This Seat's Taken

September 12, 2012
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I am surprised you have never heard of anyone saving seats on Southwest Airlines (one person pays the $10 early boarding fee and saves seats for friends who avoided the fee). This has been going on for years. A few years ago I boarded a Southwest plane and found someone saving two rows of seats - a total of 6 seats. They said the seats were for their family, but when the "family" finally did board, they were all adults. One might forgive a parent for saving seats for his children and spouse so they could sit together. But saving seats for six people? It seemed outrageous.  I did mention it to a flight attendant, and she agreed that it was not really appropriate, but she also declined to say anything to the passenger about it. Because you have the advantage of being in the media, Southwest may actually pay some attention you print this.

    A. Well, people do this in movie theaters and ballparks, and on trains and buses, all the time and no one seems to complain. But somehow this is worse, because someone is basically gaming the system. Southwest, if you’re reading this maybe it’s time to teach your passengers some basic fairness if not manners.