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Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order 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 to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft 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. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.
Having a second seat purchased in advance allows us to account for the inventory need and greatly helps reduce the likelihood of an oversale situation (having more confirmed Customers waiting to board than seats on the aircraft). Also, there are a number of Customers who do not want to be approached at the airport or have a conversation with an Agent about their seating needs. These Customers of size prefer to know they have the number of seats they require, and we wanted to give them that choice. We will also refund all extra seat purchases for a Customer of size, even if the flight oversells.
Southwest Airlines has had a long-standing policy for more than 30 years that is designed to meet the seating needs of our Customers who require more than one seat and protect the comfort and safety of all of our Customers.
A Customer of size who purchased an additional seat may request a refund of the additional seat purchase after travel by sending us an email request at Southwest.com/feedback or by calling Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Even if the flight experiences an oversale (having more confirmed Customers waiting to board than seats on the aircraft) we will refund the cost of the extra seat(s).
Customers of size who purchase one or more seats in advance may check in online or through an E-Ticket Check-in kiosk1 to reserve their boarding positions, but they must see a Customer Service Agent at the gate to receive a Seat Reserved Document. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat(s).
The Customer who has secured more than one seat must be an active participant in preserving his/her additional seat. We encourage Customers of size 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 a Customer of size needs seating assistance, he/she should ask an Employee for help.
Our policy does not focus on weight, and the seatbelt extension is not the determining factor. We use the ability to lower the armrests as the gauge, as the armrests are truly the definitive boundary between each seat. Only one seatbelt extension may be used and only seatbelt extensions provided by Southwest Airlines are approved for use onboard our aircraft.
The armrest is the definitive gauge for a Customer of size. It serves as the boundary between seats; the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available on our Flying Southwest page. Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who encroach upon any portion of the adjacent seat may proactively book the number of seats needed prior to travel or receive a complimentary additional seat.
Just follow the online booking instructions below for proactively purchasing an additional seat(s) on Southwest.com.