"I got dirty looks": Woman refuses to give up her plane seat for toddler

Publish Date
Thursday, 25 January 2024, 2:22PM
The woman said the boy was supposed to sit in his mother's lap “so he could do just that”. Photo / 123RF

The woman said the boy was supposed to sit in his mother's lap “so he could do just that”. Photo / 123RF

An obese woman who refused to give up her seat to a toddler has left the internet divided after sharing her story, with some labelling her selfish and others blaming the child’s “entitled” mother.

The self-described “fat” traveller posted her experience to the Reddit forum AITA (Am I The A**hole?).

Saying she was “actively working toward losing weight”, the traveller wrote that she was flying across the US to visit her brother and had booked an extra seat “because I’m fat”.

“I know it sucks having to pay for an extra seat but it is what it is... and it’s mostly my fault I even got fat,” she wrote.

She said that after boarding the plane she was approached by a woman with an 18-month-old child.

“She told me to squeeze into one seat so her son could sit in the other,” she wrote.

“She told me, not asked. I told her no and that I paid for this seat for the extra space.

“She makes a big fuss over it, which got the flight attendant’s attention. She told the flight attendant I was stealing the seat from her son, then I showed my boarding passes, proving that I, in fact, paid for the extra seat.

“The flight attendant asked me if I could try to squeeze in, but I said no, that I wanted the extra seat I paid for.”

She stuck to her guns, noting that the boy was supposed to sit in her lap “so he could do just that”.

“The flight attendant eventually told the mom to put her son in her lap. I got dirty looks and passive-aggressive remarks from her for the entire flight and I do feel a little bad because the boy looked hard to control so Am I The A**hole?” she asked.


While most supported her stance, some attacked the traveller.

“If you are so fat that you have to have more than one seat on a plane then you are selfish. Flights are overbooked all the time – how can you justify having two seats to yourself?” one irate commenter asked.

“How much room does a kid take up, seriously? Yeah, the mom should’ve bought a seat but that doesn’t mean you have to be selfish and cause two people discomfort.”

Most who replied were supportive and took issue with the behaviour of the mother and flight attendant.

“What’s even the point of the extra seat if the flight attendants are going to let entitled people bully others into giving it up?” one asked.

“The mom is an a**hole for not buying a seat for her son and assuming someone else would give up a seat they paid for,” another wrote.

“Odds are she was hoping there’d be extra seats on the flight so she didn’t have to pay and used the lap thing as a loophole.”

Jae'lynn Chaney is petitioning airlines to offer free extra plane seats for larger passengers. Photo / Instagram; @jaebaeproductions

‘Plus-size travellers need more space’

Last year a plus-size advocate launched a petition calling for airlines to make extra seats for obese passengers free and increase the size of airline toilets.

Jae’Lynn Chaney said the aviation industry needed to do more to “protect” larger travellers.

“Let’s just state facts, plus-size travellers need more space,” the Canadian woman said in a TikTok video.

“Many people agree that plane seats are just too small, even for the average-sized person.

“As a plus size traveller myself, I know how uncomfortable and unsafe it can be to squeeze into a tiny aeroplane seat.

“We are not asking for special treatment or luxury accommodations.

“We simply want enough space to travel comfortably, without being discriminated against because of our size.”

This article was first published in the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.

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