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saving seats

travelmus
New Arrival

I am a frequent traveler on Southwest, and over the past few years have noticed a growing problem with people saving seats. I pay extra for ealry check-in to ensure a greater choice of seats, as do others. However, many early-boarders have taken to saving seats for their companions, who have not payed for early boarding, which limits my choices. Simply put, this is not fair. I believe SW needs to assert a policy against seat-saving, in fairness to those of us that have paid extra and are being blocked from sitting where we choose to sit. 

 

If I am forced to upgrade to business, to deal with the problem, then the price point of the flight begins to defeat the purpose of flying Southwest. I may as well take my business to a different airline, which I don't want to do, as SW provides affordable and convenient travel. 

 

Looking forwrad to this matter being resolved. 

13 REPLIES 13

Re: saving seats

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Looking forward to resolution is probably unrealistically optimistic. Southwest allows seat saving, despite the frequent and growing number of complaints. Until they eventually move to assigned seating, you can expect no changes to the boarding system and/or policies. 😞

Re: saving seats

LindseyD
Retired Community Manager

Hi @travelmus,

 

 

Thanks for posting in the Community! Happy to have your voice in here. 

 

 

We don't have a policy for or against the saving of seats, as that would be a contradiction to our open seating policy. That said, if you are having trouble finding a seat you like, or if you have a need for a specific seat, please let a Flight Attendant know. Your Safety and comfort are important to us, and we're happy to help accommodate you. 

 

 

Re: saving seats

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

?!

 

How could not allowing the saving of seats possibly be a contradiction of the open seating policy?

 

"Open seating" literally means "first come, first served."

 

Allowing seat saving is a contradiction of the open seating policy.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 3.37.08 PM.png

 

 

Re: saving seats

j2017
New Arrival

Hi Lindsey,

 

First, I agree with cgoflyer in that:

 

Allowing seat saving is a contradiction of the open seating policy.

 

When you're boarding a plane, there's a line of people with luggage behind you in an aisle really only meant for one person.  Please explain to me how you're supposed to even get to a flight attendant while you're trying to sit in a "saved" seat?

 

Picture this:  someone standing in the aisle, blocking passengers from boarding while waiting for a flight attendant to work their way over to you to allow you to sit in an "open" but "saved" seat.  How does that speed up the boarding process?  How is that fair to the person who has every right to sit in one of those "open" but "saved" seats?  How is that fair to the people waiting to board?

 

I've read numerous threads addressing this topic, even those marked as "solved" (even though they weren't).  I do appreciate someone from Southwest monitoring these forums and I've seen that you've responded to many of them.  However, your responses haven't really been useful to resolve this issue.

 

Tons of your customers are complaining about "saved" seats and tons of your customers are abusing the system.  I am personally quite content with Southwests open seating policy but I think it's about time Southwest resolved this once and for all.  You can't have it both ways.

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Re: saving seats

LindseyD
Retired Community Manager

Hi @chgoflyer and @j2017,

 

Enforcing any kind of rule about seating, when seating is very clearly and explicitly open, would be an inconsistency. Open seating has proven to be effective and overwhelmingly successful for Southwest Airlines. As with any policy, there are going to be some for whom the situation is bothersome or not preferable. Naturally, we want everyone to enjoy flying with Southwest Airlines, and part of that experience involves open seating.

 

If you ever do find yourself in a situation where the seats available are not suitable, please let a Flight Attendant know. We know there are circumstances where it's necessary to have a particular seat, and we are more than willing to accommodate you. 

 

Re: saving seats

j2017
New Arrival

Hi Lindsey,

 

> Enforcing any kind of rule about seating, when seating is very clearly and explicitly open, would be an inconsistency.

 

I could take this to the extreme.  The next time I fly on Southwest, I should be able to save 5 rows of seats.  Maybe 10.  I'll bring lots of things to put on the seats and tell everyone that they're saved.  In these forums, your customers have pointed out that people are "saving" rows of seats, not just one.  That's already an extreme and an abuse of the Open Seating policy.

