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17th Apr 2024

Woman praised for refusing to give up seat to elderly passenger on train

Ryan Price

‘Her lack of planning is not your problem.’

A woman who refused to give up her seat on a train to an elderly passenger is being praised online for sticking to her guns.

The cost of trains these days is beyond comprehension. You could pay anywhere between £80 and £200 for a return ticket from Manchester to London. Consider the fact that at peak times you’ll be squashed into your pre-booked seat like a sardine and you’ll play wifi roulette for the majority of the journey as it constantly cuts out and reconnects.

The small victory of having your little seat and quarter of a table is about all you can cling on to during your journey, so when someone comes and threatens that, you’re going to have your back up a bit.

That was the case for one particular woman who wrote about her tense experience on a train from London to Aberdeen on Reddit, and received over 1600 comments in response.

The 32-year-old female explained: “I recently got a train across the UK from London to Aberdeen. It’s a seven-hour journey so I booked myself a first-class seat well in advance.

“First-class seats on trains in the UK can be expensive, but I decided to treat myself because I was making the journey the day after returning from a two-week-long work trip abroad and I knew I’d be exhausted/ totally unable to function,” she added.

“I knew I’d have work to do on the train, so I wanted to make sure I had space/ comfort to be able to work. On certain trains in the UK, the first-class carriages have ‘individual seats’ which means you’re not sitting next to or sitting opposite anyone. The space is entirely your own and you can spread out over the little table. I specifically booked one of those seats to enable me to work.”

Already we’ve got a good idea of the frame of mind this lady was in when boarding the train. Paying more than we’d ideally like to just for a little bit of comfort and peace is a feeling that many of us can relate to.

She continued: “I got on the train in London and sat in my seat. The seat they’d assigned me was also the ‘priority seat’. ‘Priority seats’ are the ones at the end of carriages for people with mobility issues due to age or disability etc. A woman got on after me who was around sixty-years-old and pointed at the sign above my head and, quite rudely, told me to move because she was elderly.

“I told her I’d booked the seat and she’d need to speak to a member of staff to find her one. She pointed out that the train was full (even first class was full) and there were no other seats. I apologised but reiterated that I’d booked the seat and wasn’t going to move.

“Eventually a train guard came over to try to help. The lady had booked a return ticket, but she hadn’t reserved a specific seat. For those who don’t know how trains work in the UK, if you have an “open ticket” and haven’t booked a seat reservation, it means you can travel on any train, but you aren’t guaranteed a seat unless there’s one available. He asked if either of us would consider moving to standard class if he could find us a seat. I again refused, explaining I’d booked the seat well in advance and needed it.

“He asked if anyone in the rest of first class would mind changing and no one agreed. Eventually he took the woman to standard class and I assume found her a seat there. I felt bad, but I also don’t think I needed to put myself in severe discomfort because someone else didn’t think ahead and reserve a seat. AITA? (Am I the asshole?).”

The top comment in response, amassing over 20k likes, reads: “The train company are the assholes here. They sold the disability seats as the most expensive seats on the train.

“Then they tried to get the person who bought those seats to move to standard. Those seats should imo never be sold unless the occupier is disabled. That’s on the train operator. It’s not on you.”

Another Reddit user pointed out that the elderly lady “paid standard fare hoping/expecting to get special treatment. At the very least she should have purchased at the priority price. To ask someone who had paid extra for the space to move, and back to standard, no less, is arrogant.”

One other user put it plain and simply by drawing comparison to air travel. They wrote: “If it was a 1st class seat on a plane and someone asked you to move to economy, you’d tell them to f**k right off. Same applies in my mind.”

Lets allow that to be the last word on the affair.

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