Saving seats on Southwest

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Xrayman69
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Xrayman69 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm

On some Flights with a layover and an individual or group is flying through To the next destination these passengers are allowed to deplane. They are not issued another boarding pass. They can return before General loading or even later. The gate agent Has a list of names and they need to carry the original boarding pass or phone e-ticket. I would expect that they would be permitted to “save” seats. As a previous poster noted an individual may need to go to restroom and thus also have an expectation of “saving” seat.

The other manner of “saving” seats by passengers in group would appear to be against Southwest’s financial interest as the early bird check in costs a fee. By permitting those “seat savers” southwest is foregoing this fee opportunity. That being said it would likely alienate their core customers who are frequently price sensitive. I think people have to accept that Southwest is trying to have it both ways, any seat open is available and “see how we have the lowest prices”. Southwest turning a blind eye to this practice is essentially accepting this culture and it’s probably one they are trying to institute informally.

My business travels no longer require using southwest but when it was the best choice for a direct route that I was flying it was the best choice. Once an alternative arrived then the irritating practice of having to line up and stand in line was happily left in the rear view mirror. The most irritating thing for me when having to travel southwest in the past was when the connector arrived late and despite being a high priority business traveler (always A1-5) boarding pass I would have to sit in a middle seat in the back. Luckily I never carried luggage in my business travels.

I have found that only the saver fairs were competitive in pricing when an alternative carrier is/was available. When those saver fares were gone the price was actually significantly higher than the other major carriers.

Southwest business model negating the need for seat assignments has worked extremely well for them. If the flight isn’t full I would have appreciated the opportunity to have a sign provided by southwest to save a seat. The last straw for me and southwest occurred when traveling with a business associate in row 4 with an empty seat and a very light passenger load (full rows open from row 20) an individual male who may have been intoxicated sat between me and my business associate which made her extremely uncomfortable. All rows 1-3 also had middle seat open. I asked the flight attendant if the plane was full. The flight attendant then suggested to the individual he may be more comfortable in an empty row where he could have more elbow room. The individual stated he was fine with his “new friends and his choice of seats”. We moved to a different row. The next day I informed our team that despite cost if they desired to fly an alternative carrier it was approved going forward.
Last edited by Xrayman69 on Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stoptothink
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by stoptothink » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:31 pm

Chuck5781 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:05 pm

I have seen individuals save seats, and it is annoying, but so are many other quirks of travel. On a scale of 0 - 10, 0 being the least impactful, 10 being the worst, I will give saving seats around a .25
+1. Remember, we're on a board where someone suggested they were going to go to a neighbor's open house and tell potential buyers that leaf blowing goes on early in the morning...and numerous people applauded or told them they should contact authorities. Out of general courtesy, I don't "save seats" on a plane, but big freaking deal. Some people spend a lot of time looking for reasons to be annoyed or offended.

an_asker
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by an_asker » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:41 pm

squirm wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:46 pm
Just had a flight on Southwest, seems like half the people who were on the plane were saving their seats. I admit, I don't fly Southwest often, but my family and I just took a flight. I bought the earlybird for all of us. When we boarded people were saying "sorry this seat is saved". What's the point of buying earlybird? Are they being cheapskates and just buying one earlybird and saving the row for their friends/family? Is that the boglehead thing to do?
If you were polling, I would say that it is not nice to save a seat - especially if you need to pay per seat. That said, I would not complain either.

I have never paid premium and have usually ended up with a high B number or a low C number. Even with that, I have - touch wood - always had a window seat available to me in the back of the plane (my preferred location anyway).

rkhusky
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by rkhusky » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:41 pm

stlrick wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:12 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:08 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:00 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:58 pm
there is no problem. They both bought tickets and both prefer aisle seats. They don't owe any other passengers anything.
Neither do the parents that don't control their kids or try to comfort their crying babies. Or those that bring smelly food on the plane. Or those that talk loudly on their cell phones.
Holy moving goalposts, Batman.
yes, also known as a false analogy.
Not an analogy, just other instances where others don't owe any other passenger anything. Some others are putting two bags in the overhead bins before everyone else has a chance to put one. Or putting your bags in an overhead at the front of the plane before seeing if there is a spot above your seat.

rkhusky
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by rkhusky » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:45 pm

EddyB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:18 pm
I don’t fly on Southwest, but when my wife and I fly together in coach, we generally book aisle seats (across the aisle from each other), as it’s more comfortable. Not clear to me why two passengers on Southwest can’t do the same. You’re not suggesting they made the other seats unavailable, are you?
Makes it more difficult with more than 2 in a party to sit together. I've flown SWA where the first 25 rows have one person in each 3 seat segment. Makes seating a family with small kids more difficult - and we boarded between A and B.

