Should You Be Allowed To Save Seats on Southwest Airlines?

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The other day I was flying Southwest Airlines from Baltimore on a short-haul flight, when I overheard a conversation of two people. One passenger had boarded and was seated in the exit row, when another passenger had boarded and wanted to sit in a seat next to him in the exit row.

Southwest Airlines

However, the passenger already seated informed this passenger that he was saving the seat for his wife who hadn’t boarded yet and would not let this other passenger sit down.

I watched as the rest of the plane boarded, and finally his wife came on as one of the last passengers on board and took the seat in the exit-row next to him.

I want to hear what you think:

Should you be allowed to save seats when flying Southwest Airlines, when one passenger has boarded but the other passenger has a lower boarding number?  Or should there not be any seat saving allowed, and make it first-come first served. I don’t believe that Southwest has an official policy on this that I could find anywhere.

Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. No.period. First time I saw this I didn’t think about it: Husband boards 1st, with early bird, wife gets on almost last with no early bird boarding and both sit in exit row. Next time, saw same thing only wife on first. Turns out I have seen this on every flight, not just the exit row. Seems to be a way of getting early bird for two people but paying for one. I always thought it was wrong but since it’s allowed I have started doing this when I travel with wife.

  2. Outside of the bulkhead and exit rows, passengers should be able to reserve seat. Singular. No more. In the first and exit rows, no seats should be able to be reserved, and (in the unlikely event that I’m traveling without my family) I’ll gladly ignore anyone who tells me they are reserving a seat there. In fact, I’ll even put the stuff they put on the seat in the overhead bin for them!

  3. No. What John said.

    And I’ve seen a lot of people saying they’re saving the seat when they’re really just out to have an empty seat beside them.

  4. No never. I pay the extra money for my wife and I to board at the same time. If you dont that your cheap a$$ problem. Dont like it? Go to another row/airline. Dont even get me started on overhead bin hogs.

  5. Those passengers should wise up. I fly SWA all the time and am A-List. I go straight to the gate agent with my A list boarding pass and 3 B-list boarding passes (my wife and kids). They let us all on at the same time, all the time. Typically, SWA will let all people on with the boarding pass of the highest boarding pass.

  6. I flew SW 3 times last week. On one flight, I boarded mid-B and put my bag in the overhead and said I would like to sit there (middle seat). The two women set a bag in the middle seat and said we’d rather you didn’t sit here. The plane was full except 3 seats, one between the two women. I dub this the “Southwest Scorn”.

    On another flight, I was the last on (traffic). I placed my bag in the overhead and watched as two men put their legs across the middle seat and leaned over toward each other to cover the middle seat. I dub this the “Southwest Spread”.

    On the other flight, a passenger tried to board 3 times in the A1-30, A31-60, and B1-30 each time was told by the gate attendant he was not in that group. I dub this the “Southwest Sneak”.

    Oh the entertainment on Southwest! It’s no wonder I avoid Southwest unless absolutely necessary to remind myself why I absolutely avoid flying SW.

  7. My understanding is that Southwest does have an internal policy on this. I’ve see FA’s enforce it (although rarely). They also will not allow pre-boarders to sit in exit rows.
    To me this is equal to cruise ship passengers saving chairs with towels all day. It should not be allowed in my opinion.
    Usually if you book two passengers you are checking them in at the same time so they should have basically equal boarding positions unless one has status as an A-lister or buys up to early bird. In those cases they need to get the agent to put them together in the line prior to boarding or for early birds both buy up to the equal position.

  8. No saving seats ! Unless there is already an ass planted in that seat its wide open! The ass trying to hold the seat dies not count!

  9. if I’m holding an A ticket and some entitled “A Lister” tries having B tickets board before me, he’ll be preboarding as a disabled passenger next time.

  10. In my experience, there is a flight attendant stationed by the exit row during boarding, presumably to ensure that anyone sitting there meets the exit-row requirements. If my spouse and I encountered a seat-saving passenger in that exit row, thus preventing us from sitting together, I would complain to the flight attendant, but I have no idea if he or she would do anything about it. If nothing is done, there is no longer a reason for both of us to pay the early bird fee and we will save $12.50 each way. I hate it when people are so cheap or arrogant that they have to skirt the boarding rules, but who wants to be made to feel like a chump?

  11. I agree SW is “open seating” and therefore saving a seat is contrary to this policy. I mean what if “everyone” saved a seat – the whole system would collapse. But amazingly SW allows this. I know because on a recent flight, a gentleman (I use this term loosely) who boarded with “A” group saved a seat for his wife who was in “C” group. The plane was also full. I complained to the FA, as I thought this was totally boorish behavior and counter to the “open seating” policy. She said SW in fact has no official policy against this. I later wrote to SW describing this incident, and believe it or not they confirmed what the flight attendant said to me: you can save all the seats in the world on SW. Clearly if more people are aware of this absurdity and start doing this, the concept of “open seating” will be made moot. SW should change its policy – clear and simple – to be NO saving seats, OPEN seating, if you don’t like it too bad!

  12. If it wasn’t for having the companion pass I would quit flying southwest. The seat saving drama is ridiculous. People feel entitled to save seats. It’s no longer a friendly airline. I’ve seen staff agree it’s fine to save seats and on another flight tell someone they couldn’t. Families and couples often can’t set together both stuck in middle rows. Customers are confused can seats be saved or not? It’s not pleasant, angry people bite someone’s head off. Someone somewhere is going to get violent this seat saving is a problem

  13. Tonite, the lady laid her carry on in the middle, her purse on the aisle, and plopped her skinny ass down on the window. Wasn’t saving a seat for anyone but her skinny-assed deadheading SWA flight attendant self.

  14. I am flying southwest for the first time. I will sit in any seat I want and if the seat saver wants to hit me let them! They’ll be booted and arrested!

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