"Excuse me, can we swap seats?"

#1 Nov 30th, 2014, 13:01
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  • iamgorman is offline
#1
I've become skilled at booking train tickets, largely thanks to advice on this forum. The advantages of a lower-side berth make the trip more enjoyable.

Any tips or suggestions on how to deflect the local travelers who try to swap seats with you? I have no problem with accommodating elderly or disabled passengers, but far too often it's an issue of convenience and comfort.

I'm always caught off guard and agree to switch seats, but this presents problems. Usually, I am trading a lower side berth for a top berth. On one trip, the passenger I traded with "so they could sit closer to their family" left at 3 AM, and I was women up by the conductor to return to my seat.

On my trip today, a family talked a British traveler to move to an upper berth, because their whole family has lower seats except their Dadi. I would have folded just as the man did, but I am wondering why the teenage daughter didn't exchange with Dadi.

As a guest in the country, I want to be respectful and do not want any special treatment, but if I book tickets a month in advance, it would be nice to sit in the seat I booked. Any suggestions?
#2 Nov 30th, 2014, 13:36
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  • edwardseco is offline
#2
The upper berth is better. I hear you, on a plane I was asked to switch. I ended up next to a drunk who collapsed over me. If I hadn't been so drunk I would have pushed him off..
#3 Nov 30th, 2014, 13:42
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#3
Counter excuses with excuses, respectfully. "I have a back problem and that's why I always choose the lower berth" will work like a charm.
#4 Nov 30th, 2014, 14:19
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by BholeBaba View Post Counter excuses with excuses, respectfully. "I have a back problem and that's why I always choose the lower berth" will work like a charm.
Well siad BB....especially when they can swap within family members!
For elderly and / or disabled then it will be good to swap.
#5 Nov 30th, 2014, 16:47
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#5
Hmmm... Two sides to this. You will see the following conversation in multiple threads on IM...
Q... We have booked two berths, but we are not together, what can we do?

A... Ask somebody to swap with you: many people will be happy to accommodate your request.
This flexibility is part of Indian rail travel. But of course, it happens that you may have a specific berth that you really want. You might really really want to sit by a window, or you might be averse to upper-berth acrobatics ...or whatever. You don't have to make or give excuses: just say no. That's acceptable too.

If you find yourself subject to the attentions of one of those organisational bullies who is intent on accommodating his large family contingent at the expense of moving around half the carriage, you might wish you had taken an assertiveness-training course before your trip! Sometimes people can make it very hard for you to say no. How you handle it is up to you.

You say you want to be respectful: be careful that doesn't translate into being walked on. You say you don't want special treatment: don't worry, you won't get any! Especially from the character in my last paragraph, who doesn't give a damn for your race, colour, origin or creed; only that you are where he wants his wife's cousin-brother to be

I don't do much train travel, and I am certainly not one of the site's experts. Damn it, I don't even like it much after the first six hours! But I guess I must have done a trip or two a year over the past decade, and it is only a small number of times I have been asked to move, and once that I got caught up in the big-family-bully thing. However, even then I was OK with the move (although I resented how it was done) and I don't think I have ever been really disadvantaged.

Personally, I would avoid side berths if travelling alone: knee to knee with a stranger and very little space for baggage. For sleeping, the upper of the side berths is, I think, preferable. It is like a little private cave! And you do not get knocked by people moving up and down the aisle

Quote:
I was women up by the conductor to return to my seat.
Nice typo Or is this a new private enterprise in which TTEs are now indulging?
#6 Nov 30th, 2014, 17:33
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#6
Never had this problem on trains but always happens on planes. I always book aisle seat and end up in a middle seat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post just say no. That's acceptable too.
Easier said than done when a sad/worried(and very polite) looking woman comes and requests the seat for her sick kid, mother, in laws, husband etc,.

The request I hate the most is from boy friends/girl friends who make up an excuse to be with their partners. So much over flowing love, they can't sit on a plane separately for a few hours!
#7 Nov 30th, 2014, 19:14
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Nice typo Or is this a new private enterprise in which TTEs are now indulging?
Oops. Mobile keyboard has its own interpretation of reality. Should read "woken".
#8 Nov 30th, 2014, 20:03
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#8
It is a ticklish issue. Much more so when you're travelling alone. It would set the tone of the whole journey, hostile or friendly. If the journey is long and you're sensitive to your co-passengers' vibes, you'd be hard-pressed to refuse. These could be the people you depend upon to keep an eye on your things when you go to the loo.

