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Empty Seat Row Courtesy  
User currently offlineMeridianBUF From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 68 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5156 times:

What is the unwritten rule if you get lucky and find yourself with an empty seat row in coach?

I assumed that, after doors close, and you have a row all to yourself, it's courtesy of the other passengers to allow you to keep the whole row so you can sleep and stretch. Since, if they get lucky, same rule would apply. It's just luck. However, there is no harm in asking, but if the answer is no, it's understandable. First come first serve right?

Reason for asking, is that 1.5 hours into a flight, a fellow passenger decided to sit on the opposite aisle seat of my row (middle row of 777 , 3-3-3). I was quick enough to stop the individual from just sitting down without asking, and politely said I was planning to sleep that night (12 hour flight). The individual was very demanding that I give up my seat, and said numerous times that I was very rude for not doing so. He/She gave up after about five minutes with me leaning over all seats and physically blocking the seat he/she wanted to sit in.

I was being courteous, and addressed the individual politely and formally but firmly. Individual was in his/her 60's, I am in my 20's.

I had just finished the meal and was watching a movie, and was planning to get a good nights sleep.

Plane was about 1/2 empty, and the individual really insisted on my row instead of another one. No one else noticed the slight altercation and no FA ever came by even though the individual threatened to call an FA.

Your thoughts?

44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCRJ200FAGuy From United States of America, joined May 2007, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

Simple solution, if you notice you are going to have an empty row sit in the middle. No one will ever take the aisle seat. I've done it before and it works well. As an FA, I would be annoyed if they came and got me. I'd just ask to see their boarding pass and make them move to their old seat.

User currently offlinejbrusnak From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5099 times:

Personally, I think you were in the wrong here. Sure you were lucky in that you ended up in an empty row. But you paid for one seat and were asking for three. It sounds like the other guy most likely moved from a full row (maybe a middle seat?) to one with some extra room, but he was still only needing one seat.

The guy who moved most likely would be making things more comfortable for the two remaining people in his row, so you're talking about three people being more comfortable on a long haul rather than just yourself. So you basically were suggesting that three other people should be miserable so you could have an awesome flight. Luck or not, that seems selfish to me.

Not to mention...If it were me, I'd definitely want someone in their 60's on such a long flight to be a little more comfortable vs someone who is young and in their 20's. But that's just the way I was raised, to respect my elders and all that "nonsense" that younger people never learned.

Jeremy


User currently offlinelxmd11 From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 149 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5043 times:

Sounds like the guy thought because he was older than you, you shouldnt tell him no. I'm 14 so i get that A LOT. The seat was yours and you said no and he should have left (or paid extra for buisiness class) First come first serve.

User currently offline777STL From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3610 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4978 times:

Quoting lxmd11 (Reply 3):
Sounds like the guy thought because he was older than you, you shouldnt tell him no. I'm 14 so i get that A LOT. The seat was yours and you said no and he should have left (or paid extra for buisiness class) First come first serve.

No. All three of those seats certainly weren't his. The other pax had just as much of a right to one of those seats as he did.

Anyway, you're lucky that wasn't me. I would have sat down anyway and told you to piss off. You didn't have a claim on those seats.



PHX based
User currently offlineATTart From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 638 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

Quoting lxmd11 (Reply 3):
Sounds like the guy thought because he was older than you, you shouldnt tell him no. I'm 14 so i get that A LOT. The seat was yours and you said no and he should have left (or paid extra for buisiness class) First come first serve.

It does not work that way, first come first serve is not how it works. But considering the plane was half full and there were other rows available then OP did have right ask the person to look for another row. But if the plane is full and the OP was demanding the whole row to himself then no he cannot claim the whole row for himself.



Remember: When someone talks behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead of them!
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21507 posts, RR: 60
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4966 times:

Quoting jbrusnak (Reply 2):
Personally, I think you were in the wrong here. Sure you were lucky in that you ended up in an empty row. But you paid for one seat and were asking for three. It sounds like the other guy most likely moved from a full row (maybe a middle seat?) to one with some extra room, but he was still only needing one seat.

Did you read? The plane was 1/2 empty. He could have found another seat with nobody next to him, but even after being asked to do so, thought he was entitled to move to this specific seat, just because he had chosen to do so.

In theory, both people were only assured the seat they were assigned. This guy has no more right to move to an empty seat than the OP has to sleep in 3.

But I agree with CRJ200 - move to the middle until you are ready to sleep. Nobody will come sit next to you, as they are not upgrading their position. Further, place items in the other seats, like your carry on and books and such.

