The request to change seats on a plane, train, or public transportation is bound to happen considering the number of people who ride them. Are you always obligated to comply?
Of course, you are perfectly welcome to accommodate if you choose. And should an attendant ask if you’d mind switching, you might surely agree. But you are being asked a favor and, therefore, the decision to grant it or not is up to you.
Not that you need an important reason to decline to change seats with someone, but any of the following reasons are perfectly valid:
You do not need to discuss your reason for declining but remaining etiquette-ful is called for. Although it’s perfectly fine to refuse a request, when you choose to do so remember that it’s all in how you do it.
If it feels appropriate, you might add to your ‘No’ reply.
Still, no lengthy explanation is needed. The bottom line is: you were requested to do something, it didn’t work for you, and you chose to decline. And that is okay.
Let’s face it, saying “no” is hard to do sometimes. We like to be accommodating to others, and appreciate it when others are accommodating to us. But let’s face it – sometimes you just need to keep your seat.