the premium economy seats as I’m 6’3 and wanted the extra leg room. Cost an extra $60.”

However, when he reached his seats on the plane, he and his significant other found an elderly couple in their mid-70s sitting in their seats.

“This flight was with Air New Zealand, the screen has your name on it when you get to your seat. “Welcome churtothechur” We get on the plane. Find our seats and there is this older couple sitting there (mid 70s). I ask them if they got confused with their seat numbers. They hadn’t.”

The couple then asked the man and his partner to sit in their seats which were ten rows back and with no leg room.

“I show them my ticket and seat number abd point to my name on the screen. They then ask me just sit in their seats which was 10 rows back. No leg room.”

The man explained their conversation:

Me: “you want me to sit in your seats?”

Old people: “yes that would be nice thank you”

Me: “I paid extra for these seats and would like to sit in them. Please move to your seats.”

Old People: “oh it’s not that bad there’s plenty or leg room.”

Me: “yeah there’s plenty of leg room in my seats because I paid for it. I’ll help move your bag if you need.”

He said then the flight attendant came to ask what happened as the line of passengers trying to get to their seats was getting too long.

OP: “this man wants us to move seats!”

FA: “sir please go to your allocated seats.”

Me: “here is my ticket, these people are sitting in my seats. I paid extra because I need to leg room.”

FA to old people: “excuse me, you will have to move to your own seats as you have not paid for these seats.”

Old people: “well can we please have an upgrade?”

FA: “sorry this is a full flight so that’s not possible.”

Old people: “Pikachu face.”

The man then concluded his post by saying he got some stinky eyes from other people on the flight but since he paid extra for the leg room, he needed his seats.

The post received over 2000 comments from fellow Redditors and the comment section was filled with different opinions.

“This isn’t a 2 hour flight where you buck up for the good of old people, which is still not right given the social experience that is flying – I wouldn’t care if it was a 2 hour flight there is still the principle of the matter, but I may cave depending on my mood. 12-13 hours is no joke though – there is no giving in. You move those people or the plane doesn’t take off!” one wrote.

“You’re definitely not the asshole – those people are. Their entitlement and lack of self reflection is truly astounding in the worst ways,” a second said.

“Health is irrelevant. You get what you pay for, not what people deem as acceptable based on your age. Those old people knew what they were doing,” added another.

Share Your Thoughts:

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Reddit

  1. I’m a 76 years old senior citizen, and it would be unexcusable to take a premium economy seat in an airplane, which belongs to another passenger who paid extra cash.

    1. It wouldn’t matter whether I paid extra for the seat or not. It was an assigned seat that I picked. Not moving. I will pick a particular seat, because of my desires.

      1. Since you put it that way, it wouldn’t matter what you paid for, I would slap you and send you away because of MY desires.

        1. You are just an ignorant and selfish individual. You don’t have the right to occupy seats that have been booked and paid a premium for by another traveller. Move your fat arse to the seat(s) you were allocated.

  2. I’m sorry just because that couple is older does not give them the right to sit in seats that they did not pay for. If they wanted the comfort seats pay for them. That’s it !

  3. i agree we try our hardest to be more understanding to elderly people, but that was taking advantage of the situation dont expect everyone to cave just because they are old those seats are more than when u booked ur seats originally the elderly couple should have booked the more expensive seats and paid for them. This elderly couple took advantage, coz of their age and thats not right at all. That couple paid for cheaper seats so they should go to their paid seats just like everyone else does.

  4. It sounds like they have done this before. As they said the seats were good. Then go sit in your seat. If I pay for upgrade or first class? Don’t think you are going to get my seat. Should of bought what u wanted

  5. I’m very kind and understanding towards everyone I come into contact with, especially seniors. I would have asked them to move too , this man planned ahead of time , just like I do when I travel, I pay extra so I am comfortable.
    He did nothing wrong here.

  6. They way they did it, I.e., just sat where they wanted, was selfish, inconsiderate, and trying to steal that couples seats. Inexcusable.

