Can I purchase a middle seat without having a person actually sit in it?

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Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
When I fly, I like to have the aisle seat as I have long legs. My husband likes the window seat so he can fly the wing. We usually end up with a stranger sitting between us. Not that I'm rich-I always fly coach-but I"ve often wished I could purchase that middle seat so that we can have the extra room. It would be nice to stash our carry-ons underneath the unoccupied middle seat, or even stretch out. But I don't think I've ever seen that option when purchasing tickets. Is it possible to buy a third seat without actually having it filled?
 
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Feb 3, 2019
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Advice on general travel hypotheticals isn't really the purpose of this forum.

What did your airline of choice say when you put this same question to them?
 
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Dwayne Coward

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Apr 13, 2016
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Some airlines allow purchasing a second seat for the same passenger, usually due to their size. This normally has to be done by calling the airline so it is booked specifically as a second seat. Doing this online may result in one of the seats being cancelled as their system will show it as a duplicate booking.
 

mmb

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Jan 20, 2015
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You do have to call the airline and book Xtraseat -- I know musicians do that and strap in their instrument in the seat next to them
There was a news story several years ago about the TSA not letting the Cello thru security as it didn’t have proper ID but hopefully that issue has been cleared up.

Here is an news item about the problem.
https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/08/04/american-airlines-musician-cello/

this is all to say that the whole extra seat issue might be a problem at fly time.
 
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Dec 15, 2018
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JetBlue does allow extra seat purchases via online booking. Recently, I bought 3 seats, and when entering passenger details, there was a nice checkbox for "extra seat" on the third, and I was then prompted to choose which of the named passengers would "use" that seat. That's the first time I have seen it, and it made it a no-brainer to do. The ticket confirmation shows two humans as travelers, and seat assignments includes a third line called "extra seat for...".
 
Nov 26, 2019
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We have purchased an additional seat for the last 4 years, on line. The third seat is labeled “extraseat” for the first name. Then we complete the rest of the information, either in my name or in my wife’s name. We have done that on American and United , as well as Southwest. But for Southwest it had to be confirmed at the check in counter.
 
Oct 30, 2015
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Thank you, all. I almost always fly Southwest. I haven't asked them as I've not got a flight planned, but just wanted to know.

A friend of mine's husband, John, does competitive sky diving. He goes all over the US to compete. He always purchases a seat for his parachute rather then let the cargo handlers mangle it.
One time he was boarding a flight for somewhere and put his parachute in the middle seat he'd purchased. There was another passenger in the seat row, in the window seat. That person said, "What's this?" John said, "A parachute." The other passenger says, "They gave you a parachute?"
John said, "Yes, didn't you get one?"
He said that person flew the wing the entire trip.
 
Dec 11, 2016
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I myself am a "passenger of size", and I love love love Southwest. They have a clearly defined policy on how to book a second seat for myself as a plus size passenger. When checking in, I am given a 2nd ticket that says "Reserved", and I place that on the seat beside me to indicate the seat is taken.

It's been a few years since I flew other airlines, but none of the other carriers I've experienced had a clearly defined policy to book a 2nd seat for one person. If I called to make the reservation, they wanted to charge an extra fee for booking over the phone. When I called to request instructions on how to book the 2nd seat properly, each time I'd be transferred between multiple people, and each time I would be given different instructions. I'd arrive at the airport extra early, so that I could have the check-in desk move my seats together. Because even though both seats are for myself, the airline won't guarantee both seats will be together unless I pay an extra $75 per seat in advance.
 

Neil Maley

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I myself am a "passenger of size", and I love love love Southwest. They have a clearly defined policy on how to book a second seat for myself as a plus size passenger. When checking in, I am given a 2nd ticket that says "Reserved", and I place that on the seat beside me to indicate the seat is taken.

It's been a few years since I flew other airlines, but none of the other carriers I've experienced had a clearly defined policy to book a 2nd seat for one person. If I called to make the reservation, they wanted to charge an extra fee for booking over the phone. When I called to request instructions on how to book the 2nd seat properly, each time I'd be transferred between multiple people, and each time I would be given different instructions. I'd arrive at the airport extra early, so that I could have the check-in desk move my seats together. Because even though both seats are for myself, the airline won't guarantee both seats will be together unless I pay an extra $75 per seat in advance.
Thanks for posting this- I was wondering how this would be enforced on SW.
 
Feb 16, 2018
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Allegiant Airlines has a second seat option, you book two tickets under the same name, then contact customer service to assign seats at no cost. Because of the legroom issue on Allegiant I have used this several times, and it is wonderful.
 
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Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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For those of you who have bought extra seats, have the flight attendants or gate agents tried to take it away from you while boarding due to oversold scenarios? I would be very irked if I planned and paid for an extra seat for comfort reasons and the airline tried to 'guilt' me into allowing the seat to be given to another passenger.
 
Dec 11, 2016
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No, I've never had that problem, though I sometimes have to explain on the plane that both of the seats I've booked are for me, since an open seat looks oh-so-inviting to other passengers, and flight attendants sometimes take a passenger count. Southwest honestly couldn't make it easier. I never have any hiccups getting boarding passes and a reserved seat ticket, and Southwest also allows me to preboard, to ensure I get both of my seats together. I only fly once a year, but those flights are usually sold out.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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For those of you who have bought extra seats, have the flight attendants or gate agents tried to take it away from you while boarding due to oversold scenarios? I would be very irked if I planned and paid for an extra seat for comfort reasons and the airline tried to 'guilt' me into allowing the seat to be given to another passenger.
Bingo, Patina, that was the case when we used to book 3 seats in coach. We just had to be firm with the gate and FAs about just what that seat was. I mean, really, you've paid for it, so there's no issue except gate and/or FAs. I do remember having to ask for the Purser once, but if you're polite and calm, things get sorted out quickly.
 

ADM

Apr 10, 2017
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For those of you who have bought extra seats, have the flight attendants or gate agents tried to take it away from you while boarding due to oversold scenarios? I would be very irked if I planned and paid for an extra seat for comfort reasons and the airline tried to 'guilt' me into allowing the seat to be given to another passenger.
I'd be mad too. If that happened you should get Involuntary Denied Boarding compensation. How would that be any different from booting a paying passenger to accommodate someone else? You bought the seat and you were there using it as it was intended. It's not like you were a no show.
 
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Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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I'd be mad too. If that happened you should get Involuntary Denied Boarding compensation. How would that be any different from booting a paying passenger to accommodate someone else? You bought the seat and you were there using it as it was intended. It's not like you were a no show.
And there are many reasons why people would want an extra seat despite not looking like they "need" it (not overweight or have a cast on a leg, for example). One shouldn't have to explain their reasonings. Like you said, you paid for it so should not have to be expected to give it up for the airline's benefit.