Southwest Forces Standby Flier Off Plane To Free Two Seats For Passenger Of Size

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!)

Slate Looks At What’s Wrong With Airline Seating
Filmmaker Kevin Smith Kicked Off Southwest Flight For Being Too Fat
Southwest Suddenly Decides Frequent Flyer Is Too Big To Fly


Edit Your Comment

  1. Konwashere says:

    A 14 year old who required to 2 seats?

    • Griking says:

      The 14 year old was the stand by passenger who was removed, not the large person.

      It seems like the airlines are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If the kept the stand by passenger it probably would have been the over sized passenger writing in and complaining.

      • Griking says:

        Ok, I read it wrong, I guess the 14 year old was the large passenger.

        How sad.

      • hymie! says:

        It seems like the airlines are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If the kept the stand by passenger it probably would have been the over sized passenger writing in and complaining.

        How about “the passenger already boarded has priority over the late-arriving passenger”?

        • Smashville says:

          That would be about the crappiest policy ever.

          “Sir, you don’t have a ticket.”
          “But I was here first!”
          “Oh…I see.”

          • hymie! says:

            Do you just make it up as you go along?

            How about

            “Boarding all ticketed passengers. Boarding all ticketed passengers. Boarding all ticketed passengers. Last call. Boarding all ticketed passengers. Last call. Boarding all ticketed passengers. OK. Boarding standby.”

            “But I have a ticket, and by the way, I’ll need a second seat that I didn’t buy yet.”

            “Sorry, but you can try getting on the standby list.”

            • Smashville says:

              Did you see anywhere that she didn’t buy a seat? Ticketed passengers ALWAYS have priority over standby passengers.

              • Link_Shinigami says:

                No actually, they do not. If you are late, you forfeit your priority.

                • halfcuban says:

                  No you don’t. Ticketed pax ALWAYS get priority, even when they show up after the standby list has been called. You can hit up just about any frequent flyer forum ( or FlyerTalk) and they’d tell you the same thing. Confirmed pax always go over standby in almost all cases.

                  • regis-s says:

                    ” Ticketed pax ALWAYS get priority…”

                    “Confirmed pax always go over standby in ALMOST ALL cases.”

                    Which is it? Either they always get priority or they don’t.

              • Marshmelly says:

                “a late-arriving passenger who required two seats but had only purchased one.”

                Did you forget to read that part or something?

      • bobosgirl says:

        Ummm…actually. If you read the article, you’ll see that the “person of size” was the late arriving passenger. The person they yanked out of her seat was a 110 lb. sales rep, and a frequent flyer.

        • Griking says:

          Um, actually if you’d read my response you would have seen that I’d already admitted my mistake.

  2. apd09 says:

    a 14 year old who needed 2 seats? I hope this is a wake up call to the parents and the child that they need to start taking care of the child because at 14 they should not be that big to need 2 seats.

    • Devil505 says:

      Because you have access to their medical records and know that their size is do over eating, right? I think the more likely scenario is you like to judge people because of their weight. Must be nice to be so perfect.

      • Kilawat12 says:

        It is.

      • apd09 says:

        glandular or not, that is dangerously over weight. Stop being so apologetic and realize that the kid, no matter the reason, needs to get it under control now.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          What weight was the 14 year old, Dr. adp09?

          • apd09 says:

            How should I know? All I know is that child was too big to fit into 1 seat on an airline. Accept the facts that have been given, no, no one know the medical history and what ails the child. What I do know is that no one who needs 2 seats on an airline can be in very good health unless they are extremely muscular, like a pro athlete or something.

            Do you disagree?

        • MMD says:

          How can you be so sure the kid’s not being treated for a condition right now? Did the article contain a complete medical history that I somehow missed?

      • trentblase says:

        Obesity is ALWAYS due to overeating, no matter what. What causes the overeating, however, may vary.

        • ArcanaJ says:

          Ignorance is ALWAYS due to a lack of education, no matter what.

          • godlyfrog says:

            I normally chastise anyone who uses all-inclusives because there are always exceptions, but I can’t find any fault with this one. I admit defeat.

        • katstermonster says:

          And being dangerously underweight is ALWAYS due to undereating, right?

          That’s what I thought.

          • trentblase says:

            It’s easy for the body to throw away calories. Therefore, you can be underweight even if you eat a lot. However, the body cannot make calories from thin air, unless your great grandfather on your mother’s side was a conifer.

            No matter what glandular disorder you have, or what medications you are taking, you will not gain weight if you do not eat. “Overeating generally refers to the long-term consumption of excess food in relation to the energy that an organism expends” (the venerable Wikipedia). Therefore, if you gain weight, you are overeating. It is sad to see such a misinformed overreaction from normally reasonable consumerists.

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

          Whee, here we go with the anti-fat bigots. I truly hate it when Consumerist posts these kinds of stories, as they bring the ignorant and judgmental kooks outta the woodwork. Why don’t you bigots go join Fred Phelps? I think he could use an assist after his ComicCon debacle.

        • SixOfOne says:

          I hope you’re just trolling, but in case you’re not, go look up how much weight gain that anti-psychotic drugs cause and then get back to the posters with an apology.

          • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

            AMEN. I took myself off those chemicals and I have no more weight gain. Same steady weight (a bit overweight, but no longer clinically obese) for two years.

            Get Off The Drugs.

        • Kibit says:

          No it isn’t always the cause. Until I was 22 years old I was a petite, thin women. 5’5,Size 2 with a 36C chest. I eat well and work out and then after taking medicine for anxiety and PTSD I gained weight, about 15 lbs. My eating habits were the same (even a little less on some days) and I was actually quite active and then I gained more weight, for a total of about 50lbs.

          I talked to my doctors, no one knew what was going on. They knew that my medicine could cause weight gain, but not often this much, I could just be sensitive to it. However my menstrual cycle, that was never regular, became unbearable. Heavy, painful periods with large blood clots and anemia. Sometimes I would have periods for 2-3 weeks at a time. It was so bad that I had to take time off work, because medicine was not working and I could not do my job because I was in so much pain and constantly in the bathroom.

