When this woman is conflicted about her experience on a plane, she asks Reddit:
I (F24) was on an American Airlines flight last week. I am sitting in 18C (aisle seat) and have already boarded and put my things away. There is another person in the window seat.
A woman and her husband/boyfriend, both in their mid 30s from what I could tell, boarding the plane and she is physically helping him down the aisle as he is unable to walk on his own. I do not know why they did not do preboard with a wheelchair.
They stop right next to my seat and she asks me to move so she can help him into his seat. No problem. After he sits and we are both standing in the aisle holding up the boarding process she asks me to switch seats with her.
Her seat is 24B, a middle seat further back. I say no, she says he needs help getting up if he needs to use the restroom so she needs my seat. She kind of starts to beg me. It’s a 1.5 hour flight. I still say no, I paid extra for the seat upgrade and sit back down.
She huffs and puffs to her own seat. No issues arose throughout the flight, the man next to me was fine watching movies on his phone. AlTA for not switching seats?
Ok so I'm commenting on the top answer to give the perspective of a disabled person who has been in this situation who has had to ask people if they can move.
We can't always book our seats as we have to go through special assistance who are meant to be in charge of making sure we have suitable seats but they are often terrible at actually doing it.
They also randomly change your seats whenever the hell they feel like it depending if they feel like they're going to have you board from the front or the back, so we have been in a position when we have paid for better seats and ended up that I couldn't get to them because we boarded from the back of the plane.
It's not as simple as it seems.
Some seats are off limits to disabled passengers, especially if we are talking about someone who needs to transfer from their wheelchair to the aisle wheelchair, and then transfer again to their seat. Its a process. And they can't move out of the way in an emergency. Non-ambulatory.
It is much different that just saying you have your own wheelchair (or can just borrow a wheelchair, even) that needs to go to cargo, but you can get to your seat with assistance. In that case, there are hardly any seat restrictions, other than your preferences.
This in not the case of the OP, though. If someone absolutely needed a caretaker on a flight, it should have been arranged and not on OP to resolve. OP is NTA. If the airline wanted to accommodate, they could have offered incentives. That didn't happen.
Anyway...To put it in perspective...it is much, MUCH easier & less frustrating for my sister to drive **20 HOURS** one-way to my house, than fly as a paraplegic.