Why Do Airlines Hate Kevin Smith So Much?

It’s been almost a year since director Kevin Smith had a very public spat with Southwest after being told he was too girthy to fly. That means it’s time for the Jersey Girl filmmaker to get ticked off at another carrier, and the lucky recipient of his vitriol is Virgin America.

According to Mr. Smith (his real name), he was supposed to be flying on a Virgin America flight from JFK to LAX this morning with his wife and his muse Jason Mewes. The trio had arrived at the airport early, checked their bags and then gone to the lounge to chill until closer to boarding time.

When it came time to board, they zipped through the TSA line no problem (with the assistance of a Virgin concierge) and made it to their gate with 10 minutes to go before departure… only to see Virgin staffers shutting the door to the jetway.

Herewith an excerpt from the missive posted on Kevin’s site:

We pleaded with Manny (the unfriendly face of Virgin America JFK working the gate), pointing out the remaining time (there were still 8 minutes before scheduled departure), and pointing out that the jetway was still attached to the plane. Flying as much as I do (usually up at the front of the plane), I know that the jetway only gets pulled back ONCE THE PLANE DOOR IS SECURELY CLOSED. As we tried to get Manny to realize our bags were under the plane and we’d been checked in for an hour, the jetway stayed in place. The plane wouldn’t pull back from the gate for another 15 minutes…

Manny was joined by Erwin, who identified himself as the person in charge. I pointed out – EXTREMELY calmly – that we’d checked in an hour prior and that our bags were on the plane. He said it didn’t matter, as we weren’t at the gate when they shut the door. We told him we were with sight of the gate and that Manny could’ve held the door – particularly because departure wasn’t for another nearly ten minutes at that point. He said he’d called for us over the p.a. system, but my wife’s name is SCHWALBACH – you say a name THAT distinctive over a loudspeaker, at least two people in an airport are gonna turn their heads: me & Jen Schwalbach. And, the fact that we were going through security mere yards from the actual gate, and we’d heard the last call announcement for the previous San Francisco flight… well, without calling anybody a liar, it’s just REALLY hard to believe that p.a. call was actually made. I didn’t hear my name over the loudspeaker. Jennifer Schwalbach didn’t hear her name. Jason Mewes didn’t hear his name. Dorothy, the concierge service lady, didn’t hear any of our names. Four independent sets of ears, mere yards from the origin point of the alleged p.a. call failed to hear the call; what are the chances we’re all stone cold deaf?

Smith goes on to say that his biggest concern wasn’t making the flight, but in getting his wife’s bags off the plane, as they contained her medicine. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in that endeavor too.

Concludes Mr. Smith:

You are a great airline – but the wife and I will be avoiding you like the plague from now on. As will Mewes – who must’ve smoked an entire pack of cigarettes outside afterwards to calm down. As will anyone in my immediate and extended family. As will any of the cast/crew I’ve gotta fly around the country (or out of it) for productions.

I don’t fault you for the petty, lazy, unhelpful behavior of your… desk crew. But if that’s the caliber of customer service/customer satisfaction you’d like to be known for, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve got free wifi on the plane and a kickass, in-flight movie selection. It all starts at that check-in desk; and what started there today was the end of our business relationship.

And you WANT me as a customer, man: I’m a first class fiend and I travel TONS. But this shit may have even put me off Virgin Atlantic, too.

Virgin shuts its legs, I shut my wallet [SilentBobSpeaks.com]

Comments

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  1. Bativac says:

    Sheesh. If it’s any consolation to Kevin Smith, this kind of thing happens to lots of people, all the time, and they don’t seem to care. I don’t know that even Kevin Smith (HIMSELF!!) is gonna make anybody at Virgin sit up and realize “holey crap, we have lousy customer service! Let’s fix it!”

    • scar4711 says:

      Never had bad service from Virgin America.. in fact, they are the only airline that I have flown that has left on-time.. I mean.. we were pushing back from the gate about 5 mins early since everyone was on-board… and this has happend more than once..

      • Jeff-er-ee says:

        Love VA. I’ve flown them several times, and it’s always been a very satisfying flight. It’s quite possible that he ran into a bad gate agent and “Supe”, but really, is that a reason to get so hormonal about it? I had an issue with Alaska Airlines a few years ago. I calmly wrote them a letter without threatening, told them the name of the agent that I had the problem with and the circumstances surrounding the issue, then suggested that they NOT fire her, but instead offer her additional training and use the gate agent that we interacted with that day as an example of GOOD behavior. They sent me two $75 vouchers and an apology, with assurances that they agent would work with the agent to improve service. No threats, and everyone wins.

        Quite frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if “Mr. Smith” fancies himself a bit too much as a “fat cat” with all of his first class travelling, and wonder whether or not VA really does want his business.

        • White Scorpion says:

          His head has reached the size of his body. If he’s a big (lol) producer, let him get his own plane.

          • shufflemoomin says:

            The man doesn’t have an ego at all. He’s also a director, not a producer, so I’m assuming you know NOTHING about him.

            • David in Brasil says:

              Beans. Only a pompous ass blasts his bile to more than a million people via Twitter every time he feels wronged by an airline.

              He should shut up, get to the gate on time, and switch to salads.

    • Not Given says:

      Dude has 1.7 million Twitter followers.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Also, I was pretty sure it was FAA regulation that once the door is closed, it CANNOT be opened (unless there’s some sort of emergency). Or is this only the door of the plane itself?

      • MrEvil says:

        Pretty sure just the door to the aircraft. Not the door to the jetway. Pretty sure the FAA doesn’t give two shits about the door into the jetway from the airport.

      • asten77 says:

        I’m on flights all the time where they have opened the door for late arrivers, to offload bags, and for no apparent reason at all. If it’s a law/regulation, it’s not exactly well enforced.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Actually, you’ll probably see VA reach out to him to discuss and apologize. VA seems to be pretty social media savvy, and Kevin Smith is what we’d term an influencer. His reach and twitter volume are pretty vast, so yeah – it would behoove them to make amends ASAP.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        Oh how I wish for an EDIT button (psst, Ben – you listening?) so that I could update my reply. Apparently, VA has already done a make-good, as per Kevin’s blog:

        “Unlike Southworst, @VirginAtlantic seems to care: lovely, apologetic email, full refund for flight, free tix offer – all before I’ve landed. I appreciate the gesture/effort.”

