a glass of champagne on a table


Yesterday I read a story which brought me to tears. A mother was traveling with her daughter, who has been dealt the most unfair hand, a battle with childhood cancer. This is something which must strike a chord with virtually anyone, and everyone reading. A good samaritan on the flight, who will forever be known as 2D saw the family and insisted on giving up his first class seat. To offer such a simple and lovely gesture to someone in such an unimaginable position gave me hope that humanity is not lost and It’s time to prove that theory right.

Last year I had an idea. it was self serving, sure, but it also made people happy. If you found me in an airport, I’d give up my first or business class seat and trade seats, provided we were on the same flight. Seeing the joy on people’s faces as they were upgraded was the most heavenly feeling I’ve ever experienced. For a brief moment, on just a 1-1 level, the world felt better to me. I debated for a long time whether I’d relaunch the competition, and I just couldn’t get behind doing something I’d already done. It felt cliche.

This year I want everyone in a fortunate position to consider a random act of kindness during their holiday travels, like 2D. Quit the bah humbug pushing past people and the angry stares. If you see someone who looks like they could use a little kindness, or just a break in their life – why not make their day? There are many ways during your travels, like…

  • Upgrades. It’s just a flight. You’ll survive and feel better for doing it. Switching seats with someone on your flight is easy. I’ve done it many times.
  • Airport Lounge Access. Most frequent flyers don’t realize they have a +1 for lounge access. Why not ask someone if they’d like to come enjoy a cup of cocoa or a glass of champagne in comfort.
  • Treats for crew and airport staff. These people are sacrificing family time so you can get to yours. Why not bring some chocolates, or something festive?

Switching seats on planes is easy, and you can get the crew involved. You can go up to someone and say, “hey I’m in (insert seat up front) want to switch?”, or you can be more discrete and ask a crew member to find someone who they believe could use a break and the crew can facilitate the logistics. They don’t even have to see you, or know it was you. Just stand around in the galley or something. You can even tell airport check in desk staff, and they can sort it out. If they’re not willing, report them to the airline for being useless grinches.

As someone who flies extremely often, I love being able to fly in comfort, but I also love flying in the back to remind me how lucky I am, and that at the end of the day, it’s a few hours – it’s not the end of the world. A happy holiday to me would be a flood of news that people all over the world were experiencing good will and good fortune because a movement was started that aimed to make travel fun.

After reading the news of 2D yesterday, I decided unilaterally that there should be a movement with the hashtag #Be2D. I’m sure it won’t take off, but then again it seems highly improbable every time you look at an airplane that it will in fact take off, yet they do with ease. I’m a fully grown man, and I could not help but cry thinking of the joy this selfless act gave a family going through something no one ever should. The world needs more THIS.

There is no color, gender, race or orientation in this quest. It’s about taking headphones off, looking up from your phone and seeing the faces of people around you. If you see a mother traveling solo with a young child or infant, what a nice gesture. If you see a veteran or member of the armed forces who has  made the world a safer place, what a nice gesture. if you see someone crying, what a nice thing to do.

I’m sick and ***** tired of reading about people getting kicked off planes, fighting on planes and causing disruptions. It’ not news. It’s just people being their worst and the world doesn’t need a reminder of how awful people can be. The world needs a reminder of how wonderful simple gestures in life can be. If even one person gets to enjoy a better travel experience because of this notion, it’ll be a success to me. So go be #2D. I promise I will be too.

Let’s start with this:

If you have a seat you’d be willing to switch – say so in the comments below just give the flight number.

If you are on a flight and need a break, leave the flight you’ll be traveling on in the comments below. With any luck, serendipity will make it all work out.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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