 

> Open seating has proven to be effective and overwhelmingly successful for Southwest Airlines.

 

As I indicated, I wholeheartedly agree and would enjoy Southwest's Open Seating much more if the system wasn't being abused.

 

> As with any policy, there are going to be some for whom the situation is bothersome or not preferable.

 

You seem to be missing the point of these complaints.  People aren't complaining about the Open Seating policy; they're complaining about the abuse of this policy.  These customers want Southwest to adjust the policy regarding "saved" seats.

 

> If you ever do find yourself in a situation where the seats available are not suitable, please let a Flight Attendant know.

 

Your responses would be more useful if you actually read the posts in full.  As I pointed out, requesting assistance from a Flight Attendant on a plane with one aisle while a line of people are behind you waiting to board is impractical and almost impossible.

 

It's really quite simple:  Open Seating and allowing people to save seats is a contradiction.

 

Lindsey, while I appreciate someone from Southwest monitoring these forums, pretending there is no problem doesn't help.  Amend the Open Seating policy to remove the abuse of saving seats and it'll only make the policy that much better and increase Southwest's profit.

Re: saving seats

LindseyD
Retired Community Manager

Thanks for the feedback, @j2017. We don't currently have plans to change or amend our open seating policy. I know that isn't the answer you are looking for, and I'm sorry, because I know that it probably only causes further frustration for you. 

 

We count on our Customers to be courteous to each other, to enjoy - not take advantage of - the open seating policy, and to be respectful of others on the plane. If you do see someone abusing the policy, you are welcome to inform an Employee. This isn't meant to be dismissive, it is meant to underscore the fact that your concerns are important to us, and that we will do everything within our power, and within reason, to help make your travels as pleasant as possible. 

 

The majority of our Customers navigate open seating easily and comfortably, with a small minority (perhaps misunderstanding the policy, or perhaps intentionally) attempting to hold multiple seats/rows for other Customers. There is no denying that this is inconsiderate, and I am sorry that your travels have been negatively affected by the few who abuse the system.  

 

Re: saving seats

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Informing an employee is useless. FAs just say that there is no policy and look the other way. Customer Service reps just repeat the non-policy policy. As has been confirmed here, it's a waste of time. 

 

This is one of the most frequently mentioned complaints on social media, with the reports becoming more egregious and the complaints increasing in number.

 

Southwest's​ monetization of its boarding system through additional fee products such as EarlyBird Check-in and Upgraded Boarding have exacerbated the situation.

 

Many compromises have been suggested (allow saving of only a single seat, middle seats only, only seats behind the exit rows, etc.) and are always denied.

 

It's unconscionable that Southwest takes no responsibility, but instead expects the customers to manage a situation they have created.

 

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, it's very clear that Southwest has no plans to change this anytime soon. Their unique boarding system "works for them," meaning that, as long as profits stay high, customers can expect to have to deal with this.

 

Ironically, allowing seat saving devalues their additional fee products, which will eventually eat into sales. If that ancillary income cannot be made up in other places, expect assigned seating to be introduced as a result. Which will be yet another evolutionary change forced by circumstance (which could have been dealt with instead of being ignored) that moves Southwest away from everything that once made them great and towards being just another carrier.

 

 

 

 

Re: saving seats

gojimmy
New Arrival

Lindsey; Apparently you're paid to defend this "policy" or lack there of. This happened to us yesterday whereby my wife and I PAID for early boarding priviledge and ran into someone who had paid for early boarding and decided that his early boarding priviledge translated to others in his party. The flight attendant was standing there and told us he could do this because there is no policy on saving seats, all while another attendant is announcing that you can claim any seat that isn't occupied. I won't waste my dander because you refuse to understand the point that this isn't open seating.

It's a bit disturbing to that one of the attendants was overheard later in the back of the plane referring to us as "the black couple." Not customers or passengers, but "the black couple" as if paying for early boarding somehow reduces our standing with her (the Company) because we objected to the lack of policy. This doesn't encourage us to fly southwest in the future.