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Seat Hoggers on Southwest

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by sammasseur, Mar 1, 2013.

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  1. sammasseur

    sammasseur VIP Whale

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    It's pretty common to see people put their stuff all over the middle seats during the open-boarding procedure on Southwest, or folks saying "this seat is saved" if they've purchased the early-bird but their traveling partners have not. It's been pretty amusing up til now, but getting less easy to deal with on my regular route, especially since they are now selling available A1-A15 positions at the gate and have raised the price of early-bird.

    On last week's flight into Vegas, they announced that it would be a completely full flight with every seat taken. I had A57 and my partner had B16 (he asked me to save a seat for him but I refused - I don't wanna be "that guy"). As I got onto the plane, some lady in the window seat of the front row had her coat, water, purse, and laptop on the middle seat, and I like the extra leg room of the front row, so I politely said that all seats were taken and that I wanted to sit next to her. She made a big sigh and exaggerated movements in collecting her things so I could sit. Throughout the flight, she was courteous enough to continually elbow me, smack me in the face with her coat sleeve, lean on me while she slept, and press her outer leg against mine. No surprises at all. I was gonna pay for my audacity to sit next to her.

    When we arrived at the gate and started to de-plane, she immediately sprung up, crawled over and pushed past me, and scooted out the door first like the plane was on fire. But when I got into the walkway, she was sitting in a wheelchair with her hands calmly folded over her laptop. Nice.

    I've also witnessed arguments between people who already have taken a seat and those who board after them, saying "you sat next to my wife/husband and that's my seat". People usually stand their ground, but one argument actually got ugly until the flight attendant intervened.

    So my question is, does open seating cause more problems than it's worth for you? I still really enjoy choosing my own seat once aboard, but would gladly do so online if it was available in advance for no extra charge.

    It just seems to be getting more difficult as public manners get worse. Thank goodness for those drink coupons. :drunk:
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  2. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

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    I am in what i think is the minority but I actually don't like flying Southwest and this is one of the primary reasons along with the cattle call lineup. I like to choose my seat up front and not have to worry about it at boarding. I rarely check bags so that isn't an issue. I have seen too many occurrences as you describe over the years and just don't want to deal with it. In addition, in the few times i have flown SWA recently, i don't find their employees to be nearly as friendly or accommodating as they used to be. Not much different than American or United.

    Full disclosure that I am Platinum on American so I always get to board early and no bag fees.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  3. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Public manners are dying very quickly in the US, maybe everywhere, but I don't travel much outside this country.

    We flew on SWA 8 times last year and twice so far this year and I must say we have never had problems with the boarding procedure. Funny how people decide to police everyone and make sure they have the right position in line.

    However, I have seen the fakers in wheelchairs. And regarding your post, they always ask the wheelchair people to wait until everybody has deplaned.

    Some people just think they are privileged and the rules don't apply to them.:rolleyes2:
     
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  4. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I remain a big fan of SWA and still appreciate the open seating policy, though frankly it's been many years since I've boarded anything higher than like A-25. The last few years, I pretty much fly exclusively Business-Select, and am usually A1-A4. There's no excuse for rude people and there's more and more of them everywhere. I'm a big guy and I sit next to the window (usually Row 4), most people file on past me and down the aisle, the seat next to me doesn't usually get filled till the very end if they're full. I noticed years ago that most people keep making their way towards the back and the middle seats fill-up from the reverse.

    I lucked out this year and have reached their Companion Pass level and am able to place a Reserved Seat "thing" they give me on the seat next to me and spread-out. I have had a situation twice, where they filled-up the plane and rather then explain the Companion Pass "deal", I happily pick-up the paper and tell the person to sit down. I wouldn't ever dream of making someone get off the plane, so I could have the extra seat. It's nice, but I don't need it that bad to make someone have to stay behind. My flights are generally an hour or less.

    It's understood by most "normal" people that the deal is... any empty seat is available. I avoid the first three rows, cause it's always the wheel-chair, old people, blue boarding card people crap.
     
  5. Huddler

    Huddler VIP Whale

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    I normally dont have any issues with fellow pax. SWA employees are typically very good and friendly to me. I admit that I rarely fly any other carrier unless I am going internationally, but when I do, I can notice the SWA difference. I do occasionally get the husband and wife who take the isle and window. The only seats left are middle seats so you select the one between them. Then instead of switching with you so they can sit beside each other, they attmept to talk across you the entire trip. When that happens, I immediately ask if they would like to swap seats so they can visit without having to talk over me. They either shut up or swap seats right then.
     
  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Can you explain that Smartone? My wife has Companion Status, so I fly free for this year. I'm not familiar with the reserved seat "thing"? Does that just mean since you're flying alone, you can have your companion's seat also?

