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My Conversation with Kevin Smith

LindaRutherford
Employee
Employee

I had the chance this afternoon to speak directly with director Kevin Smith. I let him know that in my 18 years here at Southwest, I have never dealt with a situation like what has been unfolding in the last 48 hours. I let Kevin know we have refunded his airfare. I told him we made a mistake in trying to board him as a standby passenger and then remove him. And I told him we were sorry.

 

 

Now, 48 hours later, after talking to many involved, we know there were several things going on that day and that our Employees were doing their best to get his flight out safely and on time, including finding seats for everyone and trying to accommodate standby passengers. The Captain did not single Kevin out to be removed, but he did ask that the boarding be completed quickly. At that time, our Employees made the decision to remove Kevin after a quick judgment call that he might have needed more than one seat for his comfort and those seated next to him. 

 

 

Although I’m not here to debate the decision our Employees made, I can tell you that I for one have learned a lot today. The communication among our Employees was not as sharp as it should have been and, it’s apparent that Southwest could have handled this situation differently. Thanks, Kevin, for your passion around this topic. You were a reasonable guy during our conversation.

 

 

Southwest, like most carriers, has a policy to assist passengers who need two seats onboard an aircraft. The policy is an important one for the comfort and safety of all passengers aboard a plane, and we stand by that 25-year-old policy. This has our attention, and we will be reviewing how and when this delicate policy is implemented.

1,804 Comments
shamrockgal
Not applicable
Having been on both sides of this situation, I agree it is a very delicate one at best. I used to fly SWA as a business passenger. There were several times when someone seated next to me "infringed" on my "space". After a 3 hour flight, my back was sore! Just because the armrests can be lowered (sometimes not even all of the way) does not mean that the person next to me "fits comfortably into their seat". They may have very broad shoulders, or lean over the armrests into my "space". Now, as a flight attendant for SWA, I am on the other side of the coin, so to speak. I don't like addressing this issue, or others, like a child that will not stay in a seatbelt, etc. The flight attendants are onboard for the SAFETY of EVERYONE on that plane. It is a judgement call, and everyone may not agree with it. You should rely on our experience and not question it. We are trained to make sure that the safety of everyone onboard is of the utmost importance. I feel that we provide outrageous customer service and I always strive to do that. Why doesn't the FAA get involved - it IS a safety issue. If there is an emergency evacuation, the person seated by the window may have a difficult time exiting that row, as well as the person that had to lower the armrests to "fit" into that middle seat. Everyone seems very quick to criticize but not provide a solution. How can this "policy" be remedied to the satisfaction of EVERY passenger? This sure would make my job easier! EVERY passenger matters, and we can not exclude the safety and comfort of some for others. I have faith in SWA and I am sure that they would be receptive to prospective solutions. NO ONE at corporate headquarters had anything to do with my post. These are strictly my personal opinions. Proud to be a SWA Flight Attendant and Employee
Anonymous412
Not applicable
Seems like a good policy to me. If they had allowed him to stay on, the plane would have just flown in circles because it would have been leaning to one side the whole time.
Brian_xxxxxx
Not applicable
I am speaking for the average size man that sometimes has to sit next to an oversize person that makes me very uncomfortable also with my shoulders pulled in and can barely pickup my drink to enjoy it. I know that the oversize person is most likely uncomfortable to..but until seats become bigger or people decided to stop knowing when to say" I am full no thanks" then we just have to deal with the saying "you need to purchase a second seat or may I get you another jelly donut". Grow up Mr. Kevin Smith.
