Woman refuses to switch plane seats for family - then quickly regrets it

  • 03/08/2023

In the latest viral story of an airline passenger refusing to swap seats with another traveller, a mother has celebrated her sweet revenge on a woman who refused to switch seats so she could be with her children.

US comedian Cindy Arena shared the story on TikTok, where it has quickly amassed 1.5 million views and close to 9000 comments.

She didn't specify when the incident occurred nor which airline it was with, but noted her two children were aged around four and six at the time.

In the clip, Arena claimed her kids were seated in a row with a woman they didn't know, whom she asked to switch seats with - but the woman refused.

"I said, 'OK no problem, I'm not going to argue'. I went to the back of the plane and sat in my assigned seat, because she wouldn't give hers up," she said.

"It was so peaceful and finally the stewardess comes up... this b***h is sitting next to my kids and there's nothing fun about that. And [the cabin crew member] said, 'Um ma'am, she would like to trade seats with you now', and I said, 'Oh no, no, we need to stay in our assigned seats'." 

In the video Arena then winked and gave a thumbs-up while sarcastically remarking: "Have a good flight!"

While many commenters praised Arena for her attitude to the sitation, others have called her out for not pre-booking seats with her children.

"What kind of parent books seats that aren't with their kids? This one," one commenter said.

"You definitely are responsible for booking your seats together, that is not the other person's problem," said another.

"When I pay extra I should not have to be punished. It's the parent's responsibility to book flights early and in a way so they should stay together," added a third, with a fourth pointing out: "If you want your family to sit together then make certain you book your seats together. It is unfair to expect someone to change seats with you."

Among the comments in favour of Arena were those who applauded her "malicious compliance", with one noting: "Someone else can gladly sit next to my toddlers."

Others suggested they would be willing to swap, but not for a worse seat.

"I'm only switching if you're in first class," said one.

"I'm not giving up a window seat unless it’s a window seat. Book your seats together," added another.

It comes after an Australian business class passenger faced backlash after ranting about a passenger not swapping seats with him, and a US influencer was applauded for refusing to swap seats with a family.