A Dilemma of Helping Another Passenger in Business Class

So, I had an odd experience the other day while flying from Cairns to Sydney on Qantas in Business Class I wanted to share.

I was seated in row 2, on the aisle. As I boarded the plane, the customer service manager welcomed me aboard, checked my boarding pass and showed me to my seat. He indicated that my seat mate, the person on the window, was in the restroom. I thought that was odd that he mentioned that, but didn’t think anything of it.

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After a few minutes, an elderly woman exited and made her way – albeit slowly – back to her seat. I got up out of mine to let her in, but she was clearly struggling still. The CSM made a gesture to me thanking me, but also sort of “I tried to warn you” look too. 

After we took off, her daughter (well, I presume it was her daughter the way she was talking) began have a full fledged conversation with her while she stood in the aisle. She was essentially talking over me as I tried to enjoy a movie. Minutes passed and the elderly passenger decided she wanted to watch a movie, but she couldn’t figure it out. So, then came the daughter to lean over my seat to try and get things working. She couldn’t get her headphones working, so I assisted her. All in all, she needed A LOT of assistance.

After the meal service, she again got up to the use the restrooIMG_1972m, again with great difficulty. This time, upon her return, she needed even more assistance trying to get in her seat. 

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As a side note, switching seats was not possible. She said she prefered the window, and I didn’t want to push the subject more. Her family was all back in economy (far back as best I could tell) and there was no other business class seat open because they were all filled with couples (preventing a possibility to switch). 

Now, first off, I’m all about helping people. I live to serve. Helping people is second nature for me. That said, I was on a business class ticket and didn’t pay to play elderly caregiver for 3 hours. I don’t say that to be rude, but I think the woman who was seated there needed more assistance than she could obviously provide herself and needed a true assistant of her own. To expect that I was going to do it is a rash assumption. Granted, I was glad to help her where I could, but I just find it strange that someone in her family booked her (or maybe she did on her own) far away from the people that could really assist her better. 

So, what’s your take on this? If a passenger next to you requires extensive assistance, would you help them?

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    • says

      Her daughter was seated in Y (pretty far back as far as I could tell), and the passenger in J didn’t want to move from the window. She said she selected the seat for a reason. The rest of J was filled with couples, so a trade of seats wasn’t really an option.

  1. Mal says

    Jamie – I read the conversation from last year on food policies for the flight crew. You brought up interesting points that seemed to bring a bunch of hate down on you; I applaud your returning to the fray with this story. Sincerely.

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