Woman Demands Passenger Move From Business Class To Coach So She Can Upgrade Her Husband

There’s something special about flying an international widebody plane like a Boeing 787 on a domestic flight. That’s doubly true when you’re flying up front. A lie flat seat in business class for a shorter trip is a real indulgence.

One passenger was upgraded on a 787 flying domestically within Canada and was given one of the two seats in the center section of the aircraft.

Air Canada 787 Business Class Seat

Another woman was already at the seat opposite hers – and asked if she’d switch seats with that woman’s husband. The upgraded passenger said sure, it doesn’t really matter which business class lie flat seat she takes! She might even get a window seat out of the trade so the husband and wife could sit together. Except when she asked which seat she’d be taking she was told… 18B, a middle seat in coach.

That’s when things got spicy:

Me: Wait… 18B? Sorry, I’m not switching out of business class to the back.

EW: But you said you would! He’s already heading this way!

Me: You can’t seriously expect me to swap a pod for a MIDDLE seat at the back of the bus. Are you kidding me? …

EW: It’s not such a big difference. And it’s there bulkhead row so there’s plenty of legroom.

Air Canada 787 Business Class Center Section Seat Pair

The husband and wife had been seated together. The wife was upgraded. So she figured she’d ask the business class passenger next to her to swap so he could be upgraded, too.

The passenger declined, and suggested the wife trade her fancy business class seat with whomever was next to her husband if they wanted to sit together. “But we both want to sit together up here!” the wife said.

It was just in December when I wrote about a business class passenger insisting a woman switch seats with her husband in economy so they can sit together. I didn’t realize this was actually a thing, but now there are two stories!

And just like the man who wanted someone to move out of an exit row so his wife could sit there with him, I have to ask, why didn’t this woman offer up her own business class seat to her spouse? If she didn’t love him enough to do that, why should a stranger?
Here’s the truth, though. It’s ok to be separated. It does not carry huge relationship meaning.

  • If one passenger gets upgraded, you do not turn down a seat with more room. You do not wish suffering on your partner. What kind of person would that make you? You’re supposed to want better things for them.

  • Spreading out on the couch at home doesn’t mean you do not love each other. There’s nothing wrong with spreading out on a plane, where space is even more at a premium.

At the end of the day, if you want to trade seats, don’t expect to ‘trade up’. You need to offer something equal or better value than what the other passenger already has – or consider offering money.

(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Hi, I’ve got the filet mignon and lobster tail and I see you do too. Unfortunately, they ran out. Would you trade yours for my husband’s meal? He’s got the franks and beans.

    If it doesn’t work for food folks…then it doesn’t work on the airplane either!

  2. Whenever someone tries to trade with you, figure out how they are trying to punk you. Think on it later and you may come up with even more ways they are trying to screw you. Polite people wouldn’t even ask unless they had something better to offer.

  3. We hear these types of stories more often these days. Who are these people? Why are they so shameless and feel so entitled?

  4. This happened to me on American out of DFW—lady asked if I would switch seats with her husband, I asked which seat he was in (thinking I may have to give up the aisle seat or take the bulkhead) and she said something in the teens … I laughed and suggested she switch with the person sitting next to her husband, and she said “I’m not giving up my first class seat!” It was pretty astonishing.

    Needless to say, ALWAYS ask the seat number before agreeing to switch.

  5. With my palm to my forehead, I cannot get the past the gall of this upgraded pax making this request. It also doesn’t work this way, as FC cabin passengers do not decide who else gets upgraded. The wife’s reaction is a First World issue that clearly demonstrates entitlement and ignorance all wrapped up in a pod! Enjoy your flight, Karen.

  6. @Tony
    You really want to know why they feel so entitled these days. Blame the voters and governments.

    When we have governments that pay for luxury hotels, $64 meals per person per day & pocket money for illegals (read: for law breakers). What else do you expect?

    When we have governments that pay people not to work more than they could possibly earn, What else do you expect?

    Keep electing such entitled politicians and wonder why developed countries turned this way.

