A very anonymous guy I met has an interesting strategy for getting a good seat on Southwest Airlines.
1. He makes sure to get an A pass by checking in online as early as possible in the 24-hour window before departure.
2. He waits until all the other A pass holders have boarded, which saves him from standing an hour in line at the gate.
3. He boards the plane and looks for the largest passenger he can find who is seated alone in the window or aisle seat of an otherwise empty row.
4. If the big passenger is on the aisle, my anonymous acquaintance sits in the window seat – or vice versa – so as to leave an empty seat between them.
5. As the passengers holding B and C passes board, he watches them bypass the middle seat between him and the bulky passenger.
He swears by this technique, although he acknowledges it might not work for a small person who might still leave substantial room in the middle seat. And of course it won’t work if the plane checks in full.
We’ll have to see how it stands up under the new boarding procedures Southwest is rolling out.