I went back and forth on whether I should write this post or keep the secrets to myself… On one hand, I enjoy writing and this topic does offer some good content. On the other hand… I don’t want you stealing my seat on a Southwest flight!
Ok ok… I’ll share…
I have been flying Southwest a bit lately and really I have mixed emotions about it. Their baggage policy is awesome (however I’m military and check bags free on any airline), they serve drinks on their flights (as others do), they offer unlimited snacks (some of the flights), and the crew is really friendly (bingo)! My single qualm with Southwest is their boarding policy. Open seating. Good thing I got this all figured out.
Here I present to you… Southwest Secrets via phases of a military campaign:
Getting a good seat on a Southwest flight can be a challenge, but with some work, it can be done. First off (and this is a given), you should check in to your flight online as early as possible. The earliest you can check in without paying extra is 24 hours. Set an alarm, have someone call you, stare at a clock if you have to… check in right at that 24 hour mark. The earlier you check in the better position in the seat line you will get, and the more control over the situation you will have.
Once you find out your seat line position, the real strategy begins. And don’t think that just because you got in the ‘A’ section you are good to go… Mr. I’ve had too many beers that I’m belching, farting, and my belly hangs over the arm rests might be aiming to sit right next to you!
Once at your gate about 15 or 20 minutes before boarding, take a look around. Is the flight going to be full? What types of people are on this flight? If the flight is full, you might want to start up a conversation with someone that might be an adequate seat neighbor. And be careful choosing based completely on size… contrary to common sense, a 12 year old girl is not an appropriate seat neighbor for a strange grown man. Find someone that looks like you, perhaps they have common interests! Find an attractive person of the opposite sex (with matching marital status), just be careful the significant other isn’t just in the bathroom. Find someone with a book. Also be careful about people with dvd players or MP3 players. Check the earphones they are using, you don’t want noise spillage.
It doesn’t matter if your new friend is in the same seating section as you. People on Southwest tend to respond well to bag on seat meaning the seat is being saved. Careful though, don’t try this tactic too long
keep reading (Part 2)