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An Unfortunate Event

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We have seen several blog posts regarding a recent trip taken by one of our Southwest Customers who was asked to purchase an additional ticket in Phoenix for his return flight to Sacramento because he required more than one seat. The blog posts associated with this situation are very emotional. Unfortunately, however, some of the online postings have contained inaccuracies which have led to misunderstandings about Southwest Airline's Customer of size policy. In a nutshell, Southwest Customers who occupy more than a single seat are asked proactively to book and purchase the number of seats they need as a means of notifying our Company of a unique seating need. For accurate and complete information about this policy that aims to ensure the comfort and Safety of all Customers, we invite you to click here.)   We regret that this unfortunate situation occurred, and we are in the process of expressing our regret to this Customer and his family. Out of regard for their privacy, we can't comment on the specifics of the circumstances in a public forum like this blog. But I hope you realize that, as a Company which has a longstanding reputation for compassion, we are always striving to do the right thing.
64 Comments
Matthew_Skok
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Was a blog post really needed to point this out? It's been enough bad PR for Southwest already, why call attention to it on a blog full of Southwest junkies where 95% could recite the entire Contract of Carriage word-for-word from memory anyways? I know I can.
BA2
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As a "customer of size" myself, I've always appreciated Southwest's upfront approach to the subject. I know that space on airplanes is incredibly scarce, and while I'd love to see all airlines increase the amount of room every passenger gets, reality is reality and we all have to deal with what we've got. In the case of larger passengers, it means two seats. However, Southwest, by far, has the best policy of any airline regarding the subject. And unfortunately, they've been punished in the press as a result of their straightforward approach. But for me, if other airlines would be as honest and up-front about their policy (all airlines require larger passengers to buy two seats; only Southwest makes their policy public) flying would be a much easier process for me. I haven't even mentioned the fact that only Southwest will refund the cost of the second seat if the flight is not overbooked. In my experience, that's been the case every single time I've flown Southwest. No other airline will extend the same consideration. Long story short -- Southwest is the friend of large travelers, not the enemy. It's unfortunate that they get beaten up for being the only honest ones in the bunch.
Ewan_Spence
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Yes it was - whren a company blogging points out the bad things written about it (from a PR point of view) then I actually have a bit more respect about the blog, the writer, and the company behind it. I would personally have went further and linked to the source articles instead of leaving it to Google (other search engines are available) but this is actually an important point of principle. The blog talks about daily issues. This is a daily issue. It was blogged. +1 credibility for blogsouthwest.com in my book.
Jim13
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I disagree Mathew - what better place for SWA to point it out than on their own blog? Southwest has a company culture that allows it to have rational discussions about the good, the bad, and the ugly - see the thread on the summer schedule being released late for a most recent example. Customers are upset and Southwest lets them speak their mind. In a nutshell - a man needed a liver transplant, flew SWA from Sacramento to Phoenix to the Mayo clinic, where he was told he couldn't get his liver and Mayo referred him back to the University of San Francisco. So he tried to take the next flight back to Sacramento. At this point, he was informed of the COS (customer of size) policy and asked to purchase a second ticket. Here's where everything starts to fall apart. Allegedly (that would be a bold italic "Allegedly") the man informed the gate agent that he was going for a liver transplant and didn't have enough money for the second fare. He even showed (again, allegedly) medical documentation to support his case. Now - think of all the people you know at Southwest and the corporate culture they have. Can anybody think of any single gate agent who wouldn't waive that rule in a heartbeat if every aspect of his story was true? Can you imagine anybody at Southwest hearing, "I've got to get to Oakland today for an organ transplant" and asking the person to fork over more money? Nope - it didn't happen that way, just not possible from Southwest. Look at the title of the blog post that started everything - "Southwest Nearly Lets Liver Transplant Patient Die Because He Wouldn't Buy 2nd Ticket" - you can read the entire thing at http://consumerist.com/consumer/complaints/southwest-nearly-lets-liver-transplant-patient-die-because-he-wouldnt-buy-2nd-ticket-231104.php - but the 'story' doesn't pass the smell test. Digg picked it up, you can read more here - http://digg.com/business_finance/Southwest_Airlines_Nearly_Lets_Liver_Transplant_Patient_Die And flyertalk.com has a few posts - http://flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=651852 And it will probably make Today In The Sky sometime this morning - http://blogs.usatoday.com/sky/ In summation - there's no way that gate agents, supervisors and customer service all told a dying man "No, since you are a COS, you can't board until you buy your second ticket" when informed of the situation.
