Recently, I wrote about how Taylor Swift says she kept the middle seat open on Southwest Airlines flights back in the day when she used to fly with the carrier. She revealed the funny, clever tip in her 2022 NYU graduation commencement speech, which you can read about here.

However, a viral video with over 3 million views might be an even better method than Taylor’s. If nothing else, you’ll at least get a good laugh!

As you can see from the hilarious video above, the overzealous traveler is sitting in the window seat of a bus and each time someone passes by, he gives a creepy smiles and taps the empty seat next to him, encouraging them to sit there.

Most sane people don’t want to sit next to someone who is overly friendly or desperate unless the bus, plane or train is absolutely full. And if someone does choose to sit there before the cabin or car fills up, then the hack is probably going to backfire as you’re going to be in for a long ride with a chatty person.

I know some other things people do to try and keep the seat next to them empty, including:

  • Putting an empty tissue box on their lap or on the vacant seat because no one wants to sit next to someone who is sick – especially during Covid. But that too can backfire as the attendant might ask you not to travel if you’re sick. Some people also take the vomit bag and hold it to their mouth, making it look like they’re sick.
  • Getting a spray bottle and spraying themselves to make it look like they’re sweating profusely.

Although next to you is always the best, there are times when it’s just not possible. In those cases, my main goal is to just have enough room so I’m not cramped or crowded. So, my trick when I’m traveling on a plane, bus or train with open seating is to get on first and get the first row on a plane or bus – it’s generally the best seat and you’ll have fewer people around you. Or I look for the row with the most legroom like an exit row. Or I board in the middle and try to sit next to people who are really skinny and not sick so I don’t get squished or sick.

I know some people will say to buy an extra seat but I know Southwest Airlines (SWA) won’t let you buy an extra seat unless you’re a passenger of size. However, an SWA agent commented on one of my posts that what you can do is buy a seat for your cello, which will at least let you have the arm rest. Unfortunately, not many people have a cello and if they do, is it really worth traveling with? Someone in the airport should rent them so you can pick one up in the airport and drop it off on arrival.

How about you? What do you do when traveling with open seating?

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9 Comments On "Hilarious Video: How to Keep the Seat Next to You Empty on Southwest Airlines or On a Bus or Train"
  1. Benita|

    I try to sit in an aisle seat which gives me “space” and an armrest on one side. If the window seat is also filled, and the flight attendant announces only middle seats available, I try to meet the eyes of a thin person and say “there’s room here.” That works 70% of the time if they don’t have a suitcase (overhead usually full by then).

  2. Yolo|

    I buy a refundable ticket for the extra seat and cancel after I board. i fly enough to use the credit

  3. Catherine L Norman-McGuire|

    Nobody is in the seats in front of him.

  4. Kathy Millard|

    I’m fussy, but that would not turn me away screaming.

  5. Denise|

    Once I had the window seat on a Southwest flight. A gentleman walked up and took the aisle seat. He then proceeded to dig out the barf bag and said just watch with a smirk. We laughed all the way to our destination in Phoenix. 😉

  6. joe|

    what you do when someone sleep over your shoulder?

  7. Edward Matlock|

    Sleep over my shoulder, That depends on who’s sitting next to me. A child next to me falling asleep and leaning on me -is okey. Fairly attractive female -by all means. Otherwise, I’d start coughing loud and fidget a lot to bring to attention to the person next to me.

  8. frieda k nicol|

    Fart loudly! Works reallllly well!

  9. M.L. Cook|

    We used to get an aisle seat and a window seat….hoping that no one would purchase the middle seat. Now, I’m not sure if they allow you to do that.

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