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Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the worst

since1988
New Arrival

I just learned that SWA plans on filling the middle seat beginning 12/01/20.  This decision is extremely reckless.  You are putting all the passengers on all your flights at risk. The study SWA is relying upon is extremely flawed. It did not take into consideration: Passenger Density while in the terminal, while boarding, deplaning or in baggage claim. Passengers that remove their mask to eat and drink while on the flight.  SWA won't serve 190 degree coffee because they don't want flight attendants up and down the isle, but the increased traffic from passengers going to the bathrooms is ok? This is defiantly not something Herb would do if he were here. I can only surmise SWA is hoping the passengers that get sick don't trace it back to them.  Did SWA really pay someone to make this decision?  Was it someone that works for a competitor? I hope the flight attendants don't callout sick when they see they are working full flights. 

 

10 REPLIES 10

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

bec102896
Top Contributor

United, American, spirit, and Frontier (just to name a few) have been filling middle seats for some time now and there have not been any reported outbreaks on a flight to this date. Sure there was 1 passenger on a Spirit flight with COVID19 back several months a go but there were no outbreaks on that’s flight either. It’s simple wear your mask and you should be fine if your still concerned you can choose to not eat or drink on the flight and you can sanitize your seat and the area around you to ease your mind or you can drive. If your flight is going to be full Southwest will send you an email 2-3 days ahead of time allowing you to change to a less full flight free of charge. 

 

-Blake

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@bec102896 

 

Blake, is this really true?  

If your flight is going to be full Southwest will send you an email 2-3 days ahead of time allowing you to change to a less full flight free of charge. 

 

-Blake

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

bec102896
Top Contributor

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@bec102896 

 

Good read, thanks.  It just brought up another question.  

 

"The new policy, which means middle seats will once again be filled on flights with strong demand, takes effect Dec. 1, after Thanksgiving but ahead of the Christmas and New Year's travel season."

 

Is, "strong demands," just a blanket statement, or do they already know what flights are "strong demands?"  If so, why not publish those they feel are strong demands.  So does this mean those that aren't strong demands, won't have the middle seat occupied?  And if so, why not publish them.

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

I suspect Southwest hopes to sell more seats during Christmas/New Years than 2/3rds of a plane. Indicating in real-time to customers which flights have stronger demand likely isn't something Southwest's systems can currently do, and to do so would likely backfire anyway. More people would choose the less-full flights and then those would become more full.

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

dfwskier
Top Contributor

I suspect that "flights with more demand" means any flights where the airline can sell more than 2/3 of the seats on a plane.

 

I suspect that would more likely mean flights that carry lots of connecting passengers to focus cities and flights to popular destinations - sun, ski Disney.

 

The best way I've found to beat the crowds is to take either first flight out  or the last flight out. That's what I would do in order to minimize the probability of some stranger sitting right next to me.

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Southwest already tells people trying to book flights when there are few seats left on a flight - less than   2 or 3. I wonder whether the programming could be altered to show that number

as anything less than 2/3 of 143 - capacity of a 700.

 

I suspect having the ability to show either 2/3 of 143 or 2/3 of 175 gets more complicated.

 

The risk in that strategy is that it tells the competition the load factor on every flight that Southwest flies.

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

dfwskier
Top Contributor

Statisitics I've read indicate that the chance of acquiring the virus on a plane and then dying from it is somewhere around 1/400,000 and 1/600,000. That's less than the odds that  you'll die in your car later today. The odds of dying in your car at any time in your life is 1/125 . Have you stopped driving?

 

The odds of acquiring the virus on a plane is somewhere between 1/5000 and 1/7000 with outcomes ranging from nothing to death and everything in between. American, United, Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant stopped blocking middle seats over a month ago, and I've not heard a word about surging virus cases among their passengers,

 

With all of the sanitizing, mask wearing, air filtration staggered boarding, etc, the odds of getting the virus on a plane is pretty small. See the stats above.

 

Re: Hope is not a strategy - Filling the center seat is Hoping for the best and planning to be the w

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@dfwskier Yes, I've read that stat you've posted many times.  Maybe I'm just hoping for the best, but am ready for the worst.  And yes, I've stopped driving.  My UBER bill was higher than my airline flight bill last month.