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Passenger encroaching on my seat

bbland
Active Member

Question for those that have been flying since they opened up the middle seats.  We haven't flown Southwest since and are going to try it on an upcoming trip from St. Louis to Steamboat.  It's during a peak time, so I know most seats will be full.  My concern is that quite often pre COVID I would end up with a larger person next to me who would encroach on my space and often be sitting with some potion of their body touching mine.  I'm very uncomfortable with this now.  I don't want to make a scene, but feel I will have to say something if someone encroaches on my space.  I know middle seat gets both arm rests and I generally always sit on the aisle, but don't feel like having to lean over an entire flight to stay away from that dreaded person that sprawls out in the middle seat.  I'm a smaller person and feel like an easy target for someone that wants a little more room.

8 REPLIES 8

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

bec102896
Top Contributor
Solution

If you are uncomfortable with someone encroaching on your seat space you can talk to the Flight Attendant and they can try to find you another seat where you can be more comfortable. 

 

Also currently if your on a flight where middle seats will be occupied southwest will send you an email 3 days in advance and you can move to a less full flight for free (only applies if a less full flight exists and that must be within 3 days of original departure) I'm not sure when that policy will go away. 

 

-Blake

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

bbland
Active Member

I shouldn't be the one that has to be reseated.  I'm A-List Preferred and deserve to be able to sit in the seat I choose.  Yes, they send that email 3 days out, but the routes I fly quite often are all booked and even if you switch, there is still a chance the new flight will also be booked.  

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@bbland wrote:

I shouldn't be the one that has to be reseated.  I'm A-List Preferred and deserve to be able to sit in the seat I choose.  Yes, they send that email 3 days out, but the routes I fly quite often are all booked and even if you switch, there is still a chance the new flight will also be booked.  


if someone is encroaching, you are still in the seat you chose. You just don’t like your seat mate. 


I only see four options available to you

 

1) move to a new seat

2) put up with it

3) fly an airline with reserved seats - of course if you do and you find your seat mate encroaching, you are stuck. At least at southwest you can find another seat.

4) fly first class on another airline. Of course that will cost lots more.

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

Passenger1C
Rising Star

@bbland  Curious on how you would like this possible situation handled?  We are all ears. 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

bbland
Active Member

I think just like announcements around wearing a mask, something needs to be said about touching another passenger.  It's stated quite clearly in their policy about encroaching on another person's seat.  It's generally quite obvious when a flight attendant walks down the aisle to check seatbelts that a passenger is spilling over into another person's seat.  I pay for my seat and expect to be able to sit within my space unobstructed by someone else.  As an A-List Preferred flyer, I've earned the right to have first choice of open seats.  I shouldn't have to move because someone decides to sit next to me that doesn't fit within the seat.  I've always had issues with this, but now with COVID, I really don't want someone else touching me.  

 

I'm not suggesting measuring people or body shaming, but I also don't want to have another person spilling into my seat.  I had a situation a few years ago where a VERY large person sat between myself and a coworker.  The person was so large that we had their sweat on our legs.  We couldn't even put the middle arm rests down the person was so far into our seats.  I did say something to the flight attendant, very discretely, and was made to be the villain.  They offered to move me to the only open seat, a window seat and I explained I'm very claustrophobic and that wouldn't do.  She then went on to loudly say something to the person between us about making us uncomfortable.  The person then threatened us.  Other passengers were in shock.  The person threatened to hit us if we said another thing.  We & other passengers brought it to the flight attendants attention and it only got worse, the flight attendant then gave the person all kinds of special treatment through the flight.  My travel companion and I were threatened by the person at the end of the flight.  When we brought that to the attention of the flight attendants, along with other passengers who had witnessed this, they escorted the person off the plane.  We were relieved until we deplaned and realized they were apologizing to the person and giving them a voucher.  When we asked about this, they said 'how would you feel?'  We ended up escalating and getting a formal apology and both of our flights reimbursed.  

 

After this, I'm a bit nervous to bring anything up.  I shouldn't have to put myself at risk of being harassed or threatened by another passenger.  The flight attendants should take care of this.  

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

SergioK
New Arrival

Shouldn't a person who doesn't fit in one seat buy 2 tickets to get 2 seats? It seems fair. Otherwise they could pay you to use part of your space. 

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

bwallet
Active Member

No need for a larger person to buy an extra seat. Southwest will provide and extra seat for free under the "customer of size" policy. It is quite easy.

Re: Passenger encroaching on my seat

Passenger1C
Rising Star

I’ve also experienced a strangers sweat on my leg before and thought it was absolutely disgusting.  I can relate to your frustration. 

Sorry the situation escalated unnecessarily. The FA did not handle correctly and I’m glad you followed up with SW.   If I was threatened by another passenger, I would not leave the gate until this behavior was addressed by the airline and/ or police. I would not wait until we landed. 

Thanks for sharing your suggestions. 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion