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Was I wrong to not give up my airport seat for a person in a wheelchair?

by Staff

It was a very turbulent interaction.

A 26-year-old woman started a debate after wondering if she’d done wrong by not giving up her seat for a wheelchair-bound woman inside an airport terminal.

Taking to Reddit with her grievance, the anonymous user made it clear that she arrived well before her flight and snagged a seat with plenty of time to spare. She also noted that, at the time, spots to sit were not exactly in high demand.

“When I arrived at the terminal, there were 8 different gates but only one was being used so there were quite a few seats,” the woman wrote of her non-handicap designated area.

“Since I arrived early, I took one on the end by the window. I am traveling solo and like looking out the window. I started listening to my podcast trying to wipe out sleep from my eyes and kept to myself.”

A few minutes before boarding, she saw that another woman and her wheelchair-bound mom were approaching the gate. The Reddit user, who noted that her father also needs assistance in airports, cautiously noted that both women were able to walk onto the flight themselves.

A woman caught flack after not moving her seat in an airport terminal for a wheelchair bound passenger. Monkey Business – stock.adobe.com

“They started to go up my row and then stopped to ask if I would move. There were tons of open seats. Probably over 100. I definitely had a nicer, closer seat. When they asked if I would move, I said no,” she recalled.

“The younger lady called me rude and [scoffed] about it. Again, there were tons of [open] seats and I had been there for a while. I would have stood or moved if there weren’t any seats.”

After firmly standing her ground by remaining seated, the mother and daughter allegedly gave the woman some stank eye until it was all three of their turns to board in the final group.

Once on the flight, the passenger sitting next to the Reddit user ostracized her for not moving.

“No one else offered to move,” she pointed out in her post.

The woman said lots of other seats remained open. Farknot Architect – stock.adobe.com

Very quickly, the online community came to the woman’s defense.

“They could have used any of the other seats,” one user commented.

“Based on the fact that there were plenty of other suitable seats open, and your seat was not specifically marked as for disabled people, it seems incredibly entitled for them to expect you to move,” wrote another.

Many online defended the woman’s choice to stay seated. Yakobchuk Olena – stock.adobe.com

Another commenter who said they use a wheelchair in airports added, “I just stay sitting in the airport wheelchair wherever they park me, until it’s time to board. It’s particularly convenient when the terminal is packed.”

This tense terminal moment comes on the heels of another recent seat-swapping fiasco.

A passenger had a meltdown when a fellow traveler wouldn’t forfeit their business class seat so that a woman’s husband could move up from economy class so the bossy couple could sit together.




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