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Southwest Airhostess allow seat saving of exit row seats

New Arrival

I am on the flight 4381 Dallas to Houston on Feb 9-2019. A passenger who had boarded ahead of me had put his stuff on the two exit rows next to him on rows 12 E and 12F. I asked the airhostess if seat 12F was open she said it was but the other passenger was allowed to save the seat for his friend who boarded much later, I objected to the seat squatting. Why have order of boarding if people can squat seats. Understand families may save seats for family, but these cant be the best exit row seats or the front one with extra legroom or all the aisle seats around them.


The airhostess Kimberly said seat squatting was allowed per Southwest. I have been traveling every week on Southwest and always heard that the policy was ‘Open Seating’. What is the purpose of open seating policy, or boarding order if Southwest allows passengers to save the best seats for friends especially the exit row seats. If they need to save seats, do a row other than exit row or front seats. How can Southwest allow saving of an exit row seat (usually the airhostess stands there) when boarding without a physical confirmation of passengers ability to support exit row duties in case of an emergency.


All for keeping families together, but not squatting of the best seats. I follow rules on Southwest, board in order and follow rules. Can someone advise of the policy on this. What is open seating if I can save best seats for myself. How about the folks who paid extra to get ahead in line?


regards -Paritosh


Re: Southwest Airhostess allow seat saving of exit row seats

Rising Star

Paritosh, SW does not prohibit seat saving. So people do it.  If you've read posts on this board, you know it is a frequently discussed and debated policy. Lots of people don't like it


As far as who is prohibited in exit rows; it is only people that are incapable of performing

tasks required of people sitting in those rows. That's it. So seat saving occurs in exit rows.



Re: Southwest Airhostess allow seat saving of exit row seats

Active Member

Just to add, those usually incapable of performing emergency operations are usually the preboard passengers. If you were within the first 60 people to board, the flight attendant may have been blocking the seat so that pre-boarders don't sit down there accidentally. Keep in mind, the FA likely wasn't holding it for their own personal gain!


As @dfwskier mentioned, there's no rule for or against holding seats, but it should obviously be done in reason. Hope this helps clarify for next time! 

Community Champion | LGA based | Companion Pass Holder | Southwest Passenger

Re: Southwest Airhostess allow seat saving of exit row seats

Top Contributor

There is an age restriction as well so that children couldn’t be in the exit row regardless of ability.

Personally I would be fine if the airlines (or FAA?) said no alcoholic beverages in the exit row. Maybe that would slow down the rate of seat saving there.



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