Southwest Airlines has an “open seating” policy, meaning there are no assigned seats, according to its website. Passengers are assigned to boarding groups (A, B or C) and a boarding position (1-60), which decides what order they board in.
Instagram user Jeff Martin posted a video (now deleted) showing the “hack” he and his wife use for a pleasant flight.
“Southwest flight. We took the aisle and window until we found the right person,” he wrote over the video, which has 103,000 views as of Wednesday morning.
The clip shows Martin’s wife sitting in the aisle seat while he filmed from the window seat as she looked through the incoming passengers to decide who she should let in.
“Southwest etiquette,” he captioned the video.
A young man wearing headphones is seen in the aisle next to their row of seats, and Martin’s wife asks him, “Should I be nice right here?”
The woman taps the young man on the shoulder and asks if he wants to sit in their row, and he agrees.
The response to the strategy was mixed, with some calling the move “childish.”
“The fact that people do stuff like this doesn’t surprise me. The fact that people are not ashamed, but advertise that they do this is what floors me,” one person commented. “If I were flying solo, and there was an empty space up front, I’d take it whether you wanted me to or not. You paid for two seats. You have no right over any of the other seats.”
“Exactly the type of people that make me cringe,” another said.
“This isn’t cute whatsoever and quite frankly tacky,” someone wrote.
“No … it’s a form of discrimination and fraud …. they didn’t purchase that seat,” a user wrote.
“I’m getting ‘desperate swinger’ vibe though … looking for that handsome 3rd for vacation I see lol,” another quipped.
“How do you look at someone and determine if they are ‘the right’ person? And what does that even mean?” someone asked.
Others praised the couple, and some admitted they do similar things.
“Haha, I have A-List On Southwest (I board 1st) and we do this EVERYTIME we fly. I sit in row 9 isle seat, my wife takes the window leaving the middle seat open with something sitting on it, and when the perfect seatmate approaches, we offer HER the window and my wife slides over to the middle. Why not?” one person admitted.
“Love that. I’ll have to try that sometime,” another said.