Anonymous2333
Not applicable
Linda, I was hoping after reading your response I would be proud of the way Southwest handled this opportunity, and YES this is an opportunity, unfortunately that is not the case. First, the statement about never having dealt with a situation like this in 18 years is vague and irrelevant. Is it that you have never had customer service problems in 18 years or that those problems have never been with someone who had a platform? It doesn't instill the confidence that I, as a customer, should have in a person in your position within a company who touts customer service as what sets them apart from the competition. This situation should be handled like every customer service complaint, because every customer counts not just the famous ones. You should investigate find all the facts and post the findings and communicate how Southwest is a better company for it. I beg you not to succumb to the legal department or the unions on this. This opportunity is worth tens of millions in marketing publicity. As for the opportunity at hand, it is obvious to me after reading the tweets, the blogs and listening to the "SMODCAST" that Mr. Smith was not handled per company policy. As much as the Lawyers frown upon admitting guilt that is exactly what must be done. I love Southwest but when you screw up, you have to own up to it. This has received national attention someone is going to get to the bottom of this and it should be Southwest! In all my years of flying I have never seen a gate attendant handle an issue on the plane, just looking at the time line it is apparent that she made the decision to pull him before he ever sat down. I would try and find the employee who asked Mr. Smith if he was a nonrevenue passenger. This employee was probably flying fourth jump seat and thought he had a seat until Mr. Smith arrived. At no point should any employee on the plane ever ask if a passenger is nonrevenue. Once they hit the jet way all customers should be treated as revenue passengers, that information is taken care of at the gate counter and should have no bearing once being ticketed. This employee is the probably the root of this whole situation and should be identified and reprimanded along with the gate agent. These types of customer service infractions cannot go unchecked or they will spiral out of control. Southwest must once again reinforce its foundation as a company built on customer service. It doesn't appear from the outside as though this really had anything to do with the policy on overweight customers. Mr. Smith was able to lower the armrests and didn't need the extension to buckle his safety belt. That was just the excuse that was given, which has snowballed out of control. Having said this, the first thing Southwest needs to do is clearly state the policy on overweight customers, whenever addressing this issue. Mr. Smith is a very intelligent person and has a very loyal following you should invite him to Dallas to sit down and address how the policy is implemented and how it could be improved as not to embarrass or demean anyone. The policy is in place for a reason but the way it is being implemented is wrong and can be done better. This is a great opportunity for Southwest to show the world how important Customer Service is to the Southwest culture and that every customer counts!
Anonymous3550
Not applicable
Thanks SW for making flying more enjoyable. It's VERY uncomfortable to sit next to someone who takes my space too. Large people know they are large and should buy the extra ticket first then they won't be humiliated when they board.
Anonymous2029
Not applicable
I feel squished and uncomfortable on a plane sitting next to ANYONE. The seat aren't even big enough for little guys to feel comfortable, that's the direct fault of the airlines. I won't be flying Southwest again because of the unprofessional way they handled this, though I'm fed up with power-trippers at airports in general.
Anonymous2263
Not applicable
This is your idea of an apology? You must be joking. There has to be an objective standard (ie putting down the armrests) but that did not happen in this case. If you leave it to the exclusive discretion of (sometimes) power tripping stewards you are going to have these things happen.
T__McDaniels
Not applicable
All of the fat people I know don't have a problem with the idea of being asked to purchase two seats--rather we are frustrated with no clear guidelines and subjective implementation, leaving us in doubt as to whether we will be required to purchase an extra seat or not. No one wants to be publicly shamed. With no clear, objective guidelines that we can check when we buy the tickets online, how can we know what to expect when we show up to board? I am one of those who was NOT asked to buy a second seat. I have to wonder if it is because I booked an early morning flight that was not fully booked. Unlike Kevin Smith, I need a seat belt extender for a two inch gap. I can put down the armrests fully. I am five foot five and at the time of that flight weighed 290 and carry a lot of extra weight on my hips, being bottom-heavy. I would think I'd be asked to pay for a second seat before Kevin would. According to his account, both women seated on either side of him indicated that they were fine with him being seated next to them. So what was the real problem if his seat belt was buckled and arm rests were both down? That is the real issue--Southwest seems unwilling to admit that he did not need to be ejected. I'd love it if the women come forward and publicly state that they told the airline employee they were fine with him flying next to them. I don't see why it is impossible to do some testing with different people--we'll volunteer--and come up with a range of weight and measurements that anyone can apply at home to know if they are required to buy two seats or not. Why do we have to be surprised and publicly confronted when such standards ought to exist? Having objective standards will also insure that employees can't ever be subconsciously influenced by things like class and race, even with the best of intentions. A measuring tape or weight scales don't lie and can be employed when there's a dispute about the policy.