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      Besides there was no lousy customer service. He was in their lounge. He took his sweet ass time getting to the plane “with 10minutes to spare”. Sorry, ass, but that departure time listed is supposed to be when the plane takes off and not to stayed docked to the terminal waiting for your fat ass to get there.

      I’ve had the fortunate luck to actually be in a Virgin lounge before an international flight. I was so stressed that I would miss the flight that I asked one of the hostesses to remind me when I needed to be at the gate. She saw I was stressed and told me that I could stay in the lounge and not worry. When it came time, she got me and walked me to the gate. That was being courteous and customer driven. I have no sympathy for him.

  2. slyabney says:

    If he flies so much why did he/they pack medience that was needed on to a checked bag??? It always says to carry them on?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      they wanted to actually zip through security. medication inspection at security takes a while.
      personally, i’d plan for that time and hand carry my medication, should i ever decide to fly again. but i can see where the temptation would be to check your meds if you didn’t need them more than a couple of times a day

      • slyabney says:

        I carry mine on every time I fly. Last time was over Thanksgiving and I never had them inspect them or ask me any questions, so I can’t relate to your position.

        • Chaluapman says:

          +1

          I’m a diabetic, with a pump. Never been inspected for meds…

          • scoosdad says:

            Do you wear your pump as you walk through the scanner, and if so does it set off any alarms?

            I’ve always taken mine off just before security, put it in a ziploc bag just inside my carry-on, and let it ride through the xray machine. Then I put it back on at the other side, to avoid having to be pulled aside for additional screening if it sets something off during the walkthru. Was just wondering if that was necessary, or if maybe it has a light enough metallic density to keep the machine from picking it up.

            (And they’ve never opened my carry-on bag to look at it if they’ve even seen it on the xray in about six years of flying with one.)

        • falnfenix says:

          the last time my mom flew, she had to have her Avonex (syringe-administered drug) checked. they REFUSED to let her through security with it.

      • slyabney says:

        I carry mine on every time I fly (around 3-5 bottles depending on duration of trip). Last time was over Thanksgiving and I never had them inspect them or ask me any questions, so I can’t relate to your position.

        There are obivous reasons (this, lost baggage or delays) that you would need to be required to have your medience with you.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        He spent time in the lounge. Doesn’t sound like they were in a hurry.

        • Chaosium says:

          “He spent time in the lounge. Doesn’t sound like they were in a hurry.”

          Nope. They shouldn’t drink so much and expect VIP treatment.

          I like Kevin Smith the filmmaker, the diva not so much.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i don’t know about you but i’d rather spend my airport time in the lounge than in the security line

    • njack says:

      Sounds to me like he just pushed it a little past the last minute. Having also experienced this situation (although I wasn’t in the lounge, just actually running late), I can understand him being infuriated. I was running toward the gate, the jetway was still attached, the door to the terminal was still open, the attendant asked if I was (insert my name) and closed the door all in a matter of moments. I then watched the plane sit there for another 20 minutes before the jetway detached and the plane pulled away. I was fortunate not to get arrested as I made it known how furious I was. Of course UAL could have cared less.

  3. fs2k2isfun says:

    You need to be at the gate 15 minutes before departure. Also, you should never put essential medicine in a checked bag. The TSA even allows medical liquids in quantities greater than 3.4 oz.

    • wjstone says:

      the gate should never close before the departure time

      • cvt2010 says:

        But “departure time” = the time the plane pushes back from the gate, not the time that you are expected to be on board.

        This is why many airlines even print a separate “boarding time” and “departure time” on their tickets, e.g. United.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m torn on this one – Kevin and his cadre really cut the whole thing close. Obviously, too close. But he’s likely correct that their PA claims are false. Did they even hear a PA about last call for boarding on his flight?

    My question is, if a Virgin consierge was able to whisk them through security, where was this magical treatment right at the gate?

    • ubermex says:

      With 10 minutes left, it shouldn’t have been last call in the first place.

    • Etoiles says:

      Yeah, the part about the concierge surprised me, too — not that s/he got them through security and whisked them around, but that s/he couldn’t put a quiet word in the gate agent’s ear to just let the damn trio on the flight already.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      My dad was once flying on a paid international first class ticket on American Airlines from Chicago to London. His flight into Chicago was delayed so they picked him up at the gate in a golf cart to whisk him off to the London flight. They got to the gate, door was being closed but the jetway was still there. The gate agent would not let him board despite the insistence of the concierge who picked him up. He does spend close to 6-figures with AA every year, so you can understand why he (and the concierge) were not to happy. The concierge instructed him to complain since he was not treated properly.

  5. techstar25 says:

    For every one celebrity who gets screwed by an airline, there are likely 25 regular folks who get screwed and nobody ever hears about it.

  6. ATXag says:

    Has his wife never flown before? Keeping you medications in your carry-on luggage is rule number one of flying. The blog post didn’t really go into a lot of detail as to what they were doing the hour before the flight or why they waited so long to get to the gate, but I’m always aware of the time and as long as I’m not coming from a connection that is late, I’m alway at the gate well before boarding time.

    • Limewater says:

      I tend to agree. That said, I have to imagine that hanging around the gate at an airport is probably a lot less pleasant when you’re a recognizable celebrity. Though Kevin Smith probably has an easier time passing for a normal guy than a lot of well-known folks.

      • Humward says:

        You know…that actually changed my whole way of thinking about this. I was sitting here thinking “well, why the hell did he cut it so close? They must have just been chilling in the bar.”

        But of course he cut it close. He’s Silent Bob, and he’s traveling with Jay. If you were in the airport and saw Jay and Silent Bob just hanging out… It’s like if you were in a boxing gym, and suddenly Rocky and Drago walked in and threw down. Hell — just throw in Ben Affleck, some pot, and a cameraman, and it’s a movie.

        Personally, I’d manage to not lose my shit — I’ve seen more than a few celebrities, and…meh. Even as a pair (which is kind of interesting), I’d give them the courtesy of not bugging them. But would everyone? No frickin’ way. It would be a madhouse — and I can see why they wouldn’t want to deal with it.

