Although practical, the wording in the terms from the FAA that I'll paraphrase is that if the seats are not assigned, then they can't be "partially" assigned. Obviously moving to a fully assgined cabin would be one solution, which Southwest has been avoiding. There's the solution! Why not allow only the very few "Business Select" customers who have essentuially (in many circumstances) paid double (or more) the fare for a free drink coupon and an earlier boarding postion to pre-select their seat at the time of purchase. I realize it would be one more thing for the cabin crew to deal with, but they could easily place a "reserved for_____" sign on those very few seats prior to boarding. Problem solved!
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So, if a preboarder has a "significant need" to sit in a bulkhead seat on a traditional airline, do they simply select the first available first, business class or economy comfort seat they see? Of course not, as those seats have already been purchased by another. So just because Southwest has "open seating" why can't they simply identify the first-row seat as "Business Select" reserved for those who have paid the fare? I have no problems whatsoever with preboarders be they physically or mentally disabled, military, old or young, claustrophopic or apt to vomit in other than a window seat. I do, however have a real issue paying over $800 for business class select, holding A1 and A2 and having to walk past the first several rows filled with folks who could just as easily sit in other seats (as they would have in most any other airline).
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