Anonymous661
Not applicable
This this a pathetic non-apology. Kicking someone off of a plane for their size is a serious action and should be approached cautiously with the decision strictly governed by policy. Southwest apparently has guidelines to guide its employees in such situations. According to those guidelines, Mr. Smith should have been allowed to fly. By kicking him off the plane, you violated your own standards in the most humiliating manner possible. It was a terrible decision and Mr. Smith deserves an actual apology. I've thought highly of Southwest in the past, but your refusal to take ownership of this egregious error has completely changed my view of your company. You should make this right.
Reality_Check1
Not applicable
I love the people who say they're never flying Southwest again. Southwest is by far the friendliest airline and one of the few that eliminates those "stupid fees." So, my dear protestors, go spend more money and face the same policies elsewhere, but wouldn't living a healthy lifestyle be a lot cheaper and much more rewarding?
Anonymous3435
Not applicable
I still don't see anything on this blog that says, "Sorry, we messed up, we randomly enforced a policy that did not apply to a passenger because we needed to get rid of a body to proceed to the runway. Oh, and by the way Smith wasn't too fat, we just needed to toss someone because the pilot said so and we used his size as an excuse." I'm five months pregnant and will probably need a seat extender soon. So far, I fit well within the confines of a 17 inch seat. However, do I need to worry that I am going to be evicted from my seat after I'm sitting because a flight attendant randomly determines - "she's too big - off of the plane"!!?? The issue is how randomly the policy was enforced and that someone who was larger than Smith was allowed to keep his one seat. Of course forcing passengers to buy two seats is also a nice source of revenue for SWA too. Fix your damn policy and maybe I'll fly Southwest Air without being afraid that my pregnant ass will be thrown out of your planes! And trust, me, should my pregnant ass be thrown out of one of your planes there will be a civil lawsuit and complaining to the FAA that will knock your socks off!
Anonymous3435
Not applicable
I still don't see anything on this blog that says, "Sorry, we messed up, we randomly enforced a policy that did not apply to a passenger because we needed to get rid of a body to proceed to the runway. Oh, and by the way Smith wasn't too fat, we just needed to toss someone because the pilot said so and we used his size as an excuse." I'm five months pregnant and will probably need a seat extender soon. So far, I fit well within the confines of a 17 inch seat. However, do I need to worry that I am going to be evicted from my seat after I'm sitting because a flight attendant randomly determines - "she's too big - off of the plane"!!?? The issue is how randomly the policy was enforced and that someone who was larger than Smith was allowed to keep his one seat. Of course forcing passengers to buy two seats is also a nice source of revenue for SWA too. Fix your damn policy and maybe I'll fly Southwest Air without being afraid that my pregnant ass will be thrown out of your planes! And trust, me, should my pregnant ass be thrown out of one of your planes there will be a civil lawsuit and complaining to the FAA that will knock your socks off!
Carolyn7
Not applicable
Iaman overweight person. I have not traveled on an airline in many years because I would be mortified if I got there and someone told me I needed to buy an extra seat. Especially since it costs so much for the first one. I do make it a tight fit, but suddenly having to come up with a few hundred more at the last second because I take an extra inch? What you did to Kevin was horrible. The mental anguish in itself can't be taken care of for $100. I am just glad it happened to someone who has a voice and can stand up and show how wrong this policy is, because Joe Smith from Nowhere, USA certainly wouldn't have had the same chance.
Anonymous3554
Not applicable
Southwest is still missing the main point. Their policy is arbitrary. If they want to put shape limits on who can fly on their airline, they need to publish clear guidelines. Then we can make an informed decision.
N_K_Hunter
Not applicable
I am fully in favor of the Southwest policy for people who need more than one seat. However, part of the issue is the inconsistent enforcement of the policy. Linda's statement about reviewing how and when the policy will be implemented just exacerbates the problem. If there is going to be a policy, it should be enforced every time.