        So they wanted to be the absolute last people on the plane — they didn’t want to be anywhere near the public until the last minute. I still think it’s kind of their fault for mis-timing it, but…alright, I can see why.

        • scoosdad says:

          This. I’ve flown on a number of flights with celebrities, and the process is that they’re usually the last people to board. Think about it– if they board early on, everybody on their way into the plane walking through first or business class passes by them and will slow down to gawk or shake hands or chat with them. Having celebrities board last seems to be good for them, and good for the airline’s on-time stats.

          Hugh Jackman sat in front of me on a red-eye once from LA to NYC and I swear they opened the damn door to let him in after they’d already closed it once. Spent part of the flight browsing through one of those real estate shopper magazines and the rest snoozing.

          • egoods says:

            My pervious job had me traveling quite a bit, I lived in Detroit at the time, but flew the LGA/JFK-LAX route quite a bit. That route is incredibly celebrity heavy, for the obvious reasons, more-so because my job was in the entertainment industry so if I was traveling to an event in LA from NYC typically the celebrities that were going to be present there (and lived on the east coast) were on my flight. Thanks to my frequent flier miles I always got a first class bump, and had free lounge access so I got to mingle with quite a few celebs in my time.

            Granted the “wow” factor wears off after a short time. Now I work a desk job that has me doing no travel… my family really misses the stories from my old job but I’m a much happier and less stressed/worn out person now.

  7. calchip says:

    Delta did this to me in a similar situation. I arrived 13 minutes before departure of an earlier flight than the one I was booked on. But the agent was already doing “closing” for the flight, which had empty seats, because “everyone was already on board.” I asked for a supervisor, who showed up 8 minutes prior to departure and said “I can’t do anything becuase it’s less than 10 minutes before departure.”

    So they let a plane with a bunch of empty seats take off, and instead had me wait 2 hours to take a plane that was over full and had passengers on a waitlist that they couldn’t accommodate.

    I think it’s simply laziness on the part of gate attendants. It would be nice to see mandatory termination or some other severe punishment for any employee who does shit like this. With Virgin, I have some level of confidence that they’ll fix the problem. Delta clearly doesn’t give a crap.

    • dougp26364 says:

      If you’d have been at the gate 5 minutes earlier, it wouldn’t have been a problem When they set a deadline, it’s a DEADline. You missed it by 2 minutes. Tough break for you but, it’s not Delta’s fault.

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Whether he’d been there on time or not, it still wouldn’t have been Delta’s fault ;P

    • AllanG54 says:

      Delta pulled this crap on me too because I was waiting at the gate that was printed on my boarding pass but was not actually where the plane was. Had to run to the other side of the terminal when they did do the p.a. call and they had shut the door as well. Gal at the gate nearly didn’t let me on either but they had to open the door because the PILOT was standing next to her and hadn’t finished the pre-flight paperwork. I love Delta.

    • passrider says:

      The airline runs their weight and balance calculations and prints off their passenger manifests based on the people confirmed for the flight. As everyone that was scheduled to be on the flight was already on board, the processes were likely already completed. To rerun all that paperwork would likely have made the flight late, upsetting all the people that were on the flight. The world does not revolve around you.

  8. Darkrose says:

    I guess he wasn’t even supposed to be there today.

  9. Claystation says:

    Yeah… I don’t buy this. Anyone that flies as much as he says he does should know better about all this.

    • TuxedoCartman says:

      Yeah, I don’t buy this. Anyone who’s Jewish should know better than to say so when Nazis come knocking on your door.

      Seriously, what’s the cutoff point for blaming the passenger instead of the airline? 15 minutes before? 30 minutes? An hour? Or would a reasonable person assume that the cutoff-time for being at the gate is the time listed on the ticket (e.g. flight leaves at 12:30, be there by 12:30.) How is it that airlines get a pass from people like you for insisting that we be there 15 minutes before departure, but are allowed to keep us sitting at the gate or on the tarmac for 30 minutes to an hour? I mean, if a 12:30 departure means a 12:30 departure, then shouldn’t we be wheels up by that time?

      • Chaosium says:

        “Yeah, I don’t buy this. Anyone who’s Jewish should know better than to say so when Nazis come knocking on your door.”

        ahhahahaahahahh what

        “Be prepared”, not “Holocaust is coming”, don’t be overly dramatic.

  10. bkasrel says:

    Big K-Smith fan but I have to side with VA on this one. Why chance that they might deny boarding, you are in First class, you get to board first and sit in a comfy seat and get served drinks while you wait. Show up at the last minute you might lose your overhead space as they will use first class as the plane is about to shut the doors. Also, only an idiot would pack essential meds in their checked bag. You can always take them as carry one (they allow med devices too)… what if the flight had to sit on the runway due to weather for an hour or so and then was late getting in… a cross country flight could take more than 8 hours…

    I feel like the guy is a becoming a cliche of the people he makes fun of in his flicks… rich entitled folks… show up for the flight like everyone else and dont assume that things will always work out and chance essential meds to someone else…

    dude, your films and comic legacy rocks but these missives about airlines make you look like a whiny celeb…

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I also get upset when he keeps telling people he was calm. Listened to many a Smod, and I can understand he thinks he is calm, but his voice doesn’t always come off as such when he is.

    • megafly says:

      If I get screwed I can’t do anything but stew and write angry letters that won’t ever get read. He has hundreds of thousands of people who actually care what he thinks. Why shouldn’t he air his complaints in public where they might do some good.

      The situation with SW was as much about the overweight girl nobody who the airline shamed and mocked as it was about the big shot Director.

  11. Hi_Hello says:

    how come get get to go the the tsa line like that?

    either way, whatever, 1 hr early…. don’t have have lounges near the gate?
    and like someone said, 15 min before depature you need to be at the gate.

    if 10 min before depature, and nobody is at the gate, I don’t see anything wrong with them closing the gate.

    And I don’t care if your name was John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, if you are in a converstation, you tend to zone out other voices, including the p.a.