Anonymous4371
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From reading lots of posts and lots of versions of the alleged story, I would have to say there is a good chance this "story" is a partial, or even total, fabrication. First, it began on a "blog" with a very specific special interest. Second, it has been picked up by several other blogs, one of which has a record of its last six "front page" stories being proven false. Third, there are numerous facets of the story that just don't add up. They are inconsisent with medical/transplant practices, Southwest policies, and plain old common sense. I think we need to be very leary of this kind of reporting.
Francisco_Delga1
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I think it is to easy to blame Southwest Airlines for someone else's choice of lifestyle. It is like blamming Mcdonalds for being fat. I think Southwest is more then fair with its policy.
Dave511
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if you look at the screenshot of the booking, you'd notice that they did *indeed* have a discount fair on their return leg of their trip. So the claim that they weren't offered a discount ticket is a LIE!
Angel_H_
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Thank you all for reassuring words, Southwest employees/cronies.
FriendofBlogBoy
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I agree with several of the postings above -- the story that I'm seeing presented is simply NOT consistent with the behavior of Southwest Employees. Sure, out of 32,000 folks, there could be a few who were having a bad day, but refusing passage to anyone in this sort of scenario just doesn't seem likely. Chalk up one more attempt at creating an "urban legend" about the evil corporate giant that is staffed by cruel and unfeeling people. Kim
JoLyne
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I have very PERSONAL knowledge of end stage Hep-C and liver transplants. Something about the way this story has been reported does not sound accurate to me. I wish the passenger all the best and hope he was successful in being one of the lucky few to receive an organ transplant. It is a precious gift! Share Life ~ Be an Organ Donor
FEC
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Southwest's handing of this situation is unconscionable. Beacuse of your so-called "customer of size" policy, I have NEVER and will NEVER fly your airline, and I do travel several times a year by air for business and pleasure. In addition whenevr anyone brings up Southwest in a conversation, I discourage them from flying your airline. I know of no other airline in the US or abroad that requires a person to purchase a second seat based on lower-body size, and I have traveled with many, many airlines in the U.S. and abroad over a 35 year period. It is clear that your policy is targeted against obese or overweight flyers not "customers of size" as the policy does not require a person with broad shoulders that extend into the next seat to purchase a second seat. How exactly does this person "adjust their upper body" for several hours not to extend into the adjacent seat? Shame on you.
Matt
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This is in response to FEC...it is unfair for a passenger to take up part of another customer's seat. I have personally been the person in the middle seat next to somebody that is overweight and I had to have their girth touching me the entire flight (this was not on Southwest) and it was unpleasant. Not only is it about comfort, it is about safety. The armrests need to be down for take-off and landing. The "COS" policy applies to those passengers who cannot lower the armrest completely. I have never seen somebody with shoulders so broad that they would have invaded another customer's seat area. Also, Southwest will refund the cost of the extra seat ticket purchse (usually a very discounted fare itself) if the flight is not full. I think SWA does a pretty darn fair job. We flight attendants go to great lengths to be discreet about seat belt extenders and COS "seat reserved" documents. I hope you reconsider your decision to fly with SWA.
AR1
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I used to fly Southwest all the time. I no longer do. I have always been a big girl and although I never encountered a problem with any of my flights, who knows when I will come across that one agent who decides I'm too fat to fly? I refuse to risk the humiliation. Secondly, I once flew a Southwest flight that was so unbelievable uncomfortable. Why? Because the man seated next to me was WIDE. Not fat. He was very tall and his bone structure made him a very wide man. Wide hips and wide shoulders. I spent the whole flight with the upper part of my torso hanging out into the aisle. Southwest never would have asked that man to buy two seats. The policy is discriminatory. I didn't even know about the policy until a couple of years ago when a lot of stories came about because of "unfortunate incidents" caused by the policy itself. Since then, I haven't flown Southwest and I never will again.
