The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Southwest Airlines removed a standby passenger from a plane after boarding in order to make room for a late-arriving passenger who required two seats but had only purchased one. So why didn’t Southwest follow its own famed “Passenger of Size” policy and make the passenger unable to fit in a single seat wait? It’s sort of a reverse of Kevin Smith’s famous removal from a flight on Southwest this past February.
A Southwest representative admitted that the incident went against the airline’s normal policy, which is to ask for volunteers rather than choosing passengers to kick off the plane.
“We know this was awkward and we should have handled it better,” [SWA spokesperson Marilee McInnis] says, adding that the airline intends to apologize to the local woman.
McInnis says normal policy is to ask for volunteers when a flight is overbooked for any reason.
In this instance, she says, airline personnel may have been influenced to choose a faster course of action to reduce embarrassment for the late-arriving passenger.
The “late-arriving passenger” is only 14 years old, and his or her age may have been the reason why airline staff were in a hurry to free up seats.
Bob Shallit: Petite passenger booted from Southwest flight [Sacramento Bee] (Thanks, Bryan!)