SimplicityNow
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by SimplicityNow » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:46 pm

This is one of the reason I refuse to fly Southwest.

Unrelated to your situation but what was the last straw for me.

I was traveling from NY to West Palm Beach, Florida. I purchased an Early Bid seat.

When they made the announcement for those needing extra time to board, etc. there were 65 persons who boarded the plane.

About 10 of those people were in wheelchairs.

I prefer an aisle seat since I'm claustrophobic. The first one I found was 3 rows from the back of the plane.

Upon arriving and deplaning, many of those "needing assistance" sprinted off the plane, including several of those who boarded with wheelchairs.

I wrote to the CEO of Southwest and received a reply which basically said that most of their customers preferred the lack of assigned seats and the current procedure. They included about 30 "free drink" coupons with the reply. They are fully aware of those gaming their system and they are ok with it as long as they fill their planes.

The other thing to know is that there is no limit to how many EB seats they can sell so the entire plane could have EB seats.

I replied back and told them I wouldn't need there drink coupons because I would never fly with them again.

That was about 4 years ago.

Jags4186
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:50 pm

I think this is simple to solve:

You should do what makes you comfortable. If you are okay risking not sitting together and trying to “save seats” to save a few bucks then go for it—of course with the understanding that it may not work out.

If someone “saving seats” gets in your way, you have every right to make a fuss about it with a flight attendant.

The rules of the air are every man for himself. I make sure to choose my seat the second the app allows. Once I’m in my seat, unless I am ordered by an FA to move or offered a better seat, I don’t move. I don’t care if you want to sit next to your husband, your girlfriend, your kid, your grandma, you like the window, you like the aisle, you’re claustrophobic, you get up to pee a lot etc. Of course if there is someone stinky in my immediate vicinity I will usually gladly take up an offer to move...but strangely no one ever asks me to move in that circumstance.
Last edited by Jags4186 on Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rkhusky
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by rkhusky » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:52 pm

hornet96 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:22 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:59 pm
HomeStretch wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:54 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:39 pm
How about the couples that choose the two aisle seats across from each other, hogging both 3 seat groups?
Spouse and I book aisle seats across from each other all the time as we both prefer the aisle. Our consciences are clear. :D
Booking is different than taking on SWA.
No, it isn’t. You are assuming that since you can’t choose your seat on SWA until boarding, then your choice of seats should thus be subordinated to the choices of all other passengers on the flight. The act of choosing two aisle seats is actually the same either way, with only a timing difference (at the time of booking on other airlines, or upon boarding at SWA). If you are ok with “booking” two aisle seats, then you should thus be ok with selecting two available aisle seats upon boarding. Otherwise, you should be upset with this practice on other airlines as well, as other parties of three may have been prevented from booking their seats together on those flights as well.

FWIW, I fly Southwest all the time and much prefer them to any other airline.
When booking with seat reservations, we can decide not to take a flight if there are not enough contiguous seats or we can make plans to deal with other situations. With SWA we don't know until we are walking down the aisle what the seat situation will be and we don't want to stand in the aisle for 10 minutes while we try to figure things out.

Traveling as a single or a couple is different than with a family. We are willing to pay $100/ticket not to fly SWA because of the seating and because of a lack of direct flights to destinations we want to go.

Trader Joe
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:54 pm

I will be flying Southwest this weekend. Hopefully no one will be trying to save/reserve seats. They will be very disappointed.

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GerryL
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by GerryL » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:01 pm

Another SW seating issue … that was apparently resolved.

Back in the old days, before the early-bird option, I was near the front of the line for boarding. Of course, we had to wait for the "people needing assistance" to go ahead of us and take the first seats. As I finally got on the plane, I noticed that one of the poor, decrepit fellows who needed assistance had claimed the exit row. ??? I pointed this out later to one of the flight attendants and asked whether "needing assistance" and emergency exits were compatible. No, she said. No, they are not.

On subsequent flights on SW I noticed that flight attendants positioned themselves in the exit rows to direct passengers as they boarded. No more sneaking to the front of the line to grab the exit row.

