Since earlier this year, I’ve been on the lowest rung of the American Airlines status ladder. Thus, when I’ve purchased a ticket for business or personal travel, I’ve been able to select seats for myself near the front of the Economy section and always an aisle. I’m ALWAYS going to choose the aisle. I drink a lot of water, I get claustrophobic, I like to be able to get up without climbing over people. I also think I’m a very agreeable aisle person, get up whenever you want, middle seat and window people, I have no issues with that. I will get up 100 times for you. Flying is uncomfortable and I know this so I don’t mind at all
What I DO mind, is the experience I’ve had on 3 flights this year. I’ll set the scene. A family wanders on the plane, they have 2 more more small children, they’re not all seated together. The kids are assigned seats somewhere on the plane not close enough to the parents and the flight attendant starts to look for a victim. Someone who looks nice, non-threatening, agreeable, young, ALONE. They lock eyes on me, I’ve got mauve headphones, a kindle, I’m usually dressed for comfort but not like a slob, so I get that I look young and perhaps like a pushover?
I’m always asked if I am traveling alone and do I mind moving so they can do some kind of seat shuffle to get these people to sit together. Yes, actually, I do mind, but I’m not a jerk. I always say I’ll do it, but I’m always annoyed. On the last flight, a family had four children, one was a lap baby. The dad ended up in my aisle seat (I ended up 8 rows back with my bag in the overhead still in my original seat) and his two kids were across the aisle from him in the aisle and middle. In the window seat next to the kids, was a businessman. Thinking back, I would like to know why they don’t ask men to move as often as women. Mr. Businessman could have moved and the father could have sat in the same row as his children. I find it annoying. I’m sure the man in the window seat would have moved too because it is one of those questions where you just kind of feel like an ass if you say no or you know the flight attendants are probably not going to be very nice to you for the remainder of the flight if you say no.
But guess what, I’m going to start saying no. It is a small thing I can do for solo travelers, especially women, everywhere. Ask men, don’t just make the women move. I’m not being mean by saying no, I’m just doing what I want. I bought my ticket first, I have status, I’m tired of letting the procrastinators win.