After six business trips in the past two months, the unspoken rules of the game (outside of these no-brainers that people seem to forget) for flying Southwest Airlines are becoming abundantly clear to me.

If you are in the A1-30 section or one of the early boarders (use earlybird check-in to have any chance of being one of these lucky few) you sprint to get an aisle or window seat in the exit row – right past the rookies who think the first few rows are first class or most valuable.  You are able to take what you want – everyone seems to have an aisle or window preference.

Funny thing is, it seems people with weak bladders like window seats the best – the Larry David’s of the world should tell them that’s a bad choice.

In A31-60, the game is still to get an aisle or window, and hopefully pick someone unpleasant in your row to ward off middle seaters on the way. You start puffing yourself up to occupy more space, put your personal items in the middle seat and hope the flight isn’t full.  Sometimes you gamble, lose, and end up with this guy:

In A31-60, you can still get a decent seat but comes at a price – baby on board (unfortunately, not this stud), back of the plane, etc.

By B1-30 you are looking for a miracle and it does, indeed, pan out sometimes.  Or you just give in early and pick a middle seat up front between two small people that look preoccupied so they won’t talk your ear off.  We’re all trying to avoid the nice elderly lady or the loud businessman in the bad suit who drone on and on.

After the early B’s, you are pretty much screwed – but can still apply the B1-B30 strategy of avoiding disaster. However, the fun part about having a loser boarding pass is that you can ruin a smug passengers day – look for the person who will be most pissed if you sit there.

Sorta like dropping a draw four on someone in UNO.

I’m serious, each one of the last five passengers to board the plane all look like this:

I’m flying to Aspen and Vegas next month so watch out! Maybe we’ll have this attendant to lighten the mood once I drop a draw four on my fellow travelers.