Chuck5781
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Chuck5781 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:06 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:45 pm
EddyB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:18 pm
I don’t fly on Southwest, but when my wife and I fly together in coach, we generally book aisle seats (across the aisle from each other), as it’s more comfortable. Not clear to me why two passengers on Southwest can’t do the same. You’re not suggesting they made the other seats unavailable, are you?
Makes it more difficult with more than 2 in a party to sit together. I've flown SWA where the first 25 rows have one person in each 3 seat segment. Makes seating a family with small kids more difficult - and we boarded between A and B.
Southwest provides passengers the opportunity to purchase Business Select fares, virtually guaranteeing this doesn’t happen. It’s also been my experience that I board in the A group when paying for the Early Bird service, also eliminating this problem.
The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:10 pm

OP,

Check out the threads on Flyertalk. It is a heated and perennial issue. The gist is that SWA won't intervene until fists and knickers start flying (I'm not sure about the farting issue):

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/search. ... ving-seats

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Summit111
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Summit111 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:30 pm

My wife and I fly Southwest whenever available, and we purchase Early Bird seating. We like the exit rows because they have a little more legroom and the seats in front of you don’t recline.

Only once have we ran across seat saving. We boarded a return flight and headed for the open exit rows. SW Planes have two rows on each side over the wing. One guy was sitting in an exit row window seat. ALL exit row seats except his, were open.

When we sat in the exit row across from him, he rudely exclaimed, that ALL the exit row seats were saved for his family. The flight attendant told him that he wasn’t allowed to SAVE any. We sat down, put or noise cancelling headphones on, and prepared for takeoff. As more folks boarded, he tried the same stunt with other passengers, and was promptly ignored. When his family boarded on the C group, they were surprised to see their SAVED seats taken.

Summit
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Trader Joe
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:35 pm

Summit111 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:30 pm
My wife and I fly Southwest whenever available, and we purchase Early Bird seating. We like the exit rows because they have a little more legroom and the seats in front of you don’t recline.

Only once have we ran across seat saving. We boarded a return flight and headed for the open exit rows. SW Planes have two rows on each side over the wing. One guy was sitting in an exit row window seat. ALL exit row seats except his, were open.

When we sat in the exit row across from him, he rudely exclaimed, that ALL the exit row seats were saved for his family. The flight attendant told him that he wasn’t allowed to SAVE any. We sat down, put or noise cancelling headphones on, and prepared for takeoff. As more folks boarded, he tried the same stunt with other passengers, and was promptly ignored. When his family boarded on the C group, they were surprised to see their SAVED seats taken.

Summit
Per SW policy, this is as expected and consistent with my own experiences. Again, I fly SW all the time.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:35 pm

It may not be a huge deal, but if I paid $20 for early seat selection, and you are trying to block me from benefitting from that purchase so that someone who could have paid extra but chose not to can have that benefit, that is plainly rude. Not the biggest event in anyone's week, but I would not hesitate to assert my selection choice.

But for the life of me I can't figure out what the problem is with 2 early boarders sitting across the aisle from each other.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by WhyNotUs » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:13 pm

I did not have experience with SW but tried it this year due to a credit card offer and HI flights. I see multiple examples of seat saving by early birds on each flight. I have recently flown HI, Orlando, Costa Rica and there was an abundance of seat saving on each. The flight attendant made an announcement about it on one flight but nothing changed.

Did not really understand the process the first flight and ended up in C so bought early bird for each flier on all subsequent flights. In January I will lose my companion pass and probably not fly SW very often in future. We don't normally check luggage, except dive trips, and that seems to be their biggest benefit. The seating system is not my cup of tea. Maybe for dive trip in future.

Overall, it is just as good as the other US carriers but that is not saying much.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:24 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:48 pm
They have no right to save anything. Feel free to say "sorry, or Flight Attendant".
Hah! I encountered this problem on a SWA flight in October 2017 (going home from the BH meeting). The miscreant refused to let me take the seat. I was holding up the boarding process, turned and called out to the flight attendant (it was near the front of the plane). The FA squeezed by and whispered in my ear, "Let it go or you'll be removed from the aircraft."

So try this at your own peril. I've never flown SWA again.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

EddyB
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by EddyB » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:25 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:41 pm
stlrick wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:12 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:08 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:00 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:58 pm
there is no problem. They both bought tickets and both prefer aisle seats. They don't owe any other passengers anything.
Neither do the parents that don't control their kids or try to comfort their crying babies. Or those that bring smelly food on the plane. Or those that talk loudly on their cell phones.
Holy moving goalposts, Batman.
yes, also known as a false analogy.
Not an analogy, just other instances where others don't owe any other passenger anything. Some others are putting two bags in the overhead bins before everyone else has a chance to put one. Or putting your bags in an overhead at the front of the plane before seeing if there is a spot above your seat.
There’s a huge difference between disregarding or circumventing the rules that apply (trying to disregard the first come, first seated rule), and having a crying child (unfortunate, but no disregard for any rule seems to be involved). So much so that the attempted comparison is disingenuous.

runner3081
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by runner3081 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:35 pm

EddyB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:18 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:51 pm
Bfwolf wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:49 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:39 pm
How about the couples that choose the two aisle seats across from each other, hogging both 3 seat groups?
What's wrong with that? It's open seating. If they both like aisles, they should do exactly this.
Same as the rudeness of saving seats or choosing the aisle and window, hoping no one sits in the middles. Or buying basic fare and then asking people who paid main cabin fare to switch with you.