          Thankfully after many tests my doctor discovered that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life. I am at a greater risk for Diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And I may not be able to have children if I would like to.

          So please, before you assume that everyone who is overweight or obese eats crap food and too much food and is lazy. Educate yourself instead of being an ass.

          From the Mayo Clinic

          Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Menstrual abnormality may signal the condition in adolescence, or PCOS may become apparent later following weight gain or difficulty becoming pregnant.

          The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may have trouble becoming pregnant due to infrequent or lack of ovulation. Early diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome can help reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

          Obesity. About half the women with polycystic ovary syndrome are obese. Compared with women of a similar age who don’t have polycystic ovary syndrome, women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese.

      • rmorin says:

        Not to completely divert the post, but adp09 is completely right. To be obese to the point that requires two seats at age 14 indicates poor health. Period. Whether it is because of sedentary lifestyle and poor diet or some sort of pathology is irrelevant, this should be a moment for the 14 year old and their family to reflect upon. Very few, if any, medical conditions which are being managed would result in this type of obesity. Either the 14 year old is obese because of sedentary lifestyle and poor diet which needs to change, or they desperately need medical attention. Whether they have access to that medical attention is a completely different issue but either way this should be a wake up call to someone.

        • ArcanaJ says:

          “Very few, if any, medical conditions which are being managed would result in this type of obesity.”

          First, at what size does Southwest decide that a second seat is necessary? Is it policy? Is it arbitrary? Do we even know?

          As for the “very few medical conditions” comment, You know not whereof you speak. A quick walk through Google reveals the following causes for (often excessive) weight gain.

          Heart failure
          Congestive heart failure
          Kidney failure
          Cirrhosis of the liver
          Excessive IV fluid
          Lymphatic obstruction
          Certain hormonal conditions
          Familial obesity

          Beginning diabetes treatment – because a lot of sugar (calories) was previously lost in urine.

          Cushing’s syndrome
          Cushing’s disease
          Hypothalamus disorder
          Brain tumor
          Brain trauma

          And those don’t even touch the medications, or combinations of meds, that cause weight gain.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            It could be lupus…

            • foofie says:

              It’s never lupus.

            • enomosiki says:

              “It might be a tumor.”

            • thisistobehelpful says:

              Funny. My mother has lupus. Lupus can cause systemic organ failure and usually inflames more than one organ over the course of the patient’s lifetime. She’s regularly on courses of steroids to combat kidney inflammation leading to possible kidney failure. So she retains water, has a monstrous appetite, loses weight very slowly because it of course messes with your hormones. So yeah it could be lupus.

          • fs2k2isfun says:

            Southwest has a very clear policy on whether an additional seat is required.

          • jason in boston says:

            Sorry, calories in is more than calories out. That is how weight is gained. Stop eating.

          • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

            Most of what you’ve listed are symptoms of obesity, not causes. Directionality matters.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            Did you look up the rate at which these occur? Like someone else said it is a REASONABLE INFERENCE that this person is fat because they eat too much and move too little. Like far far more reasonable to assume that’s the reason. Everyone’s allowed to be judgmental, acting on judgments to harm other is the problem.

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            Also familial obesity should NOT AT ALL be a valid cause for obesity. If your family is predisposed to it genetically then you should be more careful about gaining weight. In fact that almost makes it worse because you have fair warning and you’re just refusing to do anything.

    • spanky says:

      As others have already pointed out, there are any number of medical conditions that can directly or indirectly cause serious weight gain.

      Even if your assumptions were right 99% of the time, there would still be that 1% of people who aren’t at fault that you’re blaming–and unfortunately, you’re not the only one doing it. There are lots of nasty, ignorant people out there who derive some perverse pleasure from finger wagging and judging people based on incomplete information. People who get pleasure from making other people feel miserable.

      And never mind the fact that we don’t even know this child is obese.

    • shepd says:

      Yes, because kids are under their parents’ control 24×7, right?

      Oh wait, even kids who have both parents at home still go to school for 40 hours a week.

      And everyone who is fat decided “I want to be fat”. Yup. That’s how it works. People don’t get fat due to medical conditions (ranging from physical to mental to bad genes), ever. In fact, that’s not the most common reason at all. It’s all people deciding “I want to be fat”.

      You know what? As a fat person, I’ve universally decided that thin people that get hurt exercising have decided to do it because “They want to get hurt/injured/die”, not for any other reason. In fact, I think that’s why I hate Canada’s free healthcare so much: I have to pay for all their broken bones and disabilities they end up with due to all the dangerous exercising. As an “I want to be fat” person, I don’t get injured very often (or at all) because I don’t feel a need to “Get injured and die”.

      • El_Fez says:

        And everyone who is fat decided “I want to be fat”

        No, not every fatso said “Yup! I wanna be fat!”, but they all have the power to go “I want to be thin!”

        Full disclaimer, I’m a fatso. A couple of years ago, I said “Fuck this being out of breath walking a flught of stairs!” and went and hit the gym. Nearly every day, half an hour on the stairmaster and some freeweight work – and I’ve managed to lose 55 pounds. I’ve got a long way to go, but I just hiked around Mount Rainier all day today and wasnt winded or gave up half-way up the trail.

        . Yup. That’s how it works. People don’t get fat due to medical conditions (ranging from physical to mental to bad genes), ever. In fact, that’s not the most common reason at all. It’s all people deciding “I want to be fat”

        Ah, bullshit. Yes, there are medical conditions – but only a very VERY small portion of people can claim to have no control over how fat they are. Or are you saying that the Hambeast that weighs 350 pounds and is only 5 foot 3 splitting her pants bending over to get a pint of ben and jerrys has a “Medicial Condition”.

        Yeah, she has a condition – it’s “No Self Control, fatso!”

        So yeah – bullshit to that..

