They Went One Step Further On Popular Southwest Hack

by SharonKurheg

There are plenty of hacks out there for people who fly. We’ve even written about some of them:

In recent weeks, several people have written about the hack that’s a way for people to try to keep the middle seat open on Southwest. Because Southwest doesn’t have assigned seats, people who are parties of two will sometimes take the window and aisle seat of a row, hoping that the middle seat stays open.

The hack isn’t new, and is something Joe and I have been doing for years. Here’s our view on it, which seems to be different from some peoples’.

However a couple from Arkansas recently got into some hot water on ye olde internets, because they took the “window and aisle seat” hack and added their own spin on it.

They’d grab those two seats in the row, hoping the middle seat would stay empty. However if the flight attendant announced the flight was 100% full, they knew “someone” was going to sit in the empty seat in their row.

Their plan was the same as what Joe and I do – when someone would choose their row, whoever was in the aisle seat would move over so the stranger could have the aisle and the couple could still sit together.

But here’s how they brought it up to the next level. They’d look for someone they’ “like” to sit next to them, and offer that person the seat.

Back in late November, the husband of the couple, Jeff, posted a video of how they did it on Instagram.

“Southwest flight. We took the aisle and window until we found the right person,” he wrote over the video.

The clip shows Jeff’s wife, Wendy, sitting in the aisle seat while he filmed from the window seat. She’d make eye contact with each of the incoming passengers as they pass by, trying to decide who she should make the offer to.

“Southwest etiquette,” he captioned the video.

As a young man with headphones on starts to get close to their row, and Wendy says, “Should I be nice right here?”

“I don’t know,” says Jeff. “It’s up to you.”

The woman taps the young man on the shoulder and says, “Do you want to sit here?,” gesturing to the empty seat in their row. “Oh, sure!” he agrees. She moves over and the guy sits down.

“For how late I was, I thought I’d be scrunched in the middle somewhere,” the man jokes as he settles into his seat on the aisle.

Jeff leans over and says, “She was just looking for somebody ‘cool’ to scoot over.”

The response from people who saw the video was generally negative:

  • “Discriminatory”
  • “How would they feel if someone did that to them?” Would they fit the supposed ‘criteria’ that they were so desperately looking for on the Southwest flight?”
  • “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. 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.”
  • “So what’s the criteria that gets you ‘cancelled’ for the seat? Ethnicity, perceived religion, skin color, hygiene, size/ weight? Something about this doesn’t seem right.”
  • “If I knew what they were doing, I would have jumped right into the middle seat and fake snored all the way.”
  • “So, why did he look ‘cool’ and not the 65-plus old gentleman that walked past your seat? Ageism is a thing.”

However a few responders were right with them:

  • “Haha, I have A-List on Southwest ([this means] I board first) and we do this EVERYTIME we fly. I sit in row nine aisle 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?”
  • “If I see a screaming toddler…man spreader, coughing boomer I want to avoid all three at any cost. And if I could do this, I definitely would.”
  • ‘People complain about this, but forget how horrendous people act on a plane. Pulling hair, closing windows, feet on your arm rest, screaming kids, smelly bodies, drunk people, Karens having melt downs… give me a break. Keep on doing you guys.”

At least one person questioned if perhaps the couple had an ulterior motive beyond who sat next to them:

  • “Sounds like an open marriage that uses a swing. Why would the husband tell her it’s up to her if he’s okay to sit with them?”

And the small handful of smarty pants.

  • “Plot twist. The flight got canceled anyway.”

Jeff’s video was up on Instagram up for a while but he’s since made his account private. However, pillar of society that it is ;-), the New York Post still has a copy of it on their website.

Feature photo: Southwest Airlines/Twitter

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Laura Morris January 19, 2023 - 10:03 pm

I agree with some of the comments… very discriminatory. Once saw someone doing something similar where the couple was sitting aisle and window. After many people passed by, another person started to sit in the middle, couple offered to move together… chaos ensued from the people that had just passed by amd saw what happened. I actually offered support testimony to the people that brought on the chaos as I saw it as – the couple was playing stupid games with their seats, so they won a stupid prize when they got a broken nose.


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