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.
I don’t fly on Southwest, but when my wife and I fly together in coach, we generally book aisle seats (across the aisle from each other), as it’s more comfortable. Not clear to me why two passengers on Southwest can’t do the same. You’re not suggesting they made the other seats unavailable, are you?
Because you don't book seats on Southwest. It is open "Fiesta" seating!

Big Dog
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Big Dog » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:51 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:24 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:48 pm
They have no right to save anything. Feel free to say "sorry, or Flight Attendant".
Hah! I encountered this problem on a SWA flight in October 2017 (going home from the BH meeting). The miscreant refused to let me take the seat. I was holding up the boarding process, turned and called out to the flight attendant (it was near the front of the plane). The FA squeezed by and whispered in my ear, "Let it go or you'll be removed from the aircraft."

So try this at your own peril. I've never flown SWA again.
I would have written a complaint to the President of SW, and requested clarification of the seat saving policy, with a copy to the DoT.

Atilla
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Atilla » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:05 pm

I only flew Southwest once. But from my experience if you have your act together and check in online at the correct time on your phone laying in bed you are A1 or whatever and board first and none of this is an issue? Am I missing something?
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EddyB
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by EddyB » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:06 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:35 pm
EddyB wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:18 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:51 pm
Bfwolf wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:49 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:39 pm
How about the couples that choose the two aisle seats across from each other, hogging both 3 seat groups?
What's wrong with that? It's open seating. If they both like aisles, they should do exactly this.
Same as the rudeness of saving seats or choosing the aisle and window, hoping no one sits in the middles. Or buying basic fare and then asking people who paid main cabin fare to switch with you.

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.
I don’t fly on Southwest, but when my wife and I fly together in coach, we generally book aisle seats (across the aisle from each other), as it’s more comfortable. Not clear to me why two passengers on Southwest can’t do the same. You’re not suggesting they made the other seats unavailable, are you?
Because you don't book seats on Southwest. It is open "Fiesta" seating!
Right; I meant the scenario in rkhusky’s post, where an early-boarding couple takes aisle seats across from each other....

SCb&b
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by SCb&b » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:29 pm

anonsdca wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:58 pm
The seating cattle call is why I almost never fly SW. I travel 50% so sometimes I have no choice. What I found, especially boarding late, was that just taking the middle seat in the front of the plane almost always gets you an aisle or window. The reason is because the two people already sitting there (acting like they dont know each other) really are traveling together, and when you sit in the middle, they will always ask if you want one of their seats because they want to sit together. It is comical actually. I love doing it. Never once have I ever got stuck in the middle seat in the front.

Oh, and on the question at hand. I would just smile and take the seat. Put my headphone on and be done with it. There aren't any saved seats on that horrible airline.
I also think this is an excellent strategy and have done it before. Unfortunately, the last time I did it the shall we say hefty couple in the front row did not mind me sitting in the middle of them and I think were thrilled to be sitting apart from each other. :oops:

anonsdca
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by anonsdca » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:38 pm

SCb&b wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:29 pm
anonsdca wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:58 pm
The seating cattle call is why I almost never fly SW. I travel 50% so sometimes I have no choice. What I found, especially boarding late, was that just taking the middle seat in the front of the plane almost always gets you an aisle or window. The reason is because the two people already sitting there (acting like they dont know each other) really are traveling together, and when you sit in the middle, they will always ask if you want one of their seats because they want to sit together. It is comical actually. I love doing it. Never once have I ever got stuck in the middle seat in the front.

Oh, and on the question at hand. I would just smile and take the seat. Put my headphone on and be done with it. There aren't any saved seats on that horrible airline.
I also think this is an excellent strategy and have done it before. Unfortunately, the last time I did it the shall we say hefty couple in the front row did not mind me sitting in the middle of them and I think were thrilled to be sitting apart from each other. :oops:

Haha, well, you have to first survey the first 6 or so rows. You find the smallest two folks and get that middle seat, that way, if it doesnt work out, at least they are small folks surrounding you. Mind you, I would only do this for flights shorter than two hours. For anything over 2 hours, or a really long flight, SW is not even a consideration for booking. I am looking elsewhere and getting a seat I want.

