Guy Turned Down $1,500 To Switch Economy Seats

Guy Turned Down $1,500 To Switch Economy Seats

This story is pretty incredible, and I don’t really know what to make of it.

NFL star Cam Newton, who allegedly makes $20 million per year, was flying from Paris to the US on Friday. Apparently he was supposed to fly from Paris to Charlotte in American business class but missed his flight, and the only other option to get him home was to fly American from Paris to Dallas in economy.

I think this is probably a good time to mention that there’s almost certainly another way he could have crossed the Atlantic in business class that day, so a little bit of research may have gone a long way. I’m guessing that was just the only way American could get him there, or more accurately, the only way an American representative claimed they could get him there. Too bad he didn’t know that last-minute is often the best time to use miles for international first and business class tickets. 😉

That’s besides the point, though…

He was then stuck on a flight from Paris to Dallas in a regular economy seat. He’s 6’5″, so when he boarded he allegedly offered the guy in the exit row $1,500 to switch seats with him. He seemed to be in a regular economy aisle seat, so getting $1,500 for switching seats on a flight is insanely awesome. That’s basically $150 per hour.

The surprising part? The guy said no.

Here’s the video a fellow passenger took:

It goes without saying that it’s the guy’s prerogative to turn down the request, so we can’t blame him for that in any way. However, I’m sure many of us are saying “I would’ve taken that in a heartbeat.”

Of course we don’t know the full context here, though I would imagine that 99% of people would say yes to a seat change like this. That’s especially true when you consider this is in economy. I imagine if $1,500 weren’t anything to the guy in the exit row then he may have also considered booking business class (which I’m sure you could easily find for an extra $3,000 roundtrip).

While we’ll probably never know why the guy said no, I do have a general theory, which is true of so many things at airports and on planes. I feel like when people get on planes they take a “survival of the fittest” approach. There’s a high level of distrust in everyone else, and we are so on edge that we don’t agree to things we’d agree to on the ground.

For example, my American flight yesterday was oversold, and they were offering to rebook people on a flight three hours later in exchange for a $700 voucher. They struggled to get takers.

Now, admittedly it’s only an American Airlines voucher and not cash, but even so, I think many people (or at least enough people) would objectively consider that to be worthwhile. However, we have such a high level of distrust in the airline industry that we suddenly lose any trust in things.

I guess my last question is why Cam Newton didn’t up his offer. Was $1,500 his “best and final” price on not being totally miserable for 10 hours? Was he paying in cash, and that’s all the cash he had? Shouldn’t he have tried to ask other people as well, or even asked people in business class to switch for more?

What’s your theory on this situation?

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