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Woman fights territorial war with 50 yo on 14 hr flight; humiliates 'plane nemesis & her son.' AITA?

Woman fights territorial war with 50 yo on 14 hr flight; humiliates 'plane nemesis & her son.' AITA?


When this woman boards a 14 hours flight from LA to Shanghai and gets into a petty but intense territorial war with a fellow passenger, she asks Reddit:

"I fought a petty territorial war on a flight and WON. AITA?"

I (F) boarded my 14-hour flight from LA to Shanghai and settled down in 62H. There were four seats in the middle of the plane: 62E F G H. My 62H is the aisle seat on the right.

On my left in 62 E and F sat a mother (in her 50s) and a son (college age). Between me and the mother there was 62G, empty.

As boarding coming to an end, in rare chirpy mood, I leaned over and said to women, “hope the person doesn’t come so we both have more elbow room!”No response while she fluffed the synthetic little pillow in the empty seat. I didn’t think much of it.

As soon as “boarding is complete” was announced, to my surprise the woman moved to the empty seat next to me, effectively moving the “elbow room”from between us to between her and her son.

The next thing I knew, she was pulling the upright armrest divider between us down. Still surprised, to her I said “why? More space for both of us with it up.” She obliged in silence and the armrest stayed up. Still couldn’t decide how upset I should be though.

Flight took off and seatbelt sign came off, I reached for my shoes under the seat in the front. Imagine my outrage when my foot felt her foot in my area. Oh woman, I see you woke up today and chose violence.

One more attempt of diplomacy, as a good Asian woman who knows the virtue of filial piety that I was, “ayi, your foot is in the way”. Ayi is Chinese honorific title for older women. My underlying message was “aren’t you ashamed for behaving the way you do as an elder??” She pretended she didn’t hear me. This is war.

Next I did what any red blooded American would do; I complained to multiple flight attendants. One went to talk to her while I waited from not too far away. With that woman sitting steadily in that seat, I knew no justice was upheld.

Flight attendant reported back apologetically, “the passenger said she has to sit there because there’s something on her anus..” Now, I failed to see the correlation between an empty seat and hemorrhoid, but the impartial judge was ineffective.

I thanked the flight attendants (plural because one intervened and the other two handed me a cup of hot water and then a cup of hot tea—a much memefied, futile attempt to show “I care”) and sat back down.

At this point, I knew this street problem needed a street solution. You can’t reason with someone who’s willing to share (/make up) some anus problem just to win.

My attempt earlier to shame her with a honorific title felt laughable. I’ll just put my legs up on the seat when she gets up to go to the bathroom, I thought, easy! Oh the sweet summer child that was me.

For the next 12 hours, I repeat, 12 hours, she did not drink water, did not lift up ever so slightly from the seat, nothing. She knew the consequences of getting up. She had done this before. This was not her first territorial war.

I should add that she sounded perfectly normal talking to her son, a caring and pleasant mother. Early on I heard the son say “mom why don’t you move back over” and she went “nah don’t worry about it”, chirpy, like my mood before she ruined it.

I tried everything to tempt her too. I got up to use the restroom liberally (“look at this freedom that you too could have!”). With the two cups I got from those flight attendants, I transferred water from one to the other (“listen to this trickling water sound!”). While she was sound asleep I turned on my overhead light.

The bright beam just so happened to be slightly off centered to her side. Waking her up felt good. But seriously what was her bladder made of??

Whatever it’s made of wasn’t turbulence proof. After 15 minutes of genuinely terrifying turbulence, which probably led a much-needed reassessment about her life choices, she got up and headed to the restroom when the plane steadied. I put my legs up across the newly freed seat.

The son watched me from the other end of the row, next to a seat full of little pillows, blankets, and other accessories they got to accumulate. He said nothing.

The woman returned and having seen me sitting across two seats, to my amazement she tried to sit down on my legs while murmuring “my seat..I need to sit in my seat..” to the air way above my head.