  12. 4Real says:

    OMG how hard is it to SIT at the GATE.. No body is going to bother his fat ass.. come one he complains to much and he does need to lose weight..lol

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      His weight has nothing to do with this.

      Also, if you’re going to insult someone, at least do it with proper English.

      • cbutler says:

        Lets not forget he is a celebrity. Its not likely he was trying to be posh by not sitting at the gate, he probably didnt want to get harrassed by fans. I dont blame him. Not to sound mean but next time try to put yourself in somebodies shoes before ripping off a comment like that.

        • Firevine says:

          He may be a lardass, but man, Clerks. Friggin’ Clerks. Mallrats, at that. Makes up for a lot of lardassery and whinyness.

      • David in Brasil says:

        You’re correct. But the last time that I had to hear about this idiot was because of his lard ass. And big mouth. And easily hurt feelings. And sense of privilege.

        Oh – I used sentence fragments there. I suppose I’ll hear about this.

    • squirrel says:

      He’s in the lounge because he doesn’t want to mingle with the unwashed masses. It’s a celebrity thing and a perk of 1st class.

      He just wanted to dash in at the last minute and get his seats. Not deal with any people who may recognize him.

      • Magrath says:

        If he doesn’t want people to recognize him he shouldn’t be putting himself in the spotlight with his own website and whining on it.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          If he doesn’t want people to recognize him, he probably shouldn’t be flying with Jason Mewes. Alone, they’re a really skinny post-college hippie type and a pudgy internet denzien, but together, they’re Jay and Silent Bob. Children the world over recognize them when they’re together.

    • JamesBE says:

      So…you’re a body-snarking asshole? Good to know I shouldn’t listen to anything you ever say again. You discriminatory worthless piece of flesh.

    • ames says:

      Wow, you’re an asshole.

      “lol.”

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      you don’t need to bring body size into this. That is just low. Sure he is zaftig and portly, but that has nothing to do with the story. Poor guy…can’t wait to hear what he and Mewes are gonna say.

  13. Stickdude says:

    So, Virgin should open the door for him – possibly delaying the flight and causing those travelers who managed to find their way to the gate on time to miss connecting flights – just so he can spend a little more time chilling in the lounge?

    Someone who flies as much as he does should realize that they don’t hold the door open until 15 seconds before departure time.

    • coren says:

      No, Virgin shouldn’t have shut it early and when the passengers were headed towards it.

      • kmw2 says:

        They didn’t shut it early, they shut it late. Common practice is everyone has to be on board 15 minutes before departure, so they’ve got time to cram everything in the overheads, sit their butts down and fasten their seatbelts.

    • Doubts42 says:

      How about the part where he and his party were with the Virgin Concierge. Since the entire purpose of a concierge is to take care of details like getting you to the gat eon time and making sure you don’t have any hassles it would seem reasonable to assume that you were fine and would be able to board if you were with the concierge and she is not rushing you to the gate but is instead chillin with you in the lounge.
      As others have pointed out Virgin does not want 3 celebrities (OK 2 1/2 his wife has only been in one movie that I know of) hanging out at the gate or boarding first because of the delays and hassles for everyone caused by fans.
      Virgin screwed the pooch on this one.

    • hawguy says:

      Why don’t they hold the door open until exactly departure time?

      I’ve missed more than one flight due to a late arriving flight and getting to the gate within 10 minutes of departure only to be told that I’m too late to board even though the jetway is in place and the cargo doors are still open.

      If the departure time is 2:10pm, then why don’t they hold the door open until, say, 2:10pm. If they want to pad their times to get better on-time arrival performance, let them pad the flight time by 10 minutes.

  14. KillerBee says:

    For a minute there, I thought you meant Jason Mewes was both his wife and his muse. I chuckled thinking “yeah, that’s pretty accurate”. Then had to unchuckle after reading the next sentence.

  15. Aennan says:

    For me, here’s the problem: the concierge.

    She was supposed to get them to their gate on time. That’s why he was paying for first class (and probably for access to the lounge). Based on the information available, it looks like the concierge didn’t get them to gate on time, and the gate agents weren’t going to budge.

    Whether she did or didn’t, or if it was the behavior and decisions of the gate crew, the fault still lies with Virgin (they’re the employer).

    • jaya9581 says:

      This is exactly what I came here to say. Thanks. :)

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      This seems to be getting lost. That’s actually the concierge’s job – at least according to Mr. Smith’s account of things. If that is the case, VA should have let them board if the concierge was responsible for it and walked them to the gate (i.e. they didn’t get past TSA and decide the Statue of Liberty tiara memento in the gift shop was too much to pass up).

      That’s definitely VA problem and not Kevin Smith’s.

    • scouts honor says:

      Agreed. The concierge should have been in contact with the gate agent to inform them that the Schwalbach-Smith-Mewes party was on its way.

  16. APriusAndAGrill says:

    I heard he wasn’t even supposed to be there that day

    37!

  17. sirwired says:

    You need to be AT THE GATE 15 minutes prior to departure. Air travel has been this way for DECADES. This is printed on the ticket jacket, it’s part of the ticket contract, and it’s usually on signs here and there throughout the terminal.

    And announcements never play inside lounges/bars.

    And you should NEVER put Rx meds inside a checked bag. Ever.

    For somebody that travels a lot, Kevin Smith has a lot of learning to do.

  18. mistersmith says:

    It sounds like he got a raw deal from Southwest, but it also sounds like he was just plain too late for this flight. First class, celebrity, whatever, when flying on anything but your own G6 you gotta be early for everything, period.

  19. Madman says:

    It’s pretty common practice to close the doors 10 minues prior to departure. Anyone who flies alot should know this. Smith comes off as a spoiled little brat.

  20. valthun says:

    Going to have to blame Kevin for his one. If your at the airport get as close to the gate as you can. Gates change, times get pushed for one reason or another.

    If the medication is so important, it should be in carry-on, or purse. He failed to get to the gate on time and they were probably paging the three of them to show up or they won’t make the flight, and probably made a number of final boarding calls. You don’t hear those if you aren’t near the gate.

    • tsalaroth says:

      Either way, Virgin is to blame – as someone said above, it’s the concierge’s job to make sure the passenger(s) get to the gate and boarded without any hassles.