  7. Well if That was me I would of done the same just Because you’re old doesn’t give you the right to think everything is Handed on A Platter you sit in the seat you were given not take someone’s else’s seat good on ya mate for not giving in

  8. Well if That was me I would of done the same just Because you’re old doesn’t give you the right to think everything is Handed on A Platter you sit in the seat you were given not take someone’s else’s seat good on ya mate for not giving in to Them

  9. I am surprised to know that these elderly people who are supposed to teach us principles and values are teaching younger generation how to take advantage of their old age. Why will this man compromise after paying extra? These old people knew they wete tall and it seems they are pretty aware of this fact of extra payment for spacious seats, so how could they ask this man to adjust?

  10. I’m 6′ 6″ and it’s no joke flying. I always try to upgrade when possible. I’ve taken a 15-hour flight without being able to upgrade, and it was torture. I would have stood my ground too.
    Obviously, this older man was being dishonest. If the seats weren’t that bad he would have been sitting in them.

  11. I agree with the passenger who expected to sit in the seat he paid for. It has nothing to do with lacking compassion or being disrespectful. The older couple, in my opinion, was totally out of line. They knowlingly sat in premium seats that belonged to someone else. I would have requested they move as well.

  12. Depending on my mood, I would have probsbly given them a deal. Cost + inconvenience tax = amount payable.
    I doubt it they would have been ready to pay up for the extra cost also the guy paid for his extra legroom seat.

    1. Why? They had the option for extra legroom when they booked the flight and they didn’t.. they are old , not senile

  13. I’ve also noticed elderly people sitting in the exit rows who are clearly too frail to open the emergency exits and assist other passengers to exit during an emergency. One older gent- who was not particularly frail appearing bragged to me how he loves these seats for the extra leg room because he recently had knee replacement and it’s still difficult and painful to bend his knee. 🤨

    1. Having had two knee replacements, I understand why he purchased that particular seat. He paid for it, so there should be no complaint, same as with the man in this story.

    2. Unless the plane is crashing right at the end of the runway (taking off or landing or at VERY low altitude), the frail person sitting next to the emergency exit is not a huge problem. If an emergency arises during flight, it will be fairly easy to swop places with someone young and strong and capable of releasing the door. It’s been done in actual emergencies with little to no hassle.
      I can recommend Mentour Pilot on youtube for such stories as he is an active duty airline pilot and very knowledgeable on air disasters and emergency procedures and the like. And he also have some pretty interesting stories on passengers going ape and acting all entitled to all kinds of insane things and the consequences they risk in doing so.

  14. As a 65+ male of heroic proportions, when I fly, which is not often, I pay for First Class. If I were to board a plane and find someone from Economy sitting in my seats, I damn sure will not allow it. I buy First Class because of the seat size, don’t really care about the other amenities. If necessary, I would employ a FA to help move the interlopers.

  15. Regardless of age all passengers know already their respective seats after they paid their flights. And all knows there is extra pay if bigger leg rooms and there is a valid reason why a passenger chose a bigger leg room. Don’t use your age to abuse other people.

  16. Once had that on a Virgin flight sat in my seat and an elderly lady stood in front of me demanding I move.. Showed her the ticket snap same seat number.. She stormed off and brought a flight attendant back who took both tickets after a couple of minutes she returned asked me to collect my stuff and follow her ended up in premier class in her seat.. Result

  17. I see so many are upset about the story about an airplane seat. Yet, there are millions in the US who help themselves to YOUR money, e.g. illegal immigrants, people who pretend to be sick and receive welfare, etc. But no one complains.

    1. Stay on point. Don’t say asinine things. Undocumented persons do not qualify to receive benefits here and getting on welfare isn’t that easy. Staying on it can be even more difficult. None of that is remotely related to the subject at hand

  18. Generosity is not forced. It is within the prerogative of the ticket owner to give-up what he paid for or not. Nothing wrong with what the man did.

  19. The key here is that was a very long flight. If it wasn’t and the old people mistakenly sat in the wrong seats then it might be nice to let them stay in the wrong seats. They deliberately sat in the better seats hoping to get away with it. The airline also needs to know where every passenger is seated so that is also why people have to ask to be moved to better seats if possible. Ultimately, there should be better leg room for all seats. Considering how costly tickets have become, every passenger has a right to a reasonably comfortable seat for every trip.

  20. I’m 6’4″ and I remember a particular transatlantic flight, I paid extra for the emergency seats, and had to move to a normal place because of drunk people next to me. I got like a 120$ credit but the flight was horrible. I mean, your knees, ankles, feet, everywhere hurts if you’re too tall cramped into a too small space.

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