      • The Marionette says:

        They don’t have to be under their parent’s control 24 7 for them to have a healthy eating habit. And if their weight happens to be due to a medical condition I’m almost sure the consumerist would’ve stated that and in all honesty is a reason out of their control. As far as the rest of your rant well…. it just seems to be just you blowing off some steam from ridicule. I’m not exactly sure how the reasons for keeping in shape are to get injured, killed, etc and I’m not exactly sure how you think people are exercising (apparently with guns held to their head due to the great “risks”), but if you take the time (ie: not be lazy) to stretch and warm up before and making sure machines are set up properly, you won’t have to worry about injury or death. Now someone decided to just be fat (not getting up to exercise when you’re capable of doing so is by choice) and clog up their arteries, raise blood pressure, diabetes that’s their choice but don’t become Mr. Pot on those who choose to stay fit.

        Point is I’m all for letting people with medical conditions get first whack at certain things (getting a seat on a plane for example), but if they’re just plain overweight from choosing not to exercise or not eat properly then I have no pity for them.

        • ben says:

          I don’t know why you think the Consumerist would mention if the person’s weight was due to a medical condition. First, they leave out facts all of the time. Second, I doubt they know why the person is overweight. Third, it’s not relevant.

          No one is asking you to feel pity for the person. It doesn’t matter why the person is overweight. That doesn’t determine whether or not he gets the seat. The relevant facts are: he paid for a single seat, but needed two, he was a late arrival, and the standby passenger paid full fare and was already given a seat by the time the other passenger finally arrived. Now, there’s not necessarily an easy solution to the situation, and Southwest made a judgement call at the time which apparently violated their standard procedures. Their standard procedures don’t take into account the reasons for someone’s weight, nor should they.

      • Conformist138 says:

        I’m 5’2″ and went from 260lbs to 165lbs (with a goal of 120-140). I’m sorry to tell you that a majority of heavy people are not heavy because of medical conditions. Personal choices account for nearly all obesity, even for people with legit medical considerations. A person with diabetes will find it even harder to lose weight, but no doctor will tell them “oh, that’s fine, it’s just too tough so don’t bother trying”.

        You sound about as angry as I used to be. I was pissed because I felt I was a nice person but no guy was interested in me and people made comments about my size. While some of those comments really were mean and uncalled for, I had to let it go and stop letting my frustration rule my life. I’m now a size 12 and have kept one pair of size 22 pants around for those days when I start feeling like my progress has stalled. It puts everything back into perspective.

        I wish you good luck and health.

        • Draygonia says:

          Yes, like someone once told me “Take the fall for all your actions, regardless of whether you were responsible”. Biggest bull I ever heard. Being bigger is not an intentional thing, its more of a… accidental thing. Does not excuse you from a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t give others the right to chastise you either.

        • dragonvpm says:

          Ok, to be clear, your personal experiences don’t have any bearing on whether or not “a majority of heavy people are not heavy because of medical conditions”

          It’s fine if you take responsibility because YOU were overweight because of YOUR personal decisions, but extending that out to “a majority of heavy people” is stupid and following it up with

          “Personal choices account for nearly all obesity, even for people with legit medical considerations.”

          sounds like something you decided was true because you were able to lose weight. Now it sounds like your angry that you let yourself stay heavy for as long as you did (and I only mention that because you brought up the other posters anger situation) and you’re taking it out by being judgmental of people who are still overweight.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:


        Way to turn your laziness to a wonderful ad hominem attack on people who live healthier lifestyles.

        If you’re fat, YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT. Although in your case, I think your primary problem is that you’re kind of a lazy jerk, and if you took away the ‘lazy’ part..

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        Genetic disorders and depression are as likely to exist in other countries as they do in the USA. And yet, with the exception of Canada and the UK, nobody is even close to our obesity rates. Weird.

      • DarksSideMoon says:

        No. I’m fat now because of poor lifestyle decisions when I was younger. I snuck candy my parents didn’t know about, lazed around all day because there were no other kids my age in the neighborhood, and never got involved in a sport. Were those things out of my control? Some maybe. Am I still responsible for those choices and their outcomes? Yes. Consequently I decided to eat a normal amount of food and go to the freaking gym every once in awhile. 30+ lbs later and significant muscle growth I’d say it worked. Two simple changes to fix my problem. I understand there are some people with medical conditions and whatnot, but frankly that is a very small percentage, and just because you have a condition doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Just look at Teddy Roosevelt; he was a sickly child but overcame it through hard work and determination. I know of a guy who was morbidly obese, like 500+ lbs. I saw him, every day, winter, summer, rain or shine walking around the neighborhood. He’s still big but you can tell he’s thinned out ALOT just because of pure determination.

    • Humward says:

      I think to some extent we’re to the point of a backlash against a backlash here.

      Overweight people were being decried as fat, lazy, stupid, etc. There was a backlash — and rightly so. That backlash included people with legitimate medical conditions, but it also included people who just overeat and people who were proudly overweight and professed a desire to stay that way. (The so-called “fat acceptance” movement.) The good side of that was that people (somewhat) stopped treating the obese like pond scum. But it perhaps went too far — it became improper to complain about being inconvenienced by someone who was overweight — or to complain about a society becoming less and less healthy. People — like one here on this thread — began to describe any such objections or complaints as “bigotry” and comparing people to “Fred Phelps.”

      And it became the accepted wisdom that if someone was overweight, it was probably because of a “medical condition.” Causation is always difficult to determine, particularly when dealing with a person that is in poor health generally. (For example, are they overweight because they’re depressed or are they depressed because they’re overweight?) But I think a lot of people have more than a middling suspicion that many obese people who claim to have a medical condition could nonetheless lose weight. (For one thing, some countries are fatter than others — and some decades have been fatter than others.) Losing weight is hard. It’s easy to decide that you just can’t do it, and to give up trying — if there’s a “medical condition” on which to blame the lack of weight loss, then it’s even easier.

      And so there’s a backlash to the backlash. People object to being asked to move aside, or to being inconvenienced, by someone else’s poor health. They’re skeptical of the “medical conditions” that may be entirely legitimate, or may merely be a crutch. And so they push back against the idea that we should just accept everyone at whatever size they happen to be.