Anonymous965
Not applicable
If Southwest has this policy in place, I can respect that. However, the airline should have used better judgement when they carried it out. If in fact, a person's weight is going to be an issue, this should be dealt with long before they are settled into their seat awaiting take-off. The people at the check-in counter knew very well that the flight was fully booked and should've addressed the issue then, instead of putting Mr. Smith into a humiliating situation by being removed from the aircraft. I know that we all "live and learn" from our actions and hopefully Southwest will address these issues more appropriately in the future. I've seen Kevin Smith recently and although he is overweight, I would've never have thought that he was large enough to constitute making him an example. Perhaps a revision of the policy should include a weight that qualifies it's enforcement so that customers over that weight know in advance that there may be an issue.
Sally_S_
Not applicable
Wait, this is it? Are you this stupid?! Because you clearly can't learn... I have no doubt that Smith is telling the truth, and his follow-up blog on this (everyone, please search it out - SilentBobspeaks) is a complete contradiction to this nonsense. This has nothing to do with whether he "needed" two seats (No, he didn't), but a weird judgment made because someone else purchased two seats? (again, read his blog, because this worthless "apology" makes no mention of it). Pathetic. I knew you were a cheap airline; I didn't know that included your integrity.
Lisa_in_NJ
Not applicable
New SW airlines slogan? "Your BAGS fly FREE. Your fat A$$ pays double"
Adampants
Not applicable
It's funny - Jet Blue has figured out how to make a good profit while using business class seats in the entire plane! How did they do that? The sad fact is airline seating in coach is just too cramped, even for physically fit people. Short flights are tolerable, but anything longer than 5 hours and you run the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the legs due to the impossibly tight conditions found on most planes. And the airlines do NOT care. They claim it's to 'keep flying cheap' but it's really putting every passenger at risk for a life threatening condition. Good luck with your airline. I flew you for years, but no longer. Your service standards have deteriorated, your planes are filthy and your fares are only so-so. Your mistreatment of customers has reached a howling roar and you WILL start feeling the pain in lost sales. This Kevin Smith thing has no real effect on my decision - rather it is the accumulation of bad experiences of myself and acquaintances that mark a clear trend for your company - you are losing the original spirit of Southwest and losing the respect of your customers. You have certainly lost my respect and business. Good Luck.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
I like how Southwest tries to treat this like it's some kind of industry standard and everyone else is the same, when the only times I hear stories of horrid customer service it's SWA. Always. I've never, ever heard a horrible customer service story from any other airline. Just you guys. Congrats!
Anonymous295
Not applicable
You should know that my company will no longer be flying SouthWest. Quite frankly, being 6'3" and 230lbs, I feel too fat to sit in your standard seats.
Anonymous3485
Not applicable
The problem here isn't the "fat policy" It is whether or not Kevin Smith fits that guideline. The ladies sitting on either side of Mr. Smith were not interviewed. They did not issue statements. Southwest is speaking for them. SW refuses to say "Mr. Smith is not too fat to sit in one seat". SW is saying they handled it wrong but "he is too fat". If the arm rests came down and the passengers on either side DID NOT complain, then SW should publicly state "MR. Smith is not too fat" according to our guidelines. He may be close but he is not at this point in time. It is clear that SW refuses to classify Mr. Smith in the "regular passenger" category. Maybe another airline will step forward and say he is OK. Then Mr. Smith can change airlines.
ButchBH
Not applicable
I must say I find a lot of the posts here naive and simplistic. In a civilized society we have to tolerate and accommodate each other, to some extent. The posts about having to "climb over...obese" people in the event of an emergency ignores the fact that there might also be small children, older or disabled people on that same plane in need of different levels of assistance - should an airline be allowed to keep those types of people off, or charge them different rates? I'm 6'2" and weigh about 200 pounds, On most flights, I'm sure that the person sitting next to me wishes I was smaller; when the person in front of me puts their seat back, it's very uncomfortable. In most of these situations, the airline and the gov't needs its customers/citizens to show a reasonable amount of respect and compassion for these issues to be mitigated. And they need policies and laws to adjudicate more contentious ones. I find it disheartening that so many of the posts are so black/white, and lack the common courtesy required to understand either that your size might in fact be an imposition on someone else (including an airline trying to run a business, e.g. "make the seats bigger!"), OR that someone could use a little compassion (e.g. "I paid for this seat!")