As for the unwritten rule: I've always been under the impression that if you don't move right when the doors close, you really can't expect to ever move. Caveat is if there is a completely empty row at a later time...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlinejlbmedia From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4870 times:
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I have to vote against you also. My experience is that after things settle down on a plane with open seats, the cabin tends to even out. By that I mean people in full rows disperse through out the empty rows, or rows with only one person. You only paid for 1 seat, if you end up with 1 1/2 seats (of a 3 seat row) call it a win......


JLB54061
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5421 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4776 times:

Bogarting a whole row while others are being sqeezed isn't cool. Sitting in the middle seat is a transparent move that everybody knows. Nobody, absolutely nobody actively chooses a middle seat so everybody knows that either the window or aisle seat is free. I've seen the middle thing backfire because an aisle or a window seat is a way better deal than a middle seat anytime.

Before the doors close, I will sometimes ask the flight attendant to move if it looks like the plane will have empty seats. This puts me ahead of the game one the doors close. A polite request to the fa will almost always trump someone being greedy with a whole row.



What the...?
User currently offlinerolfen From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 1807 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4770 times:

I never had my seat on an empty row, but on empty flights, I often roam the aircraft, looking for empty rows to conquer.
The longest flight I took was Athens-Montreal on an A330 or 340 (not sure) and the last middle row before the lavatories was empty, so I tried to sleep there, but the sound of the always busy lavatory doors and the smells were awful, soon I came back to my seat.
I would never ask a fellow passenger to move, unless he is occupying the seat that was assigned to me.
I think people in general are not very courteous on aircrafts, as space is a limited resources and people realise that... I once very politely asked a guy if he was willing to swap seats with me (forgot the exact reason, it might have even be something else I was asking) but I still remember him smiling and saying "no!"  
This thread touches the only thing that I dont like about flying.



rolf
User currently offlineUSFlyer MSP From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4722 times:

i think you were way out of line. i would have sat there anyway, in the middle seat, just to spite you.

User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets87 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4676 times:

Quoting lxmd11 (Reply 3):
The seat was yours and you said no and he should have left (or paid extra for buisiness class) First come first serve.

If the OP wanted more space, then he should have bought a business class ticket as well. It's a 2 way street. If there were other completely empty rows, then yes, the guy could or should have just moved to one of those. If there wasn't, then the OP would be in the wrong. The only difference between the OP and the guy he blocked is how far they had to move to get extra space that they didn't initially pay for. If the OP paid for 42A, well he really only has claim over 42A, even if 42B and C are empty. If 42B and 42C are vacant when the door closes, then they're a free for all.

I was a flight to Germany that was supposed to be pretty full but due to weather, a lot of passengers miss-connected. The plane was barely half full in Y. So some of us got lucky and did have the seat next to open or even a whole row of 3. Should we have told other passengers they couldn't move because we got lucky and they didn't?

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 8):
Before the doors close, I will sometimes ask the flight attendant to move if it looks like the plane will have empty seats. This puts me ahead of the game one the doors close. A polite request to the fa will almost always trump someone being greedy with a whole row.

  
But it's also nice to ask from a safety standpoint (weight & balance/stability & control). Not so much an issue on the 777, but on a CRJ it can be - at least during takeoff and landing. Not so much a big deal at cruise though.

Quoting jlbmedia (Reply 7):
By that I mean people in full rows disperse through out the empty rows, or rows with only one person. You only paid for 1 seat, if you end up with 1 1/2 seats (of a 3 seat row) call it a win......

  
It wasn't like this guy was moving into the seat right next to him (say, the A/B seat on a 767). He still had plenty of room to stretch out.


User currently offlineflood From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1381 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4661 times:

Quoting USFlyer MSP (Reply 10):
i think you were way out of line.

  

Besides, the individual was estimated to be in their 60s. That's no spring chicken. The OP, on the other hand, is in his 20s! Telling a 60+ year old to beat it just so someone in their 20's can spread out over three seats and catch some sleep? Something's not right there.

[Edited 2010-02-25 19:41:17]

User currently offlinedarthluke12694 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4547 times:

In my opinion, I think you were wrong. Taking up 3 seats so you can be comfortable, and totally ignoring an elderly person to sit near you, causing them to be possibly miserable during the flight. How much room do you need? You would still have one seat in between both of you!

Yes, technically you could go back to saying, the seat you buy is the seat you sit in, and technically you were right, BUT it also brings the point where you were taking advantage of 2 seats you didn't pay for, so you aren't really any better than the elderly person.

The point is you should of let him/her sit there. It would of been the courteous thing to do, and you would still have a seat between you, and still be comfortable. Wouldn't you want the same thing happen to you?


User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 951 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4484 times:

Quoting jbrusnak (Reply 2):
Personally, I think you were in the wrong here. Sure you were lucky in that you ended up in an empty row. But you paid for one seat and were asking for three. It sounds like the other guy most likely moved from a full row (maybe a middle seat?) to one with some extra room, but he was still only needing one seat.