  7. First class used to be a few bucks more and had somewhat wider seats, somewhat better food, and access to the First Class Lounge up those stairs in the 747.

    Now the “business” and “First” class is a dramatic uptick in comfort and price to the back of the aircraft which is purposely made as uncomfortable as possible, with 40-pound carry-ons to a $9 tiny bag of crackers to the person in front literally in your lap as they “recline”.

    Wait, it gets better — if you are seated in the cattle-car section the fees to store your luggage in the luggage hold under the plane just went up again.

  8. Black Hill; Posting irrelevant material adds nothing to the dialogue. Stay on topic please.

  9. View from the Wing posts always seems to be a magnet for moronic racist comments by people with no apparent knowledge of history. Yes, it’s only now that people are selfish or entitled. No one was ever selfish before in the good old days when people knew their place. And it’s all the fault of the voters! The voters!! And, uh, the Asian ladies with their White husbands! And the illegals who are, uh… voting? or something. Yeah, blaming the voters and yearning for a nonexistent idealized past when there were none of these undesirables all about… Well, you know the F word for that political philosophy.

  10. SIGH….pass out the Benjamin’s. Problem solved!


  11. Ahem…let’s get back on topic.

    I did a switch once…here’s how you do it (100% true story):

    My wife got upgraded to first from Comfort +…but I didn’t. For some reason (known only to her?) she preferred to sit next to me. The conversation with my new seat mate in Comfort + went like this:

    Me: Hi…my wife is up in first class but she’d rather sit here. Would you be willing to switch with her?
    Guy next to me: SURE!!!

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone jump out of an airline seat that fast!

    Moral: Always offer something better…not worse.

  12. It’s amazing how entitled people are to demand strangers give them something for nothing in return. If you want something from me, your offer better be something more than nothing.
    Otherwise, consider it a favor to your husband that I’m gifting him a few hours break from you. I wouldn’t even be polite about it, they certainly weren’t polite in making unreasonable demands.

    I’ve been asked before, and I just said I paid extra for this seat, so no, unless you want to pay me the difference in price, then I’ll think about it. Once they realize they aren’t going to manipulate me, they move on to trying to trick some other poor sap…and sadly, considering most people are gutless pushovers, it will usually eventually work.

  13. The only reasonable thing to do here is for the husband to ask the person sitting next to him in coach if they would like to go sit in business class so the wife can come back to coach and sit with her husband. This shouldn’t involve the other business class passenger at all since there is no reasonable offer to her.

  14. Chutzpah. Pure and simple.

    “…the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. It derives from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpāh (חֻצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “cheek” or “audacity”.”

    See also: Karen.

  15. “It’s not such a big difference…” Well, then he shouldn’t mind staying where he is. But since you want to sit with him so badly, offer your upgrade to the person sitting next to him. I mean, it’s not such a big difference. You said so yourself.

  16. @TravelJen: If you’re upgraded, you can allow whoever you’d like to sit in your seat.

  17. @Samir Akhavan,
    Topic is whether one feels entitled.
    This is very relevant; it’s called the rapid degradation of society. Moral and ethical values don’t play much of an important role in people’s lives; all that matters is whether they are getting something back and whether they are feeling good, even if it means hurting others.

    This is becoming normal these days.


  18. I just flew DL ATL-RDU and received an upgrade from 20C to 1C while scanning in at the gate. I was traveling with my daughter though, and didn’t want to move away from her. The gate agent told me to give my 1C ticket to the gentleman in 20C so I could stay with my daughter. Which I happily did! I hope he enjoyed the pre-flight drink and the extra service on that flight. I enjoyed staying with my travel companion (who I’d first offered the upgrade to. )

  19. Anyone who thinks someone will willingly move to economy from business class is delusional and a product of parents who never said “No”!

  20. Americans saw four years of self-serving, me-only attitude at the highest political level. Undeniably that trickled down to his fandom and others who found his attitude of disingenuousness and self-centered desirable.

