When a frazzled 'young woman' was met with a public dilemma and then condemnation, she came to Reddit for support and clarity.
I (27f), was on a flight back home from overseas (2.5hr). I'm not from English speaking country. The country I flew from is a neighboring country, and is an English speaking country. Ethnically, we look similar.
I bought aisle seat when I booked my flight. This is due to a medical reason. I have lower cervical instability where my neck spine shifts a little and press my C7-C8 nerves, causing numbness and stiffness on finger 4&5 on both hands.
It's managable by muscle strengthening, but in the meantime, I couldn't stay in sitting/lying position for more than 15 mins without my fingers going numb and stiff. I chose aisle seat so I could walk to toilet often easily to relieve my neck and reduce numbness.
When I boarded the aircraft, I saw a guy (around early 30s) was already on my seat, with an old man next to him. I used English as I didn't know which nationality he is, and asked him politely to please move as that was my seat. He smiled and asked me if I'd switch seat with him cause he needs to help his dad to the toilet due to his old age, in my native language.
I wouldn't have minded had his seat were an aisle seat. But his seat was the middle seat in the opposite row. So I said no, in English.
I'm a pretty anxious person and I don't like confrontation. Being multilingual doesn't help either when you're nervous. I could register my native language, but I almost answered this guy in Chinese instead of English or my native language; I was that anxious.
He understood English. When I asked him to please move again, he frowned and insisted that he needs to be next to his dad and how a young woman like me (I look highschool-ish) can't be considerate to an old man.
At this point I was pissed but also almost took the guy's seat just so I wouldn't block other passengers behind me.
Thankfully, one of the stewardess saw me blocking the way and asked to see our boarding pass. She straight away gave this guy a stern look and asked him to go back to his seat.
He tried to argue but the stewardess asked him to move and gave my seat to me. So he did, unhappily. I thanked the stewardess and got myself comfortable.
Then, an old lady (from my city cause she talked in my native language) offered to switch seat with this guy's dad, so this guy and his dad now sat next to each other in the opposite row.
This guy thanked the old lady, and said in my native language, 'I see old people have more manners! I guess some people are just that heartless'.
I don't think this guy knew I understood what he said. My English accent is like the neighboring country's since I studied and lived there for few years, so is my overall style.
Anyway, pretty much him, the old lady, and some other passengers (all middle to old aged people) from my city chimed in and talked crap about me, while I pretended to not understand anything.
AITA (Am I the a-hole) here? Like seriously was I the crazy one for wanting to sit at my seat that I'd paid for? Why did so many people on board defend this guy?
They ruled a huge NTA (not the a-hole) in favor of OP and offered insights.
You are only the a-hole for not telling them to F right off. I had terrible cervical pain for a month before surgery and its the worst. No one can describe nerve pain until you experience it. EVERYONE has a story on a plane. They are all meaningful and valid. Doesn't mean their situation gets priority over yours.
THANK YOU 😭
That's such a frustrating thing about being young and disabled! Especially when it's not necessarily obvious (mine is more, because I've got a cane). Everyone and their mother looks at your age and says 'but you're too young to be disabled/badly disabled'. You're NTA, btw, and I hope the next time you travel it goes more smoothly!
I have no cervical pain and I still would have fought tooth and nail to get my seat back. I am absolutely not giving up an aisle seat for a middle seat. If the guy cared that much he could buy an extra seat or request someone.
NTA. Idk why ppl now feel so inclined to take other's seats when they can pick their seat when buying their ticket. If he really had his father's best intention, he should have kept that in mind when purchasing their tickets/seats.
Even if you did not have a medical reason, you wouldnt be the a-hole because you paid for that seat and he didn't. I'm Asian too and i feel like the older generations thinks that the younger generation owe them something and we have to bend over backwards for them in any situation. sorry you were bombarded with those nasty comments on the flight.
This is soooo true. The whole 'you should respect elderlies no matter what' in East Asian culture is so misconstruted now. Respect goes both ways and often times, the older generations don't give us as much respect.
NTA. Sadly, a huge part of the reason you were treated in such a rude manner is because you're a woman and it's just always going to happen to you, sometimes for that reason alone. Good for you standing your ground and good for the flight attendant/stewardess setting the guy straight on the seating arrangements.
Yes, it was a nice thing for the other woman to offer to change seats, but that has nothing to do with your original argument with the man. Even if you had explained your difficulties to the man, he still would've tried to keep his seat until the flight attendant told him to move.
Or perhaps a cruel combination of both? Sound off in the comments. Be kind out there, everyone!