      I can understand why overweight people don’t want to be treated like pond scum — but I can also understand the backlash to the backlash.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Well thanks for showing up to Consumerist – Ms. Obama.

      Leave the parenting to Parents.

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Too Thin To Fly!

  4. Alvis says:

    We can ALL agree that this is the fat kid’s fault. Why is he even on a plane in the first place? Sounds like he needs some exercise; should be traveling by flying bicycle!

    • ArcanaJ says:

      Yes, because fat is a moral failing. Always. It’s never a medical issue. Fat people are bad/stupid/lazy/indisciplined, or are the children of such people. Being thin makes you a superior human being in every way.

      I’m so glad you were here to set us all straight on what we all agree on. Please, keep thinking for me. Clearly your Enquiring mind knows details of this case that none of us can even guess at.

      • ArcanaJ says:

        Undisciplined. Stupid typo. Must have happened because of excess finger fat.

      • Voxxen says:

        So you’re overweight and militant, we get that. Its very, very common to be that way. Can you at least admit that -more often than not- people who are overweight are heavy because of factors completely under their own control?

        Sure, yes, there are people with legitimate problems and not every obese individual should be treated like they’ve made poor life choices. A lot, however, should be.

        I don’t think the 300lb woman in line with her 400lb husband at McDonalds every day for breakfast and lunch should be given a free pass for unrestrained gluttony just because of a small minority of folks that have glandular problems.

        Treating all obesity like a disease, like alcoholism or drug addiction, leads to increased acceptance and a decrease in responsibility. When no one takes responsibility for their poor choices, how does anything ever get fixed?

        • ArcanaJ says:

          So you’re judgmental and defensive, we get that.

          Treating all snap judgments (based on a single, surface detail) as acceptable, even laudable, leads to increased bigotry and a decrease in responsibility and empathy. When no one takes responsibility for their own lack of consideration, how does anything ever get fixed?

          Despite all the cries of “blame the fatty” (or his parents) the issue here isn’t the kid’s weight or how it came to be, it’s Southwest’s adherence (or lack thereof) to its own policies. If the kid was in a wheelchair, would we all assume it was because s/he was a reckless daredevil? Or that his parents encouraged him/her to be so?

          I find that kind of automatic moral posturing to be repulsive. Are plenty of people fat because they spend too much time with Ben & Jerry? Sure. Are there many other reasons why a person might be fat? Absolutely. The point is, none of us knows which is the case here. And even if we did, so what? There, but for the grace of God, go you or I.

          • RayanneGraff says:

            True, there are some fat people who are fat because of legitimate medical conditions, but it is a VERY small percentage. I refuse to believe that every fatass out there has a glandular problem or edema that encompasses their whole body. And “food addiction” is not a legitimate medical condition, I don’t care what anyone says. 99.999999% of fat people are fat because they eat too damn much, plain & simple. Where are all the medical-fatties over in France, or africa? Or anywhere else in the world where they DON’T eat Big Macs for every meal? And where were all these poor innocent people with glandular disorders just 100 years ago? The only people who were fat 100 years ago were circus freaks & rich people who could afford to stuff their faces all day.

            People in America are fat because they EAT TOO MUCH. The only ‘disease’ that these people have is GLUTTONY. This attitudes of “feel sorry for them, they have a disease!” is why obesity has become the epidemic that it is today. There is nothing beneficial about being fat. It is not okay either for a 14 year old to need 2 seats on an airplane(BTW the paying standby customer should have kept her seat, it’s not her fault some fatty needed 2 seats). I see fat families all the time with little children 4 & 5 years old with double chins already & it absolutely sickens me. Fat people put a strain on the healthcare system. And when they get too fat to work, they go on state assistance & food stamps. Guess who pays for that?

            Call me heartless, but I don’t feel sorry for fat people, not any more than I feel sorry for any other ‘addict’ that only has themselves to blame for their problem. Nobody forced them to eat all those cheeseburgers & they really CAN stop anytime they want to. The problem is they DON’T want to.

            • Karita says:

              Wow. Nasty attitude.

              You don’t feel bad for fat people at all? That’s a shame. I felt pretty bad for myself when I was walking out of the pharmacy last weekend with the prescription for the medical condition I have, and a group of men started mooing at me. Killed the good feeling I had from the medicine causing me to lose 20 pounds in a month, after years of doctor-monitored super-healthy diet and exercise having no effect on the mystery 60 pounds I put on in 1.5 months a few years ago.

              Really, have a heart. Assume the best in people, rather than assuming the worst. Your worldview will be a lot nicer, and maybe you’ll stop hurting people who really don’t deserve it.

              • Voxxen says:

                The average human being will constantly disappoint you if you assume the best of them every time. I try to assume the most logical and reasonable things of people, and I tend to neither be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised.

                Also, i’m considered overweight by medical standards and i blame no one but myself. I eat somewhat poorly, I play a lot of videogames, etc. I do get a lot of exercise at work, but i’m also very stressed and depressed so the exercise cancels out and i’m left with the eating and videogames. I’m overweight and its my fault. What now, fatty defense?

              • thisistobehelpful says:

                See that’s just despicable and in no way acceptable under any circumstances. It wouldn’t matter at all why you’re fat, mooing at someone is disgusting behavior. The same way calling someone names is cruel and vile. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

            • Snaptastic says:

              After living in Mississippi for several years, then moving to Colorado, I can wholeheartedly agree with this.

              Overeating and lack of physical activity are the main causes of obesity. In a small number of cases there are actual medical issues, but failing to put the fork down is NOT one of these issues–nor should it be treated as such.

            • Mr_Human says:

              You think addicts can stop acting on their addiction whenever they want? I think the opposite has been proven time and time again. Unless you’re postulating that overeaters are the one type of addict that’s the exception, which doesn’t seem likely.