Drew1
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AR, You can avoid the humiliation by being proactive by purchasing two seats upfront. If the flight ends up not being full, you will get a refund for that second seat, same as if a gate agent had asked you to purchase a second seat.
Kathy_Gloria
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SEC, Other major carriers do indeed have Customer of size policies. In fact, I noticed recently that a number of carriers besides Southwest have incorporated these seating policies into their Contracts of Carriage. You see, the Department of Transportation requires that air carriers comply with the terms of the Air Carrier Access Act, which is implemented with the regulations of 14CFR Part 382. These regulations state that the purchase of a single ticket offers the use of a single seat. SouthwestÃ
Micah1
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Sometimes the media does get on my nerves. They choose whom they will support and whom they will tear down. I'm sure other airlines have done things worse than this, but no one looks. Everyone expects dreadful service from them. When Southwest does something questionable, everyone looks. When Southwest does something extraordinary, no one looks. They expect the best service from Southwest (According to the Department of Transportation, Southwest has the fewest customer complaints and highest satisfaction scores.). I remember reading a comment on this blog by a former Southwest Airlines employee saying that she held the last flight from Dallas to Houston for an hour and a half for a customer with a heart transplant. Hey, Brian Lusk, why don't you have a post where you ask everyone to tell a story about Southwest? That would be refreshing.
Anonymous4371
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I think it is worth noting that this story, more than a week after it's original "reporting," has not been reported by ANY professional news outlet. It has spread only to a few blogs, all known for sensationalism and negative bias about just about everyone. We might never know the exact "facts," but it is clear that it has been exaggerated beyond belief.
Drew1
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Consumerist now reports that the second seat charge has been refunded (per policy; nothing exciting there) and the gentleman was given an apology and four vouchers for future travel.
customer_of_siz
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I am a customer of size and I totally agree with southwest's cos policy. Most of the other airlines I have flown with have been less than helpful and forthcoming with their policies and procedures but they all have a cos policy. Southwest is the only airline that will refund me for the extra seat if the flight isn't overbooked (I've never been on a flight that was overbooked) Let me just say that I will continue to fly southwest because it isn't their fault that I am over weight. If the person next to me can't be comfortable with me in one seat I will gladly purchase two for the saftey and comfort of the other passengers.
Justin3
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First, let me start by stating that I'm a huge Southwest fan. Er... poor choice of words. I mean that I really, really appreciate SWA. In fact (insert shameless self-promotion here), I just finished a post on my own blog about that very fact (justinstanley.net). Anyway, the point is that I'm not exactly unbiased in my opinions. That said, though (and regardless of the credibility of the story that sparked this whole discussion), I think that a couple of people here have valid points about the discriminatory part of this policy. I do think that, if you essentially take over two seats, you should be required to purchase a second one. I also think that Southwest's policy to refund that second seat if the plane isn't over-booked is commendable. However, I also think that the policy SHOULD apply to the wide passengers described in earlier comments as well as to the overweight. Imagine having to sit next to a linebacker whose wide shoulders make your flight difficult. Aren't they also occupying two seats? Of course, the wording of the policy would have to change slightly. If, as someone else mentioned, the policy currently says that you just have to be able to lower the armrests, then the wide-shouldered are probably ok. A better, fairer method would be to state that you must be a certain width at your widest point. Problem there, of course, is that you'd have flight attendants measuring people, and I think that would produce for more embarrassing moments...
Carol4
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So if Southwest's COS policy is so compassionate and right - why isn't it possible to purchase the 2 seats for one person right on the webpage?
Leticia_Howard
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As a customer of size myself, I see nothing wrong with the policy. It's not the airline's fault that I'm obese. If 99% of the people in America can fit in the seats and I can't that just proves that I need to lose some weight or pay extra for it. It's pretty good motivation to lose some lbs don't ya think? -Leticia
Jeramy_Brian1
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Carol, It is possible to purchase the two seats on southwest.com. All you have to do is input your first and last name as the first passenger and your first initial and last name as the second passenger. Then, after you get back from your trip, you can call customer relations at 214 792 4223 and request a refund on the 2nd seat (if the flight wasn't overbooked) It's a very easy process.
Frank4
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I am a COS and refuse to fly with anyone but Southwest. The policy is fair and honest. It allows me to pre-board the aircraft (no standing in line, choice of seats, first on/first off etc..) and I have a seat next to me to put my laptop or other devices on during flight. Regarding some other posts above, believe me I don't like my "girth" touching anyone else either. It can be just as miserable for me as well. I have never been denied a refund on my second seat and I fly SW about 4 times a year. I tell people that the COS policy is the best kept secret in the airline industry.
BA2
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Carol: In addition to what Jeramy said above, Southwest also gives instructions on how to do just that -- all you have to do is search. http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/cos_guidelines.html
Carol4
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Thanks for the info on how to buy the second seat online. I'll try it the next time I fly (in March). I would like to see Southwest put this info right next to the policy info. If one wants people to comply with a policy, one shouldn't make it difficult to do so. It's the willy-nilly nature of the enforcement of the policy that I find repugnant. This is all so unlike the usual way that Southwest does business. I, like every other large size person I've ever met, HAVE tried to "lose some pounds", over and over and over and over and over and over again. Nobody needs to be told; we all know our size. I, for one, just want to be treated reasonably respecfully by the companies who sell me products and services. I work hard, pay taxes, obey laws, behave decently - I have earned the right to be treated with a minimum level of respect.
Merrial
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If the COS policy were enforced uniformly, and not left to the capricious judgment of individual gate and ticketing agents who bring their own issues and prejudices into the matter, then I could agree that it was fair. Unfortunately, we have seen -- and Southwest has been subject to several lawsuits -- that the policy is not enforced uniformly. Some agents put people under scrutiny and into the armrest test who would not be questioned by other agents. The policy cannot be considered fair and evenhanded when it relies upon individual judgment -- not to mention an embarrassing public "test" -- in order to be enforced. And in this story, we have an example of the other and even more serious issue with the policy, and the problem that many people have encountered and what many consumer advocacy and size acceptance organizations have strongly decried: a passenger who was not made to buy a second seat on the first leg of his flight was told that he must buy a second seat for his return flight or be left stranded. This has happened before, on a number of occasions. Now, in this case, this man may have actually become significantly larger, thanks to the fluid he was retaining, between his first flight and the second, but this is a rare case. Very few people are going to gain the inches of girth required to go from fitting in a seat to not fitting in a seat in the span of a few days' vacation or business trip. But that's what they've been told, and it's led to some very nasty confrontations because SWA employees immediately cleave to the policy despite the illogic of it. There are solutions that would enable this policy to be fairly applied, but SWA has rejected them. There are solutions that would stop the practice of leaving people forced to buy second seats for their return flights or be stranded, but SWA won't hear them. The airline is losing business over this matter, and will continue to face lawsuits over this matter, until they recognize that as it stands, they have and will continue to treat people very unfairly in the name of "fairness."
Drew1
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Merrial, Perhaps you can share these rejected solutions?
only_me
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seems like most of the COS people know they are large...but there seems to be those few on here particularly-who are in DENIAL of their size. if you are Big, buy an extra seat. there is realy no one to blame but yourself. i don't care if you pay taxes, law abiding, etc etc etc....i have had to sit next to the smelliest, most disgusting man ive ever come across.....he should have paid for 2 seats! i was wearing shorts. his fat was up next to my thigh, and made my leg all sweaty. IT WAS GROSS! why should i have to endure that? because you don't want your little feelings hurt? I appreciate the people who do not deny they are who they are...you are taking pro active steps...but to those who demand "respect" ...give a little back to your fellow passengers. if you are a "big" girl or guy, buy your seat. save YOURSELF the embarassment. don't blame others. and if you have gotten away in the past with only buying one seat, you were lucky. put yourself in other peoples shoes. how hard that must be to go up to an overweight person and ask them to purchase another seat. one would think they should already know. don't want to be embarassed? buy your second seat in advance or lose some weight.