Eric_Fritzius
Not applicable
Linda, Your apology here is far more heartfelt than the one previously posted, and certainly far less insulting, but it is not without the veiled insult of not addressing the central issue of Kevin's particular case. As detailed at Kevin Smith's blog (http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=393) the "too fat to fly" policy was never the issue here. His size, as per your admission to him, was not the actual reason he was bumped from the flight, it was merely the excuse the flight crew used in facilitating his bumping. That you will not publically admit this is the veiled insult in your above apology. And to those commenters defending the person of size policy, Kevin isn't contesting the policy itself, but only its execution and the fact that he did not qualify for it as per SWA's own rules. That was not the reason he was removed from the flight. SWA just doesn't have the collective strength of character to admit this. Their moves at covering their own actions are indeed transparent and the longer they continue to do so the worse it will be for them when they eventually DO admit they were in the wrong. Until they do, it will be a very long time before I am a customer of SWA again. With the state the airline industry is in these days, I don't see how they can afford to lose any more customers than they have already.
Daniel_Boone
Not applicable
I think that you skinny folks tend to assume too much about what being overweight means. You seem to be under the impression that being fat is solely a symptom of eating too much. You don't struggle with weight, so you don't consider that some folks have health issues that screw up their metabolisms, you don't consider that some people are just built large and will never be skinny no matter how well they eat or how they work out. So all you folks going on about how Southwest is so awesome for enforcing this discriminatory rule come across as being rather ignorant. This seems like another form of institutionalized, socially acceptable discrimination that is so accepted because hey, fat people are fat, and their gross bodies earn them all the ridicule they get. The same people who would throw a fit if someone dared discriminate against someone for the color of his skin would gladly toss a fatty under a bus, but it isn't acceptable in the least. Grow up folks. Educate yourselves. And please don't make the mistake of thinking that this policy is anything but bullcrap.
Anonymous1278
Not applicable
I've only flown SWA once and the customer service was horrible to say the least! I'd gladly pay the extra money to fly on an airline that not only treats their customers with respect, but who can make things right, apologize, and tell the truth. Shame on you SWA, and shame on your ridiculous standard business practices.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
Like how so many of your employees (http://twitter.com/SouthwestAir/employees) seem to think Christi Day did a wonderful job and how all those mean mean customers are just so mean to SWA.
Anonymous3822
Not applicable
It's policy. It's policy. We can't do anything because of the policy. It was policy for Nazis to kill Jews in the 40s as well. That doesn't make it right.
jakev
Not applicable
Southwest, in my opinion, is going downhill with customer service. I, too, had a very bad experience with a male flight attendant who thought he could bully me on a flight. I complained to SW a month ago, and have yet to hear back. I won't bore everyone with the details, but suffice to say that legal action is pending.
Anonymous2366
Not applicable
It was not a good idea to have him board the aircraft as a standby on a full flight, only to have him removed. I feel that agents should do their best to analyze situations prior to/and during the boarding process much better than they are doing and not wait until crewmembers notice a potential problem. If he was a Customer of Size, the policy should have been made known to him up front and not after he was allowed to board the aircraft. I also think that the flight crews do a good job at identifying these possible situations, but they should also remember that they are not in the position to escalate a passenger being removed off an aircraft for this reason. Crewmembers should simply take their concerns to the Captain and Operations Agent and leave it in their hands to deal with ground customer service. And of course, from the passengers' eyes, it may appear that the flight crew provoked the act of deplaning a passenger, but it's their job to communication possible concerns and enhance inflight experiences for ALL passengers.