              • pantheonoutcast says:

                So, the 2/3 of the American public that are overweight are so because of an “addiction”? Please. People do not need the guilt-laden PC police to make any more excuses for their irresponsibility. The vast, overwhelming majority of fat people are fat because they are gluttonous and lazy, both with food choices and exercise. Especially when it comes to teenagers. 20 years ago, kids went outside and engaged in vigorous physical activity as their primary form of entertainment. Now they sit in their rooms, play video games for 11 hours straight and suck down Mountain Dew and pizza rolls. I bet you $1000 that this kid plays at least a level 45 wizard in WOW.

                • Mr_Human says:

                  I don’t know if it’s an addiction — that was phehedra’s supposition. I was trying to expose its flaws.

            • thisistobehelpful says:

              Behind the US, France has the most McDonalds in the world. There’s even one in the Louvre. I do believe most people who are overweight or obese are mostly to blame. However we don’t live in a country that likes people to move or eat well. The shitty food is cheapest and we don’t at all support public transportation, including simple access to sidewalks, in the vast majority of the country. Even in many large cities the public transportation is still lacking to the point where citizens within city limits HAVE to drive. We have a biological drive to eat when food is available and haven’t evolved past that yet. Do some research.

              All that crap said, shoulda kept the standby person on and not the fat person. As someone who can still squeeze, and I do mean squeeze, into plane seats and is precariously aware of how horrible and possible it would be to be so fat as to not fit into them, they should have given the
              seat to the standby person. I’m tall with wide hips anyway so I freak out thinking about stuff like that. It IS completely reasonable to assume that the fat person was fat because of their own actions, whether or not they can control overeating currently doesn’t matter. Presently, it’s their own actions, in the future maybe they’ll work on that. Overall to make someone else suffer for the choices of another is just wrong.

          • wild homes loves you but chooses darkness! says:

            Your steadfast refusal to blame the OP is admirable, but your insistence on arguing about how the cause of this obesity is immaterial is simply obfuscating the point this time. Statistically, it’s a reasonable inference that if a person is overweight it’s due entirely to causes within his or her control. Holding up the discussion by pooh-poohing indelicate speech is counterproductive.

            If it’s a question of giving two seats– only one of which was paid for– to an obese individual and in the process bumping a standy passenger out of the seat he’d already been placed in, then it’s simple. Southwest was wrong, and they violated their own policies regarding overweight individuals. The 14-year old might not be at fault for being overweight– although that is the most likely situation, statistically– but ultimately the why doesn’t matter a bit.

            However, arguing about whether or not it’s usually reasonable to assign fat people the blame for being fat is a bit ridiculous, and diminishes the actual story.

        • craptastico says:

          some posters here would rather absolve everyone of their personal responsibilities than risk offending one person who has legitimate medical concerns. it’s ridiculous.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “Fat people are bad/stupid/lazy/indisciplined, or are the children of such people.”

        90% of the time, yes. Sorry, majority rules – the people with “medical conditions” are the outliers.

    • Alvis says:

      Yes. I was being serious and attacking this poor kid. That’s why I suggested he use a FLYING BICYCLE.


  5. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Something is wrong with that 14 year old’s parents.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    And what would the outrage have been if this “unaccompanied minor” didn’t arrive because there was only one seat for him on the plane?

    And for all the person calling the kid a fattie, you don’t know if he had a condition of some kind. Surging hormones can do weird things to a body, especially before puberty levels out.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      A 14-year-old isn’t an “unaccompanied minor” on Southwest. They’re considered adults, at least in terms of not needing an inflight babysitter.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Well, the spin/headlines if he did not arrive because a standby passenger was seated before him would use the fact he was a legal minor and not accompanied and the person waiting to pick him up would be waiting for hours.

        • Laura Northrup says:

          The standby passenger was seated only because the 14-year-old was late.

          • Konwashere says:

            I guess southwest doesn’t apply the policy of “You snooze, you lose”

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:


            Standby: A reservation cannot be confirmed. The traveler will be given a seat only if one becomes available after all confirmed Customers have checked in and received boarding passes for the flight…

            Doesn’t say a single thing on their website of there being a exception if someone is running late.

            • coren says:

              I’m assuming that this was a confirmed passenger who came and received a boarding pass, albeit, late.

    • Laura Northrup says:
      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I understand. But we aren’t talking about “facts” here. We are talking about how the news/blogs would treat this. We all know facts and written down policies don’t matter in those cases. It’s all about the outrage. I mean, am I right?

  7. SlappyWhite says:

    Seems like its damned if you do, damned if you dont. First they get the bad press for kicking off fat people, now they do the opposite and again, they are catching a lot of flack.

    I feel bad for Southwest, they’re in a no win situation.

    • rdm says:

      Well, they *could* just not bump people off flights regardless of size… or they *could* not bump someone for a late arriving passenger…

      • DarksSideMoon says:

        But if they didn’t bump the standby off, there would be an outrage. They really can’t win in this one.

        • Snoofin says:

          They could stop selling more seats that they have on the plane, then they would never have to keep someone off the plane. Why is this still legal? They are basically making double money on seats that are sold twice and they have to kick someone off.

          • ArcanaJ says:


          • Liam Kinkaid says:

            Actually, when they bump a customer, they’re almost certain to lose money (cash money, not travel vouchers), due to federal rules regarding involuntary bumps. If they make a deal and a customer takes it, it’s usually in vouchers, but that is a matter between the airline and the passenger choosing to relinquish his/her seat.

            Airlines would absolutely love it if every customer that purchases a ticket shows up for that flight, without exception. Because this isn’t a perfect world, they have to estimate how many won’t show. If they guess too low, they leave money on the table. If they guess too high, they lose money. Perhaps the answer is to charge a lot more for non refundable tickets, because that’s what would happen if they weren’t allowed to overbook.

            • Snoofin says:

              They get paid whether someone shows or not so they already got their money for the seat. They shouldnt need to guess how many people wont show up. Even if only one person shows up the other seats were already paid for.

              • Liam Kinkaid says:

                If a customer has a refundable ticket, they’re less likely to show because they knew their plans might change. If this customer cancels, the airline is out the entire amount on the ticket, as well as flying with an empty seat.

