Southwest Airlines has apologized to Chip, the frequent business traveler who was denied boarding because he was too big to fly. If you recall, Chip, a self-described “big guy,” does not use a seat belt extender and says he has no trouble fitting into a standard airline seat.
Southwest Airlines says (to Chip):
Certainly, your history as our Customer would suggest that our Employees haven’t identified you as a Customer of size in the past, and we regret the inconsistency you experienced in Las Vegas. As a very frequent Customer who notes he is a “huge fan,” you’re no doubt aware that the primary key to our success over the past 38 years is our workforce. And, of course, our workforce is made up of humans who are, unfortunately, fallible. As you describe yourself as “barely” fitting into our seats, it isn’t unreasonable (as you acknowledge) for our Employee to approach you about your seating needs.
However, once your situation escalated to a Supervisor and you explained again that you’ve traveled many, many times without being approached, our Employees should have reevaluated the situation.
I assure you that the appropriate Leaders have been made aware of your concerns. Although we will be unable to share any specifics with you, we are confident our Leaders will address the situation appropriately.
Additionally, as a tangible expression of our apologies, I have issued you [redacted] in travel credit, the value of which equals that of your roundtrip fare. The travel credit will arrive via e-mail within a few days.
As you’re aware, Southwest Airlines is a very good airline with an excellent performance record; friendly, capable Employees; and a strong commitment to Customer Service. We regret making you feel otherwise on June 15, and I hope that your faith in our Company continues and that we can look forward to future opportunities to have you on our flights.
Although this wasn’t about money, I accept your offer.
It is probably worth mentioning that I have already flown on Southwest four(4) times since last Monday. Many many people have suggested that I switch airlines, but that would be foolish. I already fly the best airline in the US, so there’s no need to change. I know that the two employees that hampered my travel plans last Monday are the exception to Southwest’s fine customer service, not the rule. Hopefully they are being dealt with accordingly.
We love a happy ending. You can check out Southwest’s full letter and more of Chip’s thoughts about the incident, here.
Thank You Jim Ruppel at Southwest [Chip's Blog]