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What is the Southwest Airlines Customer of Size Policy & How to Use It

Traveling as a plus size person isn’t always easy.

It’s anxiety-inducing to wonder if you’re too fat to fly — will you fit into your seat, be able to do up the buckle, or be comfortable during your journey?

Then there’s the looks you get for simply taking up the space you need to simply be.

Sometimes a single seat isn’t enough, which is why the Southwest Airlines Customer of Size policy is a fantastic resource for plus size travelers.

Despite your weight or size, you should absolutely be able to travel comfortably.

So let’s dig into the Customer of Size policy, figure out the advantages for plus size travelers, and find out how you can purchase that additional seat.

It’s a policy you need to know about if you’re going to be heading on the road (or, should we say, in the air).

What is the Southwest Airlines Customer of Size policy? Here's what you need to know about taking advantage of it.

What is the Southwest Customer of Size Policy?

The seats on Southwest planes are typically 17-inches wide with an armrest separating them, but not all passengers can fit within those confines.

Southwest Airline’s Customer of Size policy allows larger travelers the opportunity to purchase an additional seat for added comfort during their journey. 

Using the policy ensures that both you and your fellow passengers are comfortable.

And booking the seat in advance helps to ensure that there is an extra seat available for you to use.

This way everyone has a safe and pleasant journey.

Are you a customer of size?

There is no specific Customer of Size requirements to use the policy, you don’t have to be a specific weight or body size.

However, the policy was built for plus size individuals that would be more comfortable having additional space on the plane. 

While there is no size requirements, it’s important that the policy isn’t abused.

Otherwise, it might not always be there for those that really need it.

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How to use the Customer of Size Policy

Southwest Airlines Customer of Size policy is easy to utilize, even if it’s your first time.

The entire process is four simple steps:

  1. Book your seats
  2. Check-in
  3. Board early
  4. Ask for a refund

Let’s dig into these steps a bit:

1. Book your extra seat

If you are a person of size that’s ready to take advantage of the policy, booking an extra seat is fairly simple.

You can do it one of two ways:

  1. Book the extra seat while purchasing your ticket — you simply purchase two adult tickets. When you fill out the traveler details, indicate your full name on the first ticket but on the second fill out your first and last name but put “XS” in the middle name category.
  2. Ask the agent at the gate — you can simply ask the agent at the gate when checking your baggage. There will be no extra cost with this method, but be aware that there’s no guarantee that the flight is not fully booked.

Passengers can purchase two extra seats instead of one, if needed.

For more details, see Southwest’s policy page.

2. Check in

While passengers taking both international and domestic flights using the policy will need to acquire a Seat

Reservation Document and Refund Advice Slip from a Southwest Airlines customer service agent, you can use the following methods to check in:

  • If you are traveling within the United States, you can book your seat online or via a Self-Service Check-in kiosk.
  • If you are traveling internationally, you can book your seat and check-in online.

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3. Take advantage of pre-boarding

Not only can you access an extra seat through the Customer of Size policy, you are also able to pre-board.

This allows you a chance to select the best choice of seat and settle in without an audience.

You also have an opportunity to request seating assistance if you believe you’ll need it.

When you board the plane, ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extension if you believe you need one.

They will bring it to you or hand it over as you board, and remember — there’s nothing wrong with using one!

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4. Get your refund

Once you have completed your journey, you are entitled to receive a refund for the additional airplane seat you purchased.

To get your refund, you need to send a refund request email or call Southwest Airlines customer service directly.

Travelers who take advantage of the Southwest Airlines Customer of Size policy say that refunds are often quick 

Tips for using the Customer of Size policy

Most plus size passengers find the Southwest Airlines Customer of Size policy to be easy to use.

But there are a few tips and tricks that might make your journey that much better:

  • Travelers with larger shoulders might find window seats where the window lines up with the back seat more comfortable. That’s because the window allows for a tad bit of extra space where your shoulders can go.
  • Regardless of whether you’re a window or aisle traveler, use the middle seat as your extra.

Traveling as a plus size passenger doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

Taking advantage of Southwest Airline’s policy can give you the personal space you need and make your whole journey more pleasant. 

Southwest Airlines Customer of Size Policy FAQs

Is Southwest plus size friendly?

Southwest Airlines is largely touted as the most considerate and comfortable airline for plus size passengers.
Their Customer of Size policy allows for a more plus size friendly travel experience.

Are Southwest seats fat friendly?

Southwest seats are generally the same size as those found on other airlines, but their Customer of Size policy allows plus size travelers to purchase an additional seat (which can later be refunded) for a more comfortable travel experience.

Can a 400 pound person fit in an airline seat?

There is no lawful weight or size limit for passengers on commercial flights.
However, those with larger bodies could find a traditional airplane seats uncomfortable.

Airlines offer seatbelt extenders to help plus size passengers fit in their seatbelts, and Southwest Airlines offers their Customer of Size policy where customers can book an extra seat for a more comfortable travel experience.

Simply put, a 400 lbs person can be comfortable on a plane with the right planning.

Which airline is best for overweight passengers?

While there is no perfect airline for plus size passengers, Southwest tends to be favored by most.
Their Customer of Size policy helps larger passengers stay comfortable during their journey.

Does Southwest charge extra for overweight passengers?

Southwest Airline’s Customer of Service policy allows larger passengers to purchase an extra seat, then later get a refund for it.
While the upfront cost is higher (and technically they charge more), the monies for the extra seat are refunded.

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