Switching seats on airplanes is a hot topic – but what ARE the do’s and don’ts? A travel expert has clarified the unwritten rules
What are the do’s and don’ts when changing seats? Nicky Kelvin, head of British travel site The Points Guy, offers advice over an Instagram video
The etiquette of changing seats on airplanes has become one of the hottest topics on social media.
Passengers have posted stories of woe and frustration after asking fellow fliers to switch seats – and being refused. And often they get little sympathy.
But what are the do’s and don’ts when changing seats? Nicky Kelvin, head of British travel website The Points Guy, offers advice on a Instagram video.
He says, “It’s fair to say that we’ve all been tempted to switch our plane seats for a variety of reasons, whether we want to sit next to loved ones or sit by the window enjoying the beautiful view.”
“However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.”
First, Nicky says, anyone asking for a seat swap should keep in mind that assigning a seat can be costly — or require elite status.
Second, make sure your offer is attractive.
Nicky says, ‘Only better or equivalent trades should be offered – you don’t want to end up with less than what you had before.
“You might lose an aisle seat, but gain some legroom in a bulkhead seat.
“Or you can trade your window seat next to the toilet for a middle seat in the front of the cabin.”
He adds: “If you want to sit near your partner, or if you have a tight layover, it’s fine to ask for a similar seat, but if the swap isn’t right, it’s best to requesting this only in special situations, ie caring. for a companion or reuniting a family with young children.
“But even then it’s still a heated argument.”
He’s not wrong.
Anyone requesting a seat swap, says Nicky, should be aware that assigning a seat can be costly — or require elite status
After posting a video on the subject on the Points Guy UK Instagram page, the comments poured in.
One user, Aikezim, said, “I never agree. I always pre-book my seats, which usually costs extra, so if someone asks me to swap so they can sit together, I say sorry, no. People who don’t reserve their seat in advance make the decision to risk where they end up sitting.’
‘Siobhan_obc’ agreed, saying, ‘Everyone knows that if you want to sit together, you have to reserve the seats in advance. I never understand why families with young children don’t book seats together.’
‘Clarekingy’, however, pointed out that it’s not always that simple, writing: ‘Sometimes (side-by-side seats) aren’t available, so they book where they can and hope for kindness.’
‘Walker.mangum’ entered the debate by suggesting that ‘most of these people will be separated by a few hours’.
But what if a parent and a young child are separated?
Points Guy UK follower ‘gorgeousgregwise’ recalled being separated from his four-year-old on a flight because he couldn’t afford the $60 fee to choose seats. He commented: ‘I understand I didn’t have a choice of seats, but she was identified as a child when I booked. I was distraught. Anyway, someone was kind enough to swap so we could sit together… a little compassion goes a long way.”
For more information on travel tips and tricks, log on to The Points Guy UK.