Sunday, August 19, 2012

Excuse Me Would You Mind Moving

"Excuse me would you mind moving?" is not too uncommon a question to be asked if you are a solo traveller.

As a frequent traveller I've been posed with this question when it is clear that I am sat alone. Often it is due to people wanting to sit with family or friends.

Ideally when families or travellers are booked together when tickets are bought I think the airlines should seat them together. From experience this often does not happen and it can be a race to the check-in desk to get seats together.

Some airlines (typically of the discount airline nature) charge you a premium to reserve a specific seat or to sit together.

I know the stress it can cause when travelling with my partner/colleague and you want to be sat together.

On a recent flight the guy sat across the aisle from me was asked "Would you mind moving?" In assessment it was a fair request of the person asking to want to sit beside his wife. Added to the fact that the people asking were Muslim made it even more important. As someone who spent close to a year and a half in Saudi Arabia I know how important it is for a Muslim woman not to be sat beside a male stranger.

The thing that gets me is why did the guy have to move rather than the lady?

The guy asked to move was in a seat at the front of the cabin, effectively a bulk head seat. There was plenty of leg room and it is a desire-able seat to have.

For me the question should have been asked at the accompanying seat to where the husband was sat. That would mean the wife would move back in the cabin and the person who would move to accommodate her would benefit from hypothetically a better seat.

On this occasion the guy who was asked to move delayed his decision saying that he would wait until boarding was complete and then assess the availability of any free seats.

As someone who can take numerous flights each month I am not unfamiliar with the "Excuse me would you mind moving?" question. At times I do sometimes decline the invitation. Not to be spiteful but I get sick of it sometimes.

I am someone who has a preference over the type of seat I want to sit in; if on the rare occasion I get a seat that I like (not too often) then I don't want to give it up.

The one thing worse than being asked to move is being forced to move. As a frequent traveller who's flown most months over the last 12 years I have boarded planes to find someone already in my seat. When I point out that they are in my seat they say they know but they are travelling together and want to be together.

I've found people saying it in a non-compromising way too. Travelling can be stressful enough without these unaccommodating individuals.

This scenario is made even more frustrating by people who could be described as "pushing in" during queues.

Recently whilst walking to passport control a couple were split up as she was delayed for something with her luggage. I ended up between him and her in the queue.

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