I offer a compromise that may come close to satisfying everyone. The only real objection to open seating is the jockeying (and sometimes fighting) for position. People begin lining up 2 hours before flight time. I've seen the lines completely block pedestrian traffic in the airport. Those of us with disabilities cannot stand in line for long periods and are forced to the end of the line at boarding time.
This can easily be resolved by simply numbering the boarding passes. Passengers simply get in line numerically at boarding time. This eliminates the jockeying and fighting while preserving open seating and the time savings associated with open seating.
I think it was ValuJet that used this system. I thought it was far superior to Southwest's boarding policy, even though it was remarkably similar.
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