7’1” NBA Player Volunteers for Last Row of Coach to Prevent Flight Delay

Aug 23, 2017

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It’s not often we hear of airline passengers sacrificing their premium seat in return for a seat in the last row of economy — especially if that passenger is a 7-foot-1 NBA player. On a United Airlines flight Sunday night, Milwaukee Bucks center Thon Maker did just that, and he made a friend along the way.

Paul Kuzma also happened to be on Maker’s flight. The two ended up both missing their original trips and found themselves rebooked on the same flight. On the rebooked flight, Kuzma had been assigned to an Economy Plus middle seat, and Maker was in the first-class cabin. However, when flight attendants realized the flight was overbooked for the selected cabins, they started asking for volunteers to move to the economy cabin.

According to a Facebook post on Kuzma’s profile, he volunteered his seat and moved to the last row of economy, where there were an open middle and aisle seat. He took the aisle seat and hoped that the middle would remain vacant. It didn’t last long, however — Kuzma soon saw the 7-foot-1 Maker making his way down the aisle of the aircraft, bound for his row.

As it turned out, Maker had just given up his first-class to move to an Economy Plus seat. Then, again like Kuzma, when flight attendants began making requests for Economy Plus passengers to move to economy, Maker volunteered his seat to prevent the already-delayed flight from being pushed back any further. You can read Kuzma’s entire account in his Facebook post, below:

Kuzma says he was stunned by Maker’s generosity in volunteering to be crammed into an economy seat despite his 7’1” frame. Kuzma recalls that Maker couldn’t even fit in his seat — every time someone walked by or a snack cart came down the aisle, Maker would have to stand up for anything to get by.

“The entire flight, there was not a hint of resentment in his voice,” Kuzma wrote on Facebook. Kuzma had never heard of Maker but quickly became a fan after talking with him on the flight.

We’re so used to hearing stories of passengers not wanting to give up their seats and airlines overbooking flights. But, this instance is a glimmer of hope that if even an NBA player is willing to give up his seat on a flight, maybe we could all be a little bit kinder during our air travels.

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