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Boarding

msp1954
New Arrival

While I generally give good complements to SW for value and friendly staff, I have one complaint that I would really like SW to address. The airlines claims one benefit of their service is "open seating" - and flight attendants always announce that all available seats are "open and available" if unoccupied. However, this is a lie because SW does not enforce the every open seat is available rule. I'm a tall person (6'3") and on nearly every flight I take I try to sit in the exit row so my knees don't get crushed. I am not always able to score an exit row seat because passengers who boarded before me "SAVE" seats for their family & friends. When I complain to the passenger saving the seat AND the flight attendant, I get a "too bad" response - and of course, if I complained loudly or snarky I'm likely to be kicked off a unruly. This becomes even more frustrating because I often pay more for early check in and boarding so I have a better chance in the "A" line to score an exit row seat - but the extra expense again is thwarted because an empty seat available to me taken away because passengers are being allowed to save seats. Complaints to the flight attendants suggest that although SW says seats cannot be saved, they are not allowed to enforce this simple rule. Either SW needs to update their slogan and flight attendant announcements to say that open seats may be saved for other family or friends OR SW needs to enforce the no saving rule to comply with their claim that indeed, they offer open seating for any unoccupied seat - no more saving seats!  It's rude. 

12 REPLIES 12

Re: Boarding

jksobonya
Rising Star

When you don't have assigned seating, people 'saving' seats is potentially what you will run into. It happens at nearly every General Admission concert as well. It's first come, first serve, and people often save 'spots' for their friends who are further back in line. It is *right*? Not particularly. Do people *do it*? All the time. 

 

Now, in regards to Southwest, should folks board and attempt to 'save' an entire row of seats, specifically the Exit row? No. If any seat saving 'policy' could be implemented, it would be to not 'save' any seats in the Exit row. Any other row should be fair game except for that.

 

Someone else also mentioned in a different thread that pre-boarders (i.e. those needing help to board, families, etc.) should only be able to sit in the first few rows of the plane. I agree to that as well. 

 

Implement those two 'policies', and it would probably solve a lot of complaints. 

 

--Jessica

Re: Boarding

SWDigits
Rising Star
Solution

Seat saving generates *strong* opinions and is a frequent discussion topic.  As the forums are primarily set up as a customer to customer forum you may also want to share your feedback directly with Southwest using this link:

https://www.southwestaircommunity.com/t5/Knowledge-Base/Submitting-a-Suggestion-and-or-Complaint/ta-...

 


Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Boarding

StAugustine
Active Member

"SW says seats cannot be saved"

Not true. SW has no policy on saving seats, as many hundreds of posts here will attest.

Re: Boarding

Shellbell_76377
New Arrival

Customer relations doesn't help so don't bother. All they seem to say is sorry. It's the worst customer service I have ever encountered. 

Re: Boarding

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@Shellbell_76377 wrote:

Customer relations doesn't help so don't bother. All they seem to say is sorry. It's the worst customer service I have ever encountered. 


What do you expect customer relations to tell you? If the airline does not prohibit seat saving, people will save seats.

Re: Boarding

Lordicon
New Arrival

As a pre boarder…. We are barred from any exit rows . 

Re: Boarding

buzzchris
Active Member

First, I am retired Air Force, flying air refueling aircraft and transport aircraft. I have dealt with in flight emergencies and opening hatches.  First, "Saving seats" should not be allowed in emergency rows. Those who board with the best group numbers (ex: Business Select) should be allowed if they want one of  those seats and it is open.  On one flight, a male (aggressive and confrontational) passenger saved the other two seats in the emerg row for his family. The FA was there and said nothing when another tall passenger and Business Select wanted to sit there.   When the other two family members came (C group), they were two elderly smaller women well into their late 70s or early 80s.   That should not be allowed which is another issue for emergency egress.    But:  How does SW set some common sense boundaries and enforce it without fear of a lawsuit or a physical confrontation?    In an emergency, things become chaotic,.. confusion and panic can set in.    I have seen it on SW once when encountering severe turbulence on descent and approach (into Burbank CA). Some passengers were screaming, puking, crying and the FAs were doing their best to keep everyone calm. 

Re: Boarding

tara25604
New Arrival

I've been complaining about how they don't accommodate tall passengers for years.  My husband is 6'9 and I pay the early-bird check-in but then if it's not a low enough number then he asks for pre-boarding. The issue with that is, as you said, he can only sit in the first row and there are so many of the over-weight passengers that line up and because they are in wheelchairs, they can do that.  My husband can't stand for 2 hours in line waiting to get on a plane.  To boot, the overweight customers are allowed to buy 2 seats and then Southwest refunds the second seat!  Where is the accommodation for tall people?  A long time ago, if they saw him, they would escort him to a seat with legroom.  There needs to be some kind of consideration for tall people that can't help being tall, why are they forced to sit with their knees in their chest while passengers of size get legroom and elbow room for free!

Re: Boarding

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@tara25604 Please show me, (or anyone else) where a "larger" person who buys 2 seats gets refunded?  I've paid for my larger son-in-law twice to get the extra seat and have never been reimbursed, nor was it ever conveyed to me that I could.  I'm not saying you're trying to deceive, but please verify this, obviously, I'm going to take advantage of this.  If it isn't a policy, then it shouldn't be a part of your argument.  I'm going to address the size in another post.