Scott5
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Matthew, because other blogs are killing this airline it is appropriate for their to be a thread on this subject in response. I sincerely hope that if a organ tranplant patient of size can't afford his second and the flight CLEARLY isn't full that they would find a way to waive procedure since he would be refunded his second seat anyway. Kathy's post is important in explaning how/why Southwest developed the policy.
only_me
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I went to the above mentioned website to view the info myself. i had not heard about all of this stuff....then, when i tried to leave a comment and defend my beloved company....the following is what i got You appear to be a new user. We only allow in a commenter if the debut contribution is interesting, substantial or highly amusing. Polish up your words and confirm your password, above. Your comment will only appear once (or if) you're added to the membership list. i cut/pasted this straight from the website...it says "polish up your words" i don't know of any blogs that make you "edit" unless you have vulgar words or something along those lines. notice the "highly amusing" as well.... this is just a giant hoax i think...at the expense of SWA. 😞
AR1
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I hear a lot of comments saying "no one to blame but yourself. You're fat, you're gross, you're smelly and I shouldn't have to sit next to you." These diatribes come from ignorance and hate. I'm not going to buy two seats so that a bigot can feel better. I have sat next to some very objectionable people who were not fat. They didn't have to buy two seats. I had to have an uncomfortable flight. This is all just ridiculous. It's about greed. The airlines make the seats as small as possible to fit in more people...hence more money. Not everyone has the money to buy two seats so the airlines are are making it impossible for some people to fly while allowing others. That's discrimination. I don't care about the opinions of a few ignorant people who think that all fat people are gluttonous, over-eating, disgusting pigs who need to "lose the pounds." The fact that they think in such generalizing terms says much more about them than it does about any fat person they enjoy hating so much. Southwest is losing my money and many others as well. It probably won't hurt them, but it just might. And perhaps, someday, they will understand what it is they're doing.
only_me
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AR, I'm sorry you feel that way. SWA is not the only airlines with this policy. in fact, i think we are the only one that will give a refund if the plane does not sell out. I don't think i'm ignorant, nor do i hate overweight people. however, i don't want to sit next to someone who is taking up part of my seat. some people are rude and hateful. but to say an airline and it's people are wrong for trying to make the majority of it's customers comfortable i think is just wrong on your part. we are all entitled to our opinions. our fares are very reasonable. most people can afford the second seat...at a very nice discount rate....(i believe) and most are refunded. so there should be no problem. all airlines do it...we are just a little more friendly about it. i'm sorry you choose not to do business with us, and that's your choice. we have a great airline, and great people with an excellence in safety. i don't feel it's discrimination. they won't let me fly the plane...is that a discrimination. i don't know how to fly it...but i want to. rules are rules, and for safety reasons. it's for everyones benefit. i'm sure SWA is not making money off of a reduced rate 2nd seat the most of the time is refunded. and the seats on planes certainly have not been reduced in size. for any business to make money, they have to get the most out of what they can. in fact, selling a 2nd seat at a discount rate, and then most likely refunding it....wouldn't that be costing the company money? that's my math....of course we would much rather have a full fare in that seat...but not at the expense of others. i am not speaking on behalf of the company, i am only voicing my personal opinion. i have had the misfortune of sitting next to a very large man on a flight coming back from vegas. I fly free...had i purchased that seat, i would have been Mad! I was wearing shorts....i got up, went to the lav, and returned, he raised the armrests so he could be more comfortable. his girth (putting it nicely meaning his fat) flowed over into my seat...touching my skin, making my thighs all sweaty. that was gross! did i deserve that? no! and neither does anyone else. he fit in one seat...barely. but as soon as he had the opprotunity, he was raising that armrest so he could breathe. it was disgusting. had i been a paying customer, i would have spoken up! just as anyone should if something is not right...we are here to serve our customers as best we can with safety always in front. please don't blame boeing for the size of the airplanes. sometimes responsibilty has to lie where it should. happy flying, book your 2nd seat in advance, then get your refund possibly. then you have all the room you need. what a great policy. flying first class on other airlines..yea, wider seats...but at what cost?