The guy who moved most likely would be making things more comfortable for the two remaining people in his row, so you're talking about three people being more comfortable on a long haul rather than just yourself. So you basically were suggesting that three other people should be miserable so you could have an awesome flight. Luck or not, that seems selfish to me.

Not to mention...If it were me, I'd definitely want someone in their 60's on such a long flight to be a little more comfortable vs someone who is young and in their 20's. But that's just the way I was raised, to respect my elders and all that "nonsense" that younger people never learned.

exactly right. I was raised to give up my public bus seat for an elderly pax and would definately not agrue to keep the whole row to myself. With the middle seat empty you were still better off than people with full rows.


User currently offlinefiscal From Australia, joined Oct 2009, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4382 times:

This incident reminded me of a a330 flight I took recently from Sydney to Perth. It was only 5hours long, but I was allocated to an aisle seat in the middle seats(H). The seat to my left was empty and an elderly couple were in the other two seats.

Shortly after take off the elderly gentleman moved to sit next to me (From E to F). Now, having secured two arm rests on take off, I was not about to give up my left arm rest, which makes economy travel a bit more bearable. However, he tried as hard as he could to make me as uncomfortable as possible, by moving himself against me and constantly shifting his position, until he finally gave up and moved back to his wife.

But back to the OP. I think it is a case of first come first served, except that he failed to place items in the two vacant seats, so as to give no indication that the seat was "taken". In that case, the older gent may also have a claim.


User currently offlineATTart From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 638 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4344 times:

Quoting fiscal (Reply 15):
But back to the OP. I think it is a case of first come first served,

On the OP's flight and if there were other rows available yes that me be the case. But if it is a full flight, then no it is not first come first serve.

[Edited 2010-02-25 20:45:02]


Remember: When someone talks behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead of them!
User currently offlineMoltenRock From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4318 times:

If other passengers are sitting butts to nuts and you have a whole row, you're being self involved to an extreme level. Having one open seat in between you two is a huge win, when other's are sitting crammed in some rows, including middle seats.

Put the shoe on the other foot, and say you had some fat sweaty guy on one side of you, and chatty Kathy on the other side, wedging you in and some guy with an entire empty row takes issue with only having to seats to spread out over? Would you be pissed?


User currently offlinefiscal From Australia, joined Oct 2009, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4268 times:

Quoting ATTart (Reply 16):
On the OP's flight and if there were other rows available yes that me be the case. But if it is a full flight, then no it is not first come first serve.

I think you make a fair assumption - but I based my response on that basis that it was a half empty flight. Again without full particulars it is hard for any of us to make other than a general response.


User currently offlineATTart From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 638 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4233 times:

Quoting fiscal (Reply 18):
I think you make a fair assumption - but I based my response on that basis that it was a half empty flight. Again without full particulars it is hard for any of us to make other than a general response.

I am seeing it as a crew member. I have had this happen on more than one occasions flight I have worked. It there are other rows open then yes a person can lay claim to a full row. But it there is not and a single person is the only one with a whole row to themselves and they did not pay for all of those seats. Then no they cannot lay claim to the whole row.

But you are right I do not know the full particulars on OP's flight.      



Remember: When someone talks behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead of them!
User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 891 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4183 times:

I'd probably ignore you and sit down anyways. You paid for 1 seat, not 3, and you are still going to be comfortable with a sit in between you.

As I flight attendant I would probably tell you the same thing. Let the cabin even out and everyone will be comfortable. If you want a lie-flat seat pay for business class.


User currently offlineAA61Hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 21, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4160 times:

Quoting darthluke12694 (Reply 13):
elderly person

Since when was someone in their 60's elderly?



Go big or go home
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5504 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4157 times:

Quoting MeridianBUF (Thread starter):
That is the unwritten rule if you get lucky and find yourself with an empty seat row in coach?
.....

First come first serve right?

Nope.

Quoting MeridianBUF (Thread starter):
about five minutes with me leaning over all seats and physically blocking the seat

You're kidding right? Blocking, looming over all the seats? And you call that:

Quoting MeridianBUF (Thread starter):
politely

Really? That's your idea of being polite? (I realize that you were commenting that you were speaking politely but to think that actions can be far from the speech is a stretch.)

Quoting lxmd11 (Reply 3):
Sounds like the guy thought because he was older than you, you shouldnt tell him no. I'm 14 so i get that A LOT. The seat was yours and you said no and he should have left (or paid extra for buisiness class) First come first serve.

Funny, you actually do sound like you are fourteen. Don't take that as an insult, you just really sound your age.

