The headline is just ONE aspect of the frustration that the OP experienced on a long flight home. Their fellow passenger, a mom with an infant, pulled out all the stops to get the whole plane into the mile high headache club.
My best friend and I spent a month backpacking around Europe. By the time we were going to head home, we were exhausted. To make our flight, we took a 4AM shuttle to the airport and could barely think/keep our eyes open.
We had pretty crap seats on our first flight, they were right up against a wall or cubby at the end of the plane and not only didn't recline backward, but pushed forward a little while the people in front fully reclined into us.
Needless to say, we didn't sleep, but it was a quick flight, quick layover, and we were praying for decent enough seats to get a good sleep on our final flight home, which was 6.5h.
We are in a 3 person row but the isle seat remains empty as the plane gets close to finishing boarding. We are so excited at this point, thinking we can stretch out and share the spare seat.
We planned to move and make the middle seat the spare and take turns lying down or stretch out a bit further and sleep back to back... I was so exhausted this was all I could imagine lol. Boarding is finished, the seat is still empty, and we are SO excited to finally get some sleep.
After boarding a woman from a few rows down says she noticed the empty seat and asked if she can switch us (we are a bit confused), then explains that she would ask her seat neighbour to fill our empty seat so that she can have a full seat for her baby.
We were visibly disappointed; I was super nauseous at this point and just wanted to sleep for a bit. We asked if we can switch seats after a couple hours because we'd been travelling for a long time and were really rung out. She said ok.
Shortly after takeoff, we were served a snack. The woman couldn't really manage her baby, and asked a flight attendant to hold it so that she could eat.
A couple minutes after this, she came over and said that's it, the man is coming to fill the empty seat, we have to move back to our assigned seats and let her have an extra for her baby. I gave her a rude look/looked away and didn't say a word more. She put her baby seat on the seat next to her, now empty, and that was that.
The baby was very loud, always whining and crying but that's nothing you can blame a baby for. She then gave the baby a rattle toy which was constantly being shaken and really loud, on top of the whining and crying.
The mum also shook the rattle toy for the baby to try to get it to quiet down (didn't work) making additional noise. This wasn't once or twice but throughout most of the flight incl. during lights+windows off/sleeping time.
After we got off the plane I complained to my friend and she said I was being an AH for acting so irritated by this woman, when she was struggling with the baby. She said I should have been kinder, but that she didn't bring it up or bug me about it because of the irritability of needing sleep/feeling sh*tty.
I'd like to get some outside opinions on whether we should just have offered the seat and whether I'm an AH for being grumpy about the whole thing..
NAH. International travel is a Game of Thrones style battle for power and survival. You did what you needed to do, and she did what she needed to do. Ultimately, she prevailed with her superior determination and maneuvering.
NAH. Neither one of you were entitled to the seat you didn’t pay for. Seems like you both shared it. I don’t see the problem.
NTA. If she wanted a seat for her baby she could have bought one. And it's ok to be annoyed by a loud baby and vent to your friend about it later. Accosting the mother about the noise would have been rude, but being irritable about it is normal.
EDIT: I did miss that you gave her a rude look. That doesn't sound very nice.
The mom is absolutely an a**hole. No one was entitled to that seat. OP and her friend were polite about sharing it, the mom acted entitled to it. If she wanted a separate seat for her baby, she should have purchased one.
Talking to the flight attendant, man next to her, OP, and OP’s friend to ask them all to accommodate her decision to not buy an extra seat doesn’t make her an a**hole. But demanding it and declaring “yeah I’ve had enough of dealing with not having a second seat I didn’t pay for, you’re moving now” absolutely does.
Also, bringing a rattle on a plane, especially a long haul flight, automatically makes you an a**hole in my opinion. There are hundreds of toys you could choose to try to entertain your kid with and you pick one that’s actually louder and more annoying than them crying?
Maybe it’s just because as parents people become immune to how annoying that sound is, but it’s incredibly obnoxious.
Oh my dear Lord! I have a baby and a toddler, but if I didn't pay for a seat, I didn't pay for it, period. And she came to you and said 'that's it'? As if you were the ones demanding something??? Gosh, the entitlement!
Although one point is, about the loud toy, I don't know what to say... I have some toys that sing and stuff that usually calm my baby, so I kind of think that it's better to have a singing toy that a crying baby, but if I saw it disturbed someone, I would definitely stop.
So, definitely NTA and not even us parents should have a free pass for everything, even when we're exhausted