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Saturday 27 April 2024

Seating free for all may be coming to an end

An American airline that is notorious for it's free-for-all seating policy is considering changes.

And the reason, you've guessed it, is money.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is known for its open single-class seating policy but could be changing, Travel Mole reports.

Southwest has one economy class cabin with no pre-assigned seating and mostly open boarding. 

Passengers are allocated to one of three boarding groups and it is then first come, first seated, unless you opt to pay a fee for early boarding.

Otherwise it is a bunfight as passengers try to save premium seats for their friends and anyone late boarding on a fuller flight gets a dreaded middle seat.

"Once onboard, simply choose any available seat and stow your carryon items in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you," the airline's website says

Now Southwest CEO Bob Jordan has said the airline is looking at changes.

“We’re looking into new initiatives, things like the way we seat and board our aircraft,” Jordan said this week.

Although, it touts its "simple and user-friendly" seating policy, this restricts the carrier's ability to make more money from fees.

Jordan said a review of passenger seating has resulted in "interesting" results.

“Customer preferences do change over time,” Jordan said.

While rival US airlines, including Delta and United, have introduced fee-paying choices for priority boarding, extra legroom seating, exit rows and others, Southwest has remained steadfast in its simple seating policy with no premium options.

But money talks. Stay tuned.

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