Passive Aggressive Passenger Takes Revenge On Entitled Mom At The End Of Flight

A woman recently shared a story on Reddit about a London to Budapest flight she took last year. She took her assigned seat in the window, while a mother and child were in the two seats next to her. The mom asked if she’d swap, so the kid could look at the window.

She settled into the aisle (aisle seats are better anyway). But that’s when things started going downhill, with the solo passenger and the mom cursing at each other, and the family blocked from leaving he aircraft.

Don’t Expose My Kid To That Movie

Now ensconced in her aisle seat so that the child could look out the window, she began to watch a movie on her phone: Venom. Twenty minutes in, the kid was done looking out the window and switched to the middle seat.

When the movie “got to a point where the protagonist ‘bit the head off of a bad guy'” the mother tapped the passenger on her should and asked “if the movie is appropriate for children.” The child had been looking over at the screen. As one Reddit commenter offered, it’s not the woman watching the movie who should have been scolded, but the child who should’ve been minding their own business. Disagree?

The mother suggested the woman “put on something more suited to children” or not watch anything at all, but the flight didn’t offer streaming content or wifi and that’s what she had to watch.

Entertain My Kid!

The woman kept watching her movie. The kid, though, asked her “Have you got any games I could play?”

‘No, because I’m watching a movie’.

‘Come on, he’s bored’ [the mum] said.

Not my problem though is it?’ [the woman replied]

‘Excuse me?’ [said the mom]

That’s when things really began to escalate, because the woman had had it and scolded the mom, “It’s not my problem that your child is bored, you should have planned ahead.”

Now the mother switched places with the child, so she could sit in the middle seat and directly confront the passenger in the aisle.

Passenger Takes Revenge On Entitled Mom

Once the movie was over, and the passenger switched to listening to music, the mother reportedly said, “You could at least let my kid play a game now you spiteful [redacted].”

Ok, now things were getting worse because the woman in the aisle seat thought the mom should be grateful she traded seats in the first place.

Fortunately, with all of the passenger incidents that wind up in social media, these two instead sat uncomfortably silent for the last few minutes of the flight.

But the woman in the aisle decided to exact some revenge,

[T]he woman then remained sat in her aisle seat and allowed every other passenger to disembark first “just to live up to my petty nature”.

What’s Ok To Watch On A Plane?

The question of “what’s ok to watch on a plane and what isn’t” doesn’t have a clear answer, though before the pandemic United Airlines was training flight attendants to stop passengers from watching porn on planes.

A flight attendant once shared on their Facebook feed a story about a passenger taking such a long time in the lavatory that another passenger expressed concern and eventually the crew started to suspect a medical emergency. After much knocking the man came out. iPad in hand. He went in there to watch a movie. At least he hadn’t watched it at his seat.

I’m never watching that kind of movie. But what about an HBO or Showtime drama? I’m usually sitting in a premium cabin, so I have a little more space at least. But when I’m in coach I lean on inflight entertainment a bit more since it’s harder to get work done. Up front I’m rarely sitting next to young children, usually it’s a middle-aged business man. Still, I’ll fast forward through any of the more explicit scenes. Sitting in back I avoid those shows altogether.

Do you bring your own shows? If so, what shows do you rely on to keep your interest on a long flight? I’m always looking for recommendations. And how do you handle a more explicit scene?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I try to be mindful of young eyes around me, but sex and/or violence of some kind are in every movie.
    As for passengers entertaining other ppl’s kids, that’s ridiculous. If anyone asked me to entertain their kid, I’d pull out a science or physics article. That would shut them up.

  2. “If it’s not X-rated, surely it’s acceptable on an aeroplane,”

    “Going forward, censored versions of both Booksmart and Rocketman will be replaced with specially edited versions that include same-sex love scenes as soon as possible”

  3. If I wanna watch a movie that’s graphically violent has explicit sexual content, I’ll do that at home on the big screen, not on some tiny tablet. I want the full effects.

