Someone has accepted a lesson I have preached for a long time. If you want passengers to swap seats with you, you should offer a middle seat in the back. You need to come up with a good trade bait. Don't expect anyone to change their flight experience for you. Offer like for like.


I would never ask anyone to switch seats unless I could offer them a better option. If they didn’t want to, I’d happily except that. Also – we ALWAYS pay extra to select our seats if we have the option. But sometimes things happen and it doesn’t work out. This guy was so nice and it was a win/win👍🏼

♬ original sound – Anna Lyn Cook

When I was asked to change seats so that a couple could sit together, I was told that they already sat together, and I was stuck with the bulkhead.

A reader used to give up his premium seat in order to have his family sell it to another passenger and not sit together.

Even if it's more expensive to book seats together, you should. Sometimes it is possible to get away with imposing a cost on other passengers to save yourself money. If there aren't seats together, or you lose your seats for operational reasons, then it's reasonable to request a different seat.

The other passenger is right to refuse that request. They have a usufructuary right in the seat to which they are assigned. Your seat might be considered to belong to your elders in Nigeria.

Should the passenger be paid for their seat if they won't switch for free? I used to pay a teenager $5 not to recline on a flight so I could work on my laptop. That is a simple solution to the problem.

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times carried a piece on arguments over seat swaps. As airlines want customers to pay for premium seats, fewer seats are available for advance assignment.

In general.

delta plane

$500 on a domestic midcon flight should be enough, the premium over extra legroom coach to buy first class is usually less than that, and there's a good chance that someone up front didn't pay anything

In airlines.

Some passengers won't change their seats when they're asked. Unless a celebrity asks, one woman won't change seats. She will take a different flight if she can't get seat 8A. She won't...

In airlines.