Travelling can often come with a bit of stress, but boarding Southwest flights may add another level of chaos due to the Dallas-based airline’s seating policy. According to the company website, Southwest flights have an “open seating” policy, meaning there are no assigned seats.
Rather, passengers are assigned to boarding group A, B, or C and a boarding position, one to 60, which determines when passengers board the plane. Because of this, passengers have come up with crafty ways to find the best seat on a Southwest flight.
In a TikTok video with more than one million views, TikTok user Heather O’Connor – who goes by @oconnorfamilylaw on the app – shared the flirtatious way she and her flight partner secured an entire row of Southwest seats to themselves.
“How to keep a row to yourself on Southwest,” the Massachusetts-based TikToker wrote in the clip, which showed the man sitting in the aisle seat while she took up the window seat. Then, they filled the middle seat with their own personal items.
As fellow passengers walked through the plane’s aisle looking for empty seats, the man in the aisle seat nodded to a passerby – somewhat flirtatiously – and asked if he wanted to sit in between them. He politely declined, but Heather and her flight partner couldn’t help but burst into laughter that their Southwest seating hack seemed to work.
“We were told it’s a full flight. Doing our best to keep that seat open,” they captioned the post.
In the comments, hundreds of TikTokers praised the couple for their unique trick to keeping an entire aisle of seats to themselves. “Love it,” one person commented. “The young guy prob thinks the older one is trying to hit on him!!!”
“I would’ve played his little game, kissed him and said thank you,” another user joked.
We were told it’s a full flight. Doing our best to keep that seat open. Lol
♬ original sound - O’Connor Family Law
“He prob thought what a creeper lmao,” said someone else, to which Heather replied: “Maybe, but it worked.”
Others shared their frustration with Southwest Airlines’ seating system and the clever ways they’ve been able to secure a perfect seat. “Southwest seating is such a strategy game,” one user wrote.
“I wish Southwest would do assigned seating. It’s so nerve-racking [sic],” another shared.
“All those years of keeping my head down and my earbuds in, I coulda been doin’ this?” someone else asked, to which Heather revealed: “That’s what we usually do! This worked way better…except it did end up being an actual full flight, but we had an awesome flight neighbour.”
Most recently, another TikTok user went viral when they shared their tactic to acquire an entire row of seats on Southwest Airlines. The amusing video showed a range of approaches for passengers who prefer space during their flight, including the “encouraging seat pat”, the “hat trick”, and the “the fake breakup” – in which the passenger pretended to be on a phone call to his partner and emotionally announced: “You’re breaking up with me, before my flight?”
He then loudly declared that he’ll be “a mess for the next two hours and 43 minutes”.
Other internet users have encouraged fliers to buy and return entire row of fully refundable seats or buying $12 Starbucks vouchers for all the flight attendants on-board in order to get a seat upgrade.