Anonymous864
Not applicable
One more person who will never fly Southwest again Get the real story at www.smodcast.com
Holly6
Not applicable
Hats off to you Southwest. I feel sorry that so many people claim they will not fly with you anymore, because you guys have the most reasonable prices and policies. I'm glad you're sticking with your guns, because the "persons of size" policy is the best of all the airlines. I agree that you had the right to make Kevin Smith fly his normally scheduled flight with the extra second seat that he bought, instead of trying to squeeze him into the one standby seat. He knew your policy. Sure, he might have been able to get the armrests down and the seatbelt buckled, but that doesn't mean he can get by with only one seat. From what I understand, Kevin Smith buys the second seat with the "Persons of Size" policy oftentimes, which includes a refund if the plane isn't fully filled. i.e., you happen to have an extra seat, and so you just refund the money making it a free second seat for a person of size. So, I imagine he's gotten refunds off of this policy. So, if he's claiming that he's not "that fat, actually" and just buys the second seat with the Persons of Size policy because the prices are so cheap, and gets the refund, then that's really not fair to you, Southwest. He's been basically scamming you. Kevin is just throwing a baby's fit because you stuck to the rules you made, and he didn't like it. Keep on being awesome, Southwest, and I'm looking forward to flying with you many more times this spring.
Denise_G
Not applicable
To say that the handling of this situation has been steeped in poor judgment is a vast understatement, continuing with half-truths told here. Your company has not done right by Mr. Smith, against whom your person of size policy was wrongly enforced. It has not done right by any of those who this policy has been and will continue to be arbitrarily enforced against. I am not a person of size. But I will not consider using the services of an airline that treats it's customers in such a fashion, and works harder to cover it's backside from liability than it does to actually come clean about a situation it created at every turn through it's own bad decisions. And in addition to losing me, you have, by your handling of the situation also created another voice that will warn others from using your services. My voice may not be as loud and far reaching as Mr. Smith's, I can and will use it to the limits of its reach.
jay_holt
Not applicable
Thanks for standing up for the rest of us normal folks who pay for one seat. It is terrible to have to sit next to one of these obese people who flow over into your space. Really bad when it is a long flight. Thanks Southwest for taking a stand!
Anonymous25
Not applicable
You really are full of shit.
Kelly4
Not applicable
I have to say I am very disappointed in the way this has been handled by Southwest. If the matter was simply one of a standby passenger giving up a seat for a ticketed passenger, then don't bring size into it at all. There are many, many reasons why a person may be overweight, none of which are the business of the general public. Because Kevin Smith has a modicum of fame, people feel they can judge him and suggest this is an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle. They may not realize that while public ridicule can be the catalyst for a lifestyle change, it can also be the trigger of shame and desperation some people cannot deal with in a healthy way. The bottom line is this - Kevin Smith was in a seat. The buckle could be fastened without an extension. The armrests could be lowered fully. He had been allowed to fly in without a problem. He was put on another Southwest flight, where apparently his weight was not an issue. Be honest, Southwest. If it's a matter of standby, say so. If it's a matter of an incorrect "judgment call" by your employees, then say so. But fully accept your blame. Let's not temper it with the PR spin to make it seem like it really wasn't your fault after all, or that somehow Kevin Smith is to blame. No one in the airline industry today is in a position to handle the negative publicity that asking an overweight individual to deplane to another plane for no reason brings.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
"I know that we all 'live and learn' from our actions and hopefully Southwest will address these issues more appropriately in the future." Except SWA has done this repeatedly. And still hasn't learned. Kevin Smith just had the soap box to speak from that everyone else didn't.
Thomas_Paine1
Not applicable
Seems pretty simple--SWA screwed up on the enforcement of the policy--and is trying to make it right. I actually avoid 737s for longer haul as the seats are 1 inch narrower than comparable Airbuses--so SWA for short haul, Jet Blue for long haul. I've actually been on several flights (other airlines) where I boarded first--got up for the "large" person to get into their seat and actually had them lift the armrest up and sit down. In one instance coming back from Bermuda I was literally left with less than half a seat--flight crew scrambled to find me another seat....so just not filled with sympathy here.
ItsOnFlyer
Not applicable
As someone who flys about 20-30 flights per year on SW and other airlines, I want to see this policy enforced often and consistently by all airlines. We have little space to our selves now without someone else coming into it because they are too large to fit in a single seat. Kevin Smith was humiliated by being taken off the plane. That should not happen, although the clamor is most likely due to his 'celebrity status' rather than anything else. The gate agents cannot police this policy as most folks check in online and never see anyone until they get through security and are about to walk onto the plane. It is up to the flight crew to enforce this and they shouldn't be embarassed to do so. But just as they are discrete with those of us who fly with children and need a little extra time, they should be discrete in making sure that larger folks purchase two seats or are not allowed on the plane if it is a full flight.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
Lol I'm pissed off at SWA too, but please lay off the Godwins.
