Friday, July 4, 2008

Addendum to Choosing Your Seat On a Plane - Southwest Extension

So, I've gotten some positive feedback on me previous post about choosing your seat on a plane, and I would like to present an extension to this theorem - The Southwest Postulate.

For those of you who do not know, Southwest Airlines has a boarding schema different than other airlines. With SW, you are not assigned a specific seat on the plane, only a board class - A through C. For example, if you have an A-class ticket, you are in the first cohort to board the plane and may choose any open seat. B-class boards second and can choose from any of the remaining seats, and so forth.

You can see from this model that our original theorem does not apply. But, never fear; I think there is a solution.

1. It's pretty important that you secure the A-class ticket. This is not required, per se, but will lead to a significant advantage. To the best of my knowledge the classes of ticket are handed out chronologically based on when one checks in for the flight. You can check in as early as 24 hours before the flight. Sitting in front of you computer hitting the refresh button in your browser 24 hours and 5 seconds before your flight is recommended. :) Just kidding, but not really, though - I do it.

2. Once you have secured an A-class ticket and it is your turn to board the plane, I would suggest doing the opposite of the original theorem - select a seat in the middle of an unoccupied aisle! Assuming that the plane is not full, no one will really want to climb over you to the window seat and someone may take the aisle seat because it is convenient.

3. Once the plane is in flight, move over to the window seat, creating the much-sought-after one-seat buffer. Sweet!

I don't think the row you choose matters too much, but wouldn't recommend the very front of the plane; I think there is a high demand for the ability to get off the plane first, so this area might prove to be an exception to our theorem.

Anyway, let me know if you are ever able to put this one into practice!


P.S. Thanks to Richard for helping me to devise this addendum!

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