Mark_N_
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To AR, I respectfully suggest you are way off the mark. While it's not nice to call an overweight person gross or smelly, people who are significantly overweight need to face reality when traveling. The seats are the size they are because most people, nearly everyone in fact, can fit into them. People who are too overweight to fit properly in one seat need a second seat. That is reasonable for everyone involved--the overweight flyer, the average weight flyer, and the airline. It is just as unfair for a thin person to be crowded by the girth of an obese person as it is for overweight people to be crammed uncomfortably into a seat that is too small. Furthermore, why should the airline lose valuable revenue because a tiny subset of its passenger base is too large to fit the seats? It's not about greed; it's just fair and reasonable business. There is nothing wrong with an airline making money. I hope Southwest continues to do so, so I may continue to benefit from their low fares and excellent service. And most of all, you need to realize that someone like me is not a bigot, a hater, or ignorant because I believe an overweight person who needs two seats is not being discriminated against when asked to purchase two seats. I suggest saving terms like "bigot" and "discrimination" for the times in our imperfect society when these things actually occur.
Anonymous4371
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AR, I really love it when people have such absolute, righteous indignation. But you miss some important points. Many more people fit into airlines seat than do not. So the MAJORITY of people do not need to buy a second seat. The goal of Southwest's policy, and the similar policies or all other airlines, is that no one person must sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of another. There is no discrimination in that goal. In fact, not having such a policy would be the ultimate discrimination. Like any other company, airlines are selling a product. The units that product is measured in are seats. If you use more of the product, you have to pay more. That is infinitely fair, and is not in any way discrimination. If a person goes to a restaurant and it takes two meals to fill them up, they don't pay the same as someone who only ate one meal. It has nothing to do with race, creed, color, sex, religion, or size. People pay based on now much of the product they consume. Nothing more. If Southwest is so greedy, why are they the only airline that willingly offers a refund for the second seat if the flight is not full. Southwest does not expect you to pay for the extra product unless they could have legitimately sold it to someone else. Southwest's seats are designed to fit six across just like they have been for 35 years or so, and their seat pitch (front to back spacing) is wider than most coach seating. You are correct that not everyone can afford to fly ... one seat or two. But millions more people can afford to fly today because of the low-cost business model that Southwest pioneered more than 35 years ago. Finally, I am sure that some people have biases against large people. But their biases and subsequent anger and generalizations are no more distasteful than yours.
Anonymous4371
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Merrial, You and others have called Southwest's application of their policy "willy-nilly" and "capricious" and have implied there are better ways to enforce the policy. So ... what are they? People often take exception to the fact that a person flies one leg of a flight without being asked and then IS asked on another leg. There is at least one simple explanation for such instances. If it is clear that a flight WILL NOT be full, the ticket agent or gate agent is not going to subject themselves or the passenger to the embarrassment of asking them to buy another seat. But it is quite possible the next flight could be grossly over-sold. That is not "willy-nilly" or "capricious," it is common sense. I suppose Southwest could take the "TSA" approach and force all passengers to go through a "size evaluation." That would waste time and force fares up. The only sure-fire solution is for each person to "realistically" evaluate whether or not they need a second seat to be comfortable and to respect the rights of others. If you can't fit in one seat, and you can't or don't want to pay for a second one, the responsible choice is not to fly. If people are not willing to "self-evaluate" Southwest has no choice but to enforce the policy as fairly and discretely as possible. As for smelly people ... I remember one episode of "Airline" when the Southwest Gate Agent had to ask a person ... a very skinny person ... to wash and change clothes before boarding the flight. She did it discretely and even provided the passenger with some fresh clothes, but I am sure it was equally embarrassing for both of them. BUT ... it was the right thing to do to respect the rights of everyone.
