Can anyone buy an extra seat or just COS?

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Old May 26, 19, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by SF1K View Post
The policy of only allowing COS to buy an extra seat is really annoying. I’m not sure why this is not seen as discrimination?

True.... If my arms, or shoulder or....need/want more room, why can I not BUY it?
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Old May 26, 19, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere View Post
True.... If my arms, or shoulder or....need/want more room, why can I not BUY it?
If you actually need the room, you qualify as a COS under the policy:
Originally Posted by Southwest COS Policy
What is Southwest Airlines' policy for Customers of size?

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available on our Flying Southwest page. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.
As you can see, it doesn't simply say that you are a COS if you can't lower the armrest; it's more broad than that.

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats
So, if you can lower the armrest but your shoulders or hips or legs encroach on your neighbor's seat, you qualify as a COS and can purchase the second seat.

This is pretty much my situation. Aside from the width of my butt, my shoulders are about 23-24 inches across. Since WN's seats are 17.5 inches wide, plus about two inches of armrest width, my shoulders encroach on the seat next to me no matter what. But I also can't get the armrest down and my legs are long enough that my knees tend to encroach as well.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with a non-COS purchasing two seats just to have an empty next to them, if they can afford it, though I wonder if it might not be more cost-effective to fly another carrier and upgrade to business or first. The problem is, there would be difficulty in both getting and keeping that second seat empty; COS pre-board so we we can find two seats together, and we get a reservation document to help us keep the seat empty. Even so, we have to fend off folks who want the seat (though in my case the only time I ever had any difficulty was with a deadheading WN pilot who asked me twice before he actually got it, "You bought two seats? You actually PURCHASED two seats?" as if he thought I was lying, despite holding the reservation document up in front of him where he could actually read it). Someone purchasing two seats out of preference rather than need wouldn't get to preboard, and might wind up finding himself with two purchased seats in different rows, defeating the whole purpose and causing all sorts of arguments.
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Old May 26, 19, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by SF1K View Post
The policy of only allowing COS to buy an extra seat is really annoying. I’m not sure why this is not seen as discrimination?
Which protected class is being discriminated against? Tall, skinny dudes? People with big egos? Tired people who want to lay down? Seat savers?
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Old May 29, 19, 1:10 pm
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A little while back the wife and I were looking at heading west and Southwest had the lowest fare last minute by a fair margin. If we were going economy class, the wife and I wanted a little extra room to spread out, so we purchased an extra sea (even with that extra seat it was less than DELTA or AA were asking for two seats in economy). In fact we could not figure out how to book the extra seat on-line, but a simple call to Reservations and the agent was able to process our request without issue, she did not say it was impossible or not allowed (though I can clearly see from the above quoted rules that it is).

At the airport the agent had zero issue with us and said she wonders why more customers don't book an extra seat and since we had like A20-21-22 it worked out that we had an entire row to ourselves, ironically after the flight we did get a refund for third seat (which we never expected nor wanted) and I tried three times to get Southwest to suck back the money, but they claimed that they did not have the ability to do so, in fact the last Agent that I spoke with said that most customers call in demanding refunds and that she appreciated my honesty and that I should not worry about it.

I now realize that from reading this thread that Southwest refunds customers who require a COS seat but that due to the flight not being full are not required to pay for it, I guess we benefited from that even though neither my wife nor I am/are COS.

We have booked extra seats in Economy on other airlines (and it does not seem to be explicitly not allowed like Southwest clearly spells out) when we fly Southwest from now on we will NOT do so as we do not want to run afoul of their rules as we genuinely like Southwest.
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Last edited by kmersh; May 29, 19 at 2:16 pm Reason: added the word economy and a end )
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Old May 29, 19, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by kmersh View Post
A little while back the wife and I were looking at heading west and Southwest had the lowest fare last minute by a fair margin. If we were going economy class, the wife and I wanted a little extra room to spread out, so we purchased an extra sea (even with that extra seat it was less than DELTA or AA were asking for two seats. In fact we could not figure out how to book the extra seat on-line, but a simple call to Reservations and the agent was able to process our request without issue, she did not say it was impossible or not allowed (though I can clearly see from the above quoted rules that it is).

At the airport the agent had zero issue with us and said she wonders why more customers don't book an extra seat and since we had like A20-21-22 it worked out that we had an entire row to ourselves, ironically after the flight we did get a refund for third seat (which we never expected nor wanted) and I tried three times to get Southwest to suck back the money, but they claimed that they did not have the ability to do so, in fact the last Agent that I spoke with said that most customers call in demanding refunds and that she appreciated my honesty and that I should not worry about it.

I now realize that from reading this thread that Southwest refunds customers who require a COS seat but that due to the flight not being full are not required to pay for it, I guess we benefited from that even though neither my wife nor I am/are COS.

We have booked extra seats in Economy on other airlines (and it does not seem to be explicitly not allowed like Southwest clearly spells out) when we fly Southwest from now on we will NOT do so as we do not want to run afoul of their rules as we genuinely like Southwest.
Seems to me that you made an honest mistake in good faith, and Southwest made a mistake in good faith of believing you were booking under the COS policy. Honest mistakes all around, and everyone benefited.

