With most airlines flying their services at full capacity – not every passenger will be allocated the seat they want.
Couples can be split up, children end up being seated away from their parents, and tall people sometimes have to squash into a space with little legroom.
But what if a fellow passenger, who is desperate to move, asks you to switch seats, but you really don’t want to?
Frequent flyers have been debating the best way to decline a request to move from allocated seats
It’s a conundrum that fliers on the internet forum Quora have been debating.
Their methods range from flat-out refusing to making yourself look as comfortable as possible so nobody will ask you to move.
User Kelly Martin said you should keep your answer short.
She explained: ‘Most diplomatic? “No, sorry.” If that seems too short, you can add “maybe the flight attendant can help you”.’
Fellow traveller Becky Blanton agreed adding: ‘Smile and say, “No, that won’t work for me. Maybe one of the attendants could help you.”‘
While Tanja Balde revealed her go-to line is: ‘Unless you have a seat in first class you are moving me to, I’m not moving”.
But what do the experts think?
According to body language expert and author Judi James, it’s all about remaining firm yet polite.
She told MailOnline Travel: ‘When the other traveller asks give them full, polite attention. Use eye contact and a pleasant facial expression. That way if you say “no” you will seem less stubborn and inflexible.
‘Ask for clarification to show you’ve got the message: “You want me to swap with your seat back there?”
‘Don’t feel compelled to tell lies or make excuses. If you start making excuses a stubborn negotiator can battle each point.
‘Show empathy before the “no” as in: “I’m sorry your seat isn’t in the best area. I’m afraid I’m going to say no…”
‘Then look helpful as in: “How about asking the people in that row?” or “Would you like me to have a word with the cabin crew to see if there are any alternatives?”
‘It’s massively unlikely that you will get lumbered with this option but it avoids conflict and makes you look like a decent sort.’
Methods range from flat-out refusing to making yourself look as comfortable as possible so nobody will ask you to move
And etiquette expert William Hanson agreed, saying as long as you politely refuse without looking arrogant, most people will understand you declining their request.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘If you have paid for that particular seat, that is almost an argument in itself that you should be able to sit there without being moved.
‘Obviously some people can’t be parted from their little darlings and so it’s understandable if they want you to move so they can sit next to them.
‘But there will always be people who want to kick up a fuss. However, if you politely say to them “I’m really sorry but I’ve paid especially for this seat” they should understand.
‘Especially if you say it nicely, with a smile without being churlish.
‘However, if you do agree to swap seats with someone, I would hope that they would help you to relocate rather than just standing there watching.’
Meanwhile, if the you are the one that has been split up from your friends or family and really want to sit next to them, Ms James says it’s important to approach the conversation as a negotiation.
She explained: ‘Be polite. Lower your body language slightly and smile. Standing upright beside the seat with your hands on your hips will look confrontational.
‘Apologise and show empathy. Start by seeing it from their viewpoint as in: “I’m sorry, I know this is going to be inconvenient and disruptive for you.”
‘People are more pliant when they feel you’ve thought of their feelings. Then state your reasons for moving.
‘And then add a sweetener or motivator. As in: “My kids have the seats next to you and I know they can be noisy so I wondered if you’d have a quieter journey if we exchanged seats. My seat is also near the window.”
Etiquette expert William Hanson says as long as you politely refuse without looking arrogant, most people will understand you declining their request
‘It’s important you don’t make the person feel as though they are losing face by agreeing. Nobody likes to feel they’ve been taken advantage of.
‘Do ask in a way that allows the other person to say “no” though. It’s only polite.
Mr Hanson suggests it might not be best to ask another passenger to swap straight away.
He explained: ‘If you are the one that wants to swap seats with another passenger, it is best to first speak with the cabin crew to see if they can help you before asking another customer yourself.
‘If they cannot help and you have to approach another passenger, you should say “would you mind awfully if we were to switch seats” and maybe give them a small gift or gesture to say thank you.’