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Empty Seat Policy

New Arrival

Since SWA is going to book (upto) full flights it would be appreciated if when selecting flight or a few days before check-in show percentage of flight seats booked so folks can change to different flight that's less full.





Re: Empty Seat Policy

Top Contributor

Southwest has said it would notify passengers on "almost full" flights of that fact, and allow flyers to switch to less full flights -- at no cost.


edit add: The risk in the situation is that the airline notifies people that a flight is almost full. Then a bunch of people move from that flight to other flights. Then it turns out those flight are almost full -- while the original flight goes out with plenty of seats available.


What % of people will want to move from a flight that the airline announces is almost full?

I guess we'll find out.

Re: Empty Seat Policy

Active Member

waiting to see if that happens.  I see that as that intense situation that I don't think anybody wants to be in.  When all window and aisle seats are taken, that flyer that has to ask a row"  Is that middle seat taken has got to have internal anxiety.  Not to mention, the two people who have to respond.   Since I'm A list, I will always be on first, and glad that won't be me asking, but I'm sure, (since I am normally in the coveted first 10 rows, will be asked.  It's not what I want, but it's coming

Re: Empty Seat Policy

New Arrival

Delta, the only airline of the big three still blocking middle seats for social distancing, will continue to do so until March 30, 2021, the airline announced Wednesday.

Re: Empty Seat Policy

New Arrival

The empty middle seat policy should be put back in place for the following reasons:

1)  Stand by customers  can cause a plane to fill up quickly 

2)  Customers switching flights after they are notified about plane capacity will only fill

     up another flight.


While I have in the past enjoyed the convenience of Southwest's flights to Long Island, I will no longer be booking with Southwest until the pandemic ends.  As a result, I have switched to Delta, where the middle seat is left empty until March, 2021.   

Here are 6 things to know about Southwest Airlines middle...

New Arrival

Here are 6 things to know about Southwest Airlines middle seat policy change 

1. Yes, you can get a refund if you bought Southwest  tickets before Oct. 23 for flights in December and beyond. Southwest is sending affected passengers an email with a link to request a refund. The airline usually issues travel credits when flights are canceled, but in this case, will credit travelers' original form of payment. Don't dawdle, though. You have to request it by Oct. 31. 


2. No, you can't buy an extra seat to keep the middle seat open on your flight. Southwest only sells extra seats to customers of size and those with a disability.


3. Yes, you have options, for now at least, on other airlines if the thought of a packed plane freaks you out. Book on Delta or Alaska, which have said they will keep seats open through Jan. 6. Don't get used to the idea though. Both have said they will likely begin selling all seats early next year. 


4. No, this doesn't mean every middle seat on every flight will be filled. Southwest and other carriers are still struggling to attract travelers during the pandemic, so some flights will naturally have empty seats, especially during off-peak travel times. But on that Christmas or winter break flight to Florida, Arizona or Mexico? Make room for neighbors.


5. Yes, there's an escape hatch as your travel date draws near. Southwest said it will warn travelers two or three days before their fight if it's likely to be full or nearly full, meaning middle seats will be occupied. Passengers will have the option, if flights are available, to change to another flight within three days of their original flight at no charge, the airline says. The keywords here are "if available." Airlines have slashed flights this year due to the plunge in travel.


6. No, Southwest isn't likely to change its mind and keep middle seats open. It's losing bookings to competitors (an estimated $40 to $60 million worth in November due to the policy being in place over Thanksgiving.) CEO Gary Kelly said Southwest is one of just five airlines in the world still blocking some seats eight months into the pandemic. In addition to Southwest, Delta, and Alaska, Hawaiian and JetBlue are still blocking some seats. "So there's more than ample evidence that a change is a right thing to do, based on all the science that we’ve got available to us now.'' read more here about southwest airlines:

Re: Here are 6 things to know about Southwest Airlines middle...

Active Member

At least SWA is trying.  thank you.