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Woman and her daughter pulling a suitcase and a woman sitting next to a plane window.

Plus-size Passenger Refuses to Give Up Extra Seat To Toddler

Pexels/ Gustavo Fring and Pexels/ George Zografidis
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Plus-size Plane Passenger Refuses to Give Up Extra Seat to Toddler - Strangers "Weigh In"

"If mom wants an extra seat for her kids, she should have purchased one. She's not entitled to a seat you purchased, and you don't need to feel bad for her bad behavior."

Flying may be the quickest way to travel but it isn't always the most comfortable. The seats are small, legroom is almost non-existent, and there's always that one annoying passenger in front of you who seems to find extreme enjoyment in testing the limits of just how far back that reclining seat can go.

Airlines are notorious for cramming in as many people as possible in the smallest spaces possible, which can be especially difficult for plus-sized passengers.

One woman decided to combat this by purchasing an extra seat.

But instead of sitting back and enjoying her flight, she found herself at the center of attention after refusing to give up the extra seat she had rightfully paid for to accommodate a toddler on the crowded flight.

Obese Woman Refuses to Give Up Extra Seat

Plane wing through glass window.plane wing through glass windowPhoto by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

Taking to the Reddit forum, Am I The A**hole, a 34-year-old woman explains that she is "actively working toward losing weight" but is still obese.

After having a bad experience on a previous flight, she opted to book an additional seat.

"...because I’m fat, I booked an extra seat so everyone can be more comfortable. I know it sucks having to pay for an extra seat but it is what it is."

At first, everything goes smoothly. She checks in, makes it through security, and boards the plane.

But just as she is settling into her seat, her trip takes a nosedive.

"This woman comes to my row with a boy who appeared to be about a year old," she writes. "She told me to squeeze in to one seat so her son could sit in the other."

Not only does the mother disparagingly tell her to "squeeze in" but she doesn't even bother to ASK her to move, she TELLS her to.

Understandably, the woman refuses to budge. "I told her no and that I paid for this seat for the extra space," she writes.

Despite the fact that the woman has every right to deny the order, and she has the ticket to prove it, the mother digs in. Her "huge fuss" attracts the attention of a nearby flight attendant.

"She told the flight attendant I was stealing the seat from her son, then I showed my boarding passes, proving that I, in fact paid for the extra seat."

And here's where things really take off. The flight attendant sides with the mother and asks the plus-sized passenger if she "could try to squeeze in."

She again refuses. "The boy, who the mom said is 18 months old was supposed to sit in her lap so he could do just that," she explains.

Eventually, the flight attendant tells the mom to put her son on her lap.

But the flight is already ruined. The Redditor shares that the unhappy mom wouldn't let it go, giving her dirty looks and passive-aggressive remarks for the entire flight.

She ends her post begging the question, "I do feel a little bad because the boy looked hard to control so AITA?"

The Internet Weighs In

People sitting inside plane.people sitting inside planePhoto by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

The plus-sized woman's refusal to give in to the mom's demand has sparked a whole lot of feelings. The post has gone viral on Reddit with over 18,000 upvotes and nearly 5,000 commenters "weighing in."

The comments are overwhelmingly in support of the OP (original poster). In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a comment that supported the "entitled mother."

"She’s TA for not buying a seat for her son and assuming someone else would give up a seat they paid for. Odds are she was hoping there’d be extra seats on the flight so she didn’t have to pay and used the lap thing as a loophole."

"NTA. Look, at the base level, you paid for the seat regardless of the reason. You're entitled to use it, not the mom with a wriggly toddler. Not your kid, not your problem."

Commenters praised the OP for selflessly dishing out for an extra seat to accommodate her size in an attempt to make others flight comfortable too.

"NTA, and I hope it doesn't sound condescending to say, but good for you buying the extra seat. You being the sort of conscientious person who will spend the extra money to avoid encroaching on others is probably why you are having (needless) self-doubt about the encounter. The mom was entitled and fully in the wrong, and if the flight attendant gave you attitude then they are in the wrong, too."

And this brings up a valid point about the flight attendant's response. Should she have tried to force the issue?

"What's even the point of the extra seat if the flight attendants are going to let entitled people bully others into giving up the extra seat?"

"The cabin crew should have stopped this straight away once they saw you had booked both seats, it should have been obvious why. They should not have asked you to squeeze in to 1 seat."

Standing Up For Your Rights

While it is possible to have empathy and compassion for the mother (flying with little ones is challenging at best) she did, essentially, try to commandeer a stranger's seat.

A seat she had no right to and didn't pay for. Now there's no telling if she tried to purchase a seat for her toddler and there were no more tickets available or if she was banking on a stranger to accommodate her child.

Either way, the plus-size woman specifically paid for an extra seat so she wouldn't have to deal with the uncomfortable and frankly dehumanizing experience of trying to "squeeze in" to a seat made for bodies that conform to ridiculously narrow societal standards.

While it can be difficult to stand up for your rights in the face of opposition, it is important to advocate for yourself.

What do you think? Did she do the right thing?

*Featured image contains photos by George Zografidis and Gustavo Fring

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