Solo passenger says it was 'downright humiliating' to give up his emergency-row seat so a couple could sit together

Turkish Airlines' 400th aircraft, an Airbus A350-941, is taking off from Barcelona Airport in Barcelona, Spain, on November 23, 2023.
Todd Plummer was flying on Turkish Airlines from Istanbul.Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Todd Plummer wrote for Condé Nast Traveler about having to give up his exit-row seat.

  • The agent said it was double booked, and another passenger was traveling with a woman sat across the aisle.

  • Plummer ended up moved two rows back, but said it was "irritating, and downright humiliating."

A Turkish Airlines passenger said he felt humiliated after giving up his exit-row seat so a couple could sit next to each other.

Writing for Condé Nast Traveler, Todd Plummer said he was "delighted" to be assigned the seat with extra legroom, especially given he's 6 feet 2 inches tall.

"It wasn't business class, but hey, in this economy, I'm happy to take what I can get," he wrote.

Plus, he said, it was a long-haul, seven-hour flight from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania.

But after he took his seat and boarding appeared to be finished, Plummer wrote, he saw a gate agent "storming up the aisle towards me, followed by a young man and woman."

He added that the agent asked to see his boarding pass in an "accusatory" manner and told him the seat had been double-booked.

Plummer said he was asked to move two rows away because the other man booked into the seat was traveling "in a couple," and his companion's seat was just across the aisle.

"But 9D isn't an exit row, and I'm quite fine where I am, thank you," he recalled replying when assigned his new seat.

Plummer wrote that the gate agent explained the plane was full, and an awkward staring contest took place before Plummer caved and moved seats.

"Something about publicly singling me out as a solo traveler who should move to an inferior seat was disappointing, irritating, and downright humiliating," he wrote.

Turkish Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Plummer's story is not unusual. Several TikToks have gone viral this year of passengers explaining why they refused to change seats so families could sit next to each other, sparking debates about flight etiquette.

One top comment, as BI previously reported, said: "Good for you! If they wanted their kid next to them they should've booked adjacent seats."

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