A Travel Expert Answers Whether Solo Passengers Should Swap Seats on a Plane to Allow a Family to Sit Together

5 months ago

A TikTok video is causing a buzz online as it ignites a lively conversation about airplane etiquette. In the widely circulated clip, a solo traveler recounts their experience of discovering a mother with two children seated in the window seat designated for them. This incident has sparked a substantial debate within the travel community, with experts now offering their perspectives on whether a lone flyer should relocate to accommodate a family during a flight.

How can you avoid such situations?

In an interview, Nicole Campoy Jackson, a travel expert, shared her perspective on the viral TikTok clip where a solo traveler declined to relinquish her window seat for a family. “In this particular case, I understand why she didn’t want to move. A window seat, especially one pre-booked as such, is very much not the same thing as a middle seat,” Jackson commented.

She also provided general advice on handling a similar situation, beginning with preventive measures. “As much as it’s possible, passengers should be choosing their seats ahead of time for this exact reason,” she recommended. “I don’t think that you can board a plane with the expectation of someone leaving their seat for you.”

Does anyone have a right to receive special treatment?

“Generally speaking, don’t board a plane expecting passengers to shift for you, especially if your seat is not as comfortable as (or more than) theirs,” Jackson cautioned.

The expert took care to clarify who holds the responsibility when conflicts arise from the refusal to swap seats. She emphasized that the primary responsibility for providing customer service to the family and managing seat conflicts lies with the airline and its flight attendants. "It’s no longer the sole responsibility of the passenger who declines to switch seats; instead, the airline staff should step in to find a suitable resolution.

Traveling is often a complex experience, regardless of your destination. Staying in hotels can also be a source of anxiety or frustration. Nevertheless, there are several useful hotel hacks that can enhance your overall travel experience.

Preview photo credit Paul Hanaoka / Unsplash


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