Selfish Southwest Airlines seat-saving passengers suck

Selfish Southwest Airlines seat-saving passengers suck

Recently, my family and I flew Southwest Airlines on vacation. (Full disclosure: I am an airline employee, but I don’t work for Southwest Airlines.) We had a wonderful experience! Except (always a “but”) except for some rude, rude, selfish and naughty passengers on our way home.

Just in case you don’t know, Southwest does not assign seats. You’re given a boarding priority, A, B or C and a number (1-60 within your group) and you line up and board in order according to your group and number. They then have an open seating policy, which means you can sit in any open seat. However, for an extra $10 each way, you can upgrade to priority “A” seating.

As an airline family accustomed to flying stand-by (we only get onboard if open seats are available) we treat ourselves every now and then to real airline tickets when we go on vacation. It’s wonderful. We know (well, we mostly know—weather, mechanical delays and acts of God notwithstanding) that we will get there. We know we will all be on the same flight, on the same day. And, if we book far enough in advance, we will get to sit together as a family. I know! You’re thinking, what could possibly be the advantage to this? Well, it’s much easier to tell your husband to move so you can go to the bathroom than to ask that 300-pound Amway salesman if he could please get up.

So as part of our vacation treat to ourselves, we bought the priority A upgrade for our trip home at a cost to our family of five of $50, and we were assigned boarding priority A53 through A57. However, and here’s where I get to my point, finally, when we boarded the airplane, several people who’d boarded before us had saved entire rows of seats for their family or friends or whomever the hell they thought were entitled to sit next to, WITHOUT THOSE PEOPLE HAVING TO PAY THEIR FAIR FARE SHARE!!

These assholes had thrown down jackets and 737 Emergency Briefing cards and SkyMall magazines into seats to selfishly reserve them. As I walked past, me being the quiet little wallflower that I am, said LOUDLY to my husband, “Look honey! These people are saving seats for their friends! Maybe next time that’s what we should do, only pay for one upgrade and save seats for each other. Think of the money we’d save!”

“That’s a great idea!” the husband replied, because as you know, he’s always on the look-out for cost saving opportunities.

WHO the hell do these people think they are? Where do they get off thinking they have any sort of right to treat other people this way? But I think we all know who they are. They are the people who don’t merge into a long line of traffic to, say, get onto the expressway, but simply cut someone off at the last moment. They are the same people who cut in into the Bag Check line when trying to get into Wrigley Field. They are the same people who, when a new lane opens at the grocery store, even though they are last in line, will beeline it over there when the cashier says, “I can take the NEXT person in line.” These are the people who for some reason believe they are entitled to priority treatment and don’t give a damn that they are being rude and unfair and self-centered. I mean, WTF? Where do they get this sense of self-entitlement? How? When do these jerks decide it’s okay to behave this way?

These are the people who make me pro-nuclear.

As an airline, Southwest needs to address this issue. It’s terribly unfair to the people who did it the right way and paid for their boarding priority. I’m sure they could do it in their usual fun and humorous way, with an announcement on how nobody should even attempt this type of shenanigan. Personally, if it were my airplane, as soon as we got to a safe cruising altitude, I would insist it was time for these selfish butt-head seat-savers to step outside.


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  • People suck, but Southwest sucks worse for not stopping that. Did you end up getting what you paid for? I would think a lot of the people who paid for an upgrade were left out, no?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    We all ended up sitting together, but toward the back of the plane. It worked out okay, but I just couldn't believe the audacity of those people--and two groups had done it!! About four rows saved in all.

    In defense of Southwest, I don't think the flight attendants were in a position to see what was going on (One greeter, one mid-cabin and one at the rear--the jerks were more toward the front, between two of them), but maybe that's something for their suggestion box.

  • In reply to KimStrickland:

    I'd definitely advise Southwest of what is going on, though I find it hard to believe that this is a new problem.

  • That is ridiculous! We fly Southwest, and I haven't seen that, but I'd go ballistic and make sure the flight attendants knew about it. Southwest customer service can be quite responsive. I'd fire off an email ASAP. This is really not okay.

  • You should have found a flight attendant and gotten the empty seats with jackets in them. If those seats aren't taken by people who are already on the plane, then they are open seats, plain and simple.

  • Hi Kim - I'm so sorry about this! I contacted you via Twitter to get your confirmation number and flight information so we can follow up with you about this.

    Thanks so much!


  • As a SW FA- we have raised this issue ~ continually about how unfair it is- for passengers to hold seats. Ridiculous! Pay for them. SW response is that it's "okay to save seats" That's what we've been told. And we hate it. Totally unfair. I'm sorry you had this issue. I could not ~ agree with you more. A 25 year SW FA. And I would have given you free drinks for the problems!

  • This story has a happy ending (for us, anyway). Southwest is refunding our priority boarding fees!

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