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What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

Hi! I’ve been a loyal Southwest Rapid Rewards memeber for 10+ years, peanuts compared to some I know 😊. I have always loved SW because of the many perks that other airlines don’t offer. The open seating is one of the best parts of SW. Though the last three times my husband and I have flown SW, passengers are “saving seats” for their travel companion. One person buys an early bird, gets in the front of the plane and puts his/her bags into the middle seat. When my husband and I have tried to sit in those seats the response is along the lines of “I’m saving this seat”.  Today (1/17/2020) on our flight (#780 from FLL to DEN) this happened twice, one row right after the other. The second person was even so brazen to tell me he read SW’s seating policy and there’s nothing saying he can’t do that. Three rows after I informed the flight attendant (an African American woman with a blone colored ponytail wearing a red SW jacket) that people were saving seats. Her reply was what really struck me. She replies to me saying “I cannot tell them they can’t save a seat and you’ll need to find somewhere else to sit”. Again, one of the many reasons I am so loyal to SW is because of the amazing customer service and great flight attendants. Today was the complete opposite. So my question to SW is what has happened to making it clear to passengers that they are not able to save seats? I definitely remember in many times passed when boarding a flight, a flight attendant making it clear that this wasn’t allowed. As a Priority Card memeber with over 150,000 points, I am considering taking my business elsewhere. I hope SW can get back to its roots of being the best airline is the business. Thank you!

10 REPLIES 10
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Re: What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

I totally agree with you and do not feel Seats should be saved.  My husband and I both purchase EB.  Someone should not be allowed to save seats for passengers who have not.  Yes, on another airline you would have to pay an extra fee for certain seats and to be able to sit together.  That is basically the purpose of purchasing EB boarding.  So, when someone tells you that you can't sit in an open seat because they are saving it SW should just refund your EB payment.  Buying EB is becoming too much to pay to be told "You can't sit here" yes, it costs more for each ticket, but you would be paying a fee on other airlines to make sure all of your seats together.

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

Active Member

Mind if I hop in?

 

Officially, per the rules, flight attendants cannot suggest or stop passengers from holding seats. It sometimes isn't fun to be on the end of the rejection, but keep in mind that this applies to everyone. So, if you wanted to hold a seat for your wife/husband that's technically allowed and not prohibited. I'll also note that all passengers should use common sense and respect for each other, so saving 9 seats is wrong to everyone, even if they can't be stopped or penalized. 

 

Wings crossed that your seat selection goes a bit easier next time around! Safe travels!


Community Champion | LGA based | Companion Pass Holder | Southwest Passenger
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Re: What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

While I do understand I "could" hold a seat if I wanted.  I also understand the open seating policy and if someone who had their partner with them wanted to sit next to me and my husband wouldn't be able to, I would allow them to.  Common sense for me means understanding the open seating policy and not mending the "rules".  If it isn't okay to save 9 seats, why is saving 1 any different?  At what point is it not okay?

 Also, where did you find these offical rules because after looking for quite sometime, I found nothing saying flight attendants cannot sugget this.  

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

I would agree with your statement when we are talkin about situation when 1 person buys early bird and saves sits for the rest of the goup.

 

However i have booked a flight for 3 people and purchased an early bird for everyone. we all ended up all over the A group. How are we supposed to go about it?!

 

Southwest has a bad sequensing system and should give groups a consecutive boarding numbers. 

 

In addition what A-list members are supposed to do. I am on the a-list and I travel with at least one person. I purchase an early bird for them, but their boarding spot is still far from mine. I am sorry, but i am not giving up a hard earned A-list benefit, because southwest does not give me another option. 

 

I am not sure why it is so hard to:

1) keep a group who paid for an early bird for each member together.

2) let an A-list members get one or 2 travel companions with an early bird option to board with the A-list. If that is such a big deal, put such groups at the end of A-List boarding or let them save sits!

 

We pay for an early bird or A-list to be able to enjoy at least some seat selection and ability to stay together!

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

Top Contributor

@MaryM wrote:

I would agree with your statement when we are talkin about situation when 1 person buys early bird and saves sits for the rest of the goup.

 

However i have booked a flight for 3 people and purchased an early bird for everyone. we all ended up all over the A group. How are we supposed to go about it?!

 

I am not sure why it is so hard to:

1) keep a group who paid for an early bird for each member together.


...

 

We pay for an early bird or A-list to be able to enjoy at least some seat selection and ability to stay together!


I missed this part from your other post, are some of the people in your group A-list? Then they would always be before the EBCI positions - all of these are assigned together 36 hours prior to the flight with A list first then EBCI.

 

Anyway, to clarify the earlier poster seat saving is not prohibited in policy, the policy says passengers can sit in any open seat without defining what "open" means so that some people interpret it as having a body in it, others would consider a saved seat not to be an open seat.

 

The policy doesn't mention seat saving either way.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

I was on a 3 hour flight yesterday and I bought EB ticket and so I could get the exit row. A women was saving a seat for her boyfriend. I told her she can’t do that and I asked the FA and she said they no policy against saving seats which I was surprised. Her boyfriend was one of the last people to board. She said she does this ‘all the time’ First I thought she is schmuck  to be used by her boyfriend to pay extra for EB and he doesn’t and also disappointed by SWA to allow this. Will think twice before booking again. 

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

New Arrival

Southwest has no policy on saving seats, but it is also open seating.  I think you would have been within your rights to have taken the seat especially since it was in the exit row and you also paid for EB.  Someone can save a seat apparently, but if someone like you comes on before the other person I don’t see why you can’t take that seat.  I know that puts a lot of stress on you, but it is open seating.  You need to contact Southwest directly.

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

Top Contributor

@dnsears wrote:

Southwest has no policy on saving seats, but it is also open seating.  I think you would have been within your rights to have taken the seat especially since it was in the exit row and you also paid for EB.  Someone can save a seat apparently, but if someone like you comes on before the other person I don’t see why you can’t take that seat.  I know that puts a lot of stress on you, but it is open seating.  You need to contact Southwest directly.


Do you really want to get in a fight about a seat? Even if you win, think of the joy you'll have sitting next to a person who is seething next to you. There are lots of good seats on a plane. I always choose to take one of them

 

BTW EB does not guarantee you a great seat - A  list prefered will board first. Then A-list. If there are A boarding positions left, then they will go to EB purchasers. If there are more EB purchasers than remaining A boarding positions, then those EB purchasers will end up in B group and will board AFTER familes.

 

Because exit row seats are very popular, IMO it is usualy unlikely that EB purhasers will get one. There are plenty of other aisle and windows seats that are pretty good.

 

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Re: What happened to Open Seating

Top Contributor

@dfwskier wrote:

@dnsears wrote:

Southwest has no policy on saving...


Do you really want to get in a fight about a seat? Even if you win, think of the joy you'll have sitting next to a person who is seething next to you. There are lots of good seats on a plane


I have seen the FA discourage saving in the exit row. I’ve also see many exit row middle seats go empty on my flights, so the balance between fighting someone for these saved spots and finding another good spot is a bit of a yin and yang - the middle seat exit row spots are not universally coveted.

 

I would agree poor form to save one though, as they may be desirable to someone who has paid some upgrade.

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.