Airline passenger reveals he charged obese seatmate $150 for taking up his space, and the internet is divided
Travelling by aeroplane is never the most stress-free experience in the world, even when you have the luxury of first class. You still have to put up with all the waiting around in the airport, the rigamarole of checking bags and storing hand luggage, and - worst of all - you never know what sort of passengers will be joining you on your journey.
Oftentimes, you end up stuck between two screaming kids, or an overly affectionate couple, or a lone tourist who really doesn't get the hint that you'd rather be left to yourself for the ensuing eight hours.
So, when one guy took his seat on a flight and found that the man next to him was "very obese", he decided to do something about it. However, not everybody agrees on how he handled the situation.
In the Reddit sub, Am I The A**hole?, /u/BigBawluh posted about an experience he'd had recently.
"So this month I was flying across the country on a long 5 hour flight, which I had booked and seats selected for," he wrote. I specifically chose an aisle seat in a row of two, so no middle seat — just the aisle and window.
"Well, a very obese man boards and I can tell instantly he is going to have a tough time fitting in any of the seats. I assume maybe he bought two hence why he’s even attempting to board. I’m mentally crossing my fingers he’s not next to me, but sure enough he ends up pointing to the window seat next to me to let him in."
The user then goes on to explain that he was polite at first, but, after a minute or so, realised he was not going to be comfortable with his neighbour taking up "about 1/3 of [his] seat." So he told him as much.
"Sir, I’m sorry but this situation is not working for me, you’re taking up quite a bit of my seat," he claims to have said.
The neighbour acknowledged this, and tried to shrink himself down a bit by holding his arms. Unfortunately, it helped very little.
"I end up stopping a flight attendant and ask her what can be done about the situation," the Redditor said. "She instantly tells him that he is likely going to need to purchase another seat. She goes to the front and comes back saying that there aren’t any open seats on this flight, so there wasn’t a way to move people so he could have two. This causes a very awkward silence.
"The guy seemed embarrassed and didn’t want to get up. He mentioned how he can’t wait for a later flight. I felt bad for him but I was also thinking about my own comfort on the long flight — the comfort I paid for. The flight attendant tells him that unless someone on the flight agrees to let him take up part of their seat, he’ll need to book another flight. The guy seems really flustered by this ultimatum, and here’s where I made my offer."
The Redditor explains that he would drop the issue if his seatmate paid him $150: half the cost of the flight. And, perhaps surprisingly, the overweight man instantly agreed, even saying he appreciated the compromise. Not everyone felt the same, however.
"Well the people sitting behind me (who keep in mind didn’t volunteer to sit by him) were making under their breath comments about me being an asshole for doing that," the passenger said. "I just ignored them and put the cash in my wallet."
He continued: "After the flight, the couple behind me glared at me but I ignored them. This leads me to beg the question, am I the a**hole?"
The internet, as usual, was divided. Many people said the guy wasn't an a-hole, because the obese man could have taken responsibility and bought two seats.
"Having less than one seat to yourself for five hours is worth less than having a full seat to yourself for five hours. OP was compensated for his discomfort," said one person.
"He's not an asshole, but he isn't really nice either," said another. "I think this is the epitome of neutral. Take up part of my seat, pay for part of my seat, seems fair to me."
However, others think he was definitely in the wrong, as, if he was fine to take the flight anyway, he should have been able to do so without taking money from the man.
"This is ridiculous. You made a scene and embarrassed the man and then made him pay you for a fraction of your seat. You are the epitome of an a**hole," commented one redditor.
"The problem here was that this large dude stuck you with being uncomfortable on your flight, right? Well, the $150 didn't make you any less squished in your seat, so it really feels like you just blackmailed this guy for being fat," explained another.
So, was he an a-hole? This is certainly a matter of opinion, and everyone is going to have a different take.