nsx1
New Arrival
Why does Southwest have this policy on Customers of Size? It's simple. They get something like 10 as many complaint letters from people who sat next to Customers of Size as they get from the Customers of Size who are charged for the second seat. Southwest exists to serve ALL its customers, not just the larger ones. The 98%+ of customers who occupy only one seat expect to have full use of the seat they pay for. In my experience in over 400 flights as a customer, less than 2% of passengers, and probably less than 1%, require a second seat. It makes no business sense to incur huge costs to resize seats for such a small percentage of passengers when Southwest's current policy lets everyone travel in comfort. Furthermore, Southwest absorbs the extra cost in almost all cases. People have posted at flyertalk that they have paid for the extra seat hundreds of times and never failed to get a refund. This policy is clearly losing money for Southwest due to the expenditure of employee time and processing costs. Southwest may be alone in making its policy public, but other airlines have similar policies. They have to. The difference with Southwest is that you will get a refund almost every time. With the other airlines, you won't have to buy the second seat but you can be kicked off the flight if it's full. Some larger folks believe that flying another airline will spare them from having their feelings hurt by being asked to buy a second seat when the flight is not full. That's understandable, but buying a second seat certainly beats being KICKED OFF THE FLIGHT by another airline because the flight is full and you don't fit in one seat. Booking one seat when you need two is like going to a catered event with 137 people invited and eating two of the 137 meals. If everybody shows up, someone is not going to get a meal. Reserving one and consuming two is therefore inconsiderate. People need to be mature and accept responsibility for mitigating the consequences of their limitations. Accordingly, Southwest asks Customers of Size to pro-actively purchase the second seat, ensuring that everyone will have a place to sit and nobody will be left behind. Southwest's policy is completely reasonable and quite generous. Swallow your pride and be a good neighbor. Chances are that it won't even cost you any money.
Barbi
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While people who hang over their seat may need to be charged for 2 seats, let's not stop the making everyone comfortable at that! In fact, if you are traveling with small children, you should also have to purchase the row in front of you because nothing is worse than sitting on a plane and having someone's kid repeatedly kick the back of your seat, poke you in the head, climb under your seat and disturb your flight! I mean, after all, it's all about the comfort of the other passengers right? Having children is a choice and if you don't like it, either don't fly or don't have kids. (Sorry, not anti-kid, just making a point here.) AR, You're absolutely right, you shouldn't have someone's fat hanging over on you. Nor should you have to deal with sitting next to someone who isn't your race, religion, etc. Get over yourself. Many many times, obesity isn't a 'CHOICE'. Most people who are morbidly obese (those mostly affected by this rule) can't just decide to "lose weight". They are the blessed ones though, it is the closed minded little people like you who I truly pity.
Barbi
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In my last post I said "AR" and realized my mistake after hitting send. I meant to address that particular section to "only me"
Barbi
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I was so irritated by other people's comments about obesity that I forgot the original reason I logged on to this blog. I agree with the policy, however, I would like to see it prominently posted somewhere the number of inches wide for uniformity. (ie: if you are wider than x inches at shoulder or hip, you will be required to purchase a second seat.) This would also prevent discrimination.
Anonymous4371
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The basic issue is personal responsibility ... whether it is for your weight or your kids. Regardless of why you are a "person of size," you are who you are, and you should act responsibly and be considerate of others. Same with kids. If you're a parent and want to fly with your kids, they're your responsibility, and you should control their behavior or not fly. The recent AirTrans incident is a good example of that. At first, the parents wanted to somehow blame AirTrans and maybe sue, but public opinion has come down HARD on the side of the airlines. Airlines are not babysitters, and they should not inconvenience 120 other passengers because parents can't control their child.
