Couple flying Southwest divides opinion by blocking row of seats while searching for ‘right’ passenger

A couple has divided the internet after a video showed them blocking seats on a Southwest Airlines flight while searching for the “right person” to take the seat next to them.

The video, which was posted on 28 November, has resurfaced amid Southwest Airlines’ flight cancellation chaos.

Ahead of the holidays, a major “bomb cyclone” delayed and cancelled thousands of US flights. More than 91 per cent of all cancelled flights in the US came from Southwest.

Despite the cancellations, boarding Southwest flights can add another level of chaos due to the Dallas-based airline’s seating policy. According to the company website, Southwest flights have an “open seating” policy, meaning there are no assigned seats.

Instead, passengers are assigned to boarding group A, B, or C and a boarding position, one to 60, which determines when passengers board the plane.

Now, a video posted by Instagram user Jeff Martin (@jjmartin.stf) has gone viral showing how one couple claimed dibs over two seats while searching for the “right person” to take the third seat in the row.

The clip shows Martin’s wife sitting two seats across from him in the aisle seat, as she combed through passengers boarding the Southwest flight in search of a seat.

“Southwest flight. We took the aisle and window until we found the right person,” he wrote over the video.

When a younger man wearing headphones approaches their row of seats, the woman turns to her husband and points to the young man. She then taps him on the shoulder and asks if he’d like to sit in their row, which he accepts.

While Martin captioned the video, “Southwest Airlines etiquette,” many viewers didn’t seem to agree with the couple’s seating strategy.

“The right person?” asked one commenter.

“What does ‘right’ mean??” another person asked, while a third user wrote: “Childish behavior.”

“The fact that people do stuff like this doesn’t surprise me,” said someone else. “The fact that people are not ashamed, but advertise that they do this is what floors me. If I were flying solo, and there was an empty space up front, I’d take it whether you wanted me to or not. You paid for two seats. You have no right over any of the other seats.”

Meanwhile, some people praised the couple for their Southwest etiquette and promised to use it on their next flight.

“Love that. I’ll have to try that sometime,” said one person.

Another shared: “One time, my mom and I built a ‘dummy’ out of our carry-ons and a jacket to keep the seat until my aunt was able to board.”

However, the top comment came from one user who poked fun at Southwest’s flight cancellation controversy: “Plot twist, the flight got cancelled anyway.”

The Independent has contacted Jeff Martin for comment.