Quoting jlbmedia (Reply 7):

I have to vote against you also. My experience is that after things settle down on a plane with open seats, the cabin tends to even out. By that I mean people in full rows disperse through out the empty rows, or rows with only one person. You only paid for 1 seat, if you end up with 1 1/2 seats (of a 3 seat row) call it a win......

  

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 8):
Before the doors close, I will sometimes ask the flight attendant to move if it looks like the plane will have empty seats. This puts me ahead of the game one the doors close. A polite request to the fa will almost always trump someone being greedy with a whole row.

    

I always do a scan of seats that are open in the cabin if my row is full, and will ask the FA as they are in the aisle before departure if it is OK to move to an open row or good seat once the doors close. More often than not they are fine with it. I usually have an aisle seat so moving is not a problem but I have done it once or twice when trapped in a middle seat, my seat mates are very grateful.

Ultimately everyone only paid for ONE seat (well excluding people of size on a full Southwest flight... and yes some people may buy two seats, OK fine) so you only get to control one seat. Any extra space is just bonus but not under your control.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlinejkj777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 397 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4092 times:

I am also one of those that believes that you were in the wrong. You paid for 1 seat, the other passenger paid for 1 seat. Who says that you should even be allowed to lay flat across an entire row spreading your feet over the seat, back, and arm rest? I think that the other passenger was trying to make life easier and more comfortable for not only himself but others. He was helping 3 and hurting none......you on the other hand were hurting 3 and helping yourself. That is totally selfish and self absorbed to think that that entire row was yours for the entire 12 hour flight. If I were the FA, I would have escorted that man to an empty business class seat, taken a picture of him and then handed it to you just to spite. I think that you should grow up and lose the entitlement. If you wanted to lay down, you could have paid for a full fare Business Class ticket!
Congratulations to your Canadian women's hockey team.


User currently offlineewrflyer412 From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

Personally, I make sure the plane is very empty before I lay down across a row. In fact, I've only done it two or three times because I just wouldn't feel right sprawling across an entire row if there are two or three to a row elsewhere on the plane. Like others have said, you only paid for one seat. You don't have any ownership of the other two seats just because they are in your row.

You're probably one of those people that goes 50 in the left lane, and then speeds up when people try to pass you.  


25 david21487 : As an FA, I've had this happen on several occsions, and I actually had something similar happen on my CAI-JFK flight this morning. A man in row 40 had
26 Post contains images Andz : What atrocious behaviour. Courteous and polite in which universe? What's the he/she all about, couldn't you tell? If it was a woman that is even more
27 AirframeAS : I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the OP but some of you are missing some important info: The flight was 1/2 empty! So now I ask, playing the devi
28 flood : Yet who in their right mind would stand there in the aisle and argue with someone for 5 (!) minutes - if there actually was a similar free seat avail
29 kmh1956 : Physically blocking the seat from someone does not make for courteous behavior, in my book. You were downright rude and had no right to do what you d
30 ATTart : No it is not!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not if it is a full flight.
31 Post contains images Andz : I meant the saying. It is served, not serve.
32 Post contains images ATTart : Cool, no worries..
33 jkj777 : Now that the entire forum is recognizing that the original poster has nothing to complain about and in fact is the selfish one that is at wrong here,
34 AirframeAS : But...... Can you answer that, kjk777??
35 Vasu : In which case there may still have been another empty row of 3 seats elsewhere that the OP could have moved to!
36 Post contains images FlyDeltaJets87 : We must take the word from the OP on that and who is to say "Half-empty" is exactly "Half"? Besides, even at "Half Empty", if there are 9 seats acros
37 mah4546 : Once I was flying in Y on a very empty JFK-MXP flight. Upon boarding (I was elite and so I boarded the Y cabin well ahead of everybody else), the FA c
38 jkj777 : That may have been the only place that the 60 year old saw that there were a few empty seats. Some of the other passengers probably took the middle s
39 CanadianDC10 : Sorry, I don't agree with you at all. You only paid for one seat. You did not reserve the entire row for yourself. I don't care if the plane was half
40 AirframeAS : You say this.... Then you say this.... are you now saying that the other pax is in the wrong, too? If that is the case, then you should point that ou
41 CoachClass : I think if he's lucky to have three seats in a row to himself, then he has to eat three airline dinners.
42 iairallie : You were a jerk the guy was right. You only bought one seat. I'm assuming the other guy was in a middle or an otherwise undesirable seat so it was pr
43 nycflyer : Not by physically blocking the seat, you weren't. Exactly. You sound like a huge jerk. Grow up.
44 Post contains images FlyDeltaJets87 : The key in that sentence was "I'm 14". Yea teenagers who think they know everything! WOOOO!
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