  21. I saw a guy today pay someone $100 to trade MCE seats, guy moved from aisle to middle in the row in front so he could sit with his kids. It was a 2 hour flight. I might take that deal since the middle was thr bulkhead.

  22. I would love to hear from this woman (or anyone else who has done the same thing as her) to get her perspective and rational. Not that she’d ever be able to justify her position. I’d just like to hear what she comes up with for why she thinks she was being a reasonable person.

  23. I do not believe this for one minute. No one is that clueless. No one is that stupid. This is made up.

  24. I had to get a cop in a reserved seat theater for the opening of a major Musical in a Christmas Holiday because a man wanted me to trade seats with his wife who was sitting way off in a side area where I had picked my seats for the most comfortable, best seats in the place for visual and sound. The guy elbowed me very hard when I politely said no, didn’t want to leave my party of friends or my good seat. I did not think it was anything near having a dangerous fight over but he “accidently” jabbed his elbow into my side twice The cops removed him when they came down and heard him call me a disgust slur and another verbal threat.

  25. I work as an OBC for a major international courier company. I had a “karen” on my flight, giving me all sorts of icy stares because I refused to swap seats, so when we arrived at the destination, I made my way to the arrivals Hall, and waited for “karen” to collect her bags from the carousel. It was at this point she headed for the Green Channel, so I pointed her out to the customs officer. The CO knew that all I had was my overnight bag with a fresh uniform inside, so I was waved through. I do hope “Ms Entitled” wasn’t too inconvenienced by customs going through her luggage.

  26. I firmly believe in karma, so I will usually help others. I won’t give up a premium seat to sit in the back though

    Likely that this Karen has not been very nice at times, and her previous actions on flights kept her separated from her husband.

    Just the other day, my wife and I were upgraded, but sequentially, separated by a few hours as UA slowly processed the upgrades.

    Of course, I offered my wife that first upgrade as it came thru.

    Karma works for me!

    As for Karen, someday she will realize why things don’t always work out for her.

  27. Several weeks ago I was traveling on a rather complicated trip home after back surgery. Airlines were great with wheelchairs and assuring I had necessary assistance. I paid extra for more leg space and an aisle seat. Then comes a couple who first, got in the wrong row, then tried to get me to change to a middle seat so they could sit together. I simply said, “No, I am keeping this seat.” and then totally ignored the sighs, negative body language and noises from the wife. Large earphones are an advantage.

    It was easy to simply state your rights.

  28. @Dan,

    I wish I could believe that, but I’ve had enough experiences to tell me that some people really are that stupid, or at least they hope you are. I’ve had people asking me to swap, but lying to me about what seat they wanted me to swap to before because they wanted me to swap an aisle for middle seat. (Obviously, I declined.) Some people really are just rude, dumb, and entitled.

    I’m perfectly fine with someone asking politely if I would swap for a similar seat – I normally will when traveling solo – but asking someone to swap to an obviously worse seat is just rude.

  29. I was in coach in an aisle seat (Paris to the States) and a woman was badgering me to switch seats so she could be with her husband or friend (I don’t remember the details too well). I eventually agreed. A few minutes later a flight attendant came over and asked me if I’d like to switch my (new) seat for a seat up front (first or business). The woman heard the offer and demanded that she be the one to move to the front cause I was now in her seat that was picked to upgrade. Not a thought about her friend/husband 😉

  30. Dan says:
    February 23, 2024 at 9:10 pm
    I do not believe this for one minute. No one is that clueless. No one is that stupid. This is made up.

    KInda agree …. Aloha, Mike

  31. @MIKE, @Dan Yeah, I agree with you guys. There are always these ridiculous posts about obvious outrageous behavior – and everyone, including me gets sucked in to give page clicks, etc.

    Yes, there are alot of inconsiderate people in the world, but I refuse to believe that anyone is so out of touch to try these types of shenanigans. If I’m wrong, then the human race is doomed.

  32. I’m guessing the Karen’s husband probably welcomed the chance to get away from her for a few hours.

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