    Edit: We will usually take the aisle and window and hope it's not a full flight, so we can get an empty seat between us. But, if somebody chooses to take that middle seat, then my wife moves to the middle automatically and that person just scored an aisle seat.
     
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  7. nhcris

    nhcris High-Roller

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    I feel like I have a bit more control over things with Southwest. I get EB and generally have something between A25 & A50 and can often get the exit row and if not I can pick a row where the window is the right spot for shoulder space. On Southwest if a dick sits down beside me, or a child that was acting up at the gate sits behind me, I can move, but on other airlines it's tough luck.

    I'll admit it - My flights are usually 3 hours or more and I am not above playing dumb, sick or just mean looking to try to keep the middle seat vacant on flights that aren't full.
     
  8. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Well... when I first got the designation late last year, I thought anyone could fly free with me to where I was going, anytime... then... I found out you had to name a person "up-front". My wife HATES to fly and rarely travels with me, so I put down my daughter. She'll go to Vegas with me 2-3 times a year... so I was kinda bummed that was the whole "deal", BUT in reading the fine print of the program I saw that if you delcare yourself a "customer of size", you can name yourself as the companion and get an extra-seat (XS). You can change your status 3 or 4 times in a year I think, so I could still change to have my daughter go once or twice this year.

    All the other times (14-16 trips) I book my ticket and then go back in and add the companion seat (XS) and it costs me $5.00 for the security fee. I'm kind of a "tweener" on the customer of size thing... I can get into a seat just fine, but am a WHOLE lot more comfortable with the room. The XS is supposed to be taken out of inventory when I book it, but like I said 2 out of the 5 times I've done this, it wasn't and I'm not gonna be an ass about it, cause I didn't pay for the seat, so I just politely pick it up.

    I must tell you the whole thing has been kind of a pain in the ass, until you're in the air, because it's apparently not invoked or used much and the SWA people are always confused about it. Example is that I can no longer do my boarding-pass on-line... because of the XS tied to my resevation I have to pick-up my boarding pass at the airport, which so far has gone fine (I get it at sky-cap), but I really don't like the feeling of arriving at the airport with no boarding-pass in hand.
     
  9. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    I have always disliked the Southwest cattle call seating. I believe its much simpler to pick your seat when you book and then if you would like someone to sit next to you, the selection is easily made.

    I like Sam didn't want to be "that guy" so I ponied up EB fees for both me and my GF on the last trip. Due to SWA new system we were A59 and A60! I too saw people getting snippy over the saved seat thing. SWA seems to have no policy or intention of taking any sort of action against this. I guess that leaves it up to the passengers to hash out, which is not good.

    I don't think I should have to pay and extra $50 to sit next to my travel companion on our 4 plus hour flight. I think this is bad policy, but SWA is my only choice for direct flights.
     
  10. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I guess that this guy would piss you off as it does me. Saw this on the news last night, guy makes 6 figures faking a disability. sorry sonya, I'm not very civil but this guy is a real low life to pull this scam. it hurts the others who are really disabled. people are less likely to help the disabled when they see this kind of thing going on.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/gary-thompson-fakes-disability_n_2782486.html

    Kind of wants to make you not want to give the disabled a handout.

    Our newscaster but did make a remark that he hoped the guy would get his for the scam. I also hope that the guy would get his when he meets his maker. :Þ


    I agree with others, I would rather reserve my seat when I book my flight. I also have seen people "reserve" open seats. On busy flights when I see it happenning I usually ask the flight attendant to make an announcement to ask everyone to remove their things from open seats.

    luckily from hawaii I don't fly on swa that much so I don't encounter the cattle calls as much. it should be interesting if they pull this cattle call thing when they start up their flights to Hawaii in a few years. (hope not). but then I would accept the cattle call if they also agree to not charge baggage fees to/from Hawaii.
     
  11. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    If they say the flight is going to be full, I don't understand why people hold the middle. But if I am solo and the flight is not full, I will sometimes block the middle in the hopes that another solo will take the aisle and we can have the middle free. I will give it up if people want it though. It's amazing how many people are unwilling to go back to an empty row and how many couples are willing to take a middle when that can get an empty row. I am on the heavy size and that isn't always the deterrent it should be to get someone to pick another seat. Sitting towards the back doesn't always work either. I wouldn't hold a seat for someone in another boarding class - we buy EBs together.

    I did witness one fight over holding seats. Some guy was holding for his wife and another couple flipped out. It was early B, there were lots of open seats where the couple could sit together but the husband was flipping out over the principle until his wife intervened. It was silly on both ends.
     