  4. This is a truly hilarious story. The mother is obviously a fruitcake, I feel sorry for the kid. Three cheers for cleverness – staying put in that aisle seat until the plane was empty. Something that I would have thought of 3 hours later. This story reminds me of how right I am to NEVER have any connection to other pax for any reason whatsoever. Just stay in my own little airplane bubble with my book and my laptop. Thank God I rarely have to fly in coach.

  5. I always say in my own language (small european country) which language nobody speaks, “I don`t understand” and shrug my shoulders and look apologetic….
    Works every time!
    0 points to confrontation.
    100 points to my wellbeing.

    Sometimes I even throw in a word or two in the language the rude person was addressing me in when disembarking.

  6. Great story Gary, thanks for sharing!

    The movie is reportedly dreadful — and I like horror movies — but she was no doubt a big Tom Hardy fan — as I am! As my spouse notes, he is easy on the eyes!

    In any event, the mother is the “redacted” word, not the movie viewing passenger as she did a solid initially without any recompense — and to be treated by the mom and the kid like that was simply considerably ungracious.

    Loved, the passenger’s solution to the issue — only hope that the mom and kid were in a hurry to get off — that would have been even better!

  7. I have enough responsibilities than to take on that of a child’s entertainment. I’m with the aisle woman though I would have wanted off ASAP. ANd yes it was damn nice of her to switch seats to begin with. I happen to think the window seat IS THE BETTER of them, and I would have not given it up since I enjoy looking out the window and am not a frequent flyer. IF the mother wanted one that was on her to confirm prior, though I don’t blame her for asking/trying. What the heck happened to BOOKS. ANd asking a germy little kid to take possession of MY phone to play games no less? And what will they inadvertently erase or damage with the mother blowiing it off as Oops sorry. NO WAY. Aisle person was nice enough. Mother is of the entitled generation. Are the rest of us now expected to bring books and other entertainment in case we encounter such a child in flight?

  8. I agree with the woman that had the phone! The other woman should have brought her kid something to do to keep her occupied and entertained. So that’s her own fault. I agree that you should not watch porn, but common, why not something else?

  9. The mother and the passenger on the isle are both wrong and petty. The mother should have thought in advance to bring entertainment for the child and double wrong to demand the other woman to change movie.
    In turn the other woman, although kind enough to switch seat, turn out to be quite petty in her “revenge” of delay the exit to the woman and child at the end of the flight.
    They are both examples of small pettiness and I am disgusted by both.

  10. @Liz:
    I understand and agree the woman on the aisle was petty and it served no purpose. (Additionally, I’d never do that because I’d be scared of some violent retaliation, since that seems to be the go-to these days.)
    That being said, I was also a bee-atch on a plane once. I boarded very late because my connection was late (group 1, first class) and because there was no room in the overhead bins to put my carry-on, I would have been forced to go back to coach, wayyyyy back. There was, however, a tiny purse in the overhead bin right above the seat behind me.
    This purse could have been put under the seat in front of the woman it belonged to, but she just shook her head no when I asked if she’d move it.

    I explained why and she just continued to shake her head no. I got very frustrated because she was being totally unreasonable. I asked the FA for help. She, too, tried to reason with this woman, who continued to shake her head no.

    The suggestion by the FA to me was that I check my bag, but there’s a reason I have a carry-on.

    The FA asked the captain if she could put HER carry-on in the cockpit and let me use her space, which was really kind of her.

    So what did I do? After I gave that woman a smug look and made one final comment (I wasn’t a Karen, I just said, “I hope you’re happy”) then I proceeded to push my seat back as far as it would go.

    I take it back, I didn’t merely recline it. I slammed it back. I made sure there was not one inch to spare.

    Sometime during the flight, I realized I was acting like a child, I certainly wasn’t acting as a good Christian ambassador, and I felt a bit embarrassed that I acted that way. I put my seat back up straight and turned around and apologized to her for taking up her room. She just smiled at me.

