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106

"Sir/Ma'am, no thank you." or "Sir/Ma'am, I am not interested." Followed by (if needed) "Sir/Ma'am, I am sorry, but I specifically requested and was given this seat. I am not willing to change to another seat for any reason. Perhaps someone else might wish to help you."


67

The other answers are excellent, and correct. I wanted to share a few extra ideas because you specifically said: Do note that I am very shy and submissive in public. I also am a shy person that's, for various reasons, done a lot of travelling on my own. What I always say to myself is: You'll never see any of these people ever again. And that ...


34

There's nothing wrong with wanting some peace and quiet while traveling, to many people travel is more of a hassle than an enjoyment so I'd say it's quite common for travellers to expect non-social time. Not everyone is trying to chat all the time. Social cues and customs differ between countries, but I'd say in the West at least, if someone strikes up a ...


34

Unless it is a safety related reason, it will be very hard to change your seat without you willing to do so, that includes cabin crew. So, as mentioned in the other answer by @CGCampbell, just politely say no. You might get frowned upon but who cares! it is your seat and it is totally your right to be stuck with it. Something worth mentioning here, ...


21

"I'm sorry but I'd rather not trade seats." If they insist; "No, I am not going to be changing seats, I'm sorry."


20

If you are very shy and have a lot of difficulty dealing with people directly, a very simple strategy is to lean back in your seat with your eyes closed and wearing headphones or earplugs until after takeoff. Most people will not disturb you while you're like this. I realize this isn't a direct answer to the question "how do I tell them no", but it might ...


19

Avoiding conversation is easy: you can get all worked-up in advance, put on a mean face, and look like you're not willing to talk to anybody. However that's a lot of effort and might not be something that everyone can or wants to pull off. Hence I'd rather be relaxed whilst aiming to mind my own business. All in all I assume that some small talk might happen ...


18

You absolutely should never, ever swap seats with anyone. Here's a clever formula for you: say.. "I am not allowed to do that. Please bring one of the cabin crew. I want to speak to one of the cabin crew about it. I'm calling for the cabin crew. I've pressed the button." Whatever the prick says back to you, just keep repeating louder and louder, "I want ...


14

I totally feel you. I had this happen to me for a seat that I had paid extra just to be seated there. I politely informed them that I had specifically requested this seat and would not change my mind. The person seated did not bother to move and seemed indecisive for a little while and I just waited for him to come to terms with what was happening. Finally ...


11

I think what you describe happens quite often in parts of the world where the pecking order is based on age, so teenagers rank slightly better than animals, but only slightly. Older people try to take undue advantage of their position in the pecking order. I have been in the same situation as you. I found that the best solution in such a situation is to say ...


9

Here's the economist's solution: Offer a price at which you are willing to give up the seat. If he refuses the offer, then too bad for him. If he accepts the offer, then both of you are better off---for the price bargained, he gets the seat and you willingly give up your seat.


9

Another note that hasn't yet been mentioned is redirecting the person. "I'm sorry you were not assigned the seat you needed. I cannot help you, but perhaps one of the attendants can. Shall I press the call button so they can help you?" While the base action is the same as other suggestions - saying no and calling the attendant if pressured - the wording ...


9

Since I prefer window seats, this does not happen to me often but the few times it has happened, it is because it is a parent (usually father) who wishes to sit with their family in the other 2 seats. As a parent myself, I can understand the desire to want to sit with your family, especially when the family consists of multiple young children. A grumpy ...


8

It happened to me recently. I had checked in online and reserved the seats I wanted. A guy came to me and asked to change seats so he could sit next to his wife. I told him that my 3 kids were just across the aisle and that I wanted to be next to them. He then tried to convince me that the other seat had more leg room! I just said that I didn't want to ...


7

I would look at this way: To begin with, the other person does not know or understand your need to sit in the aisle. If you tell them that you have special needs for that, or that you payed extra for it, they should be able to understand this. If you tell them that you need to or payed extra for sitting in the aisle, then that person would be selfish to ...


7

From the airline's point of view, each of your bookings is a separate entity and in this scenario only one of you has been upgraded. Likewise from the airline's point of view only the upgraded passenger has permission to be in the business class cabin. So technically the answer is NO. But there is no harm in asking if you can swap seats partway through the ...


5

As you ask what is essentially a question of good etiquette, I can only give you my opinion; which is simply guided by the fact the aircraft is a communal space and our actions should be taken to minimize affecting adversely those around us. Other posters here I am sure will have more robust views on what problems attend exclusively to unfortunate third ...


4

Simple, do not make eye contact. And when you feel their stare on the side of your face do not move your face even an inch towards them.


4

I suffer a bit from a social anxiety disorder, and as a result, I absolutely despise "making small talk" with anyone because it makes me very self conscious and uncomfortable, so I know how you feel. When traveling alone, I try to make sure I "look busy" to avoid the uncomfortable conversations. Being busy on your phone/tablet/laptop, especially when it ...


4

You have a seat that presumably you paid for. You are not under any obligation to switch seats with another passenger, and you do not owe them any explanation. If someone asks, simply say, "No, sorry". Then turn away and direct your attention to something else, open a book or start using an electronic gadget or something, to indicate that the conversation is ...


3

I'll provide my take on this: As much as I agree you can every right to keep your seat, remember that other travelers can be stressed out as well. Stressed people can do crazy stuff that is not in their regular nature. They might want to sit with their families or children and do not realize why you traveling alone cannot be bothered to change. (In all ...


3

Since your problem is that you lose your seat because of shyness, you'll have to overcome that problem. Not the being shy, but the losing your seat. The next time it happens, rule number 1: This is YOUR seat. YOU keep YOUR seat. That's the unavoidable outcome. You may become totally embarrassed because you have to say no to people or worse, which is ...


2

From a moral point of view, their request is identical to a stranger asking you for $20. They have the right to ask, but you have absolutely no moral or legal obligation to give. In some situations it will be nice to help them out, in others it will be stupid. But in no situation is it required of you to help them. The only things you cannot/should not do: ...


2

I don't understand why so much animosity against people asking to change in some answers and comments. I agree that asking to change for a better seat and sending the OP near the toilet is bad but that's not the most common situation. I once asked someone to switch with me, to be near my family. No, this was not a trick and I didn't book my travel late. ...


2

I usually say "I will swap seats if requested by the cabin crew. Here, let me call one for you." And this is the truth, even when I move myself to another seat I always ask the crew whether it's OK.


2

Electronic noise-cancelling headphones will both keep you from interacting with people and will kill some of the noise (especially aircraft noise). You can just turn them on without music, use a tablet, an iPod or a smartphone, or plug into an aircraft entertainment system. A book or notebook computer also works. Edit: The following is intended as a joke ...


2

I've not done a mid-flight swap but I've certainly swapped boarding passes with my wife occasionally. No issues at all. For a mid-flight swap I would ask the flight attendant or, better yet, the purser or international service manager (head honcho in the cabin).


1

Headphones Pretend you can't speak their language Have bad odor


1

If your attractive its kind of hard to avoid the opposite sex trying to talk to you which can get kind of wearying. Try wearing some very dark sunglasses, a hoodie and some massive cans. If they cant see your eyes, see you have on headphones and your head is totally covered they will generally not bother. If theyre still persistant whisper to them in a ...


1

I've done this several times, on United and on Singapore Airlines. It's never been a problem for me. I didn't ask the cabin staff, but only did the swap once during the flight so it wasn't very disruptive. I didn't take any overhead luggage out and move it about...perhaps that would have been more disruptive.



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