He Asked for My First Class Seat to Sit Next to His Wife

I was recently traveling to visit family for a few days. I was fortunate to receive an advanced First Class upgrade, and I selected Seat 2B. When possible, I like to sit on the side with two seats if traveling on a regional jet. This side of the aircraft usually has more room to store carry-on baggage underneath the seat. In addition, I can put any extra luggage in the overhead compartment directly above me. With today’s highly-functional airline websites, you can select seats quickly and without the assistance of an airline agent.

Boarding at 6:10 a.m.

When taking the early flight, I make it a habit to prepare my luggage the night before. In fact, I even have them waiting right by the back door. The routine is to awaken at 3:45 a.m., take a quick shower, dress in short order, and get on the road by 4:30 a.m. Given I’ve checked in online, I can arrive at the airport around 5 a.m., and clearing TSA security takes about 10 minutes this time of the morning. Given I have a little time before the flight begins to board, I visit the United Club where I grab today’s paper and a bowl of cereal. That’s it! I’m ready to fly.

On this particular flight, I went to the boarding gate at 5:40 a.m. and was the second to board the small jet. I like to be early because my bags usually travel with me. By avoid checking bags, I can step off the airplane and be on my way immediately, usually saving about 30 minutes. Perhaps more important, there is little chance that my bags will be lost.

Getting to Seat 2B

I found ample room to store my bags, given I was one of the early people to board. Right as I went to sit down, a gentleman started the following conversation:

PASSENGER: Sir, before you sit down … do you mind taking Seat 2A so that I can sit with me wife (see actual pic of man and his wife). It’s also a First Class seat.

[While it was still technically a First Class seat, it was not Seat 2B – the one that picked online.]

ME: Sir, I guess I can do that. I like Seat 2B because of the extra storage space.

PASSENGER: I really appreciate you making the change.

ME: Sure … no problem.

The fact is that I didn’t want to give up my seat. I like Seat 2B. I picked it. I had already stowed one bag underneath my seat, and the other right above me. This was my place!

I thought about how awkward it was going to be for me to sit in 2B and he in 2A for the 2-hour flight. In essence, I would be sitting next to his wife. Would I strike up a conversation with her? Would I tell her why I did not allow her husband to sit next to her? After running these questions through my mind, I’m glad I took the “nice route.”

As the flight was preparing to speed down the runway, I looked over to the couple, and noticed they were holding hands. I don’t think they were scared. It was more a feeling of love and affection for each other.

After seeing the hands joined and their eyes closed, I realized I did the right thing.