    Later, she apologized. I agree that your point is correct. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  11. I think…if we’re going to have ratings like “PG13” that implies an awareness that it may not be appropriate for viewers under 13. I also think we all generally accept that children lack the impulse control to choose for themselves whether they should watch adult content (again, kind of the point of “parental guidance”).

    So in my opinion, an airline (or literally any other person/organization displaying media) that is going to offer that kind of content – particularly in a scenario where the customer quite literally cannot leave – needs to provide parents with young children the ability to shield their children from exposure to that content. I’m not going to debate the specifics of how, but I do believe that to be the case.

    That’s all theory that doesn’t help the people who were on that plane and already in that situation. Both of them behaved somewhat poorly, in my opinion the mom moreso than the other passenger. Still, “not my problem” is a pretty coarse response to what sounds like started with a genuine request to pick something that wasn’t inappropriate for the child. Now, if moving back to the window seat would have removed the child entirely from the movie I have to say that’s 100% on the Mom (though “not my problem” is still unnecessarily abrasive when simply recommending the child move back to the window would have been plenty adequate).

  12. Liz says “They are both examples of small pettiness and I am disgusted by both.” I am disgusted Liz that you somehow believe the other passenger should have to put up with this nonsense. You obviously have no sense of right and wrong. The mother was totally in the wrong here. No if’s and or buts!

  13. Agree with youCmorgan. THIS may be petty, but look, I can’t afford to fly much and I cherish the window seat. I pay for it, I make arrangements for it. IT’s MINE. Sorry, but end of story. ANd you couldn’t pay me enough to be the inflight entertainment for this kid.

  14. If it is your child it is your responsibility unless you are ill or dead. To ask someone who has already done you a favor to turn off their entertainment (if it is silent-I guess earbuds were in use) for your own convenience is so wrong it is ridiculous to think the mother had a right to ask. All she had to do was change seats and re-seat the kid at the window. The mother was spoiled by her parents and proceeds to do the same with her own child. Hereditary learned entitlement.

  15. I’m reminded of the time years ago when my son was 1 year old and we went to our seats that were across the aisle from George Jessel. The scowling glare we got from him was priceless. My son was well behaved — it was a short flight — so there was no confrontation.

  16. I’m reminded of a time I was flying with two friends and one friend was in the row ahead of us, all in middle seats of a widebody. I very politely asked the guy sitting between me and one friend if he would mind swapping with my other friend directly in front of him (same type of seat same legroom) so the three of us could all sit together and he answered me really rudely instead of just politely declining (or accepting which would have been very nice of him).

    Then a woman and a two year old got on the plane and they for some reason had non-adjoining seats. Some people were willing to move but only from single seats which didn’t help the situation. So I said to the woman in the aisle seat next to me “Since you are by yourself and I can’t sit with my friends anyway, how about the two of us take the single seats other people are offering and then we’ll make space for the mom and kid.”

    So we moved and as expected, the mom took the aisle with the hyper-energetic, very happy but very loud toddler next to the old rude guy.

    I was snarkily enjoying justice having been done but a bit later I looked back and the old man and the toddler were having a great time together, playing games, singing songs doing peek-a-boo.

    So in the end everyone was happy, especially the mom who slept through the whole flight.

  17. My children have flown upwards of 250 flights. Not once have I ever asked another passenger to switch seats so they could have a window (both prefer windows). Not once have I ever asked another passenger to entertain my child. Not once have I asked a passenger to change their movie selection.

    It is unfortunate the mother did not properly plan for the trip but that is not anybody’s problem but her own. It was damn nice of the fellow passenger to switch seats, that should have been the end of the conversation.

    That said if someone unreasonably blocked my aisle access I would walk across their seat. Not gonna tolerate that either.

  18. That is the main reason I always choose exit row seats.
    No Kids in exit row !! and more legroom too.

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