Carole2
Not applicable
Why are you still trying to pretend he was removed because of his size? He fit in the seat, with the armrests down and his seat belt buckled. He didn't overflow into the seats beside him. The problem is demonstrably not his size. Do you just figure it's easier to shame a fat person for having a socially unacceptable appearance than to admit your employees screwed up?
Anonymous1765
Not applicable
I applaud Southwest's 25 year policy for managing mortally obese passengers. I believe it is essential to continue to allow the pilot in command to be the final authority. I encourage those who are too large to fit in one conventional seat to fly another airline that offers larger first class seating; or, buy two seats. Anything less is a safety issue and grossly unfair to adjoining passengers who expect the room and comfort they paid for. What we have here is a selfish "rules don't apply to me" big-ego media-wise Hollywood director out to garner free publicity just in time to promote his upcoming film. Don't fall for that BS, Southwest.
Rusty3
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest!! I fly all the time and greatly appreciate you looking out for the comfort of ALL your passengers. To me, this is not a discrimination issue...it's a passenger comfort issue. Just like airlines stopped smoking on planes because it effected EVERYONE, overweight passengers need to be controlled too because they don't just effect themselves, they effect everyone that has to sit beside them too...Kudos Southwest Here's some news for you Southwest. I went to Kevin Smith's blog about this incident: http://smodcast.com/smodcast/smodcast106.php#c5t_form I posted my agreement with Southwest Airlines and gave my opinion about it on his blog. Not only did he erase my comments, but I tried posting again and he had blocked my IP address and I can not post. He is controlling the flow of information on his blog and is not allowing a free exchange. It makes it look like everyone that comes on there is in agreement with him. He is being deceptive and that is a sign that he knows he is wrong. Please fee free to contact me directly as I would like to share this with you in full detail.
Anonymous4584
Not applicable
I am male. Distance between armrest to armrest: 17.25 inches My shoulders are 25 inches, from bone to bone. The average (for men) is 20.8 inches. My knees physically prevent the person in front from reclining. This is just one more example of how crappy the "flying experience" is. You guys are *ssh*les for humiliating your customers (and not just this Kevin Smith guy).
Rusty3
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest!! I fly all the time and greatly appreciate you looking out for the comfort of ALL your passengers. To me, this is not a discrimination issue...it's a passenger comfort issue. Just like airlines stopped smoking on planes because it effected EVERYONE, overweight passengers need to be controlled too because they don't just effect themselves, they effect everyone that has to sit beside them too...Kudos Southwest Here's some news for you Southwest. I went to Kevin Smith's blog about this incident: http://smodcast.com/smodcast/smodcast106.php#c5t_form I posted my agreement with Southwest Airlines and gave my opinion about it on his blog. Not only did he erase my comments, but I tried posting again and he had blocked my IP address and I can not post. He is controlling the flow of information on his blog and is not allowing a free exchange. It makes it look like everyone that comes on there is in agreement with him. He is being deceptive and that is a sign that he knows he is wrong. Please fee free to contact me directly as I would like to share this with you in full detail.
Paul_Adams
Not applicable
A couple of points to consider: 1) You weren't there. All we know is Kevin's side of the story which has been broadcast extensively. The SWA side of the story is already prejudiced against, by all the cyber storm surrounding this. We should not judge the whole situation based on only one side of the story, and I think this is what Linda was saying in a way -- she's responsible to her employees and is not going to make a quick judgment against them (unlike many of the people on this blog, Kevin's blog, Twitter etc.) A little calm and reasonableness is in order here. Rest assured, SWA is extraordinarily reasonable and truly customer-focused. They will make appropriate changes after carefully considering the whole situation, and their first priority will be to retrain or otherwise correct the handling of the situation. 2) Kevin Smith, Good Morning America, Larry King etc. ALL have something to gain and nothing to lose by trying to make a big deal out of this. Consider that when weighing your assessment of the situation. 3) All the vitriolic language about "hate", "fat people" etc. is completely out of line. It's nothing more than stirring the pot, it's unfair to the 32,000 people at SWA who truly care about their product and the customers they serve, and it's embarrassing to the posters. It is also completely opposite to the way things happen at SWA. Most of the posts are "signed" Anonymous -- consider the source. SWA is an amazing group of people. Sometimes somebody makes a mistake -- they are human. I don't know this to be the case, but if it is the case, SWA will make it right. SWA handles about 250,000 customers every day -- the vast majority of whom enjoy the experience and appreciate the sincere customer focus. Maybe they got this one wrong -- maybe. But they will make it right.
