Woman Who Refused to Give Up Seat to Wheelchair User in Empty Airport Terminal Faces Backlash

The passenger's retelling of the incident, in which she was called out by a fellow flyer, has divided users on Reddit's "Am I the A--hole" forum

<p>Getty</p> Woman sitting in an empty airport terminal.


Woman sitting in an empty airport terminal.
  • An airplane passenger recounted the incident, in which she says she was called an “a–hole” for refusing to give up her seat to a wheelchair user

  • She described the scene on Reddit’s "AmItheA--hole" subreddit and added that there were “tons” of empty seats around her in the nearly empty terminal

  • In the post, she clarifies her seat was not designated for people with disabilities

An airline passenger is reliving an unpleasant incident in which she was called an “a–hole” and “rude” for refusing to give up her seat to a wheelchair user.

The woman, 26, described the series of events on the AmItheA–hole subreddit." She recalls arriving at the unnamed airport nearly two hours early for her 6 a.m. flight and grabbing a seat in the waiting area by her gate.

“When I arrived at the terminal, there were 8 different gates but only one was being used so there were quite a few seats,” she explains. “Since I arrived early, I took one on the end by the window.”

Everything was going smoothly until just before it was time to board the plane.

Related: Woman Asks Fellow Passenger to Move from Business Class to Economy So She Can Move Her Husband Up

<p>Getty</p> Travelers lining up to board the plane.


Travelers lining up to board the plane.

She explains, “About 5:15, a few minutes before boarding, a woman and her mom were wheeled to the gate. They received assistance but were able to walk on the plane . . . They started to go up my row and then stopped to ask if I would move.”

While the user admits to having a “nicer, closer” spot in the waiting area, she recalls seeing “tons” of empty seats around her. “Probably over 100,” she adds.

“When they asked if I would move, I said no,” she continues. “The younger lady called me rude and scoffed about it. Again, there were tons of open seats and I had been there for a while.”

Related: American Airlines Passengers Restrain Man with Duct Tape After He Tries to Open Plane Door Mid-Flight

Artur Debat / Getty Images People seated on an airplane.
Artur Debat / Getty Images People seated on an airplane.

The original poster (OP) then shares the series of unpleasant encounters that followed.

Referring to the other woman and her mom, she says, “They took a seat a row over and glared at me the entire time until we boarded in the last group. On the plane, the person next to me called me an a-hole for not moving for them. No one else offered to move.”

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The commenters largely agreed with the OP, saying those judging her were out of line.

“Unless you were sitting in a seat specifically designated for disabled people, it's first come, first served. Using a wheelchair does not entitle someone to any seat that they choose,” one user wrote in response.

Another added, “You have nothing to be ashamed of. Some people are entitled. Others like to judge. Don't stress the small stuff.”

One commenter added, they thought it was odd if there were plenty of other seats in the waiting area. “It seems weird that people are mad at you for not giving up a random seat when there were so many available, and right before boarding. You could have given up the seat but you were under no obligation to do so.”

Several people asked if OP was sitting in an area designated for people with disabilities, saying she was clearly in the wrong if so, prompting her to update her original post noting that she was not sitting in the special area.

Shared space in airports has become a hot button topic prompting debates on who has the right to overhead bin space in the cabin and who gets priority when it comes to seating arrangements among other topics.

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