POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 1:43 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2013
Question: I fly quite a bit for work -- often long-haul flights to Europe and Asia. I recently had a physical, and my doctor told me I'm at risk of developing blood clots if I sit in one place for too long. He said I should get up and walk around the cabin every hour or so to ensure blood isn't pooling in my legs.
I have a flight coming up, and I am in a window seat. I absolutely dread the thought of asking my seatmates over and over again to please let me out, especially if they intend to sleep on the flight. However, the seat map online shows no available aisle seats. Should I ask the person in the aisle seat if he or she would switch with me? Would the crew ask someone to change seats with me? I hate to be a bother, but my doctor really has me worried about this.
Answer: Keep an eye on that online seat map. People change reservations all the time, and an aisle seat may open up. Also, call your airline. If you have frequent-flier status, call that help line first. If not, try regular customer service and explain your situation. You can try this at the airport check-in desk as well, and you can certainly ask the cabin crew for help or ask someone to switch seats with you. Simply say something like, "I have a medical condition that requires me to get up and walk around the cabin frequently. Unfortunately, I couldn't get an aisle seat. I apologize in advance for having to ask you to let me out. Or, if you'd prefer, we could change seats."
They may decline, of course. Who knows? Perhaps the person in the aisle seat also has concerns about his or her own circulation. In that case, just be as polite as possible when you ask to pass by.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.