I really don’t mind the open seating policy on Southwest Airlines. I’ve had no problems getting a window seat (my preference anyways) near the front of the plane on recent trips and I’m not really all that particular about which of those window seats I end up in on most flights. But there is the occasional drawback to the process.
My flight yesterday morning was about 80% full. That’s a healthy load but it also means that a number of middle seats were unoccupied, including 4E adjacent to the 4F I chose. A woman sat down at 4D about halfway through the boarding process; no big deal as I didn’t expect a whole row to myself. About 3 minutes before the boarding door closed, however, something rather bizarre happened. She moved from the aisle to the center
window commenting that she thought it would be more comfortable.
I can understand that maybe one too many bags caught her shoulder or shin during the boarding so I suggested that once the boarding door was closed and she knew that would no longer be an issue she could slide back over. Not so much, it turns out. She noted that she “didn’t really want to move again” and stayed in that middle seat for taxi and departure.
I did get up about an hour in to the flight to use the lav and when I returned she settled in to the aisle seat once again. It seems that my forcing her to move anyways resulted in her choosing to give both of us more room. I wonder if she thinks I am a jerk for making her get up at all.
I know there’s no guarantee of an empty middle and I don’t really mind all that much; I fit in the seats just fine (and she was tiny). But it seemed completely crazy to me that she felt the arrangement was more comfortable that way. Am I the only one who sees this as completely irrational behavior?
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