Canadian bobsled athlete, Cynthia Appiah, is one of the latest people to share an instance of airplane seat drama on TikTok. In her case, she was getting ready to sit in the seat she paid for, only to find somebody else there.

This is one of countless stories involving folks engaging in a game of musical chairs on a flight.

The debate about changing seats so families or couples can sit together is a hot one. Most agree that if you paid for a certain seat, you are entitled to it in all cases. It’s your responsibility to arrange seating that allows you to sit next to your companions if that’s what you want.

Others point out that there should be at least one exception. If an adult asks a stranger to kindly change seats so that they can sit beside their young child, wouldn’t the stranger be heartless to refuse?

Appiah Is An Olympic Athlete

Cynthia Appiah is Canadian bobsledder who has represented Canada in the Olympics.

On TikTok, she said, “it seems like there’s a lot of conversations going on right now on TikTok about plane seats and whether you should have to give up your seat if someone asks you.”

As a rule, Appiah prefers aisle seats, and books accordingly where possible.

According to Narcity Canada, “as a national team athlete, she regularly flies between Toronto and Calgary and often upgrades her seat to Premium Economy or to a ‘preferred seat’ in economy.”


A Woman Was Sitting In Appiah's Seat

When Appiah arrived at the Premium Economy aisle seat she paid for, a woman was sitting in it. Next to her, by the window, was her boyfriend.

Narcity Canada reported, “initially, Appiah assumed she must have made a mistake so she triple-checked to ensure her seat number was correct.”

It absolutely was.

When Appiah told the woman she was in the wrong seat, she replied, “yeah, I know I am, but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind switching with my seat just behind me, so I can sit with my boyfriend during this flight?'”

According to Narcity Canada, “Appiah explained that the woman’s seat was still in Premium Economy and only one row behind, but it was a window seat and not an aisle seat, like she had specifically booked.”


Appiah Refused To Change

Appiah said she wanted the seat she paid for and wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

The woman was apparently upset, but had no choice but to move.

Appiah stated, “people should not kindly ask (but really bully) people into giving up their seats.”


TikTok Users Almost Unanimously Agreed

The Olympic athlete got the support of the majority of TikTokers.

“Wait, people are actually expecting people to give up their paid seats?!?!” wrote one user. “Bananas! Absolutely not.”

“Yup, some people feel entitled,” said a second. “Stick to your guns girl!”

Even people off TikTok weighed in.

Quincy Thomas in the MSN News comments section, questioned why some couples can’t stand not being next to each other temporarily.

“I don’t understand why some people feel like they can’t be separated from their partner for a few hours while on a plane,” he said.  “These are the same people that probably sit in separate rooms of the same house and text each other all day.”

When someone pointed out that some people have a fear of flying and would feel better sitting with somebody they know, Thomas retorted: “unless it’s a fear they didn’t realize they had until after boarding the plane, then they should practice due diligence and reserve their seats for the big, scary flight beforehand.”



Some Users Had A Slightly Different Take On The Situation

Carriers usually require passengers to pay for specific seats. Otherwise, they have to sit wherever there is space.

One user said, “I can never afford to choose seats. I might ask someone to switch so I can sit by my daughter – but never if it’s not an equivalent.”

Another added, “some folks can’t book early or have to make last-minute plans and the seats aren’t together. That said I would never just sit in someone else’s seat.”