Travel Tip of the Day: Open Seating Trick

SeatingOpen Seating Trick
This tip applies when you’re flying Southwest Airlines or any other carrier that only offers open (unassigned) seating. If you’re among the last to board and all the good seats (i.e. aisle and window seats) are taken, look for couples who are traveling together but have snagged a window seat and an aisle seat, hoping that no one will want the middle seat between them.

When you take the seat between them, one of them will move so that they can sit next to each other and you’ve just scored yourself an aisle or window seat. Works like a charm.

 

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Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

13 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Open Seating Trick"

  1. My husband and I book two aisle seats across from each other. Works just fine. My only
    dislike is sitting next to someone with a baby or unruly child or someone who is obese. I am 5’3″ and weigh 100 pounds. On occasion the seatmate wants to leave the arm rest up. I am firm int hat I want it DOWN. Never had a problem.

  2. So you are out-tricking the tricksters.

  3. Nice try Johnny! My wife and I frequently take and aisle and window in hopes no one will take the middle. But we keep those seats, even with a stranger in between. It would take more than that to get us to move.

  4. My wife and I fit the description in your post. Whenever someone asks if the middle seat is taken we indicate that it is not. We don’t mind being separated for such a short time but we sometimes bother the stranger when conversing or passing articles across to each other. Rather than leaving an open middle, though, on Southwest I usually take an aisle seat and save the corresponding one on the opposite side for my wife. That way we avoid the “Unite the Couple” strategy :-)

  5. Hav never found that to be true for my husband and myself. No one wants that middle seat even for an hour flight. We always pick aisle /aisle across from me another so we can talk and get up to wander if we want without climbing over someone.

  6. And visa versa regarding middle seats, Whenever you book two seats on a flight for you and a companion on ANY airline, reserve the aisle and window seat in a three seat row. The middle seat will most likely not be assigned or chosen and you and your companion will have room to spread out!

  7. I admit that I do the same and have had the same done to my wife and I. It’s never an issue as my wife is quite tiny and the middle seat doesn’t bother her as much as she can shy towards my side. I always have to chuckle when I sit between a couple and the couple ends up not moving. That always makes for a nice quiet flight.

  8. We have yet to get on a flight where all seats are not occupied.

  9. Enter your full name here | November 9, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply

    guilty as charged. My husband and I do that if the flight is not full. If it’s a full flight, we sit next to each other from the get go.

  10. We did that for our last trip and what happened the guy who got the middle wanted to negotiate with the aisle seat instead of the window – my son is 6″3 and needed the aisle. Mid way in the flight he decided he was ok with the window – moron!

  11. of course you could just log in and get your boarding pass exactly 24hrs ahead…have always gotten the A group with Southwest and always had a window seat

  12. Marcia Cloutier | November 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply

    Johnny Jet! I SWEAR I was on a South West flight this past summer (last one too. I dislike open seating big time) A guy approached a couple that were sitting in the aisle and window. The man asked to sit between them or to take either the window or aisle so that they could sit together. The woman (sitting next to the window) said “No, you can sit in the middle”. I thought to myself, this is just insane… I could not believe she said that.

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