This can’t be happening. With the unexpected butt to leg contact, I collected myself and said “Ayi (‘shame on you woman!’), you’ve been using this public seat for the past 12 hours, don’t you think it’s now fair for me to put my feet up?”

Still making no eye contact, she jerked to retrieval and started rearranging those pillows and blankets next to her son, “fine, I’ll make room for your feet..I’m not even feeling that well yet I have to make room just so you can put your feet up..”

“If your anus problem calls for two seats, you should have purchased one more. I’m afraid you didn’t”, as I talked she murmured “stop.. stop..” and as my sentence finished she simultaneously shouted “STOP TALKING!”

Everyone turned around to look at her. Somehow I thought this development was just the funniest thing and started laughing. It’s been a week since my flight and I still couldn’t stop wondering how she would have escalated had I kept talking.

With my legs up on 62G I had the best 2-hour nap of my life. I never saw them again after the flight. AITA?

Let's take a look at some of the top responses. Many readers shared their own flight horror stories:

frankllyodwrong7 writes:

NTA. I would have gone back immediately after the flight attendant episode and loudly said "SORRY ABOUT YOUR ANUS PROBLEMS. FEEL FREE TO USE THIS FREE SEAT TO RELIEVE YOUR ANUS PROBLEMS" and then pretty much every 30 minutes I'd loudly ask her how her anus problem was feeling.

anonaymous writes:

As a really big guy, I usually solve this problem my just taking up the amount of space I usually take up. On a normal flight, I book seats with extra room as much as possible and do my absolute best not to encroach into someone else's space on the plane.

But I'm 6'6 and like 275lbs, my shoulders alone are wider than the seat and the headrest hits me on the shoulderblades. If someone tried this shit with me, I'd 100% just lean on them and not waste a second worrying about being in their space.

nobandicoot writes:

Took a 2 hour flight last week on Southwest Airlines. If you’ve ever flown Southwest, you know their seating is unassigned. I board my flight, find a window seat and am happy.

I glance across the aisle and notice an elderly lady sitting in the middle seat and realize it’s her desperate attempt to have all three seats to herself. The stewardess announces it is a full flight and even middle seats will be taken.

This amuses me to no end. I watch as a lady takes the aisle seat next to her. Then finally someone points to that window seat on the other side of her. Aisle lady gets up and everyone is looking at the elderly lady so she finally gets up to let window seat person access.

The second the elderly lady glanced at me I gave her the biggest shit eating grin I could muster and then just burst out laughing. Just couldn’t contain myself!

justaman7 writes:

So the woman had the seat for 12 hours and you had it for 2. If this were a sports contest, I would declare her the winner, not you. ESH.

comfortably6 writes:

My last 8 hour flight I had a guy in front of me lay his seat all the way back the entire flight. It was hard using the trey or get up to use the restroom since seats are so close today.

He decided he needed to sleep, not me, I pulled out my book and turned the overhead light on the rest of that flight. It was right in his eyes since he was laid back so far. He shot me several disgusted looks but never once shifted his seat back.

kiwim8 writes:

NTA. The flight last week, second in 10 years for me, dude behind me got up to use the rest room 6 times, 8 hour flight.

Every time he got up, he wrestled with my seat, which was NOT reclined, to get up out of his seat. He could have used his seat to steady himself. He could have used the arm rests.
He did not.

He used my seat as if it was a the front seat of a 2-door Mustang, and he was seated in the back seat. I was about to say "dude......


This is brill! I was on a flight with the exact same seating arrangement. The woman in the F seat as soon as we were airborne lifted up the arm rest and lay down taking up the whole of both middle seats.

She put her bag in the floor area of the “empty” seat. Took it all for the whole 15 hour flight. I couldn’t even lift my armrest up or stretch my legs out. Her head was on her husbands lap so she essentially had 3 seats of space.

She even kept shoving her feet into me while sleeping. Wish I was ballsy enough to do more than just nudge her feet away like lady we should share the extra space, don’t be so selfish!

Looks like OP isn't totally TA here. But could she have taken a different approach? What would YOU have done?

Sources: Reddit
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