  12. Big Tip

    Big Tip VIP Whale

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    I have been told that I am a person of size by two or three people before.

    I never knew it might get me an extra seat on a plane. It's about time I get rewarded for my size. Nice.
     
  13. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    I have not flown in a few years but usually use southwest and its rarely a problem.

    i think the trouble might be in the departing cities.

    My flights leave from san diego and are short so most people dont get bent out of shape if they cant sit together because its only 1 hour or so.

    Plus people are pretty laid back in general around here.

    Not to bash on other places or people but we all know that different parts of the country have differenmt personality types.
     
  14. Username

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    So in other words it's perfectly OK if they both pay SWA EXTRA MONEY to sit together....... either way I have a problem with a airline or a hotel or whatever BILKING more money out of us for their own profit....you see...SWA found a loop hole on how to get more money out of us for NOTHING....YES...Nothing as it cost them (SWA) nothing more on how we board the plane....but now they use other people to enforce/complain on how others didn't pay MORE....just like the RESORT FEES ! ! !

    BTW nothing personal against you Sam.........but your post was to convenient NOT to respond.... :)
     
  15. sammasseur

    sammasseur VIP Whale

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    Not sure how these things could be compared. Resort fees are not optional, they are mandatory in almost every case. Early bird is an option - people could just as easily choose to check in online or take a chance at the gate. And not one of those choices would guarantee them a seat together.
     
  16. Busyman

    Busyman VIP Whale

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    1. Me and the missus will sit in the window (I actually like window) and aisle (she likes aisle) with middle seat open hoping no one sits next to us.
    It worked going to Vegas from DC. Armrests up!!!

    2. We have ZERO problem moving if someone wants to sit in the middle. I DO have a problem if there are empty rows NEARBY. It's like damn, you can't go a whole 2 rows back? Ultimately, I'd just move...those 2 rows back. Lol

    3. I did have an instance where a lady was saving a seat across the aisle, one row up (weird) with her jacket but she moved it. We would've gladly picked another seat but she moved it pretty quickly.

    4. I like SWA but I think their seating policy...sucks. It's simply dumb. Allow picking of the seats and be done with it.

    5. Someone mentioned policing the line. Well, I saw this firsthand from other flyers before and I TOTALLY understand it. People stand there like they belong there and they may not, so damn right I'm going to ask their number. If you don't care to give it to me then you must not care if I stand in front of YOU then.

    It's not rude to ask. In fact, you'd never know in many instances. I had 2 occasions where we were standing there and it crossed my mind to ask and the person was outta place.

    Again, if you can't tell me, then there's no difference between you standing in front of me or me standing front of you. The system is there for everyone to pretty much figure it out. Honestly, it works.

    I just find the whole logic of it....dumb.
     
  17. NandJfrmNJ

    NandJfrmNJ High-Roller

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    We never pay for the EB and we've always gotten A or high B boarding passes. We both like aisle seats and we're not joined at the hip so don't have to sit together. I LOVE SW's boarding process because, if I see the potential for a screaming kid or someone extra large who will spill over into my seat, I can find another seat. If I were locked into a seat, that option no longer exists.

    As far as the middle seat is concerned, I see lots of people with their things there but have never see anyone who would not give it up if someone wanted to sit there. I know it happens but I've never seen it.
     
  18. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

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    Southwest should .......

    Southwest should reserve the first two rows of seats for their handicapped people. What I have seen happen is that a young person sitting in the first two rows will be asked to move to another seat way in the back.

    One time I warned a young guy to just move to the third row of seats. He said he would move when his seat was needed by a handicapped person. But I warned him that when the handicapped person showed up he would have to move way in the back and his carry-on would be left in the front bins.

    He chose to move right away to be near his carry-on. Sure enough I was right.
    At the last minute a few handicapped persons showed up that really needed the front seats. One lady was blind and another lady had mental problems due to some medical problem that caused her illness.

    This is a major problem that Southwest has had of asking someone to move to give up their seat for a handicapped person. I don't think that is fair to the person who got there first.
     
  19. sammasseur

    sammasseur VIP Whale

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    This should be a rare situation indeed. There is always a line of pre-boarders with wheelchairs, etc., that already get on the plane first.
     
  20. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    In regard to the situation Lucy described I have twice saw late boarders cause a reshuffling of the seating. The first time it was a lady with kids, she boarded late, the whole flight was seated and they asked for volunteers to reshuffle and clear a whole row. Nothing. It went on and on until the stewardess said the plane would not leave until passengers gave them a row to sit it together.

    Last week two elderly folks boarded last, same exact scenario. They only needed two seats so it wasn't as long of a process!!

    This seems silly and unnecessary if seats were just assigned.
     
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