Bobby206
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Bobby206 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:50 pm

Atilla wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:05 pm
I only flew Southwest once. But from my experience if you have your act together and check in online at the correct time on your phone laying in bed you are A1 or whatever and board first and none of this is an issue? Am I missing something?
That's not the case anymore since many people pre-pay so we don't have to check in at the 24 hour mark. Now when you check in at the 24 hour mark you get anywhere from A25(or so) to B10. A1-15 is the business select (expensive tickets) and then A16 starts the people that pre-paid to board and those are put in order of when you bought your ticket and boarding I believe. However, your general principal is right. Log in at 24 hours and you'll get a decent seat. Not a big deal.

Bobby206
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Bobby206 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:54 pm

Reading so many comments I would say some people just look for drama in their lives and make the Southwest saving seat thing into a bigger deal than it is. I personally do not like it when people save seats but it's not a big deal as it's not that many people who save seats. I have flown Southwest HUNDREDS of times (I have had a companion pass multiple years) and I can only remember a couple times being turned down for a seat because it was being saved. That's probably why Southwest does not have an official policy on the issue - because it's not a big deal! It's really pretty simple. You get on, you find a seat and you sit down. Prices are reasonable though certainly not always the cheapest and the staff are friendly. No, it's not as good as first class but it gets you from point A to point B. With so many people on Bogleheads liking their old Toyota Camary's I would think they would be good with Southwest too!?

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Random Musings
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Random Musings » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:00 pm

I have not yet encountered the saving seat issue on SW. Hiwver, since I have children and have paid the 15 to 25 dollar premium in order to make sure we sit next to our kids, get closer to the front (especially if transferring) as well as getting baggage overhead, any seat saver can go fly a kite. Basically, buy one seat at a slight premium to make sure family/friends/whomever receives the preferred treatment at the lower price. It may be low on the threshold for real problems in life, but it is rude, arrogant and something Miss Manners would most likely frown upon. Basically, another rules for thee and not for me moment. I don't play that game.

If I ever encounter this, I'll take the seats if I paid for 'em and want those seats. And SW better abide by those rules.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

RudyS
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by RudyS » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:06 pm

stlrick wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:00 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:51 pm
Bfwolf wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:49 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:39 pm
How about the couples that choose the two aisle seats across from each other, hogging both 3 seat groups?
What's wrong with that? It's open seating. If they both like aisles, they should do exactly this.
Same as the rudeness of saving seats or choosing the aisle and window, hoping no one sits in the middles. Or buying basic fare and then asking people who paid main cabin fare to switch with you.

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.
I beg your pardon. My wife and I do this, and have always done it. When we fly on airlines that allow seat selection, we do the same. I am not interfering with anyone else's choices. We are not hoping someone does not sit next to us. We expect a couple to take the middle and window, and we are happy to get up whenever they want to use the restroom. Since we would not do the window/aisle trick, I see no reason why I should sit in a middle seat because I am traveling with someone else. I don't tip my seat back, I don't hold seats, but I pay for early boarding and we both like aisle seats.
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TravelforFun
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:27 pm

anonsdca wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:58 pm
The seating cattle call is why I almost never fly SW. I travel 50% so sometimes I have no choice. What I found, especially boarding late, was that just taking the middle seat in the front of the plane almost always gets you an aisle or window. The reason is because the two people already sitting there (acting like they dont know each other) really are traveling together, and when you sit in the middle, they will always ask if you want one of their seats because they want to sit together. It is comical actually. I love doing it. Never once have I ever got stuck in the middle seat in the front.

Oh, and on the question at hand. I would just smile and take the seat. Put my headphone on and be done with it. There aren't any saved seats on that horrible airline.
Haha ... Living in Dallas where SW has a major hub, my wife and I travel on SW frequently and we frequently offer the aisle or window seat to folks like you. Aisle seat to a male who would then sit next to me or window seat to a female who would then sit next to my wife. If the plane is not full, we usually have an empty seat between us.

