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Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

Majmm
New Arrival
 
5 REPLIES 5

Re: Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

Majmm
New Arrival

I recently flew from Los Vegas to Little Rock. I purchased the Early Bird option and selected an aisle seat as that is what makes me feel safer when I fly alone. I am not a small person but I fit comfortably in a plane seat. My problem was a large man squeezed into the middle seat. The arm rest between us would not go down. I am a conservative 60+ year old woman. And this man sprawled out and I could not move far enough into the aisle as not to be touched by his leg. 

What should I have done? I did not wish to make a scene and end up in a YouTube video. So I just bit my tongue and suffered through for over 3 hours. Does a customer a have right to ask that the arm rest be down between themself and a stranger?

Re: Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

Passenger1C
Rising Star

I can definitely see your frustration and  especially if you have paid extra for early bird. If I would have been in your situation, I would have weighed the options of letting the large passenger sit at the aisle, if that gave me “more” room, then after landing look for a SWA rep and request a refund for early bird. I personally would not have asked to put the arm rest down if his size played a role in the reason why it was up. Just imagine how the large passenger must have felt?  I’m sure he was embarrassed and and uncomfortable also.

 

You can still contact SWA via Twitter in a DM or you can call customer relations at 855-234-4654 and explain your experience. 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion

Re: Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Wow, that is a tough one.. I fly a lot , maybe 2 million miles in my life, and never had anything like this happen.

 

Presumably  boarding was still going on,  so I guess what I would have done, is put something in my seat (like a bag so someone would not take my seat),  and go to the front of the plane to talk with a flight attendant in private. Maybe th FA could have found you another seat. Perhaps he FA could have talked to the other person in your absence and asked him to lower the arm rest. Perhaps the FA could have done a quick survey of the aircraft and found two continuous seats somewhere and asked the person to move - telliing him he might be more comfortable there (not likely in these days and tmes). Perhaps nothing could have been done.

 

I'm sure that you did not have a good time. I know that I would not have..

 

In the future perhaps, you could make sure the arm rest is down as soon as you sit down, and tell anyone sitting next to you that you REALLY prefer to have the arm rest down. Use an excuse if need be: "I get claustrophobic if I feel wedged in."

 

At this point, the other suggestion that you contact customer relations , is about the best you can do. I'm not sure what they can do, after the fact, to make you feel better. 

Re: Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

rtbarron
Active Member

@Majmm wrote:

Does a customer a have right to ask that the arm rest be down between themself and a stranger?


A Customer definitely has the right to to lower the armrest between seats. Whether or not a Customer chooses to assert that right depends on how strongly they feel about maintaing their personal space. While I know you were uncomfortable, I commend you for your patience and restraint. As @Passenger1C mentioned, the other passenger was likely embarrassed and uncomfortable also. It was neither expected nor required but by sacrificing your comfort, you avoided a potentially embarassing situation for your seatmate.

In the future, I suggest lowering your armrest as soon as you sit down. That will send a message to other Customers that you wish to maintain your personal space and perhaps encourage them to find a different seat if they are too large to fit within the armrests.

Re: Proper thing to do when the passanger next to you is too lsrge and takes part of your seat?

CareforNOLA
Active Member

@Majmm,

Tough one, and I have been there and did exactly what you did.  Hung out in the aisle as much as possible and tried to (1) pretend I was somewhere else and (2) churn up enough empathy for the oversized person having to sit in the middle.  I would venture a guess that the person in the window seat was bigger than you, so the passenger in the middle seat had to make a choice and chose to encroach more on your space than the other direction.

 

As for whether that was the proper thing to do, I could not say what is correct.  I just take it one flight at a time.  Everyone has to sit somewhere, so that is why I just deal with the occasional oversized flier to whom I might end up against.  I do prefer being next to a person of size over sitting behind the gas-passing "fart blossom."  But I just mentally deal with that as well and hope that their condition is not permanent.  As an A-lister, I board relatively early, so after seeing a substantial number of people board, I often watch the stream of people, make eye contact and a slight hand gesture to the thin person with no rollerboard luggage who may or may not receive and react to the hint I cast out.  That move has backfired on me when I ended up next to a perfume covered lady who triggered an allergic reaction/runny nose.  She was probably regretting her decision to sit next to me.

 

Here's hoping your future travels are more pleasant, and the good news is that most of them are fine.