Triangle Trip

How to avoid the middle seat on Southwest

by Captain G on Jan.21, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel



We all know that Southwest does not have assigned seats and everyone is aware of the standard practices to get in Zone A to avoid having to sit in the middle seat. The standard practices  to get away from sitting in the middle are:

  1. Print your boarding pass at right after midnight before your departure date so you board during Zones A or B. This may mean staying up all night just to avoid getting a bad seat - which is not so attractive.
  2. Paying for Southwest Business Select. This approach does not really make sense as you’re flying SWA because you’re trying to save money. Why should you pay to board first especially if you fly SWA all the time?

The standard practices also does not cover you for flight cancellations or changes. Here is the secret to avoid the middle seat or at least mitigate the risk of having to sit in the middle.

Kids generally prefer to sit by the windows because they want to look out the window during takeoff and landing. Since kids rarely travel by themselves which means a parent will be next to them. Like everyone else, parents also don’t like to be stuck in the middle seat. The usual scenario is a kid seated by the window and the parent sits at the aisle hoping no one will take the middle seat. This scenario occurs toward the back of the plane.

Regardless of when you board the plane, you need to look for a kid seated by the window and a parent occupying the aisle seat. What you must do is ask the adult to allow you to sit in the middle. The result is the parent will move to the middle because the kid will not want to give up the window seat nor does he or she want to sit next to a stranger. I have used this trick on every flight that is crowded and have an 80% success rate. Go try it!

 
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