Customer of size and extra seat policy
Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available on our Flying Southwest page. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification of a special seating need and allows us to adequately plan for the number of occupied seats onboard. It also helps us ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. If you prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance, you have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing your seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. If it’s determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, you’ll be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.
We’ve had a long-standing policy for more than 30 years designed to meet the seating needs of Customers who require more than one seat and protect the comfort and safety of everyone onboard.
The armrest is the definitive gauge for a Customer of size. It serves as the boundary between seats. If you’re unable to lower both armrests and/or encroach upon any portion of a seat next to you, you need a second seat.
Not necessarily. Our policy does not focus on weight, and the seatbelt extension is not the determining factor. You may use only one Southwest®-provided seatbelt extension during your flight.
Purchasing a second seat in advance allows us to account for the inventory need and greatly helps reduce the likelihood of an oversale situation. Also, you may not want to be approached at the airport or have a conversation with an Agent about your seating needs—you may prefer to know you have the needed number of seats, and booking two gives you these options. We refund all extra seat purchases for a Customer of size, even if the flight oversells.
Just follow the online booking instructions below for proactively purchasing an additional seat(s) on Southwest.com®:
- Click "Air."
- Select your city pair(s) and travel date(s).
- In the "Passengers" field, indicate the total number of seats needed by selecting that number of adults. (For example, if one Customer of size requires two seats and is traveling with one other adult in their party, select "3 Adults.")
- Proceed through the "Select Flight" and "Itinerary and Pricing" pages.
- Complete the "Who's Flying?" name fields for a Customer of size as follows:
- Without a middle name: A Passenger named Tom Smith would designate Passenger One as "Tom Smith," and Passenger Two as "Tom XS Smith" (first name Tom, middle name XS, and last name Smith).
- With a middle name: A Passenger named Tom James Smith would designate Passenger One as "Tom James Smith," and Passenger Two as "Tom James XS Smith" (first name Tom, middle name James XS, and last name Smith).
- If a Customer purchases a Business Select or Anytime Fare, the second seat can be sold at the discounted Child's Fare. It is important to note that the Child's Fare is only available via our Customer Support Services. You will need to call (800) I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792) to book/purchase the extra seat at the Child's Fare.
If you purchased an additional seat, you can request a refund of the additional seat purchase after travel by:
- Sending us an email request at Southwest.com/feedback or by
- Calling us at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).
Even if the flight experiences an oversale, we’ll still refund the cost of the extra seat(s).
Check in varies depending on your itinerary:
- Domestic U.S. Travel: You can check in online or at a self-service check-in kiosk to reserve your boarding positions, but you must see a Customer Service Agent to receive the required documents and be eligible for a refund after the flight.
- International Travel: Use online check-in ahead of time to secure a boarding position and visit the Ticket Counter or kiosk upon arrival at the airport to have your passport verified, receive boarding documents, and check luggage (if applicable).
- Entry into the United States: Anyone traveling into the U.S. from another country must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 1 day before your flight into the U.S. or proof of recovery if you've recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Learn more about travel requirements here.
- Domestic U.S. and International Travel: See a Customer Service Agent at the gate to obtain a Reserved Seat Document and Refund Advice Slip for the additional seats purchased.
If you prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance, discuss your seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. If it’s determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, you’ll receive a complimentary additional seat(s).
If you have an Extra Seat Boarding document, you can choose to preboard to select seats that best meet your needs. You can also choose to board with your original boarding group and position. Once onboard, if necessary, please request a seatbelt extension from our Flight Attendant.
Unfortunately, no. We encourage you to preboard to locate adequate seating and place the Seat Reserved Document in the adjacent seat. Our Ground Operations and Inflight Employees communicate about Customers’ needs, and if you need seating assistance, you should ask an Employee for help.