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How to Get the Best Seats When Flying Southwest Airlines
Many people hate Southwest’s format for seating. For those of you who aren’t familiar, when you check in, you are assigned a group, “A,” “B,” or “C,” depending on how early you have checked in. Then the plane is boarded in group “A,” then “B,” then “C.” This results in people standing in line for as long as an hour so they can be sure to get the best spot. All of that effort is uneccesary though if you just follow these tips, which work best when you are flying alone.
Check in online
With Southwest, you can check in online as early as 24 hours before your flight. Don’t concern yourself with whether or not you have access to a printer to print out your boarding pass. If you don’t, simply check in online, and then re-check in at the airport using one of Southwest’s electronic kiosks.
Do pre-flight investigation
Look around the gate area a bit and identify people you may or may not want to sit next to. This will depend on your mood that day. Maybe you don’t feel like talking that day so you want to sit next to the bookworm, maybe you want to chat up that pale-faced brunette, hey maybe today you _want_ to sit next to the baby or the nervous flyer.
Board at the right time
If you checked in online early, chances are you got an “A” boarding pass. Unless you’re flying with friends that you want to sit next to, you certainly don’t want to wait in the “A” line before boarding. Just remain seated and board at the end of that group. Probably the best time to board is at the end of the “B” group, and you can certainly just hold on to your “A” pass and wait to board at the end of the “B” group. More on this strategy later.
Check with flight attendant
When you first step onto the plane, ask the flight attendant how full the flight is. Generally, they will give you some percentage, or tell you that it’s totally full.
Make your selection
Now you’ve reached the moment of truth. When all of that preparation and planning finally comes together, yeilding you a seat that will facilitate an enjoyable flight. Why didn’t you rush to be one of the first people on the plane? Because you could have gotten your “A” pass and waited in line and been that first person and gotten the seat you wanted, but how would you control who decides to sit next to you? You could try making strange facial expressions, but that’s just a gamble.
You let all of those people get on the plane before you, because now _you_ get to pick whom you sit next to. For example:
- If the flight is around 75% full and you’re looking for some peace and quiet, if you see a person of large proportions sitting in an aisle seat grab the window seat in that same row and you can bet noone will sit next to you.
- If the flight is full, you know you’re going to have to sit next to _someone_, so it may as well be that hot chick (or whatever your fancy) or promising business connection. Since the flight is nearly full, you won’t seem too forward, creepy, or stalkerish. I mean, you probably are if you put this much thought into it, but just keep that to yourself.
So now you can see some of the strategies one can employ to find that perfect seat. Check out this article if location in the plane and room is more important to you than whom you sit next to. If you learn to use these strategies, you may even start to prefer Southwest’s seating arrangements, but don’t go telling too many people as this obviously wouldn’t work if everyone used these strategies.
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