              • nbs2 says:

                Because the fuel and other flight logistics for a nearly empty aircraft and a full aircraft are the same?

          • Kryndar says:

            While I tend to agree with your point it is moot here. Someone was kicked off because the 14 year old needed two seats, if they had only needed one there would not have been an issue. My opinion on things like this is that if one needs two seats they should have to purchace two seats, unless the plane if not sold to capacity is which case I think they should get by with one. If someone needs two seats and only buys one I think they should be the ones who have to wait for a later flight as per policy. However until there is a clear way to tell who needs two seats, i.e. something on the website with a clear guideline and cutoff, it will always be a mess. Also I admit that there may be a guidline somewhere I am just unaware of.

  8. Tim says:

    Wait, Southwest’s policy isn’t to deny boarding to the passenger-of-size, but instead to ask for a volunteer to get off the plane?

    Uhh, I strongly disagree with that. No one should have to get off the plane if someone clearly didn’t follow the airline’s policy when buying his/her ticket. He/she should be denied boarding and asked to buy another seat for a future flight.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Also, I wasn’t allowed to get on a plane when I arrived late before. I was literally standing next to the plane with a standby passenger and they let the person on over me because they were there first. I got really pissed, but it was still my fault I was late…so I’m not sure what the proper procedure should have been. Standby person who doesn’t have seat or person who has a seat who arrives right after everyone else boards?

  9. pwillow1 says:

    The 14-year-old “passenger of size” only purchased one seat instead of two. Makes me wonder if Southwest required this late-arriving teenager to pay for the additional seat? The one that had already been sold to the standby passenger who was asked to deplane?

  10. maztec says:

    The circumstances in this case seem to warrant the decision, and the standby passenger was never guaranteed a seat in the first place. I do not see the article in this.

    • godospoons says:

      Amen, brother. Standby is standby. Plus, no one wants a 14 year old stranded in an airport.

      • Fair&Balanced says:

        But if the kid required 2 seats and only purchased one then the standby is first in line as that kid would have a standby seat for his 2nd seat he had to purchase behind the first standby.

    • katstermonster says:

      Except that, as stated in the article, it goes against Southwest’s own policies. I’m guessing that once a standby passenger has been given a boarding pass and let on the plane, he or she IS guaranteed a seat…or at least guaranteed as much as a “normal” passenger is. Plus, the 14-year-old had not bought a second seat, so why should that be guaranteed? Just some food for thought.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Standby: A reservation cannot be confirmed. The traveler will be given a seat only if one becomes available after all confirmed Customers have checked in and received boarding passes for the flight…

        So according to SWA, if a passenger shows up late, even if a standby person was allowed on the plane, they have the right to move them off.

        • SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

          By this logic a standby never has ‘ownership’ of a seat… ever. They could be on the runway and some late dude arrives in the terminal and so the plane has to turn around and kick off the standby for the late dude? There needs to be a cutoff of when passengers with tickets lose their seat privilege; SW seems to have already distinguished this cutoff at whatever point they deemed this kid not to be arriving and allowed the standby on.

          To me: showing up late enough for standbys to be given seats and have taken those seat (as they are the last ones to board) = showing up late enough for the plane to have left. The kid missed his flight, fair and square.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            No. You can’t board the plane after it has closed up in prep to head out on the runway. So as long as it is still on the gate and boarding passengers, a passenger who has paid for that flight can board it.

  11. n0th1ng says:

    The big passenger probably paid a lot more than the passenger that had the single seat. I don’t understand how people don’t get this, every flight is all about making money, they don’t care about you, it’s how much you pay.

    • Snaptastic says:

      The article pointed out that the obese individual had only one seat purchased for him/her. Given my experience in booking plane tickets at the last minute, I would bet that the standby person who bought her ticket at the last minute would have paid more.

      • jessjj347 says:

        The standby person may have had a free ticket, though. If you or your family work for the airline, you get free standby tickets.

  12. Skeptic says:

    I’ve had the opposite happen. My flight was delayed and I got the last standby seat on the next plane out. I walked up and down the isle but couldn’t find the seat. I had to ask a flight attendant for help. We finally found the seat, it was fully half filled by the enormous man sitting in the next seat with the arm rest up–and they actually expected me to sit in that seat, with the man’s gut in my lap for the whole flight!!!

    I didn’t wish to be rude but I told the flight attendant that I needed the whole seat, the seat I paid for, and got off the plane. I don’t blame the large man. I doubt very much he wishes to be that large, but I do blame Southwest for that incident.

    So, no, they don’t always enforce the two seat rule–and that is a bad thing.

  13. fosterb says:

    I don’t feel bad about this situation. I used to need two seats, and I’m glad southwest acted in the way they did because it was basically the correct thing to do. It does suck for the standby passenger, but that IS the nature of standby.

    • edrebber says:

      The passenger who was late only paid for one seat. Why does the late passenger get a free seat at the expense of a standby passenger who paid for a seat?

      • fosterb says:

        Because quite simply the other passenger has a STANDBY ticket. STANDBY being the The fact the passenger of size did not have a 2nd ticket should be irrelevant because the requirement is imposed by the airline on the ticket holder is based on subjective measures by representatives of the airline. So it’s imposed and subjective. Overall I kind of like Southwest policies on the matter but passengers of size who don’t know how to navigate the system can create problems like this through no fault of their own. It’s not always straight forward to buy a 2nd seat. For example, you can’t book online. (I only know of one major online travel agency that can do this over the phone.) You must either call the airline or have your travel agent deal with the airline. You cannot make connections between airlines. It was not unheard of for my travel agent to spend days–possibly a week or more–trying to work out my itineraries with the airlines because it can involve some back-and-forth between the airline and travel agent.

        With that said, because overflowing in to the next person’s seat is neither fun for me or the person sitting next to me I was always careful to book a 2nd seat. Glad I no longer need it, but flying with a 2nd seat was always awesome.

  14. tomcat335 says:

    RTFA: “The local woman was flying standby, paid full fare for the last available seat”. Doesn’t get more expensive than that. She should have been the one left on the plane and worse case was the large passenger should have had to wait for the next plane and buy 2 seats.

