Etiquette expert explains rules on swapping plane seats

Swapping seats on a flight can be controversial. A mum recently went viral after she explained how she took revenge on a woman who refused to swap seats with her.

Many airlines only let passengers select a seat before check-in if they pay an extra fee. Although the majority of airlines will sit groups together if possible, there’s one budget airline that’s known for separating friends and family.

But is it appropriate to ask another passenger to swap seats? An etiquette expert has explained the rules.

Jo Bryant, told the travel experts at SkyParkSecure: “Simply not liking where you are sitting isn’t a good enough reason to move, you need to validate your request.

“For example, if there is a spare bulkhead seat and you are very tall, you could point this out.

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“If it isn’t possible to swap or move, don’t get angry or rude, simply accept it’s a no-go with a smile and good grace.”

Passengers aren’t obligated to swap seats with another traveller and people are particularly unlikely to switch to a middle seat.

Tourists could try asking the flight attendant if there’s a spare seat they can switch to but this is unlikely to be the case.

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Passengers travelling alone might want to talk to the person next to them to pass the time. However, this isn’t always welcome.

Jo said: “It is good manners to acknowledge the person next to you but read their body language carefully.

“It is usually pretty clear whether someone wants to chat or keep themselves to themselves. Be helpful and willing.

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“Pass trays and drinks, get up to let them out etc, but be respectful of their personal space and levels of sociability.”

Jo recently shared the rules for reclining a plane seat and explained when it’s important to have the chair back in the upright position.

When it comes to eating on a plane, there’s one type of food that Jo recommends avoiding for the sake of other passengers.

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