She Was Asked to Switch Seats. Now She’s Charging El Al With Sexism.

I fly a lot, especially between NY and Israel, and practically every single flight, I am asked to switch seats. I think the big problem here (for El Al) is that the crew got involved. In my experience, it's always been the other passenger, and sometimes his wife, who make the request.

As long as the seat is equal, and as long as the request is polite and courteous, I move. I would not move if a flight attendant requests it (a request made as an option, not as an order), on principle. This is not the same as asking for a famiky to be seated together. On the occasions I decline, they leave me alone, but I once heard one passenger mumble to his travel mate, in Yiddish, that I was a "resheinte" - an evil woman. I guess in jeans and a turtleneck, I didn't look like someone who is fluent in Yiddish.

The gentleman ended up seated next to me all the way from Tel Aviv to New York, but I rose above his offensive commentary and managed to ignore him throughout the flight.

Usually they just keep asking passengers one after the other, making a huge chillul Hashem as they pester everyone else by trying to reconfigure the seating chart to their whims until the crew shuts them down.

Anat Hoffman has been waiting a long time for a test case like this one, where the crew got involved. I think they think it will work because the female passenger is an impeccable plaintiff - a distinguished woman, elderly, with physical impairments, whose respectability should have made her unassailable. Their weak point in the case is that the woman consented to the request. Unfortunately, the polite good manners and consideration she shows to others made her an easy target for a man with unbounded chutzpah and a completely unjustified sense of entitlement.

The male passenger is the one who should have moved. If his principles are so important to him, they could have had him change places and move to economy class. I'm sure they would have had enough economy volunteers to take his place that he could have had a selection of seats in coach class that would keep him separate from women.

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