As I’ve noted before, I’ve been flying to Nashville several time this year and these flight are served by a United Regional Jet — tight quarters and prone to delays. Last time I mentioned a bit of a discussion I had with a woman who wanted my seat and how we then ended up sitting next to each other for the whole flight back to Chicago. Well, I had another equivalent experience on Friday the 27th of February.
Our flight was delayed about an hour – which was great for me because I ended up leaving the office about 45 minutes late and if the flight hadn’t been delayed, I would have missed it. I board the plane and I see a man kneeling in seat 9A and his carry-on bag sitting in my seat, 9B. Our conversation goes like this:
Me: Hello. I’m in 9B
9A: Would you mind changing seats (I thought he wanted to sit with a friend of his).
Me: With whom? Where is the new seat?
9A: Here – my seat. 9A (window).
Me: Oh. No, I’m sorry, I prefer the aisle seat. I get up a few times on each flight and it gets really annoying for my neighbor if I have to ask them to move.
9A: As a fellow gold flyer, I’ll ask you again.
9A: I don’t know if you are a drinker, but if you are, I’ll buy your booze on this flight?
Me: I do like a drink, but I’d really prefer my original seat.
Me: I’m sorry, I’d really prefer to keep with my originally assigned seat.
9C (9A’s travel companion): Don’t worry about it. At this rate, there is no way we are making our connection. We’ll be staying the night in Chicago.
Me: You are wanting to change seats because you have a tight connection in ORD?
9A: Yes. Does that matter?
Me: Absolutely! I thought you just didn’t want a window seat – I hate the window myself, but if it can help you to make your connection, I’ll swap.
9A: I don’t follow the logic, but thank you…
Am I off base here? I don’t want the window and I’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It is just too tight on these little RJs, I like the false feeling of freedom an aisle seat offers. If this guy would have started off by saying he had a tight connection and asking to swap seats, I’d have agreed immediately. We’ve all had tight connections and being able to spring to the door and save those few seconds can make the difference between going home to see family or staying another night in a hotel.
Am I nuts (the answer is yes, but I mean specifically in this instance)? Do you give up your seats if asked? Do you need a good reason to swap or do you agree instantly? What are valid excuses for you? To sit with friend? Tight Connections? Other?