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.
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The early bird option is watered down by how many other are ALSO using it. if 90% of people are using it, your benefits are only better than those that didn’t buy it. Im lucky ( silver lining) I have epilepsy and can lash out if I have an episode. Southwest has a policy that you may elect to purchase an extra seat at full price. This extra seat is listed as XS where your middle name should be. Your boarding passes will have 1 with your name, and 1 that says Seat reserved. I am allowed to board second , after the wheelchairs. This is to ensure I am able to get a pair of seats together. If I travel with my wife, she is allowed to board with me. so… of a 3 seat block, I’m 1, middle is open, with seat reserved on the seat, and wife has other seat. the best part… ”Upon completely your journey, the customer may call Southwest and have the Fare paid for the extra seat refunded in full.” No credits, no passes, full refund. They value the safety of the other passengers, that instead of requesting an additional seat at check in, and possibly bumping someone off the flight, they would rather know ahead of time, and offer the refund as a thank you.
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