I'm an ex-flight attendant – there is a big mistake you're making when you swap seats on the plane | The Sun

IF you see an empty row on a flight, you may be tempted to swap seats.

However, an ex-flight attendant has said there is one big mistake passengers make when they go to switch seats on the plane.


Bobby Laurie, a former flight attendant and one of the first to work for Virgin America, said travellers often forget that some seats cost more – and aren't free to take.

He said: "Some airlines designate the first few rows of the plane, and usually the overwing exits, as premium or preferred seats.

"They always come with an extra fee and flight attendants are supposed to check the manifest against any passengers seated in those seats.

"If you haven’t paid for the privilege of an extra legroom seat, you might get kicked out if you swap to one."

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He added that passengers are allowed to move, but crew will say "when and where".

It's not just about the cost, but also the weight of the plane.

Bobby said crew have to provide pilots with passenger counts in each section to work out the weight and balance of the plane.

If too many move, then this can cause problems with the figures.

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Pilot Magnar Nordal explained on a Quora forum how this can be dangerous, when it happened to him on one of his flights.

They said: “If the [systems are] set wrong, then the aircraft may crash at take-off.

“Four passengers seated themselves forward from their assigned seats before take-off.

“My first officer was flying, and he experienced problems when he rotated the aircraft: It was very heavy.

“This was a very critical situation, because the runway was very short, and we would not have been able to stop.”

Pilot Darren Patterson agreed, telling the BBC that someone moving 10 rows of seats can have a “dramatic” effect on a plane’s balance.

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So next time you want to switch, it is best to ask crew before taking all your bags to the spare seat.

A man recently divided opinion online after he refused to swap seats for a family-of-four during a flight.

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