TravelforFun

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squirm
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by squirm » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:28 pm

Bobby206 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:54 pm
Reading so many comments I would say some people just look for drama in their lives and make the Southwest saving seat thing into a bigger deal than it is. I personally do not like it when people save seats but it's not a big deal as it's not that many people who save seats. I have flown Southwest HUNDREDS of times (I have had a companion pass multiple years) and I can only remember a couple times being turned down for a seat because it was being saved. That's probably why Southwest does not have an official policy on the issue - because it's not a big deal! It's really pretty simple. You get on, you find a seat and you sit down. Prices are reasonable though certainly not always the cheapest and the staff are friendly. No, it's not as good as first class but it gets you from point A to point B. With so many people on Bogleheads liking their old Toyota Camary's I would think they would be good with Southwest too!?
I've seen a lot worse on here with some "boglehead" getting all worked up because I stated I didn't change the oil on my car at the scheduled interval.... oh no!

The flight I was on was jammed full. I saw many people asking " is that seat taken?" There were many people around me saving seats which got me too thinking, why did I pay early bird for all of us when it's obvious these others didn't and just saving their seats for the free ride. No it's not a big deal but where's the line between having some ethics or just being cheap?

After reading the replies, I did the right thing and just booked our round trip flight for April and paid $200 early boarding for all of us.

anonsdca
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by anonsdca » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:31 pm

TravelforFun wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:27 pm
anonsdca wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:58 pm
The seating cattle call is why I almost never fly SW. I travel 50% so sometimes I have no choice. What I found, especially boarding late, was that just taking the middle seat in the front of the plane almost always gets you an aisle or window. The reason is because the two people already sitting there (acting like they dont know each other) really are traveling together, and when you sit in the middle, they will always ask if you want one of their seats because they want to sit together. It is comical actually. I love doing it. Never once have I ever got stuck in the middle seat in the front.

Oh, and on the question at hand. I would just smile and take the seat. Put my headphone on and be done with it. There aren't any saved seats on that horrible airline.
Haha ... Living in Dallas where SW has a major hub, my wife and I travel on SW frequently and we frequently offer the aisle or window seat to folks like you. Aisle seat to a male who would then sit next to me or window seat to a female who would then sit next to my wife. If the plane is not full, we usually have an empty seat between us.

TravelforFun
Yep, happens all the time. Like I said, I have never had to do the middle seat, I was always given either the aisle or window. My sample size is about only 3 because I try to avoid SW. I flew into DFW 4 times in the past 2 months, I used American every time, even tho that is not my primary airline.

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Watty
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Watty » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:37 pm

Bobby206 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:50 pm
Atilla wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:05 pm
I only flew Southwest once. But from my experience if you have your act together and check in online at the correct time on your phone laying in bed you are A1 or whatever and board first and none of this is an issue? Am I missing something?
That's not the case anymore since many people pre-pay so we don't have to check in at the 24 hour mark. Now when you check in at the 24 hour mark you get anywhere from A25(or so) to B10. A1-15 is the business select (expensive tickets) and then A16 starts the people that pre-paid to board and those are put in order of when you bought your ticket and boarding I believe. However, your general principal is right. Log in at 24 hours and you'll get a decent seat. Not a big deal.
I agree in general but there are a few nuances.

1) I have seen SW credit card promotions that include some free priority boarding.

2) You may be getting on in the middle of a connecting flight so the plane may be half full before anyone boards.

3) When you have a plane change you can check in 24 hours before your initial flight, but they also let you check in and get your boarding number for the connecting flight at the same time. For example I recently flew from Portland Oregon then changed planes at Denver to fly to Atlanta. When I checked it 24 hours ahead of my Portland departure I was also able to check in about 22 26 hours before my Denver departure.
Last edited by Watty on Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hornet96
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by hornet96 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:12 pm

Watty wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:37 pm
When I checked it 24 hours ahead of my Portland departure I was also able to check in about 22 hours before my Denver departure.
That wouldn’t be unusual since it’s less than 24 hours in advance. I think in your example you meant to say something greater than 24 hours? I have done that as well with some connecting flights where it will allow check in with the rest of the itinerary, even though the connecting flight may be (say) 26 hours away.

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Watty
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Watty » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:18 pm

hornet96 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:12 pm
Watty wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:37 pm
When I checked it 24 hours ahead of my Portland departure I was also able to check in about 22 hours before my Denver departure.
That wouldn’t be unusual since it’s less than 24 hours in advance. I think in your example you meant to say something greater than 24 hours? I have done that as well with some connecting flights where it will allow check in with the rest of the itinerary, even though the connecting flight may be (say) 26 hours away.
Good catch, I edited the post to change it to 26 hours.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by AZAttorney11 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:35 pm

These threads are fun. You can tell who travels for business, who travels for pleasure, and who flew SW so long ago they don’t even know what they are talking about.

And some of the behavior described in this thread is appalling.