    • jenjenjen says:

      I’m guessing the reason they made the decision in this particular case was the age of the passenger. While they might not fit Southwest’s definition of an unaccompanied minor for legal purposes, this was not someone who could have purchased another seat on their own.

  15. tedyc03 says:

    The key word in this story is standby. When you fly standby, every confirmed passenger has priority over you.

  16. crb042 says:

    “… passenger who required two seats but had only purchased one. “
    That’s the part that gets me.

    If someone did not purchase the proper tickets for them to fly, why do they end up getting favorable seating over someone else?

  17. RogueWarrior65 says:

    I seriously don’t understand this. IMHO, being “overweight” is the last generally accepted form of bigotry and discrimination. In the country, we make all manner of accommodation for every other minority aspect of humanity that’s “different”, why is it that this isn’t given the same consideration? One person in among hundreds has a goddamn peanut allergy and *poof* no more peanuts. One kid in a high-school might have a latex allergy and there are signs plastered everywhere stating that fact. You don’t see movie theaters requiring really tall people to sit in the back so they won’t obstruct other peoples’ views. IMHO, the airline industry has been quietly using a shrink ray on seats and legroom for no other reason than to make money. Yeah, sure, cram an extra row of seats this year. Nobody will notice. And wait, here’s the best part, we can shove 95% of the rows closer together and sell the other rows for a higher price and called them “economy plus”. What a crock of sh*t. IMHO, the FAA should determine a better average person size and start there.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      This has absolutely nothing with legroom, but with seat width, and that hasn’t changed – it’s been 17-18 inches (depending on aircraft) for decades. 737s (all Southwest flies) have been 3×3 since they were first put into service over 40 years ago.

      Someone big enough to need two seats on a Southwest flight today would have needed two seats on a Pan Am flight in 1973.

    • edrebber says:

      The issue is a passenger is occupying a seat they didn’t pay for while a passenger who paid for a seat has to leave the plane. This has nothing to do with bigotry.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      I would imagine that it’s because the other two examples you gave are because of genetics. No one is allergic to “Not eating fast food 12 times a week.” Sure, there are large people who are large because of their genetic makeup, but the majority of fat people are fat because they eat too much and don’t exercise. People tend to be less tolerant of other people who bring misfortune upon themselves.

    • Megalomania says:

      *Peanut allergies are completely out of the control of the person who has them. I wouldn’t agree with getting rid of peanuts on planes, but I wouldn’t call it insane.
      *Latex allergies are also completely out of the control of those who have them, AND we force kids to be in school.
      *Really tall people do not get a say in the matter, and in this particular case (airplanes) they, or rather we, get screwed too. Incidentally no one will judge you if you tell the 6′ 6″ guy that he’s an asshole for sitting front and center with ramrod posture for the whole movie.

      As for your rant about how fat people are discriminated against, how would designing for an “above average” sized person help? There’s virtually no upper bound on how large someone can get. To paraphrase a quote, it would be a race between engineers building bigger and better airplanes, and the universe building bigger and better ‘fatties’.

      You might as well complain about how shoe stores don’t tend to stock above a size 13 mens and make a much better case that this discriminates against those with large feet, something that usually can’t be helped. Or you can keep spouting nonsense that willfully overlooks that the vast majority of fat people got their on their own and that an airplane has a finite amount of lift.

    • DarksSideMoon says:

      Flying costs money. An ENORMOUS amount of money. A 737 is what.. atleast 100 million? That means the airline has to make atleast 100 million after the ridiculous fuel and maintenance cost of the plane. If you want bigger seats and more legroom, airlines offer this accommodation. It’s called first class, and it’s expensive because they have to make up the lost revenue of having less seats. You can’t expect great accommodations and cheap fares.. Frankly I’m shocked airlines can pull in any money as it is.

  18. outlulz says:

    I don’t see a problem with kicking off a stand-by customer, even if it was just so a fat person could have a second seat. You’re lower on the totem pole than a person who booked a seat in advance.

    • TheGhostshark says:

      Except the fat kid didn’t pay for the second seat. They booted a paying customer for a non-paying customer, at least for that individual seat.

      • outlulz says:

        Other than what this pissed off lady says do we actually know if he only purchased one seat?

  19. PaRa02 says:

    I wonder if the stand-by passenger was Non-Rev if so This isn’t out of the norm for a non-rev to give up the seat to a paying customer.

  20. odLott says:

    It really sucks for Southwest, because in this case, they really did what they had to do. There wasn’t going to be any winner, not even the late passenger. Do you really think requiring 2 seats will do anything for his self-esteem? A lot of readers on this site keep going on about companies needing to be ***king humans. In this case, Southwest did just that.

    I understand the bumped passenger’s frustration, but was there really a reason to make a meal out of this unfortunate event? Yes, I realize I will burn in hell for that last statement.

  21. Student Boy says:

    They should have made the “passenger of size” do pushups for whatever number their seats were combined. For example, seats 21 and 22 = 43 pushups.
    Major Payne style too.
    “One tubby tubby, two tubby tubby…”

  22. edrebber says:

    Southwest should have given the standby passenger a free seat since they gave the large passenger a free seat. Why can’t we all get a free seat?

  23. HoJu says:

    So this is what we’re calling fatties now? “Passengers of size???” Please….

  24. sheriadoc says:

    If they told that standby passenger, “Hey, you’re on now, here’s your ticket,” but then reversed that action when the “passenger of size” arrived, they’re in the wrong.

  25. BrooklynKnight says:

    I’m a person of size. Someone sitting next to me without a buffer seat would be very uncomfortable. And while I wouldn’t be against asking someone to switch seats to another part of the plane so everyone involved could be more comfortable I would never in a billion years force another person off the plane just so my fat ass could get on.


    • Devil505 says:

      Yes, the 14 year-old child is a jackass for wanting to board his/her flight…good call.

