Mother switches up plane seat swapping debate

A mother of two has flipped the script on the great seat-swapping debate.

“Should you, or shouldn’t you, agree to swap plane seats so families can sit together?”

This was the question that recently went viral and won a US businesswoman praise online, after she stuck to her guns and refused to trade places with an overly entitled mother.

Inc 500 company chief executive Tammy Nelson’s TikTok defending her decision gained 4.1 million views, asking why passengers should be expected to give seating priority to families. 

“What would you do?”

Well, mother Cindy Arena knows exactly what she would do, when trying to negotiate a seat swap from the perspective of a traveller with two children.

“Let them stay with your kids!” is her advice.

The comedian, who says she has encountered the problem from the other side, says that when a passenger offers to trade seats so a family can sit together, you should accept the switch… for your own good.

Having found a grumpy traveller booked into the window seat next to her two toddlers, aged 4 and 6 - she didn’t extend offer to swap seats twice.

They missed their chance.

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

Arena said that she relished the prospect of time away from her children.

What makes her relaxing trip all the more enjoyable is when cabin crew come to her with a peace offering from the grumpy passenger, babysitting her kids: An offer to trade seats.

“Finally the stewardess comes up [and] I know she’s coming because this b***h,” Arena said, meaning the grumpy traveller, “is sitting next to my kids and there is nothing fun about that.”

And what is Arena’s response to this offer to sit with her kids? ”Oh no. No we need to stay in our assigned seats.”

Hijacking the etiquette of seat swapping was a topic that chimed with many of the 1.6 million viewers.

“I love malicious compliance,” read one comment.

“If you don’t have the choice to book seats, then GIRL I AGREE,” read another. “Let her sit next to your kids. Let them cause havoc.”

By Thomas Bywater