Keri and I are the types of people who may put too much thought into seat selection. When we booked a flight on a CRJ together recently, we debated whether row 2 was better (get off the plane as fast as humanly possible) or the exit row (your knees will survive another day). That’s why it can be awkward when someone asks to switch seats. If you intentionally chose your seat for maximum comfort, switching can put you at a disadvantage.
Recently, I was in a situation where someone else made the switching decision for me. Normally, I’m an aisle person. I’ve had too many uncomfortable situations where someone has expected me to climb over them rather than get up to let me out of the seat, so an aisle prevents me from being trapped.
This particular trip was coming back from a Bachelorette Party in the morning. I’m not a heavy drinker or partier, but I am someone who usually goes to bed at 10:30 pm on the dot. Staying up until 2+AM in the morning was something I was not used to doing. So I needed a window. To slump against. Badly.
As I slumped fully against my window, I noticed someone standing next to the aisle seat without sitting down. A switcher. Sure enough, another person congregated around the seat in front of me and asked the man sitting at the window there if he’d be willing to switch to accompany his traveling companion.
“Sure!” he exclaimed. He motioned back at me and said, “She’s going to move up here.” Before I even knew what was happening, their bags were going up above my row and they were clearing the aisle for me to leave.
I heavily lifted my head off the wall and said, rather pathetically, “I really, really want a window seat.” The man in front of me huffed and said, “well, I was willing to do the switch.” I couldn’t believe what happened. Now I felt like a jerk, the people who already started claiming my row looked at me like I was a jerk. And I imagined half the people there thinking I was a jerk at that second. And hey! How did the first guy get out of this without looking like a jerk?!
Luckily, the two gentlemen in the row next to mine noticed my inability to lift my head and both offered to claim the aisle seats on the ends of our rows, allowing the couple to sit together. Not without a friendly chuckle from the person who sat next to me as my head fell back against the window and I was asleep.