Bribing passengers to switch seats

ImageBribing among airline passengers reaches new heights, as seat choices get scarce, by Dave Seminar, originally appeared on July 31, 2013.  NOTE: I’ve been flying for 17 years and I’ve only seen this happen once.  To be honest I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often! 

Currently, if onboard disputes arise, it’s up to the cabin crew to resolve the situation. In any in-flight disagreement, if the captain considers an argument a security issue, he can have the offending passenger removed from the plane.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier and the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, has seen passengers offering each other cash to switch seats without incident, and even has resorted to bribing fellow passengers herself. When she was traveling with her 3-year-old son, bought another passenger lunch and drinks in order to entice him to switch seats, so she could sit next to her child.

“If I saw someone trying to pay someone else off (to switch seats), I wouldn’t interfere. I’d assume they knew each other and someone owed the other person money,” said Poole.


4 Replies to “Bribing passengers to switch seats”

  1. I’m surprised you had to bribe anyone … rules of common decency always apply. Of course, if the asker isn’t decent, the askee is well within his/her rights simply to not play along. No different than a seat at a bar. Seriously, folks!

  2. Over the years of traveling, sometimes last second bookings caused us to have seats apart initially. When we boarded and asked fellow passengers if they were willing to switch seats so our family could be together, always – all the time – we were able to convince them to move just simply by asking and being sincere.

  3. Agree on having manners to switch for a couple or family,but if you have a aisle seat or window seat and the only offer is a middle seat even I would be against it,some people just don’t care about others.

  4. Wow in my years of flying never seen this happen. I heard this on the radio the other day and was surprised. Not sure it’s that common however.

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