  26. stock2mal says:

    You dumb bastards, the 14 year old was Augustus Gloop, on his way to see the Willy Wonka wannabe buying up all the chocolate. You don’t tell him no.

  27. GGV says:

    I don’t normally side with big corporations, but in this case, I don’t blame Southwest. I think their decision had more to do with publicity than with actual Southwest policy. They had no idea if the 14-year-old’s parents/guardians would go to the media and say, “Southwest left my _baby_ stranded in an airport!” Yes, I know he’s technically not a baby, but he is a legal minority (under 18), which is enough for the media, and bad publicity associated with a child is difficult to recover from. The bad publicity from bumping an adult in favor of a large passenger who needed an extra seat is much preferable to that from leaving a 14-year-old stranded in favor of an adult. Hopefully, they rectified the situation with the adult, but either way, I really don’t blame them for the decision they made.

  28. Mr. TheShack says:

    Ft ppl r grss. Ls sm wght.

  29. frak says:

    Why do we have to say “passenger of size”? Quit sugar-coating it. LARD ASS is the correct term.

  30. Riroon13 says:

    I guess since women, blacks, latinos, gays, and asians have made progress in society, bigots have to have somebody to be their bitch.

    Sad bunch of people in this world.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      You don’t choose to be born black, female, gay, Asian, etc.

      Being fat is almost always due DIRECTLY to personal behavior. Medical conditions that would cause a normal-weight person to balloon to the size where they’d need 2 airplane seats are EXCEEDINGLY rare. The vast majority of fat people are fat because they eat too much, plain and simple.

      I don’t hear anyone crying for sympathy for smokers dying of lung cancer, ALSO a self-imposed condition. I see obesity the same way. And before you come back with a snarky “How would you know, you’ve probably never been fat” comment, you can put that shit away. I used to have a BMI of over 40, which is technically morbidly obese. I am now a size 4. No surgery. 100% lifestyle modification. Yes, you do EAT YOUR WAY TO OBESITY.

      Someone call this guy a waaaaambulance.

  31. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    So nice to see that instead of a discussion of Southwest’s policies and the fact that they admitted to violating them everyone decided to berate a 14 year old they’ve never met because of their weight.

    Consumerist commentors…latching onto the least important fact since 2005.

  32. brinks says:

    It’s easy to understand why this woman was upset: she paid full fare, she boarded the plane, she stowed her bags, and then she was kicked off because a non-standby passenger was not only late but too large to fit into one seat. Why should someone who is overweight get a free seat? You should pay for what space you take up. Period. Especially when it means kicking someone off a plane.

    I clearly see Southwest’s side here, though. After the Kevin Smith incident, they can’t make anymore waves when it comes to overweight people…and they certainly can’t deny a seat to a CHILD. What kind of PR nightmare would that be?

    Southwest was in a no-win situation, but, if I was in that situation and had to choose, I might have to side with the kid. I mean…it’s a KID. Whether she has a medical condition or not, you know she’s got it pretty rough anyway.

  33. MakingAMillionDollars says:

    I think there are two problems here. The reality is that the Airlines have wanted to pack human beings into an airframe like they are a bunch of Sardine’s in a can. The second reality is that we are a nation of obesity. 2 facts that just don’t work together. Maybe with the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner that is built for ergonomics and comfort, everyone will have more of a chance to get a seat and be comfortable. I have been on many a flight where I have had a super fat person sit in the middle seat and as embarrassed as they were we all suffered for a 2 hour flight. You live through it but the airline should design specific seats specifically knowing there are going to be at least a couple huge people on board. Just a thought? The root cause is another topic and that is the problem we have with obesity in our country. It is directly related with skyrocketing health care costs and many other issues.

  34. common_sense84 says:

    Who determined the fat kid needed two seats?

    It makes no mention of southwest forcing this on the 14 year old, if that was the case, someone would be bitching that a 14 year was forced to buy a second seat.

    It sounds like the 14 year old pointed out that she needed two seats. Which means she purposely booked one ticket to save cash. So she lost the gamble. If you are fat and want to try to book one ticket to get the second seat for free, you should be screwed if the flight is fully booked. If you need two seats, you pay for it and book in advance so you secure those two seats.

  35. Alecto says:

    It’s one thing to talk harshly about an adult who is overweight, but this was a 14 year old. I think if I had been in Southwest’s position, I would have erred on the side of making sure an unaccompanied minor made it to his or her destination on time before a standby passenger did, regardless of circumstances. The airlines has a much higher liability with a child, and I would much rather hear about an upset standby passenger than something happening to a 14 year old because she had been forced to wait for the next flight.

    And somewhat related – Southwest will also enforce the two seat rule on pregnant women. I saw it happen the last time I flew. (And now I really hope the 14 year old wasn’t pregnant, that would make my head hurt.)

  36. scoccaro says:

    Once again its an adults fault that the kid is getting shit, since she’s 14 she couldnt take herself to the airport, so somebody had to make her late. If she had arrived on time it wouldnt be an issue.

  37. Sparty999 says:

    I’ve never needed to get two seats… I’m a big guy… (6’5″ 240 lbs) not fat, and there have been a couple airlines that seats have been really tight and uncomfortable. The key word here is “standby”… too bad they made it onto the plane, but you gotta take care of the people who pre-booked first. I KNOW I would be pissed to come that close, but oh well!!

  38. NumberSix says:

    Just say “Fat”.

  39. teke367 says:

    Ugh, well, this was lose-lose I suppose. And while it was against Southwest policy, I definitely understand them trying to limit the embarrassment to a 14 year old. Regardless on your thoughts of obesity, it sure as hell wasn’t for Southwest attendants to lecture.

    But I don’t think they only boarded the petite woman because the girl was late, it says the small woman bought the last open seat, if they were giving the big girl’s seat away, there should have been two, right?

  40. dennis says:

    It is getting hard to tell consumerist commenters from new york post commenters. Sad. Sad. Sad.

  41. FushandChups says:

    Haha, this cracks me up lol. i would’ve told the kids he exceeds the weight allowance and to go get a bike and bike there could be worth the exercise.