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Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

NoPointAtAll
New Arrival

This has happened a few times to me. I wish Southwest would stop this problem by not allowing existing passengers to move into the exit row before the new leg's A group boards first, or something like that.

 

I pay an extra $150+ for Business Select flights with the assumption that I will have a very good chance of getting an exit row seat. Several times now I board a plane to find all the exit row seats filled up by passengers who were on the previous leg - because Southwest allows them to move seats before the next people have a chance to board.

 

This always ticks me off because I wouldn't have paid for Business Select or an upgraded boarding position if I knew that passengers from a previous leg would just take up the good seats before I had a chance to board.

 

My complain isn't going to change Southwest's process. Is there any way I can tell if there will be previous passengers on the flight that will be taking all the good seats before I board, so I don't waste my money on Business Select or upgraded boarding?

 

Thanks

20 REPLIES 20

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Open seating.

 

You might want to change your assumptions, as BS makes no such promises. 😉

 

Also, how do you know that the passengers from the previous flight didn't buy BS?

 

If a specific seat is important to you, I think you might be better off on a carrier with assigned seating.

 

 

 

 

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

NoPointAtAll
New Arrival

Yes it's open seating but Southwest has pretty strict boarding group and order policies. In my opinion, just because you were on the first leg of a flight doesn't mean you should have a chance to change your seat ahead of any priority boarding customers. Just like pre-board can't sit in exit rows.

 

In this case, I know that the other passengers didn't buy BS because they told me they changed seats for the extra legroom.

 

I'm wondering if there's any way to check that a flight will likely have passengers on it, so that I don't waste money on BS like this. My suggestion to Southwest is to make existing passengers stay in their seat until at least the "A" group boards for the next leg flight. Otherwise, if there is indeed no way to check whether passengers will be on-board or if Southwest won't implement this policy - then yes, I am considering either an airline that has assigned seating and gives upgrades to frequent fliers instead of paying SW $$$ and having elite status for an early boarding # that is pointless for hacks like this.

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Your opinion means nothing. It's irrelevant to how Southwest operates. Pre-boards can't sit in exit rows because of FAA regulations. Otherwise, Southwest uses an OPEN SEATING system. Passengers are allowed to take whatever seat they desire. This is the definition of OPEN SEATING.

 

If a particular seat is important to you, instead of using literally the only carrier that uses an OPEN SEATING system, consider one that offers assigned seating.

 

 

 

 

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

NoPointAtAll
New Arrival

You're expressing your opinion too.

 

Southwest's OPEN SEATING is referring to how people board the plane. It doesn't have to mean that passengers already boarded get to get up and move after the plane has landed.

 

Southwest's OPEN SEATING is not a complete free for all. They assign strict orders of boarding in sequence - it's not a first come first serve. So, Southwest is specifying the order of choice that passengers gets in boarding a plane. Southwest does not specify what happens if you already have a seat on a previous leg - they don't say "ok now first sequence is for existing passengers to go take another seat, and then we let our pre-boards enter the plane"...

 

So, I get your point, but you aren't getting mine. Southwest could indeed specify what happens to passengers already on the plane, just as they specify the sequence boarding for pre-boards, BS, A-List, families, etc.

 

They could say sequence is:

1. pre-boards

2. A groups

3. families

4. existing passengers

5. B groups

...

 

But they don't cover the existing passengers, which is essentially putting them at highest priority.

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

"Ok people who are staying on the plane, DON'T MOVE, or else!"  Because someone assumes they can get whatever seat they want and feels they are more important than all of you?  That's funny.

 

And like it was said, how do you know the through passengers don't also have BS tickets?

 

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Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

NoPointAtAll
New Arrival

Read my reply - the passengers next to me told me they moved for more legroom. All the exit seats were taken up

 

And how is this suggestion any different from Southwest telling people to line up in sequential order to board? Southwest can do what they want. And yes, they could tell people to stay seated until after the A group, or whatever else they want.

 

Clearly you 2 don't like my suggestion, which is fine. Do you know of a way to check whether there will be passengers from a previous flight on the plane then? So people don't waste extra money on BS.

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

"Read my reply - the passengers next to me told me they moved for more legroom. All the exit seats were taken up"

 

This doesn't rule out them having purchased BS tickets if that's what you are hoping to prove.

 

You're correct, we don't like your idea. There's a sense of entitlement to it that thankfully Southwest doesn't embrace.

 

Want to ensure there's no through passengers? Book the first flight of the morning when the plane is starting the day at your departure point. 

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Seriously. They are not going to change the system for you. 

 

It's ludicrous to expect a specific seat from a carrier that does not assign seats.

 

 

Re: Previous leg passengers taking exit seats before Business Select can board

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

Or look for flight numbers that originate at your destination. Oviously your plans may not be that flexible in all cases, but it is one of the factors that I consider but have quite a few options being home base at MDW.

 

1) For multiple flights that work for me, choose one on a 737-800.

 

2) Prefer flight numbers originating with my ticket.

 

3) if it gets that far for a tie-breaker, on-time statistics.

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.