Every so often Southwest Airlines arbitrarily and incorrectly decides that someone is too fat to fly in a single seat. These are people who have regularly flown Southwest in the past and can fit themselves in one seat without a problem. Prior to now, none were cult celebrities with more than a million and a half Twitter followers and a smartphone. Then an air captain declared filmmaker Kevin Smith a “safety risk,” and all hell broke loose. Update: Southwest has responded.
Yes, Kevin Smith tweeted that Southwest Airlines kicked him off a flight. Yes, it was purportedly because of his weight. Southwest’s Twitter rep apologized (as did the VP of Customer Relations) once the incident took Twitter by storm. Smith took the opportunity to point out that the prompt apology was only because of his fame, and the same exact thing happens arbitrarily to other passengers who also shop in the plus-size section.
Fuck making it right for me just ’cause I have a platform. I sat next to a big girl who was chastised for not buying an extra ticket because “all passengers deserve their space.” Fucking flight wasn’t even full! Fuck your size-ist policy. Rude…
We’ve written about similar incidents here at Consumerist before, and are glad Smith is bringing more attention to the issue.
Update: Southwest has posted their response to Smith’s tweets. Their explanation: He had booked two seats for himself, but chose to take an earlier flight standby when there was only one seat available.
The airline explains:
Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest. He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. Our pilots are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.
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