'I didn't give up my plane seat for pregnant woman – there was a good reason'

Interior of airplane with people sitting on seats. Passengers on seat during flight
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A man has confessed to feeling guilty after he refused to give up his plane seat for a pregnant woman.

However, strangers have rallied around him as he shared his story over on Reddit.

The 28-year-old was embarking on a 12-hour flight from New York to Hawaii and had pre-booked a 'comfort seat', costing him approximately £200 and points. After settling into his assigned seat, he was approached by a visibly pregnant woman who requested a seat swap due to her condition.

He recounted the incident, saying: "About 15 minutes before takeoff, a visibly pregnant woman was walking up and down towards the front of the plane.

"She and a flight attendant looked around for a moment, talked a bit, and then the lady approached me asking if I would be willing to switch seats with her due to her condition. I politely declined. I explained that I had specifically booked this seat because I'm pretty long (I'm 6'4 tall) and that I needed the extra comfort and space."

Despite the flight attendant's understanding and other passengers also refusing the request, the man admitted to feeling a pang of guilt, questioning whether he'd made the right decision.

According to the young man, "If I agreed they would have reimbursed me for the extra cost via a voucher so that my ticket would've been the cost of the normal economy ticket. I'm not certain if the pregnant lady would've had to pay extra to switch with me because I just politely declined a few times and we didn't get into that level of detail."

He then narrated his discomfort during the journey, stating, "The pregnant lady then told me I wouldn't understand what it feels like to be a woman carrying a baby in this summer heat, got upset, and eventually had to return to her seat in the back. Throughout the flight, I felt awkward passing by her every time on the way to the bathroom. When I landed, I couldn't help but feel guilty."

Feeling torn about his decision, he pondered: "I'm a young man without the burden of carrying a child in me and totally could've sacrificed a bit.. and wondered if I had been wrong to prioritize my comfort over someone who might have needed it more."

While most people were quick to support his choice to stay in his pre-booked seat, others suggested that the expectant mother should have planned ahead knowing she'd be uncomfortable in a standard economy seat.

A fellow Reddit user voiced their opinion under the post, stating: "She had the option of purchasing a more comfortable seat. Unless Delta was willing to compensate you for the seat-swap I would not expect you to just 'gift' her your seat. I had done seat swaps before and United always took care of me. I pay extra for the better seats and do not want to be crunched in to some cubbyhole for twelve hours."

A second user chimed in, stating: "You paid for that seat, and she paid for hers. She could have booked a different class if she wanted to. Most likely she knew she would be this pregnant when she booked the flight. It is unfortunate the situation she is in, truly, but unless a medical emergency were happening I'm not sure why you would be expected to give up your seat."

While another person commented: "Many a pregnant woman has survived economy class. If she had wanted the extra space, she also could have paid for it like you did. The other people could have also switched. But didn't. This isn't on you."