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Southwest Airlines Community

Seat Saving

Explorer C

While I am not a “road warrior”, I do fly Southwest frequently. I am disturbed by what I have experienced is a growing stressful occurrence  of passengers saving seats for others boarding after them.

I understand their desire and the temptation to do so, especially on longer flights. But, it is unfair to those such as myself who always pay the additional amount necessary for Early Bird boarding.  And, it sets the stage for potential confrontation between passengers.

It isn’t helpful that Southwest has taken a hands off approach with no defined policy concerning this issue.  The absence of such defined policy leaves the advantage to which ever passenger is more selfish and aggressive in arguing the issue when boarding. All of which just serves to create even more stress in an already stressful environment.

Choose a policy and make it known. And, then make sure your flight crew is prepared to uphold and enforce the decision. I suggest that your pre-boarding and cabin announcements include a reminder that saving seats for others is not allowed and that any attempt to do so may be overridden by any other passenger. This can be done in Southwest’s normally humorous and light-hearted manner.   In other words, Southwest should state a position, and not leave your customers to argue about what is right or wrong, which only serves to set the stage for stressful confrontation which I have witnessed between passengers due to this issue.

BTW: not only are passengers trying to save seats, but increasingly, overhead bin space as well. On my flight up to Reno a passenger in my row had also put multiple small items in the overhead in an attempt to save a bin spot for her companion. Once it became evident what she had done, numerous passengers around her booed and ridiculed her, making for an unpleasant experience for all.

Also, it would serve to decrease stress and serve to avoid potential confrontations if the flight crew would make an attempt to enforce the “one item in the overhead and smaller items under the seat” rules. Rather than have an F/A standing at he door greeting passengers, it would be better served for the F/A to be back in the aisle enforcing such rules. It may also better serve to ensure on time departures.

Please accept these comments with the constructive intent with which they given.

Otherwise Southwest Airlines does a great job.


Re: Seat Saving

Explorer B

I am in total agreement with your comments.  Southwest needs to take a stand on the subject of seat saving before some passengers have a conflict which ends up on the evening news.  My husband and I always each pay for early bird boarding.  Yes, early bird boarding costs more, but is normally less than what you would pay on another airline for a specific seat or seats.  After paying extra for EB I do not want to pass saved seats.  Yes, we can continue moving farther back in the plane but, that is not why I paid extra.  

Re: Seat Saving

Aviator A

Well, Alejandro, the company has chosen to not ban seat saving. So by default, it is allowing seat saving. If you've looked thru comments on this forum, you've seen that lots of people agree with you.


If you don't like it, you should complain to the company. You are not doing that here as this is a customer to customer forum.


The other obvious way to show your displeasure is to vote with your wallet and fly other airlines. I choose to not do so as the negatives tied to seat saving are minor in comparison to positives such as no fees for checked baggage, no fees to change or cancel a ticket,

and for an A-Lister like me, no charge to go out standby on an earlier flight. Those save me thousands of dollars a year versus flying someone else.


Everyone needs to evaluate the trade offs himself or herself.