  21. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Regardless of who he is, or any of the circumstances involved… Not opening the door when the plane doesn’t take off for another 18 minutes is just a dick move by the gate agents. Be a fucking person.

  22. Madman says:

    It is pretty common practice for the airlines to close the doors 10 minutes prior to departure. If you fly a lot you would know this.

    Smith comes off as a spoiled brat – someone who can’t wait at the gate, but would rather stay in the lounge until minutes before departure only to be escorted through security. Dude – get your own frickin plane and stop whining..

    • hawguy says:

      I’ll cut him some slack after having traveled with someone who was moderately famous (a local TV personality). Getting stared at, surreptitiously and blatantly photographed, and bombarded by autograph requests gets to be tiring after a while since the celebrity is expected to always be “on” – she can’t be rude or appear uninterested – waiting in the VIP lounge leads to a much better experience.

      This is the whole point behind the concierge and this situation should not have happened.

  23. Matt says:

    I’ll get in line with the folks saying that this happens all the time. Some friends and I were taking a trip and a few of them went to go smoke so this was completely their fault but I was standing at the gate agent asking her to please hold the door. I could see my friends literally running towards the gate. “Come on, they’re right down there,” I said, “They’re coming right now!” The agent looked me dead in the eye and said “Sir, if you aren’t on the plane in sixty seconds, we’ll leave you too.”

    The interesting part was when they finally got to our destination, they said the agent told them that they had been called for over the PA. I was at the gate the whole time. No one so much as called for pizza. It was my friends’ fault they missed the gate but I wonder how often gate agents lie about using the PA or decide to close the gate “just a few minutes” early.

  24. Beeker26 says:

    Another celebrity who thinks he’s entitled to special treatment and then whines like a child when he doesn’t get it.

    I think he and Josh Duhamel should buy their own private jets. This way they won’t have to worry about little things like rules and regulations when they fly.

    Jackass.

  25. tasselhoff76 says:

    I love Kevin Smith and I generally have distaste for all airlines for their lack of customer service, ridiculous policies (which are worsened by the TSA policies) and stupid fees and such. So, I am certainly not unbiased. But I think Kevin and company probably should have been at the gate a little earlier and Virgin should have opened the stupid door if the plane hadn’t left yet. I know I have had a plane pull back to collect a missing passenger or two.

  26. BigDave says:

    Smith is still rolling with Mewes? I thought they split after Mewes went back on the needle.

  27. ClaudeKabobbing says:

    Unless this is your first time flying, then you know you must be on-board 10 minuted before the scheduled departure. I have no sympathy.

  28. jariten says:

    Nope: Get to the gates 30 minutes before departure or it is at your peril. FF’s are well aware of this (though I manage to miss flights fairly often for not following this advice…that’s why they give you priority on standby if you’re a regular flyer…)

    Lots of stuff will screw you if you don’t. Hanging out and getting drunk in the lounge is a pretty awful excuse…and then blaming it on Virgin? Come on. I also like that he drops that he’s a first class flyer like that would make any difference. Door is closed? Tough luck, you should know this. Good luck on the other airlines dude…you’ll get the same stuff there.

  29. zrecs says:

    Wow, I’m actually excited about blaming the OP here.

    You carried as much water as you could, Chris, with your blithe “chillin’ in the lounge” vagueness. They were drinking and being hotshots and didn’t allow enough time to make their way back to the gate.

    Kevin Smith sounds like a customer any airline would be happy to lose.

  30. jariten says:

    Nope: Get to the gates 30 minutes before departure or it is at your peril. FF’s are well aware of this (though I manage to miss flights fairly often for not following this advice…that’s why they give you priority on standby if you’re a regular flyer…)

    Lots of stuff will screw you if you don’t. Hanging out and getting drunk in the lounge is a pretty awful excuse…and then blaming it on Virgin? Come on. I also like that he drops that he’s a first class flyer like that would make any difference. Door is closed? Tough luck, you should know this. Good luck on the other airlines dude…you’ll get the same stuff there.

  31. Kitten Mittens says:

    Everyone is harping on the meds – but nowhere does it say she needed them immediately.

    • kmw2 says:

      That’s irrelevant – if it was important enough that she needed them back off a plane she wasn’t getting on, it was important enough that her bags going to Miami instead of LA would have screwed her.

      • One-Eyed Jack says:

        Aah but if she’s flying home and arrives at or near the expected hour, she may have other meds at the house, whereas if she’s delayed in a different city, she may need to replenish her medication supply from what’s stashed in her bag that’s now under the plane.

  32. vicarp says:

    I had a totally different experience with Virgin America, but it was in LAX not JFK where the staff was overly accommodating and helpful. That is probably the difference.

  33. quirkyrachel says:

    Why in the Lord’s name would you check medication?

  34. dolemite says:

    I wish I had the kind of clout to say “hundreds of people that work for me will not fly with you again.”

    • Chaosium says:

      “I wish I had the kind of clout to say “hundreds of people that work for me will not fly with you again.””

      I don’t think he really does at this point after all this shrillness.

  35. notanignoramus says:

    With 100% bag matching, his wife’s bags should NOT have been put on the plane.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      So with that service, you don’t load luggage onto the plane until everyone is on board and the door is closed? Wow, so you sit on the plane for an extra 30+ minutes until the throwers are done?

      • GTI2.0 says:

        No, they’re supposed to remove the bags if the person doesn’t fly. This has been a policy since even before 9/11, when people were booking tickets, checking bags with explosives, and then not boarding themselves.

  36. kmw2 says:

    If he really flies a lot, he should know by now to a) put important stuff like medicine in carry-ons, and b) to be at your gate more than 8 minutes in advance of departure. It’s scheduled, it’s not a surprise.

  37. steamboatdevil says:

    Welcome to the world the rest of us have to deal with all the time.. (inus the concierge service lady of course). Read your friggen ticket … if you are not at the gate ten minutes prior to depature, your seats will be given away..

    It is not that hard..

  38. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    They’re lucky they weren’t flying on El-Al. If you don’t get on the flight with your luggage, it comes off the plane because its a bomb.
    I don’t understand why American carriers don’t do baggage matching?!

