RELIGIOUS LAW

Should air travelers switch seats for passengers with religious scruples? Paralegal holds her ground

Among the most orthodox of Orthodox Jews, some men try to uphold the dictates of their religion by not sitting next to women on public transportation.

While this may be relatively easy to achieve on mass transit such as buses and subways, it can pose a challenge on airline flights with assigned seating, reports the New York Times (reg. req.).

Some fellow passengers willingly or reluctantly agree to switch seats with others, to avoid flight delays that seating scruples can cause. But others hold their ground. In the latter group is California paralegal Laura Heywood.

Switching from the middle seat to her husband’s aisle seat, as she was asked to do, would have put her husband in an uncomfortable position, she told the newspaper. “I wasn’t going to put his comfort for no good reason above my husband’s,” she said of the man who wanted her to move.

A Delta Air Lines spokesman says the company does what it can to address the seating issue before it creates conflict among passengers. “This is a dynamic of some customers who utilize our service,” Morgan Durrant told the Times. “We’re aware of it, and we do what we can to get ahead of it prior to boarding.”