Well here's a good thing to do, offer your aisle seat on a full flight to the person assigned the middle seat! Just did and the person moving was incredulous, to the point of almost ringing the flight attnendant call button! Whatever happened to the way we were, when being nice did not raise people's suspicions?
Maybe Jasper can explain this to me?
Last year, my wife and I booked our flight late for our vacation so we couldn't get seats together. For the first leg we couldn't find a trade that worked out. For the second leg, a lady who found out we were on our anniversary vacation, offered to give up her window seat and take a center seat that I had a few rows back, to allow us to sit together. I told her she didn't need to do that, but she insisted. We told the flight attendant to make sure she had whatever drinks she wanted and told her that we would pay for them. She was very appreciative, but not near as much as we were!
Let's hope the people like you who give up their seats, and people like you and us, who go out of our way to show we appreciate that nice behavior, pass it on to other people. Maybe it will be like smiling at someone and hoping it spreads through them, at least for some people. To all the chivalrous people, please don't change. SOMEBODY will show their appreciation, some of the time at least.
I will continue to be a nice person no matter what. The act of kindness that is most special is that which is done with no expectation of anything in return, in my view. Thanks to all the responders who agreed and commented on this. I think we have become less personal and less human over the last decade or so, but I am swimming against that tide as long as I can!
SS - The really sad part of this discussion is that while I'd like to say that I'm shocked by the reactions that you and pingreeman experienced after showing some basic consideration for others, I can't say that I'm all that surprised. I want to think that this lack of surprise is due to my jaded personality after being a prosecutor for as long as I have, but I'm sorry to say that I think it's more a sign of how our society has degenerated. Tryt53 and jasper100 are, I'm afraid, exactly right.
Even though both you and pingreeman received the reactions you both described, I thank you both for bringing a bit if civility to our lives and culture.
nhtraveler, well said..I will continue to try, when I think it is the right thing to do, to help others whenever I can when I travel. I have traveled enough to kind of know those that will end up appreciating a gesture and those that will not. Unfortunately, I am not alway right, but am in 90-95 % of the time. I, like you, will try to "bring a bit of civility to our lives and culture". Speaking about civility, SS is now known as SSSS (Super Star Stepping Stones), the only Super Star on Insider's to date.
What a breath of fresh air you are, Steppingstones! Random acts of kindness are beautiful, and I applaud you! It makes me smile, because just this morning, we did a much smaller act of kindness and paid for the families doughnuts in line behind us, unbeknownst to them. A small sacrifice for us, but hopefully the kindness will grow, and those touched will pass it on. How beautiful it is to hear of generosity on a higher(ha ha) level!
As for those who don't offer even a word of thanks, well, God bless them. They will hopefully remember when their hearts open. I know that When we book flights with our children in tow, sometimes we can't get seats together, so I am always thankful if someone is willing to swap, and we always swap the best seat for the other person. And, of course, we thank them. Next time, I think we will have to buy them a drink too:) And, my husband and I have both swapped for other couples and families. He has also given up first class for coach to honor a military person.
So, I think it is great to hear of your gift just for the heck of it. How refreshing! What goes around comes around...
Last Sunday night, flying from MCO to STL on SW (I hope this is my last flight on SW), I took a center seat and gave an elderly woman a window seat.
The poor lady was British, traveling by herself to Los Wages for the trip of her life and had missed her non-stop flight from Orlando to Las Vegas. She was frazzled and she finally got comfortable and was most appreciative.
So I am with all of you, there are a few of us left. Most of us are experienced travelers and helping others who aren't is just a kind thing to do.
I have given up my upgraded seats in first class for military folks in uniform a number of times and suggested many times to flight attendants that empty seats up front be filled with soldiers traveling in uniform. Usually they do this anyway but the few times they haven't at the gate the FA's have taken care of it.
One time a full bird colonel was in uniform and traveling with his wife. I offered my seat to him not knowing his wife was with him. When he declined because he was going to sit with his wife, the guy beside me offered his seat as well. After some discussion, the colonel and his wife graciously accepted and the other guy and I proceeded to the back of the plane. The FA's brought us both drinks and snacks and meals as if we had sat up front, I guess they had extras. When we got off the plane the colonel handed us both one of his challenge coins. You guys that served know what these mean. For everyone else, it is not something insignificant to get those coins, particularly from a senior level officer or NCO. They are usually given for outstanding service or exceptional performance of a duty by higher ranking folks, though most military units have "unit coins". We both said thank you and went about our day but I still recall it clearly and I still have the coin
One more suggestion,
Make it a point to give your extra drink tickets to military people!
On SW, when we get tickets on points, I give the drink books to military and it's only saving someone $5 per drink, but they always appreciate the gift. Likewise, Delta always gives me coupons which I will also give to people in uniform.
An interesting topic 5S. Unfortunately, I have no similar 'giving' event to share ... we Brits seem to be missing something here. We certainly don't give our military personnel the status that you guys do in the USA. In fact, I have rarely seen any in uniform on a commercial flight.
You have certainly pricked my awareness. It will be interesting to see if any Brits offer their own examples of giving.