A Travel Expert Explained If a Solo Passenger Should Move Seats on a Plane So a Family Can Sit Together

8 months ago

A TikTok video has taken the internet by storm as it sparked a heated discussion on plane etiquette. In the viral clip, a solo traveler shares how they found a mother of two already occupying the window seat assigned to them. This scenario has triggered a significant debate among travel experts, who are now weighing in on whether a lone flyer should move to accommodate a family on the plane.

How can you prevent this situation?

I booked and paid extra for my seat in advance your child and your lack of planing is not my responsability


In an interview, travel expert Nicole Campoy Jackson commented on what happened in the viral TikTok clip, where the lone flyer refused to give up her window seat to accomodate 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 said.

She also gave general advice on what to do in a similar situation, starting with how to avoid it from happening. “As much as it’s possible, passengers should be choosing their seats ahead of time for this exact reason,” she advised. “I don’t think that you can board a plane with the expectation of someone leaving their seat for you.”

Is anyone entitled to special treatment?

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

The expert made sure to explain whose responsibility it is in case conflict arises due to the refusal to switch seats. According to her, the responsibility of providing customer service for the family and handling seat conflicts lies primarily with the airline and flight attendants. "It"s no longer that one passenger’s responsibility," when they decline to switch seats; instead, the airline staff should step in to find a suitable resolution.

Traveling tends to be a complex experience, wherever you might end up going to. Staying in hotels can also be a source of anxiety or frustation. However, there are a few useful hotel hacks that can boost your travel experience.

Preview photo credit Alexander Schimmeck / Unsplash


Get notifications

If I reserve an aisle or window seat in advance, I am not willing to switch into an inferior seat to accommodate your lack of advance planning. I have run across far too many people who assume they can bully me out of my reserved seat. Don't expect me to squeeze into a cramped center seat just so you can be near your companion.