Every summer, a traveler family who hasn’t had the foresight to reserve seats together on a plane requests a single-passenger shift in order to accommodate them.

This week, Vogue Williams, an Irish model, and mother-of-three, publicly criticized a fellow passenger for refusing to give up his aisle seat and move to the window so she could sit with her family. For God’s sake, she was traveling from Gibraltar to London. The flight is three hours long. Examine a magazine. Purchase Duty-Free. It’s not his fault that you’re so disorganized that you can’t read a seat map on an aircraft.

I travel frequently. I always choose the same seats (ask Virgin Atlantic; if I can’t get 8A, I’ll change aircraft). I prefer an aisle seat when traveling domestically because I need to use the lavatory frequently. I want to be towards the front because I’m not too fond of crowds and always need to disembark quickly. I spend weeks, if not months, ensuring I have my preferred seat.

But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been picked out as a single lady traveling alone and requested to change seats. I suppose it’s because people expect us to be the gentlest. Wrong.

I always say no. (apart from once, but more of that later).

I was in one of two front-row seats on a recent flight when the woman behind me requested if I would trade so she could sit next to her partner. I declined and was regarded with skepticism. (less so from him, who seemed quite glad of the three-hour respite).

Another time, I was flying back to the UK from the United States on American Airlines, and I had chosen seat 2A as my first choice. Half of the seats in business class (which I always choose when traveling long distances because I require a flatbed for sleep) face backward, which is my preferred mode of transportation on a train.

On a plane, however, I want to be at the front, facing the same direction as the pilot, because if we are forced to run, I know who I want to follow at the front of the pack.

After I had put my hand luggage away and settled in with my iPad to read a book, a man approached me and asked if I would move so that his family – a wife and two children – could sit in a row.

The seats are extremely far apart, so it’s unlikely they’d be on a Disney ride together, and when I looked at the seat he was indicating behind me, I noticed it faced backward, so I stated that I didn’t want to face that direction.

He then inquired as to if they might locate me another seat on the plane. No, I said. Not only is it my right to reject, but I don’t like being around a lot of people in these Covid times, and 2A, facing the window, is as far away from other people as it is feasible to get with my back to them (except for 1A, which faces backward). Just so you’re aware!).

He became enraged and began yelling at me, wishing me bad for the future if this ever happened to me, before storming over to the opposite side of the plane to encourage others to relocate.

Simply said, if you want to travel as a family or in a group, reserve your seats together ahead of time. Nobody else is responsible for your incompetence in failing to do so. You should certainly not make others uncomfortable when they want to keep to their obviously well-organized plans.

JACI STEPHEN, a solo traveler

JACI STEPHEN, a solo traveler

The gentleman eventually moved seats on Vogue Williams’ flight, but she still complained about him.

Ms. Williams, you’re lucky you didn’t have me on the airplane. Very fortunate.