I've never travelled alone in trains before, so luckily I've always been in a position to refuse.
#9 Nov 30th, 2014, 20:27
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  • Nick-H is offline
#9
I've still shifted, even when not travelling alone --- but people have shifted for me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Princ09 Easier said than done when a sad/worried(and very polite) looking woman comes and requests the seat for her sick kid, mother, in laws, husband etc,.

The request I hate the most is from boy friends/girl friends who make up an excuse to be with their partners. So much over flowing love, they can't sit on a plane separately for a few hours!
My god! And I thought I'd had it bad with my organising bully, of which I am sure there thousands.
#10 Dec 1st, 2014, 00:51
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#10
Here's an old post of mine about arriving for a 38 hour trip to find my lovely inside lower berth had been stolen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post
A few days ago I got to Kota (Rajasthan) station for a 38 hour train to Trivandrum, I had booked in 2A, I walked to my berth, there was an old woman sleeping in my lower berth, and her husband (also an old man) was pleading with me to swap berths as she was ill (and boy oh boy, did she get well soon ), the husband was in the side lower berth with his bed made up) and wanted me to take the side upper berth, no window, the side upper berth looked like a little prison cell, to make matters worse, as I'd walked into the carriage (at 15:30) EVERY curtain was drawn blocking off any view of any other passenger (they have curtains along the aisle in 2A).

So I was faced with a carriage full of curtains and an upper berth that looked like a prison cell, I'm not joking when I sayt that I felt like crying, 38 hours, the train was in the platform for about 6 minutes, and I seriously considered getting off and booking another train in Sleeper Class, but fortunately, I got angry instead, and told the old man (an army man) that I was happy to swap, but that I wanted the side lower berth, I couldn't face 38 hours without a window or a seat, he reluctantly agreed.

I just don't like 2A, and would have happily swapped my ticket for a Sleeper Class ticket, but it was the fast Rajdhani and those trains don't have Sleeper Class, I'd completely had enough of the journey and the fellow passengers by the time I got to Udupi, and just got off the train, this really bugged the lazy train staff, they first tried to give me a bottle of water with an open top, they then ignored me a dozen times when I asked for my bedding, I eventually got it at about 23:30.

Yet these same staff were going up to the tourists just before Goa and asking "You going to Goa?", then just holding their hands out waiting for a tip, one after the other, 3 staff in total, they were shocked that I wasn't getting off in Goa, and even more shocked when I suddenly jumped off the train in Udupi, I didn't even know I was getting off at Udupi, but as the train stopped, I had one of those mad moments and just got off.

Damn, I can go on a bit, anyway, Udupi is great, just like Murudeshwar (a great 2 day break from Goa).
#11 Dec 1st, 2014, 00:54
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by prince09 View Post The request I hate the most is from boy friends/girl friends who make up an excuse to be with their partners. So much over flowing love, they can't sit on a plane separately for a few hours!
haha I'd be glad of the time apart

Peace and quiet for a while
#12 Dec 1st, 2014, 01:51
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#12
Quote:
Here's an old post of mine about arriving for a 38 hour trip to find my lovely inside lower berth had been stolen.
Beautifully told, Steven
Quote:
haha I'd be glad of the time apart

Peace and quiet for a while
We were WL 1 and 2... Mrs N wangled a VIP quota confirmation, but they only gave it for one ticket. The TTE let me stay on the train (technically, I was committing an offence, not even having RAC ticket) and share the berth.

Ahem... Yes, I suppose I might have welcomed it if we we were young. Or both sylphs. Really it was impossible.

Some TTEs are really good, and really earn their pay ...and tips. And he did get me a berth after two or three hours.
#13 Dec 1st, 2014, 02:03
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by prince09 View Post Never had this problem on trains but always happens on planes. I always book aisle seat and end up in a middle seat.
Say that you have a week bladder.
#14 Dec 1st, 2014, 02:16
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  • hfot2 is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Say that you have a week bladder.
Good heavens, I'd think you'd have no claim at all to special consideration if you can hold it for a week!
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#15 Dec 1st, 2014, 02:44
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#15
A lot of Nickisms here (and not just by Nick) & I missed it at first.

Must read more carefully..

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