Dottie57
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:44 am

I travel infrequently. From the stories here, SWA is not an option for me. I’ll pay more for a less aggravating airline and seat assignment.

investor997
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by investor997 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:26 am

Atilla wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:05 pm
I only flew Southwest once. But from my experience if you have your act together and check in online at the correct time on your phone laying in bed you are A1 or whatever and board first and none of this is an issue? Am I missing something?
In my experience, checking in online the very minute it becomes possible (precisely 24 hours before the flight) will usually result in a boarding position somewhere between B15-B30.

Several years back I flew SWA enough to earn A-List status. On the first flight I became eligible for A-List, my boarding position was B3.

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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:38 am

investor997 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:26 am

In my experience, checking in online the very minute it becomes possible (precisely 24 hours before the flight) will usually result in a boarding position somewhere between B15-B30.

Several years back I flew SWA enough to earn A-List status. On the first flight I became eligible for A-List, my boarding position was B3.

It very much depends on the originating airport. At many long-term Southwest locations, that is certainly the case. At places like EWR and CVG, booking 24 hours in advance will get you A50-60.

investor997
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by investor997 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:48 am

jlawrence01 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:38 am
It very much depends on the originating airport. At many long-term Southwest locations, that is certainly the case. At places like EWR and CVG, booking 24 hours in advance will get you A50-60.
Very true. in my case, SJC, SNA and PHX are the airports I visit most often when flying Southwest. Lots of business travelers with A-List privileges fly out of these airports.

The only thing I truly care about is whether or not there's enough overhead bin space left for my carry-on. I dread having to check it in. It's usually not a problem so long as I don't forget to check in online early. If I get a high B or C, I stress out and gate check.

Another thing I've learned: Better to say "Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?" and try to grab a middle seat within the first 5 or so rows of the plane. It's usually not a problem since they're often the last seats to fill and I've found that I much prefer to get off the plane sooner by way of sitting 10 or 15 rows closer to the front rather than get a "nicer" seat somewhere in the middle or back.

Another funny anecdote: One time I had to fly from BOS-LAX (on jetBlue, not Southwest). The flight was booked late and I had to accept a middle seat assignment. I boarded first, and I discovered the two seat assignments on either side of me were a husband and wife. I asked if either of them wanted to swap with me so they could sit next to each other. The answer I got from both of them - in near perfect unison - was "no".

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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by toast0 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:52 am

Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
I have found that only the saver fairs were competitive in pricing when an alternative carrier is/was available. When those saver fares were gone the price was actually significantly higher than the other major carriers.
This one of the secrets of Southwest. They have a reputation of being inexpensive, because their save fares are inexpensive; and they decline to participate in online travel agencies where you could see their prices next to other airlines.
Atilla wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:05 pm
I only flew Southwest once. But from my experience if you have your act together and check in online at the correct time on your phone laying in bed you are A1 or whatever and board first and none of this is an issue? Am I missing something?
As others said, this pretty much works. The one exception is if your first flight originates from an airport that is a connecting airport for a lot of people. They'll be able to check in sooner than you, because their first flight is earlier in the day, and you check in for the whole travel day at once. Southwest's routing is not built around hubs like most airlines, but some origin-destination pairs are going to have a lot of people coming from connections on some of the flights.

DoubleClick
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by DoubleClick » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:06 am

HomerJ wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:59 pm
Maybe Southwest should get rid of their silly seating system. Pretty easy to assign seats these days with computers.
Interestingly, the primary reason Southwest employs open seating is to minimize gate turn around time and increase aircraft utilization.

vested1
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by vested1 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:16 am

We always fly SW because we have their Visa rewards card which equates to free flights, several this year for us. We always pay extra for early boarding for each ticket. Those who see no problem with saving seats for people who didn't pay for early boarding must not mind those drivers who see the "merge lane ahead" sign on the freeway yet stay in the closing lane until blocked to skip ahead of those who were more courteous.

From my perspective it's just another character test, one which some will pass while others fail. Putting aside the "saving money" aspect, those who chose to pay extra for early seating should get the full value of what they paid for. If the airlines fail to enforce it then they have failed the character test as well. Small potatoes in the big scheme of things IMHO. In the long run I believe Karma will prevail.

mmmodem
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by mmmodem » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:00 am

We nearly exclusively fly Southwest. Reading this thread, I was surprised to hear so many complaints about saving seats. It's so rare to me that I don't even notice. I just realized why. I don't pay for early bird seating. I don't know what magic voodoo people do to get B boarding passes. Perhaps because I don't check in exactly 24 hours on the dot before the flight. The only way I've gotten a B is when the plane isn't full. Otherwise, I'm a late group C and I sit at row 2 in between two slimmer people who are unhappy to see me sit down but resolved that the plane is full and at least I'm smaller like them.

