April 30, 2013

Thank You For Flying Introvert Airlines

Being an introvert has a direct impact on how I fly, or at least which airlines I fly. While I'm sure it's a fine company (and this is just my humble opinion), Southwest Airlines just doesn't appeal to me with its open seating plan.

Which seat is mine? (Courtesy: Southwest.com)
Call me old fashioned, but I want to know what my seat is before I get to the airport and certainly before I walk on the plane. I can understand the intrigue for some people. Getting to decide where to sit perhaps makes them feel empowered. But when introverts are traveling alone, they really don't want to have to decide which stranger to sit next to. Nothing personal to strangers; it's just the way we are.

This whole business of having to check-in online 24-hours in advance if you want to get a good "boarding group" on Southwest also is highly unappealing to me. I remember being on a business trip a couple of years ago. Most of the people in the group happened to be flying Southwest. Luckily, I was one of the few attendees on a different airline. On the penultimate day of training, I could see many people stressfully keeping an eye on the time so they could dart across the hall to the computer lab (cell signals were weak in the building) to check-in online and get a good boarding group.

I, however, had a stress-free afternoon having known for weeks in advance that I'd be flying home in seat 23D, or whatever it was. Yes, just give me my own seat, and I'll be a happy traveler.

I'm not suggesting that I will avoid Southwest no matter what. They have many flights out of Texas. So when there's a significantly beneficial difference in price or flight times, it's still sometimes the best option, even for me. But if there's a comparable flight that's close in price (Jet Blue is usually the only one similar) and time, then I'll go with the airline that gives me my own seat.

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