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"Open Seating" is BS

jmamlin
Explorer C

I purchased "early bird" so that I would have a better chance at good seats for a very long flight... only to get on board and some guy is saving the ENTIRE exit row (3 seats on his side plus another seat across from him). I looked at the flight attendant, she didn't seem to care at all... so what's the point in your boarding order, your boarding groups, paying for priority boarding, paying for early bird, if someone is allowed to save arguably the best seats on the plane for people boarding in the C group? First of all, if you are flying on SW, board with the people you want to sit with or take your chances. If you NEED to have seats together, I suggest using an airline that assigns seats. And if you absolutely have to be more important than everyone on the plane and save seats for your friends in a later boarding group, it's not OK to save the Exit row or the front row. There is not a lot in terms of perks on SW, this destroys the only possible one. 

11 REPLIES 11

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

@jmamlin wrote:

I purchased "early bird" so that I would have a better chance at good seats for a very long flight... only to get on board and some guy is saving the ENTIRE exit row (3 seats on his side plus another seat across from him). I looked at the flight attendant, she didn't seem to care at all... so what's the point in your boarding order, your boarding groups, paying for priority boarding, paying for early bird, if someone is allowed to save arguably the best seats on the plane for people boarding in the C group? First of all, if you are flying on SW, board with the people you want to sit with or take your chances. If you NEED to have seats together, I suggest using an airline that assigns seats. And if you absolutely have to be more important than everyone on the plane and save seats for your friends in a later boarding group, it's not OK to save the Exit row or the front row. There is not a lot in terms of perks on SW, this destroys the only possible one. 


Hello! I'm not aware of any published SW policy on seat saving. As a frequent traveler, I simply treat SW's Open Seating process like any other similar seating method aboard other means including public transit, the train, theater, house of worship, etc...When I board the plane, I simply look for an available window, and ask the person in the aisle seat if I can take the window...With the exception of one case, the window seat was up for grabs. If the seat is "claimed", I'll respect the person's request and move on to the next available section so to avoid a potential altercation with my fellow passenger.

 

Yes, this would include "premium" seats like the seats in the front area of the plane and the emergency exit row.

 

Also note that EBCI does not guarantee an "A" or any "front" boarding position but should be treated as an automated check-in convenience. Yes, purchasers of EBCI will get their boarding assignments ahead of those checking in manually at the 24 hour mark, but there is no guarantee for an "A" spot. 

 

If you wish to comment on SW current seating policy, feel free to contact SW Customer Service directly in an email or DM via Twitter/X as this forum is customer-to-customer.

 

https://support.southwest.com/helpcenter/s/email-us

 

Hope this helps.

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

MarkF
Explorer C

The OP never had any expectation of moving to  a higher priority group. That is irrelevant. You can certainly avoid a confrontation with a passenger if you so choose. That's what they are counting on, and you obliged them. I will not. I treat others fairly, and expect the same. When you avoid a problem with someone, you further enable, embolden, and reward that behavior whether you care to admit that or not. I do not reward bad behavior.

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

jksobonya
Aviator A

Open seating is open seating. There are no assigned seats and no rules as to what seats you can save for others. Someone saving seats in the exit row (perhaps for a spouse or kids or even a friends group) is hardly reason to complain that open seating is "BS". 

 

--Jessica

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

MarkF
Explorer C

Southwest's seating policy IS poor.  If the  seat saving is allowed, then ONE person can save multiple seats for people who have a later boarding numbers, or did not even purchase the early boarding pass, cutting in front of others who paid $20 to board early. That should absolutely not  be allowed.

The other problem they have is letting people board by block, without regard to the number on the barding pass within that group. This is what always happens: People get in a line according to their assigned range, knowing that even though they have a high number on their boarding pass, they will very likely be let on the plane ahead of people with a lower number, since the Southwest employee performing the boarding will let that whole block of people board without regard to the order WITHIN that group. They should at least call boarders with SOME regard as to the number. The last time I flew out of Phoenix, I was boarding pass B28. I was at the airport in plenty of time, but people got in line very early to gain an advantage  over  people who paid for the right to board ahead of them. Because of that mob of people trying to get on early, my choice was to interrogate people as to what their number is, or just let it go. I boarded at the end of that "B" group, but I SHOULD have been near the front. Once again, people were allowed to cut in front of others, who have a valid lower number boarding pass. The boarding pass has a number for a reason. It doesn't take a genius to see the problem with how the board people , and how "seat saving" cheats people who have a legitimate right in most case to any seat that is unoccupied. Actually, Southwest's seating policy is worse than poor, it's B.S.

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

jmamlin
Explorer C

Sorry - saving seats is just rude when people pay for a specific boarding position. Saving the best seats is even worse. 

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

MarkF
Explorer C

Agreed, but let's call, it what it is: Cheating the people who purchased early boarding passes. People with high boarding pass numbers line up knowing there's a good chance that they will be able to board earlier that they would have if they had to go by their number, since many times they just let the whole line go. Next time I will ask the boarding agent if people have boarded that have a higher number than I do. If the answer is yes, I will walk past in  front of the people standing in line. If the answer is no, I will ask him to let me know when I can board. I am going to email Southwest and request a $40 refund, since it happened on both legs of my last flight. If I had not purchased the earlier boarding passes, it would not be an issue, but since I did, they owe me $40 for services I paid for, but did not receive due their actions.

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

MarkF
Explorer C

You refer to "Open Seating". Open seating STOPS when an unoccupied seat is saved. Guess what ? Those seats are not open. There are some situations that can be obvious exceptions, however, MOST of the time it is a lack of consideration for the rules and other passengers, and simply an easy way for someone inconsiderate to get what they want. Those people need to be told they have 2 choices, either get out of that seat and find the person(s) they are intending to sit by, and they can all board together, or they can stay in that seat and no other seats will be "saved". And rules about saving seats ? Saving seats violates Southwest's own policy. I would think anyone that is bright and courteous would understand that Southwest does not need a "RULE" regarding saving seats Their open seat policy IS the rule. Their policy is not: Open seating with the exception of someone saving a seat(s). seat(s) so people they know can cut in front of you. Trying to justify having it both ways is MORE B.S. 

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

dfwskier
Aviator A
@MarkF :  

If you really are that upset by the open seating policy, then maybe you should be flying the other guys.


 

@MarkF

Re: "Open Seating" is BS

MarkF
Explorer C

Since Southwest does such a poor job enforcing their own seating policy, that is certainly a consideration I have already planned. Is inviting someone with a legitimate complaint to consider another airline characteristic of Southwest, or just you ?