There was no ethical dilemma: a man was fully justified in not giving up his exit row seat on a 14-hour flight from Asia so a pregnant woman could sit next to her husband.
Cardinal Rule On An Airplane: Don’t Ask People To Move To An Inferior Seat. Ever.
On reddit, a man wonders whether he was reasonable in refusing to give up his exit row window seat so a man could sit next to his wife on a 14-hour transpacific flight. After boarding, a flight attendant invited him to move up to an open window exit row seat, which he happily accepted.
I moved there, window seat with a 20-ish dude already settled. I just quickly settled down also, just the moment I picked up my headphone for some iPad entertainment, window seat guy suddenly smiled to me, “Hi excuse me, my wife sitting far behind is pregnant now, she’s not very comfortable with the narrow seat, do you mind switch seat with her ?”
It is not clear why this man was moved up instead of the man’s wife…but I liked the man’s response:
Maybe I should check her seat behind but my brain just instantly responded ” oh but you have a bigger seat, why don’t you switch with hers ?” I swear that’s my pure curiosity as just why, dude, you only paid yourself for a premium seat and not wife together?!!
That’s precisely the question I would ask. Why don’t you move if you want your wife to have a better seat? Why are you separated in the first place?
Of course I get it, though. You grab one seat and then try to grab another. It never hurts to ask, right? And best-case scenario at least one of you gets to enjoy more legroom on a 14-hour flight.
But I don’t like that approach. To even ask someone to accept an inferior seat for a better one is unreasonable pressure. Notice that this man did not go back to where his wife was sitting and ask the person next to her to switch seats. It rarely works that way…
But the husband did the right thing:
Anyway his face instantly sunk after I said that, and for fact check I slept only 3 or 4 hours the night of flight or even the whole week in Asia there, so ended up instantly asleep with my headphones on. I woke up 3 or 4 hours later found out pregnant wife was next to me, but there was no story after, we just had 0 communication which was perfect.
I have no idea if this story is real or written by an AI bot. But the reality of this story does not undermine the notion that it is rude to ask a seatmate to switch from a superior seat to an inferior seat. Period.
As View From The Wing wonders, if being pregnant imposes a duty on anyone, surely it imposes a duty on the husband before other passengers. As Gary Leff suggests, perhaps the smartest strategy of all is to offer money if the seat swap is from a superior to an inferior seat.
And of course not all pregnant woman are about to burst. How pregnant was she? Third trimester or so recently pregnant that she could still get an abortion in Texas?
Once again, there was no ethical dilemma: a man should not have even been asked to give up his exit row seat on a 14-hour flight from Asia so a pregnant woman could sit next to her husband. Instead, the husband should have offered his superior seat to the passenger next to his wife if the two had to sit together. In the end, the husband gave up his seat so his wife could sit there. Good for him. But the seatmate should never have been asked in the first place.