Out of curiosity, under what name did you book the extra seat? Did you duplicate one of your names exactly, or did you book with a variation of one of yours, such as with different middle initials or Bob instead of Robert?
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Old May 29, 19, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by kmersh View Post
At the airport the agent had zero issue with us and said she wonders why more customers don't book an extra seat and since we had like A20-21-22 it worked out that we had an entire row to ourselves, ironically after the flight we did get a refund for third seat (which we never expected nor wanted) and I tried three times to get Southwest to suck back the money, but they claimed that they did not have the ability to do so, in fact the last Agent that I spoke with said that most customers call in demanding refunds and that she appreciated my honesty and that I should not worry about it.

I now realize that from reading this thread that Southwest refunds customers who require a COS seat but that due to the flight not being full are not required to pay for it, I guess we benefited from that even though neither my wife nor I am/are COS.
Your honesty absolutely deserved to be praised.

Airline seats have never been smaller, even as Americans have never been bigger.

The stigma is all that's shrinking.
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Old May 29, 19, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
Seems to me that you made an honest mistake in good faith, and Southwest made a mistake in good faith of believing you were booking under the COS policy. Honest mistakes all around, and everyone benefited.

Out of curiosity, under what name did you book the extra seat? Did you duplicate one of your names exactly, or did you book with a variation of one of yours, such as with different middle initials or Bob instead of Robert?
I do not remember exactly, I think they put an XS or something like that I honestly cannot remember, I know with UNITED where the wife and I have purchased an extra seat in the past the first name was EXTRASEAT and the last name was my last name.
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Old May 29, 19, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by kmersh View Post
I do not remember exactly, I think they put an XS or something like that I honestly cannot remember, I know with UNITED where the wife and I have purchased an extra seat in the past the first name was EXTRASEAT and the last name was my last name.
Well, that explains the whole thing.

Booking the extra seat under your name with XS as the middle initial is the official method of booking an extra seat under the COS policy.

It's a little surprising to me that you got a refund for that seat automatically. I've always had to send an email request to get my refund.
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Old May 30, 19, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
Well, that explains the whole thing.

Booking the extra seat under your name with XS as the middle initial is the official method of booking an extra seat under the COS policy.

It's a little surprising to me that you got a refund for that seat automatically. I've always had to send an email request to get my refund.
I was surprised too, trust me neither my wife nor I wanted a refund, we wanted to pay for the extra seat (4 hours it is nice to spread out), the way we look at it, the extra comfort is worth the price and when I spoke with the agent on the phone I was clear that I WANTED to buy the extra seat so that my wife and I could have some extra space, I did not say anything about COS or anything even remotely close to that. In fact thinking back on it, I explained that I was curious as how to book an extra seat as I could not figure out how to do it on the internet, she said no worries sir I can help you with that, would you like to me book the entire reservation for you, I said sure and she booked the entire reservation over the phone for me, first time that I have done that in years.

Regardless, I still feel a little bad about getting the refund, it is why I generally book WN between MCO and FLL instead of AA MCO-MIA and DAL-HOU instead of AA DFW-IAH to give them my business.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 9:25 am
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It seems that if Southwest desires small seats, they have to understand that this issue is going to crop up again and again. We agree with the previous poster, the definition of COS is starting to entrap many of us, as the seats get smaller. You wonder where the line is between profitability and uncomfortable seating.....it's getting closer.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by Seat Amigo View Post
You wonder where the line is between profitability and uncomfortable seating.....it's getting closer.
If we only had an app that lets us know who we're sitting next to before we fly.

Looking for someone 22, loves to talk with older strangers, and smells great.
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Old Jun 4, 19, 11:35 am
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Originally Posted by Seat Amigo View Post
It seems that if Southwest desires small seats, they have to understand that this issue is going to crop up again and again. We agree with the previous poster, the definition of COS is starting to entrap many of us, as the seats get smaller. You wonder where the line is between profitability and uncomfortable seating.....it's getting closer.
While people may be getting wider, the seats are not actually getting any narrower (at least on WN -- see below). Since they realistically can't go 7 across on a 737, there would be no real point in shrinking the seat width (and the cross-section width is the same on all 737's).

https://thepointsguy.com/2015/04/air...ts-measure-up/

Last edited by xliioper; Jun 4, 19 at 11:40 am
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Old Jun 4, 19, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
If we only had an app that lets us know who we're sitting next to before we fly.

Wait for it...
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Old Jul 9, 19, 5:20 am
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BA allows any passenger to buy a “comfort seat” next to them, at the same price as the paid for seat but with no taxes applied. On many short haul flights this is good value. It can only be booked on the phone. I do it through the Gold line. It works well...even in em exit seats.
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Old Jul 9, 19, 6:40 am
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Since Southwest doesn't offer extended economy or business class, and sometimes have the only direct flights on a route, it'd be nice to be able to buy the seat in front of me so I could be guaranteed to be able to use my laptop and work on a flight. I suppose that's what the early boarding premium is for, but that doesn't guarantee an exit row or bulkhead.
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