A long-haul flight isn’t fun at the best of times — but waking up to a child crawling all over you is bound to make it a little worse.
A TikTok user who documents her travels under the username @DiaryOfASoloTraveller recalled a recent flight which left her speechless — and reignited a fierce debate over the etiquette surrounding families traveling together.
In the now-viral, 45-second clip, the woman explains she had just settled in her window seat for the six-hour flight when a woman asked her if she’d like the aisle seat instead.
“It’s always OK to ask … but I said ‘Oh, no thank you,’” the TikTok travel correspondent with 2.7 million “likes” replied. “I got the window, I want the window.”
The mother — who was traveling with her young child and wanted to sit with her husband — was reportedly very taken aback by her response.
Shrugging it off, the traveler said she fell asleep before the plane took off — and claimed she woke up later to a child “crawling on top” of her — and the mom doing nothing to stop it.
“I think because of spite, this woman refused to deal with her child because of it,” the peeved passenger theorized.
“I did not know what to do,” she added. “So I forced myself to pass out and then sit through the most uncomfortable flight of my life.”
The clip has been viewed over 239,000 times since it was posted at the end of September, with hundreds of comments arguing over the people should do when they are put in this position.
“So just switch seats next time and don’t be difficult,” one user said.
“Why should she switch? Lack of planning by the mom does not constitute an emergency on the OP’s side,” another shot back.
“Why don’t people buy seats next to each other when they are booking them?” questioned another.
In July, the Transportation Department urged airlines to make it easier for families to sit together on planes at no extra charge.
The department said in a notice to airlines that the carriers “should do everything that they can to ensure the ability of a young child” 13 or younger to sit next to an older family member.
The agency said it will monitor airlines starting in November and might propose new regulations.
Meanwhile, the trade group Airlines for America said carriers “have always worked to accommodate customers who are traveling together, especially those traveling with children, and will continue to do so.”
The Transportation Department said it has received more than 500 complaints in the last five years about families unable to sit together. However, that is only about 1% of all complaints against airlines and is dwarfed by gripes about refunds and flight problems.