The Art of the Hustle | Seat Wars with the Little


“Show ’em how to move in a room full o’ vultures.” – Jay Z

In the past few years, Southwest Airlines has been my favorite airline to fly.  I don’t know if it is the unlimited snacks they give me, the great prices, flexibility to make changes to my reservation without a penalty or the rush I get from pressing the check in button and finding out if I fall in the A, B or C group.

However, traveling has changed since I had Dakota; I am now allowed to board after the A group automatically because I have a child.  Though I am grateful for this perk, I need more…as in that middle seat for Dakota to sit in! The three times Dakota has flown we were told “this is a full flight”; but I’m from Harlem,  so I always figure out how to get my way.  After 10 minutes of proper planning, once again Dakota was able to snag the only empty seat on the plane this week. Take notes as I share my strategy for securing the middle seat on a full Southwest flight:

  1. See the Seat…Claim the Seat:  When I walk on the plane I don’t sit too close to the front or back.  From my observations, there is a point where people just give up and realize there are only middle seats left and that is normally at the front or back of the plane. I also put Dakota in her seat right away.  You’ve got to be in it to win it!  No passenger will question whether or not the seat has been purchased, they are just focused on finding a space for their luggage or a window/aisle seat.
  2. Get Busy aka “No Eye Contact “:  Depending on the level of desperation, I may feed Dakota, rumble through her bags or even fake changing her to get people to walk pass my row.  One of these tactics usually works; however I have one more tactic left that I have yet to implement which is hiding in the bathroom while the the person traveling with us tells people “these seats are taken.” I also make sure that I give no eye contact, no one wants to take the time to interrupt a mother taking care of  her baby. I figure if I don’t see them, they can’t see me…my logic is undeniable.
  3. Play On Their Fears:  Lastly, if I am feeling desperate either I will agitate Dakota, try to engage her in loud babbling conversations or start playing Hot Diggity Dog on repeat. This works especially on early morning flights.  I am giving the illusion that if you decide to sit with us there will be no sleep. Sit at your own risk!
I know there will come a day when I may have to choose another airline,  pay for her seat, or a flight is really full to capacity; however, until that day comes my level of petty/strategic planning to secure a full row for me and mines will continue.  Dakota 3, Southwest Airlines 0
May the odds be ever in your favor.