And with family boarding, there are rows and rows of seats in the back to not bother with asking anyone if a seat is saved or not. We just automatically go to the back of the plane.

goblue100
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by goblue100 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:24 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:44 am
I travel infrequently. From the stories here, SWA is not an option for me. I’ll pay more for a less aggravating airline and seat assignment.
It just depends on what is more aggravating to you. It's aggravating to me to have to pay $30 to $50 for either a checked bag or a carry on large enough for my wife. Plus maybe $15 more to pick a seat.

I fly only occasionally for pleasure, but I prefer SW, all things considered. I've never run into most of the issues most of the people in this thread are up in arms about, but maybe I have a higher tolerance for social injustice. And a pre flight Xanex doesn't hurt. :happy
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

hightower
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by hightower » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:50 am

Easy solution: don't fly Southwest. Spend a few dollars more and fly an airline that lets you pick your seats in advance. And don't buy "economy class" tickets. Buy main cabin so you can pick your seats in advance and don't have to deal with all that bs of fighting with psycho people in line (the guy who commented about throwing a fit because one person in a couple is waiting in line for the wife). It's insane to me that anyone would put up with that unnecessary drama just to save a few dollars.

HoosierJim
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by HoosierJim » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:53 am

If you need to save seats, start by sitting in the back of the plane. I've seen people do this at the third row.

My method:

Sit in the back of the plane, wear a respirator mask and have a few bunched up tissues with red food coloring on the tray table next to you. Make them lift the tray table. Nobody will sit next to you.

Chuck5781
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Chuck5781 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:14 am

hightower wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:50 am
Easy solution: don't fly Southwest. Spend a few dollars more and fly an airline that lets you pick your seats in advance. And don't buy "economy class" tickets. Buy main cabin so you can pick your seats in advance and don't have to deal with all that bs of fighting with psycho people in line (the guy who commented about throwing a fit because one person in a couple is waiting in line for the wife). It's insane to me that anyone would put up with that unnecessary drama just to save a few dollars.
Exactly, if you don’t like the level of service, or the terms of the service delivery, choose a different provider. First or business class on more traditional carriers provides many benefits, and would be a good solution.

Another option for those feeling entitled to a high level of service is a private aircraft. Share services like NetJet are available, as well as leasing or ownership of your own aircraft. My understanding of that industry is you can employ your own pilots or use a service, but I’m certain the jet salespeople can explain all that to you.

Or, one could simply chill for the couple of hours a flight takes, and move on with life.
The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

gtg970g
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by gtg970g » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:18 am

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:53 pm
This is an age-old debate among frequent travelers.
People can save seats on WN, which you should view as more of a strong request.
You can override them and sit there anyway.
You can then save the middle beside you by crumpling up some tissues and putting them on your tray table, coughing, and avoiding eye contact. :sharebeer
Last time I flew SW I boarded with a baby and the row in front and behind me cleared. That was 4 years ago so might not work so well if I try again.
:D

Dottie57
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:38 am

goblue100 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:24 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:44 am
I travel infrequently. From the stories here, SWA is not an option for me. I’ll pay more for a less aggravating airline and seat assignment.
It just depends on what is more aggravating to you. It's aggravating to me to have to pay $30 to $50 for either a checked bag or a carry on large enough for my wife. Plus maybe $15 more to pick a seat.

I fly only occasionally for pleasure, but I prefer SW, all things considered. I've never run into most of the issues most of the people in this thread are up in arms about, but maybe I have a higher tolerance for social injustice. And a pre flight Xanex doesn't hurt. :happy
I prefer a stiff drink in first class ( or something above general seating). :D

Last time I flew(2013) I paid for for first class on Delta. It was a luxurious experience. If I fly again, I will try to replicate. Everyone spends their money differently.

Helo80
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Re: Saving seats on Southwest

Post by Helo80 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:14 am

NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:55 pm
I fly frequently and usually board A15. When I travel with my wife and kids, I will save seats. When people see my seats save, they ask me if they can sit there. I say "My family is traveling with me and I'd like them to sit there." I have never had a problem with people choosing other seats.

....

Life is short - is this the biggest problem you have to worry about?

The flipside is that there is usually plenty of room in the back of the plane. You're free to hold space back there for your family with an A15 boarding pass.

I'm not sure how you board with A15 and the rest of your family gets much lower numbers. Unless, you're saying that you get priority with Southwest because of how much you fly. In that case, you are free to pay the upgrade fee on their boarding passes as well.

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