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Old Apr 26, 2011, 9:07 am
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AS MVPG 75K, HH Diamond
Posts: 144
Originally Posted by Amicus
Recently boarded the plane for a three hour flight that the gate attendant stated would be totally full. So, first available row with two seats together was the first row. Except that the man in the aisle seat had placed various random personal items across both seats. While my daughter fit our carryon bag in the overhead bin, I attempted to sit in one of the two seats. The man grumbled loudly, but moved items off one seat only, stating that "my wife is sitting here." We asked where she was, and he said "she's coming." Meanwhile the flight attendant is observing, but saying nothing. My daughter tries to sit in the middle seat and asks him to pick up his random items. She asks the flight attendant to help. He then states, "you are a b **** " and refuses to move them. Flight attendant looks wide eyed at us, then repeats to him that he can't save seats. He moves his stuff to the aisle seat across from him, to save that seat now.
We are now both seated. Still no mystery wife. Finally, at the very end of the C group, the wife boards and sits in the saved aisle seat.
Gate agent boards plane, motions to man to accompany her to jetway to speak to her. We never saw him again. The wife remained on board and kept his personal items, opting not to take a "later flight" with him.
Apparently he was not drunk, but had "space issues" , we were informed.
After a flight back from Las Vegas where my wife was told by a woman sitting in the window that the middle seat was saved, I emailed SW customer service. Here is there reply:

"Dear X,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

As you probably know, all flights on Southwest are "open-seating," and Customers are free to take any available seat onboard the aircraft. In light of this, it is not uncommon for a Customer to want to reserve a seat (or seats) for a friend, family member, or associate who will be boarding behind them.

Truthfully, we donít have a policy either way--for or against--saving seats. In fact, we share our perspective on this issue on as follows: "because Southwest Airlines maintains an open-seating policy, general-boarding Customers may sit in any open or unclaimed seat." With this in mind, as long as there is no Safety concern, it would be acceptable for a Customer to "claim" a seat for his/her family member or traveling companion who may be in a later boarding group. We are aware that the saving of seats is a by-product of our policy, and as long as the boarding process is not delayed and other Customers aren't inconvenienced, it usually isnít a significant issue.

Again, we appreciate your contacting us. We look forward to welcoming you onboard a Southwest flight soon.


Marco, Southwest Airlines"

I guess this means if you are travelling with your family, spend the extra $10 for EB and save seats for your whole family. The flight attendants can't do anything to stop you.
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