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Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

davidonelson
New Arrival

I keep running into this problem as many people have reported.  On a recent flight  Sacramento to Seattle, two different seats I wanted to sit in were "saved", so I just stopped asking and I went to the back in frustration where there were open rows and no one obviously saving seats.  After the flight, I discussed the non policy in detail with a Southwest staff member. Here is what I found out.  In normal circumstances, while the flight attendants will not stop people from trying to save seats, they will also not make you move if you sit in a seat someone has "saved".  So here is what you can do:

 

Ignore the person trying to save the seat, and just sit in the seat.

 

If something is on the seat, just pick it up and sit in the seat.  Then give the item that was on the seat to the person who is trying to save the seat.

 

If the person saving the seat objects, simply tell them Southwest has an open seating policy during boarding, first come first serve.

 

If the person saving the seat calls over a flight attendant, don’t worry about it.  Under normal circumstance, the flight attendant is not going to ask you to move, because they are not supposed to be taking a position on the saving of seats.  Video record the situation if you can.

 

Clearly, open seating during boarding means any seat not actually being occupied is available to be sit in.  Clearly, the people in line first get the choice of available seats before those in line behind them.  By having an open seating policy but not taking a position on saving seats, Southwest has setup a situation where passengers must confront fellow passengers to get the seat they deserve for the position in line they paid for, increasing the likelihood of problems in the cabin, and giving all involved a negative feeling about the experience of flying on Southwest.

 

I will be trying this next time I run into the issue and I'll let you know what happens.

19 REPLIES 19

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

Yes, discussed MANY times. If you want to be that person go for it. Nothing new here, just don't expect a friendly neighbor during the flight. 

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

DancingDavidE
Top Contributer

I would amend your original statement to say that "clearly seats are not assigned" and that maybe it means seats that are unoccupied.

 

 

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

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

BobV
New Arrival

This problem is probably resulting in loss of business to Southwest and rightfully so.  A recent flight from Panama City reminded us why we usually fly on carriers that reserve seats.  It was the WORST flight of our lives and nearly caused my wife a nervous breakdown the embarrassment we had to endure.  The two of us purchased Earlybird check-in but still ended up in high-A group on the sold out flight that had a huge family boarding.  When we boarded, we passed MANY saved seats and even rows.  We ended up in a row where no single person sat next to us.  Then, near the end of the family boarding there weren't enough UN-saved seats for families with small children to sit together so we were asked twice if one of us would mind moving.  I referred them to the flight attendant.  Then, a flight attendant asked if one of us would move and I told her I would if they reimburse the $40 we paid for Earlybird check-in and she said she couldn't do that but she would give us a free drink. We don't drink.  A lady behind us with a teenager who could have moved started making rude comments about our lack of compassion.  It continued throughout the flight.  Then the final straw was when a young dad with one of the small children (who did get to sit with him when they moved another teenager) gave us a disgusted look and shouted "I hope you have bad karma today!)  We told him that we paid for early boarding and they wouldn't reimburse us for it but he only shouted louder.  This highly NEGATIVE situation could have been avoided if Southwest would enforce their policy on first come/first come seating.  Our first choice going forward is to fly on carriers with reserved seating.  If we have to fly on Southwest for reasons of economics or convenience, we WILL be taking the first available seats even if they are saved.  It would be better to have one person sitting next to you upset rather than having the entire plane giving you an evil stare.

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

FlyALot
New Arrival

I'm done. 

 

Today I pay for an upgrade to Business Select. Board (A-14). Exit row aisles and at least one window is taken, which are my go-to. So I opt for the bulkhead aisle, 1C. 1A&B are occupied by a woman and her teen daughter. They inform me my seat is "saved" for the mother's co worker. This is a 3 1/2 hour flight... I didn't move. On a short hop, I could care less... I woulda taken another aisle. Truly. 

 

Now, I travel with my wife and 3 kids. I have never saved seats -- even when my kids are in the C group. Much less, never have I saved seats for co workers. If I pay for Business Select, I should be entitled to my seat of choice over someone who boards later. Right?!!

 

i know this is a "first-world" problem. But who is being selfish? Me or the people who try to save seats -- much less seats in choice spots on the plane? For their co-worker!?

 

 

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

DancingDavidE
Top Contributer

Co-worker? Nice try. Spouse...yes. Young kids...yes. Fiance? I'll even get up out of my aisle and take a middle for them at the end of boarding. Co-worker...see you in 3.5 hours!

 

 

 

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

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

276736176
New Arrival

I like your comments and agree. I do not save seats for co-workers, but I will save a seat for my husband, and we always take one middle. He has Companion Pass. I recently tried to pay the additional for him to board sooner, but it would not allow this option. It doesn't bother me when someone saves a seat or even two; what seems truly unfair is when someone saves a block of seats, such as every exit seat for their friends traveling to Cancun (this was last month).

 

Since my husband is considered disabled, we could readily pre-board. I see so many who appear to take advantage of this, but I don't know their story and try my best to give the benefit of the doubt. My husband is also mobile, so we don't take advantage; it doesn't feel right. I just save a non-choice seat. I am surprised at how many get so angry over a person wanting to sit next to their spouse when clearly the next row is fully open. Are they trying to prove a point? I find it much more aggravating when people talk exceptionally loud, do nothing to stop their fighting children, have a bad cough and don't cover their mouth, put their seat back only to lean forward for most of the trip, or spill over into my seat.

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

hockeydiva
Active Member

Had the same issue a few months ago--but the seat the guy was saving for his coworker was an aisle seat a row or two ahead--so not even adjacent to his. I was travelling with my 6 year old daughter.

 

When I replied that SW had open seating, he said something like "I fly this flight every week so F___ off" (defintely used the f--- word.) He was very combative.

I decided not to battle with him directly, but I was concerned enough about his behavior that I alerted the FA. He sort of shrugged his shoulders and said if the behavior continued I should let him know. 

Issues with seating have already led me to switch business to other airlines. 

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

emptynestmom
New Arrival

My husband and I encountered this issue of "saving seats" for family members when returning from the Dominican Republic this past week. It was a 3 1/2 hour flight, and we always purchase the Early Bird option when we fly...

When we boarded, two members of a family had "saved" 12 seats (two complete rows) for family boarding later, as in the C group,....I was not impressed, nor were others who came later and attempted to sit in the "saved seats." Despite the questions and stares, they did save all 12 seats for family only two of which were young children. 

Frustrating . . .

 

 

 

Re: Saving Seats Problem - Here is what you can do

spacecoastbill
Active Member

Just sit there.  Ignore the claims of a saved seat.