Southwest Airlines Seat Selection

Today, I made a pretty rookie mistake in seat selection on Southwest.

I was in the "A" group so was almost certain to be able to get an aisle seat.   From the look of the crowd behind me, it was clear that some, but not all the middle seats would eventually be taken.

I am pretty good at taking up a lot of space even without trying (I am 6-4) but when inspired I can really spread out in my aisle seat to make the middle seat uninviting to the average middle seat shopper.  And an empty middle seat looked like a layup on this flight, since only about 7 or 8 would be filled, and several of the rows around me had really tiny people on the aisle.

But then I glanced at the occupant of the window seat.  AARRGGGHHH!  Sitting there was an extraordinarily attractive young female, dressed quite fetchingly with a bare midriff and a short skirt.  At that moment, I knew I was doomed.  No matter how small I made the middle seat look, some twenty-something guy with minimal self-awareness was going to take that seat to try to hit on the girl at the window.  And sure enough, despite the fact he was as big as me and our shoulders were ordained to fight for space for the two-hour flight, he homed in on the middle seat next to me like a cruise missile.  Worse, I had to listen to him trying to pick the girl up for 2 hours.  I will say it was hilarious for about a third of that time as he tried valiantly to feign interest in the hard-core collectivist-socialist drivel she was selling.  I worried towards the end that he might actually be bonding with her as they both came to quick agreement that all their job prospects seemed to much like "work," but fortunately for my piece of mind she shot him down in flames as we were exiting.


  1. Larry Sheldon:

    I find the description of the window seat seat cover interesting in light of reports of a woman removed for wearing "inappropriate" clothing.


  2. Larry Sheldon:

    I find the description of the window seat seat cover interesting in light of reports of a woman removed for wearing "inappropriate" clothing.


  3. la petite chou chou:

    Ugh. The worst flight I was on was Air Canada on my way to London. I'm a bit smallish, and my sister average, but I always demand the window seat. No luck on this flight and we ended up in the middle of the plane...I don't mean to judge but the two people next to us were quite large. The whole 13 hour flight the woman next to me was taking up about half my seat. Then, at dinner service, she inhaled her meal and half her boyfriend's, then not ten minutes later she begins complaining of feeling ill. She gets up and leaves for the lavatory for about 15 minutes. When she comes back, he asks, "are you feeling better?" and she proceeds to indicate that she vomited. Of course, she complained about it for the next twenty minutes (at which point I was pacing the aisle). THEN it was time to start the descent. I was sure she was gonna lose it...luckily though...she didn't but I was violently ill the next day. I blame her.

  4. Allen:

    You're too kind. I would've tried to find a way to ruining the mood. Like insisting on that I recognize the guy, that's he's some MARRIED son of some old buddy.

  5. TCO:

    Sounds pretty annoying to have been there, but still an interesting and well-told aenecdote.

  6. Kyle Bennett:

    It helps to not only be big, but to look scary. I used to commute by train in Chicago, and I frequently had next to me the only empty seat on the car. People would walk down the aisle with that hopeful "may I sit here?" look, see me, and keep walking - right to then next car if necessary.

  7. Jens Fiederer:

    Next time you'll bite the bullet and take the middle seat at once.

    As though the young lady didn't know WHY you chose that seat in the first place!

  8. Highway:

    Any time I'm flying, it's on vacation with my wife. She gets the window seat, so I get the middle. We've had success a single time keeping the middle open, and that was a 10PM Sunday night flight.

  9. Ray G:

    PJ O'Rourke blames the socialism of his youth on trying to impress chicks.

    Trying to explain the benefits of a free market to the typical 20-something girl would definitely be a mood killer, so yeah, I guess a little faux collectivism might be excusable if one was young enough to warrant such behavior.