  39. Suburban Idiot says:

    I thought the airlines were required to take unaccompanied luggage off the airplane before it goes on its way.

    Or was that some previous security thing?

    Or my imagination?

  40. CharlesFarley says:

    Maybe the gate agent wanted a refund for Clerks II.

  41. JamesBE says:

    Was the plane there?

    Yes.

    Was Kevin Smith there?

    Yes.

    Was it possible for them to be human and OPEN THE DOOR?

    Yes.

    So, this is being debated because…?

    Sure, he should have been there earlier. But that doesn’t change anything. They could have let him in. They SHOULD have let them in.

    Okay…but everyone here would rather make fun of the “rich fat guy” because you’re all classist body-snarking jerks. That’s fun.

    Oh, and he had a concierge, its THEIR JOB to make sure he gets to the plane on time. So they fucked up. Read the article, know your facts and then shut the fuck up you whiny assholes.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I’m not a pilot, but once the door is closed, does the status of the plane change with the tower?

      • Cactusjack_1999 says:

        Apparently it does because you’re not allowed to leave a plane if it’s stuck on the tarmac and can’t take off bercause then everyone else has to go back through security to continue their fllight.

    • stevenpdx says:

      Sure, and then while opening the door for the late travelers, the flight loses its takeoff slot.

      Fuck you, Kevin Smith. Get to the gate during boarding time or shut your stupid mouth.

  42. Ilovegnomes says:

    Either one of two things happened. Either Dorthy messed up in telling them when to go to the gate OR Manny was on a power trip. Or maybe both happened?! Either way, the airline didn’t handle this gracefully. I would like to hear from someone who has worked for an airline if there is a logical reason why you would shut the door if you saw people coming and yelling that they were on that flight.

    And I believe the part about not hearing the name over the P.A. system. I had one flight that they forgot to board a whole group of people, and then I stopped the person who was about to close the door and reminded them that the last group of people had not been called yet. Yeah, neither our group or names were ever called. I just got a whooops… and was let on the plane. So stuff like this happens. I think some of us are just too use to it and probably shouldn’t be. Even if I think part of this is Kevin’s fault for not checking his watch, kudos for using his celebrity to encourage consumers to take their money elsewhere when the airlines do not treat them with respect.

  43. MickeyMoo says:

    Domestic check in is 90 minutes in advance. Sounds like he was pulling privilege in order to be more “special” than others given his position. If he had checked in as required this wouldn’t have happened. I still wonder about his SouthWest experience though – I’m 6’5″ 285 – a little porky in the middle but not enough to spill over into my seatmate’s space. From what I’ve seen of Mr. Smith he seems to carry a LOT of his weight in the midsection and I don’t know that I would want to sit next to him for 5 hours….

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      And I care not to have your elbow poke me in the ear for five hours either, Stretchy McStretcherson.

  44. donovanr says:

    I think the fact that he got to blow through the TSA line earned him a missed flight. Karma bit you on the ass you self-important tit.

  45. EverCynicalTHX says:

    I guess he was in a hurry to start working on his latest greatest idea.- Clerks 3…in between college speaking tours about the original Clerks….which came out like 15 years ago dude?

    Mr. Smith, the ocean called….they want their flounder back – LOL!

  46. Deezul_AwT says:

    Instead of complaining to the airlines, why not get yourself a pilot’s license and buy a plane yourself? Problem solved. You talk like you’re Mr. Big shot, so you’ve got the cash. Pimp your wife out to Playboy again and use that money.

  47. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    When you keep having issues over and over with the same sort of thing, sometimes you have to ask yourself what the common element in the situation is and stop blaming things on everyone else.

  48. MedicallyNeedy says:

    I say free ticks on Virgins’ first space launch!

  49. dougp26364 says:

    So it sounds to me that he showed up last minute (I think most airlines say be at the gate 15 minutes before depature) AND he packed his wife’s meds in checked luggage. Sorry but this time it’s his own stupidity/arrogance that caused the issue.

    Personally, I hate self important people who think they’re so important that they can wait until the last dog dies and risk making everyone else on the plane suffer a late departure just because they don’t want to spend any more time in the airport than is necessary. No one likes to spend time waiting in the airport but, no one likes to be late either.

    Next time, show up on time AND pack your wife’s meds in a carry on. Don’t be stupid and stupid things happen less.

  50. cmhbob says:

    See, I don’t get why the bags were allowed to stay at all. Wasn’t there a big stink after Lockerbie that all bags had to be matched to a customer who was actually on the flight?

  51. sjb says:

    I went to the his blog link, comments to the article have been disabled. I think the OP might have gotten flamed a bit and decided to silence the comments.

  52. Darwin says:

    This guy was clearly playing with fire cutting things too close. He got burned.
    The “you should treat me differently because I’m a big wig traveler” pitch just doesn’t carry any weight with me. Such a frequent traveler should have known better anyway.

  53. gman863 says:

    Mike Meyers needs to bring back “Fat Bastard” and do a movie parody of this obese asshole.

    “Ohhhh. Yah got my lassie’s Cheetos and Bon Bons locked up in da baggage hole. GET IN MAH BELLY! I’m higher in the food chain dan you are!” Lemmie on da plane or I’ll blog about yah while I sit on yah at da same time!”

    If Kevin is ever spotted on a beach, somebody please call Greenpeace so they can push him back in the ocean.

  54. Rhinoguy says:

    But the lesson to be learned from this event is very simple. If a celebrity with big money and a penchant for spending it can’t get a little slack, what chance do the rest of us have for getting barely acceptable service? None.

    It doesn’t matter whether money or fame “deserves” courtesy, Virgin has stated loudly “No one deserves courtesy”. Virgin deserves no courtesy, or business.

  55. Emily says:

    Why do I think it would be difficult to get through airport security with Jason Mewes?

  56. saturnleia says:

    Read the update on the linked article – it wasn’t Smith’s fault.

    Via @cbalint “Why did you wait until 10 minutes b4 the flight to board?”