Fr__Kelly
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My comment is not about the COS incident, but I thought I would post my experience as an example of the good job Southwest's employees do in their job of helping us get around the country. Yesterday, as I and some 30+ other passengers were sitting onboard flight 1932 from Midway to Omaha listening to the flight attendants were going through the safety instructions, the Oxygen masks suddenly dropped down from the ceiling. The flight attendant apologised and with characteristic good humour, said, "I'm pretty sure oxygen is flowing from the masks, but please don't pull them toward you." It got a good laugh and then he asked us to please clear the plane so that the maintenance crew could come aboard to try and fix the problem. All the Southwest personnel were very apologetic and extremely helpful. We went back into the terminal and waited in the gate until, after a surprisingly short wait, the gate attendant announced that we would be changing planes, since the maintenance crew was not able to clear the situation right away. We then had to go back on board to get our belongings and then move down to the next gate where they bought our new plane in a remarkably short time. We took off about 90 minutes late, but made up some of that time inflight so we arrived only about an hour late. I had noticed that Southwest had another flight to Omaha 2 1/2 hours later, and they could have put us aboard that plane, but instead, they went the extra mile and arranged for the replacement plane. My heartfelt thanks to Southwest and to their Chicago-based flight crew for their prompt, efficient, and cheerful handling of this situation. Sometimes one can learn more about people by the way they handle adversity, than if nothing untoward ever happens. Kudos to the crew of Flight 1932, and to Southwest! This was my first trip on southwest, bu it will most definitely not be my last!
only_me
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Barbi, I happen to be an overweight person myself. i do not require a second seat however. if i did, i'd certainly make sure i purchased one. as for your rude and rediculous comment about race!!! this has NOTHING
only_me
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to do with race or religion etc....i don't need to get over myself. i have said nothing out of place here. i don't need your pity. perhaps you are just unhappy with yourself and are looking for someone to lash out at. i don't know. and as far as morbid obesity goes...i don't see too many of morbid obese people walking around the airport. the point of all of this is to be responsible. don't blame a company for your size. that's all. there is nothing wrong for asking people to be responsible...whether you are a parent flying with kids...in which i just did this past weekend....3 kids. i am being responsible. i make sure i book my flights at right times for nap schedules, bring along snacks, books etc to take care of them. I'M RESPONSIBLE.
only_me
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p.s.s. sometimes overweight people are gross and smelly. sometimes skinny people are too. i DID not say ALL overweight people smell or are gross.
Barbi
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Only Me, I don't intend for this thread to become a debate between you and me, however, I did feel the need to point out a few things. "i donÃ
Matthew_Skok
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Matthew, because other blogs are killing this airline it is appropriate for their to be a thread on this subject in response. I sincerely hope that if a organ tranplant patient of size canÃ
only_me
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I don't think that rather tall man took up another seat. i'm sure his legs did not hang over to the row in front of him....and if that was the case, he too, should buy another seat. i'm a short person, if i'm seated in an exit row, and a tall person wants my seat for extra leg room....i am more than willing to give it up. it's common common courtesy. a seat is a seat. they all get to the destination at the same time. so i don't mind where i sit. i want my seat...and every bit of MY seat. i don't need any part of anyone elses. Happy traveling
Catherine1
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This is not specific to the sick fellow (who was lucky enough to have a SW employee pay for his ticket) but on the issue of seats in general. People should pay for the space they use. Period. It amazes me that some folks seem to think it's their "right" to take up half my seat just because they're large. I have no judgments against people for their weight, however if I pay for a seat, I expect to be able to use it. If someone wants to use more than one seat, they should pay for it. I think the fact that Southwest refunds folks who use two seats when the airline is not booked is more than generous.
Dwayne
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I'm wondering if there are also restrictions to COS choosing to sit in an emergency exit. Are they going to fit through the opening? I know for the FAA to certify an aircraft as "airworthy" the airframe must undergo ground evacuation tests using all emergency exits within a matter of a few seconds. It seeems to me that a COS occupying an emergency exit may render the exit inoperable. I'm not a Southwest employee (yet) but I realize this is probably the most uncomforable issue a customer service agent (and customer) may face. Dwayne