Anonymous1376
Not applicable
Your person of size policy is total BS; you say that it is for the comfort and safety of all passengers. Lets talk about comfort. If a so-called "fat" person buys two seats there is no guarantee that they get to keep the extra seat that they purchase if the plane is at or near capacity. So, aren't they still negatively impacting the comfort of the poor unlucky person who sits next to them? Also, in order to truly not impact the comfort of the persons seated next to the "fat" person, they would need to puchase three seats, sit in the middle seat, and have the two extra seats be empty. So, I have to call BS on the comfort issue. Next security, I guess you are talking about the "fat" person putting the plane over some magical weight limit that will suddenly make the plane unsafe. Again, you charge the "fat" person for the extra seat but you still will fill the extra seat and fill the plane to capacity. I don't see how this is more safe. Any way, I do hope that Kevin Smith goes on Oprah and bad mouths your airline some more and if you know anything about Oprah her words make or break products. Hopefully, it hurts the Southwest pocket book a little. Maybe that is what you need to put this absolutely arbitrary and foolish policy in perspective for you.
Anonymous1261
Not applicable
Kevin Smith bought TWO tickets for his original flight. I don't understand how can he staill claim that he's not Too Fat To Fly.
K_C_
Not applicable
I am in the process today of writing SWA a properly polite and informative letter explaining why this smaller-than-average frequent flyer will not be using them in the future, but will address one or two main points here. As a business, you have a responsibility to treat your customers with the same dignity and respect you expect from them. Look, nobody is comfortable on an airplane. My pointy elbows are more of a danger to other passengers than somebody else's flab. The rich, thin lady a row ahead who took a bath in perfume that morning is a worse offender yet. But that's not the point--treat people with dignity and honesty and respect, for God's sake, and imagine how you would feel if in their same position. This is not rocket science, just customer service and a reasonable application of the Golden Rule. And as people supposedly trained in corporate PR, you all fail utterly. Covering up mistakes, double-speak, and depending on society's willingness to blame the victims (especially if those victims are overweight) is not the way to do it, and just trying to shut Smith up is a poor substitute for actually listening to him, apologizing, empathizing, and taking responsibility for your actions. My PR professor in college used to tell us that the top 5 rules of public relations are: "Do good, do good, do good, do good. THEN let other people see that you are doing good." Southwest Air, you get a failing grade.
Anonymous1376
Not applicable
Your person of size policy is total BS; you say that it is for the comfort and safety of all passengers. Lets talk about comfort. If a so-called "fat" person buys two seats there is no guarantee that they get to keep the extra seat that they purchase if the plane is at or near capacity. So, aren't they still negatively impacting the comfort of the poor unlucky person who sits next to them? Also, in order to truly not impact the comfort of the persons seated next to the "fat" person, they would need to puchase three seats, sit in the middle seat, and have the two extra seats be empty. So, I have to call BS on the comfort issue. Next security, I guess you are talking about the "fat" person putting the plane over some magical weight limit that will suddenly make the plane unsafe. Again, you charge the "fat" person for the extra seat but you still will fill the extra seat and fill the plane to capacity. I don't see how this is more safe. Any way, I do hope that Kevin Smith goes on Oprah and bad mouths your airline some more and if you know anything about Oprah her words make or break products. Hopefully, it hurts the Southwest pocket book a little. Maybe that is what you need to put this absolutely arbitrary and foolish policy in perspective for you.