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Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

Demitt
New Arrival

I used to enjoy flying on Southwest, shutting for over 20 years NoCal-SoCal for business.  But the seats have been getting narrower and narrower.  I am not a big guy, but if anyone larger than a child or small woman is next to me I end up having to literally touch shoulders for the entire flight.  Add in people who use their phone the entire flight and I end up with an elbow into my space for most of the flight.

 

The last two trips were absolutely miserable with people touching me or in my space, and with the flight made more miserable with masks and unable to have an unwind cocktail on the evening return, why put up with this?

 

So I decided for my next trip in Sept 2021 I would just buy two full fare seats - one for me, one for elbow room.  I am willing to pay the full amount, or whatever the last minute premium fare is since this is how important it is for me if I have to get on that flight.

 

Southwest says this is not allowed.  I explained they would not be losing revenue - the second seat would be fully paid for, I am paying the full amount for two seats at the premium fare, but they would not budge.  If a "person of mass" uses two seats they can get a refund on the second one after the flight, but even if I do not want a refund on the second seat they would not allow it for me.

 

At any rate with this policy I am using the "Delta variant" excuse with work to avoid the trip and any other future business travel requests.  Business travel is no longer a "must" and is all now optional, and if I cannot at least have some elbow space for an experience made more miserable by masking I will stick to zoom.  I have been an "A List" for well over a decade, but this year after two Southwest trips in 2021 I am stopping all travel on Southwest for personal, and will avoid it whenever possible for business when I cannot get out of the meeting altogether.

8 REPLIES 8

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

I'm happy to be corrected, but don't believe Southwest has reduced the width of their seats.  If anything they might have gotten slightly wider with the latest version of their interior.

You aren't the first person to request the option to buy and additional seat, you can submit your request directly to Southwest if you'd like them to consider your thoughts.

Submitting a Suggestion and/or Complaint 

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

Goforwand1
Active Member

I wonder what the rational is around this rule? It seems if you are paying for two seats, why would it matter?

 

I've wondered how folks that cannot physically fit in a single seat (not by choice as in your scenario) handle such a situation...I always assumed they purchased 2 seats? If that is the case, why wouldn't they let you do the same...curious to know

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

bec102896
Top Contributor
Solution

If you are a customer of size you can buy 2 seats and get the 2nd one refunded after travel is completed. Other than that unfortunately they don't allow you to buy 2 seats just becauae you want more space although I think it should be allowed if the customer is willing to pay for the 2nd seat. 

 

If you even just slightly spill over to the other seat you can take advantage of the COS policy. 

 

-Blake

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

PettyIntrigues
Active Member

I tried to do this before, or at least ran it by SWA, as I’m a big-ish guy (6’2, 220) and my wife/Companion always wants the window seat (I’m not winning that argument) but also wants me sat next to her (sheesh). It’s…uncomfortable, for sure.

 

Anyway, the rationale I was given was twofold: weight and fuel calculations, and it flies in the face of (or at least complicates) the open-seating policy, which is one of their tentpoles, like it or not. 

I don’t know how true that is (I don’t know why they would care otherwise as the revenue is indeed the same), but that’s what I was told.

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

jksobonya
Rising Star

I'm confused. Doesn't the "Customer of Size" policy address this? You should be able to purchase more than one seat to ensure that you have 2 seats available for you - and you should be reimbursed for it, too. 

 

https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/extra-seat/index-pol.html 

 

Guidelines for Customers of Size

 

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; width between the armrests measures 17 inches. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft.  In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat(s).

 

--------------

 

--Jessica

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

You have to collect the "seat saved" document at the gate desk. If the agent feels you're not a COS they will deny giving it, cancel your 2nd seat and issue a refund.

 

It does happen.

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

PettyIntrigues
Active Member

That’s wild. I feel like it would be specious of me to claim I’m a “person of size” but at the same time, if I was denied so by SWA staff I would feel like, “Hey, do YOU want to be in my body crammed in a middle seat next to another 6’0+ 200lb+ dude from Seattle to Dallas? No? You’re kidding me.”

Re: Willing to Buy Two Full Fare Seats for Elbow Room, Won't Let Me

ipsedixit
Active Member

This is obviously discrimination against skinny people.

 

We should all boycott SWA immediately.

 

#SkinnyLivesMatter