May 24, 2024

Comedian Shares Why You Should Swap Seats With Parents on Flights

  • Some TikTokers say they wouldn’t swap seats on flights so parents can sit with their kids.
  • But one comedian has pointed out a compelling reason why it might be a good idea to swap. 
  • Choosing to stay put might lead to regret if you find yourself next to another passenger’s children.

A comedian has turned the viral TikTok seat-switching debate on its head by highlighting one reason why it might be a good idea to let parents sit with their children on a flight. 

Over the past few months, TikTokers have gone viral after complaining about parents who asked them to swap plane seats so they could be next to their children. It’s sparked an intense social media debate about the best etiquette for dealing with requests to switch seats on flights. 

Cindy Arena, a stand-up comedian based in New York, weighed in on the debate with a story about choosing to let a stranger sit with her two children on a flight, posted to TikTok on July 27.

It is unclear from the video’s content whether the story is part of a comedy routine, and whether it’s based on true events or an imagined comical situation, as some people weighing in on this debate have used satire and parody in their videos in the past. One influencer who went viral in February for saying she refused to swap seats with a family later revealed the whole thing was a “joke” in a comment under her post. 

In Arena’s video, the comedian shared a screenshot of an article posted on the “Today” show’s Instagram page, about a TikToker who said she refused to swap plane seats with a mom who wanted to sit next to her kids. 

Arena pointed to a section that asked whether solo travelers should be obliged to switch seats for the convenience of families traveling together on flights. But instead of arguing whether a passenger should or shouldn’t switch, she argued parents might not want to ask at all.

“No, let them stay with your kids,” Arena responded, going on to tell a story of a stranger who once refused to swap seats with her so she could sit next to her two children, who she said were about 4 and 6 at the time. 

Instead of arguing with the woman, Arena said she went to sit in her assigned seat, which was at the back of the plane, leaving the woman to sit with her two young kids.

“It was so peaceful,” Arena said.

Eventually, Arena said the flight attendant told her the stranger changed her mind and decided she would like to swap. “This bitch is sitting next to my kids, and there’s nothing fun about that,” she added. 

The TikToker said she turned the tables on the woman who initially refused to move by saying she felt it was better that they both stayed in their assigned seats. 

The clip went viral, receiving 1.4 million views, and several commenters said they were amused by the TikToker’s story about the potential consequences of not swapping with a parent on a flight.

“They’re your kids now. Hahhaa,” one commenter wrote. 

“Bro yea like make them babysit for free hahahah,” wrote another. 

Some commenters didn’t see the funny side, and expressed concern about the possibility of young children sitting apart from their parents on a flight, while others said they felt it should always be the responsibility of the parent to ensure they’ve booked seats near their children in advance. 

A number of TikTokers have also gone viral as part of this debate in recent months. In October, a creator named Maresa Friedman addressed the common stigma around refusing to sacrifice your seat for the sake of someone else’s kids, saying she was “not a villain” for declining to swap with a family and emphasizing the importance of “planning ahead” when traveling with children. 

Earlier this year, some airlines introduced policies to make it easier for parents and children to sit with each other without having to pay extra fees. For example, in February, Frontier announced it would automatically assign children under 14 with an adult on the same booking before the check-in window for the flight opens.

Cindy Arena did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.

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