The number one thing that makes flying better is when you have an empty middle seat next to you. On most airlines it is luck. On Southwest it is strategy.
Southwest doesn’t pre-assign seats, so it’s not just luck whether someone’s been assigned next to you. You pick a seat with an empty middle beside you and then can improve your odds that it stays empty by making it unappealing for someone to choose it.
People place crumpled tissues on the seat and act sick. They act like they’re fighting with the other person in the row. They spread themselves or their stuff into the seat beside them signaling that it’ll be uncomfortable to sit there. Or they place their stuff in the empty seat to make it look like someone is seated there. Sometimes Southwest Airlines passengers look intentionally creepy to scare off potential seatmates.
How to keep seats open next to you on a flight 😂
— Craig Muni (@CraigMuni) May 14, 2023
None of this works when a flight is full. All seats will be taken. And it doesn’t work when a flight attendant calls out passengers for trying. One passenger films herself trying to avoid passengers who might sit in her row. And you can hear a flight attendant announcing,
If you’re trying to avoid the eye contact so nobody will sit in the middle, that’s not going to work today.
Since the flight was full, they were going to need every seat. And passengers passing by seats with bags on top of empty seats would just delay departure as they’d eventually need to turn back around and head closer to the front to use those seats.
As the video notes, POV: you’re on a full flight and called out by the flight attendant for avoiding eye contact so no one sits next to you.
@boredsoap as you can see I was trying to do reverse psychology lol #southwest #fullflight #corporategirlie #humortiktok #avoideyecontact #lol ♬ original sound – sophizzles
I like the way Southwest Airlines seats are divvied out first-come, first-served as someone who books last minute (good seats may not be available anymore on other airlines) and as someone who sometimes changes flights on the day of travel. They also offer an inch or two more legroom than other airlines in their standard seats. And I like that you can help control your own destiny over whether someone sits next to you or not – when the flight isn’t full.