    One of the only pricey indulgences I’m happy to pay for is First Class air travel. I fly LOTS, and when you’re also big fat-ass, the wider seats are definitely more comfortable. Indeed, with the exception of the Bay Area Southwest flights I used to take, it’s fair to say – since ‘96 – you could always find me at the front of the plane (as a first class passenger, not giving the pilot’s “driver’s courtesy”).

    After Southwest did it’s level-headed best to alienate large passengers everywhere, I was off flying for awhile, sticking strictly to my beloved bus – the last refuge of the oversized traveler with a Jay-and-Silent-Bob-lined bank account. But in order to attend the Walter Gretzky street hockey tournament in Brandtford this summer, I HAD to fly again (we couldn’t make it in time driving, due to a previous engagement).

    So I bit the bullet and got on another plane, for the first time in months. And when I sat down, the fella next to me smiled and asked “They gonna throw you off this plane too?”

    And the next three flights I took, it was the same. Even worse: when you fly first, you board first, sit down… and then EVERYONE files past you. And when you’re the Too Fat To Fly guy on a plane? Well, everyone stares. Then the whispering starts. A hundred people look right at you – when you’re not on a stage. It kinda blows.

    But Affleck told me that when he flies, he uses a concierge service: a company that works with the airport and each airlines. Their job is to get you to the plane on time, but not when boarding begins; that way, you don’t have to play the Elephant Man for passengers passing you en route to their seats. Essentially, you board last. The entire service is designed to get you to the plane door shortly before the door closes.

    We were at the airport and checked-in for over an hour before departure, waiting in the lounge. Dorothy, our concierge, has been doing her job for years; she knows EXACTLY how much time she has to get her clients to the plane before the door closes. This is how she makes her living, so it behooves her to know when to head for the plane; we had time. The plane was not only in sight, it REMAINED in sight for the next 15/20 minutes. Dorothy the concierge was, rightfully, beside herself: the gate agents made HER look bad – even though this is EXACTLY how she does her job every day.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Wow.

      You know air travel employees are getting in a state when they start making EACH OTHER look bad. (Yes, I’m aware that the concierge service is not employed by Virgin, but they work in the same industry.)

      But yeah, this explains why he was so close to doors-closed-taxi-out, and quite frankly, being a celebrity (and a fat celebrity at that, though I dunno why he harps on himself so; he’s not THAT fat fer chrissakes) I understand why he would spring for concierge service.

    • TuxedoCartman says:

      But… but… if you give us all the details like that, it makes it harder for us to blame the OP!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Seeing this, it makes a lot more sense why he was so angry. At first I thought it was just him being an assbag. I imagine the concierge was pretty upset too. That doesn’t help her do her job.

  57. jenjenjen says:

    They were in a lounge on the OTHER side of security and left for their gate with only minutes to go? Jeebus.

  58. shufflemoomin says:

    I’ve been a Kevin Smith fan for many years and feel like I know the man through listening to the many podcasts each week. I believe him 100% here. He’s not the type of guy to lie. He also has some sway with a very large fanbase. I’d like to see how Virgin handle this one.

  59. leprofie says:

    Imagine this. Twenty people arrive at the gate late, one each minute for twenty minutes. The first one gets on, the next one arrives only a minute later and presses to get on, the next one … well you get the idea. There has to be a deadline. It may only be a couple of minutes to you, but the choreographed dance that is air travel has more to it than when the plane pushes away from the jetway. But of course, we who are self-centered and self-important are hard-pressed to consider that there might be more going on than we see. Can you imagine how many times this happens at a gate in a day?

  60. Lisalynne says:

    >Smith goes on to say that his biggest concern wasn’t making the flight, but in getting his wife’s bags off the plane, as they contained her medicine. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in that endeavor too.

    I have to call BS on that – on a recent flight to Amsterdam, we sat on the tarmac for 35 minutes. Why? Because a passenger had not made the flight, so his bags had to be found and removed. These days, planes do not take off with luggage that does not match a passenger, so that you can’t send a bomb in your checked baggage and then just “miss” your plane. Even most PA announcements these days warn that your baggage will be removed. If his wife wasn’t on the plane, they’d have removed her bags before takeoff.

  61. Browncoat says:

    Wow, I thought everyone knew that you had to be at the gate 30 minutes beforehand, and they close the door about 10 minutes before the plane is scheduled to leave. Oh, and its VA’s fault you hung out in the lounge too long? WOW. But I guess if you are a Hollywood bigshot (or mediumshot) you expect a different set of rules.

  62. pot_roast says:

    “and made it to their gate with 10 minutes to go before departure”

    Show up earlier next time. Problem solved.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      He deliberately waited to board the plane; he pays for concierge service to ensure he’s amongst the last person to board the plane. It’s the duty of the concierge to get him there on time, and it’s the job of the gate agents to co-operate with the concierge.

      Virgin’s gate-agents dropped the ball in this case.

      • pot_roast says:

        And if he showed up earlier, we would never be reading this article.

        The solution remains. Show up a bit earlier.

  63. Saskiatas says:

    Waaah. This guy didn’t follow the clearly defined rules and recommendations (be at the gate at least x minutes prior, don’t pack medicine in luggate). He obviously is a frequent flier and should know better. He then expects the airline to make concessions for him because he is a big shot and can make a lot of noise. I have plently of gripes against airlines and their behavior, but in this case I think I’m siding with the airline.

  64. vastrightwing says:

    Here’s a plug for Delta. Wife & I booked a trip on Aer Lingus last week, the flight got delayed leaving and caused a ligistics nightmare for us, translation, we weren’t going to make it to our destination that day. So Aer Lingus gave us some kind of voucher for Delta. We were technically too late to actually make it on the Delta flight, but the Delta crew made a few calls and let us on. I didn’t expect that, our ticket was really for Aer Lingus and they could have simply told us to march right back to Aer Lingus, which they didn’t do. So Kudos to the Delta crew in Boston!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      They did help me out at St Louis when I missed my plane by TWO MINUTES due to an insanely long security line. The gate agent couldn’t let me on the plane, but she sent me to another gate right down the hall and they got me on that flight instantly with no problems. I did have to make an extra stop in Cincinnati and was a couple of hours late, but I made it.

  65. goldilockz says:

    It’s on Virgin, if you ask me. The concierge’s job is to get them there on time, and it didn’t happen. Stop hating on his celebrity status. If it had been Joe Schmoe nobody who had hired the concierge, it would STILL be the concierge’s bad and Virgin needs to make it better.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Well no, the concierge did their job as best they knew how to do it; which, after 27 years, ought to be pretty damned good at it by now. It’s on Virgin’s gate-attendants for not playing ball.

  66. amcfarla says:

    everyone who blames Kevin for this one, this is the reason I feel the airline was at fault(and so did the airline also since they refunded his flight, and offered a free flight in the future):

    “We were at the airport and checked-in for over an hour before departure, waiting in the lounge. Dorothy, our concierge, has been doing her job for years; she knows EXACTLY how much time she has to get her clients to the plane before the door closes. This is how she makes her living, so it behooves her to know when to head for the plane; we had time. The plane was not only in sight, it REMAINED in sight for the next 15/20 minutes. Dorothy the concierge was, rightfully, beside herself: the gate agents made HER look bad – even though this is EXACTLY how she does her job every day.

    So that’s why I got to the door ten minutes before the flight: because I was told to by a professional who’s been working JFK for years. It didn’t matter; The gate agents made up their minds to lose Virgin some business.”

    • ClaudeKabobbing says:

      The airline only refunded his ticket because of who he is and the publicity. Do you think the airline would have done the same for someone like me who would have bought a non-refundable advance purchase ticket. I dont think so. and I still have no sympathy.

  67. blissfool says:

    Eh. It was JFK. You gotta prepare for the worst when you get there.

  68. Sword_Chucks says:

    I thought this was another fat issue, to which Id totally volunteer to sit next to him, alas, it wasn’t. Its amazing how many hoops we have to jump through to fly. Too bad there isn’t another as efficient option outside of flying another airline with just as many ridiculous policies. The problem is, when you are such a large company, you have employees who maybe disgusted with their job or having a bad day and they don’t care enough to not take it out on the customer.

  69. Kevin says:

    Of all the titles under his belt, the author here chose to tout Jersey Girl as his success?

  70. MoreThanWYSIWYG says:

    One word of advise: Cut down on the big macs and maybe you can waddle to the gate a little faster.

  71. JBlank912 says:

    I thought a plane was not to take off if the person who checked the luggage was not on the plane? Isn’t this what was suupposed to be done to thwort terrorism? Stop a terrorist from putting a bomb on a plane and not getting on it? Sounds like Virgin atlantic is doing the opposite? TSA where are you when we need you?

  72. MattAZ says:

    If this whiny movie producer travels as much as he claims, he should know that it doesn’t matter if he checked in an hour before the flight. He could have checked in 6 hours before the flight. Everyone knows that the door closes before the scheduled departure time.

    Sorry, no exceptions for whiny movie producers.

  73. almightytora says:

    Another update on his page:

    “Update 1

    Unlike Southworst, @VirginAtlantic seems to care: lovely, apologetic email, full refund for flight, free tix offer – all before I’ve landed. I appreciate the gesture/effort.”

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Well at least someone cares. It seems the majority of the Consumerist commenter population doesn’t.

  74. FenrirIII says:

    I don’t care who you are, get to your damn flight early or expect to get kicked off

  75. WI_Debi says:

    It seems to me that if you pay Virgin for a premium service like a concierge it is their responsibility to ensure that you receive the premium (read pricey) service you paid for.
    As a 20+ year customer service rep, in my opinion, that would mean from arrival to departure.
    Most celebs fly first class for a reason. They’re paying premium rates for premium services and they should get what they pay for. I would be more than happy to deliver extraordinary service to someone who would in turn refer my company to their affluent friends which would in turn make the company more profitable. Hopefully my employer would recognize my efforts to enhance his profit margin and that would result in a personal benefit to my bottom line.
    P.S. I’m available if any celebs need service personnel. : )

  76. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    …at least I’m not the only one that hates fat ass.

  77. hackel says:

    I am very glad that at least some of the people commenting on this board have their heads on straight… When he purchased the ticket on VA, he was agreeing to their terms, namely that he needed to be on the plane 15 minutes prior to departure or risk losing his seat. No ifs, ands or buts! The airline has ABSOLUTELY NO obligation to page him, so it makes no difference if the agent did or not, other than the fact that it would be stupid and rude to lie about it. Airline customers bitch about stuff like this all the time–and the idiot first class assholes who were in the club and/or bar getting pissed are the worst! Just suck it up and admit that you made a mistake… We don’t know the whole story here, and never will. We only know one angry customer’s side of the situation. I know that this type of thing happens EVERY day, and it’s almost always the customer’s own fault. I’m especially not sad for a rich Hollywood star who can easily throw down the cash for first class seats on the next available flight on any airline and not think twice about it…

    Also–for those people claiming that this “concierge” person should have known better: bollocks. Those people are typically barely functional as it is. Especially cart drivers and such. They get paid minimum wage. They are in NO position to tell a gate agent what to do or interfere with doing his or her job!

    It makes me really, REALLY angry that Virgin America refunded Smith’s ticket in this case. It was clearly his fault, and he is receiving this special treatment only because he is a celebrity. Let’s face it: airlines make some of their money from situations like this when customers miss their flights. If his first-class ticket was full-price and fully-refundable, then fine, but I suspect that was not the case, in which case the airline should have offered nothing more than an apology for the gate agent’s behaviour and a copy of the airline’s contract of carriage pointing out why Mr. Smith and company were wrong on this one.

  78. wildgift says:

    I hate VA. A few years ago, I bought tickets, and cancelled them per their terms due to a medical emergency. Then after that I was going to be unable to fly within the time frame to use my credit. They would not facilitate my selling the credit to a third party, and would not extend the period for me to use the credit. They would not give me a partial refund. The upshot was that it cost $1400, and I never got to use it. Their customer service, at least when dealing with this kind of thing, is terrible. I will never fly Virgin America. I think they are garbage.

    (My error was in not buying travel insurance, but being an infrequent flyer, I didn’t even know that such a thing existed or what it was for.)

  79. iesika says:

    Most airlines tell you to be there half an hour before the flight leaves, minimum.