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Southwest Airlines Community

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.

1,794 Comments
Anonymous811
Not applicable
All I have to say is Wow! How can this happen to somebody? How embarrasing for Kevin Smith! In my opinion, He is not that fat. I have seen much, much fatter people. If he paid for 2 seats he should have been able to fly on that plane! You should be ashamed of yourself SWA! He should have sued your @ss!! I know I would have. You are going to lose all your "fat" flyers because of this. I know I, myself will never fly on your airline again. All you people who responded and said good for you SW, your all uppity, full of yourself people and I hope you all get FAT!!! So fat in fact that you cannot fit in 3 seats! Kevin Smith, if you read this ever, YOU ROCK! We love your movies. We hope you keep bring us more awesome stuff!
Anonymous3824
Not applicable
I'm never flying SWA again. You guys really need to do better than just say you will review how and when your policy is enforced. You need to find a clear way to unambiguously impose such standards so that people don't feel socially ostracized. Oh and quit it with these half-hearted apologies... The fact that you try to make light of serious issues with blog posts with titles such as "not-so-silent Bob" just makes you look worse.
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.
Anonymous318
Not applicable
All of you anonymous commenters (Smith's fan-trolls) who say you'll never fly SWA again - I bet you will. Maybe not for your next flight, but you'll be back. Once you realize it's not fun getting slapped with bag fees, change fees and reservation fees, you'll be back.
Anonymous553
Not applicable
lol @ at the fat people descending on this forum and lowering the post rating (and spam posting what appears to be a generic reply). Never mind these inconsiderate types, Southwest. You did the right thing. In fact I don't even think you should have apologized!
Anonymous2100
Not applicable
Wow. I just read this: http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=393 Southwest, Linda: Do better. Just do better. You're ridiculous.
Anonymous1895
Not applicable
This does not have to be a contentious issue. Kevin Smith was not too big to fly in a single seat, and Southwest made a mistake. Apologize for it, admit you were wrong, then shut up. The size policy is simple as well. The airline is selling a certain amount of space on a plane for an certain price. If your body is unable to fit in a single seat - which is the amount of space a single ticket purchases - then you have to buy more space. It's not about feelings or dignity or losing weight or discrimination or anything else. It's about a transaction. If you went to Burger King and ordered a Whopper, you get a Whopper. You don't get a side of fries for free, even if you're so hungry that you physically need them. You don't get extra value for the same amount of money because of your lifestyle, habits, or personal situation. Fat people are quickly becoming one of the most frequent groups to try to deny that basic principle of business. They need extra space on planes, special carts in the supermarket, special treatment at the doctor's or the movies or anywhere else their girth makes things difficult for them. It doesn't matter anymore if you have a serious disorder that makes you large or if you're just a pig. You're big, and therefore entitled. The only appropriate response to that mentality is: No. You are how you are and the world is how it is. Part of life is dealing with that. Think about those with real handicaps for a second. We don't give blind people much more than some braille on elevators. Deaf people hardly get 5 channels on TV that consistently caption programming. Less than half the country is accessible via a wheelchair. And you want special treatment on the airplane just because you're fat? No.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
Hi Rusty! How do you like working at SWA?
JAM
Not applicable
Sounds like there may have been some overreactions from both Kevin and SWA Employees at the time, but from Linda's comments, seems like things have been reasoned out between them. All of us have, in business or personal situations, made a quick-decision or blurted out something we wish we could take back. And those were some hard life-lessons to learn, but we all move on. So let's all take a deep breath, trust that Kevin and SWA will work it out amongst themselves, and get back to our real lives. What I know about Southwest is that this will serve as a great opportunity for any reviews, changes, and training. It's the best airline in the air! And just for the record, I don't like being squeezed in with any customer of size unless it's my husband!
Anonymous2835
Not applicable
I've read Kevin's version. I've read yours. Yours is not very compelling. If I'm on the jury, you lose. Some sad spin-doctoring from a company that operates their airline like a flying bus—mind you, a bus apparently driven by Stalin. I have two flights booked with Southwest this spring, then, God willing, I'll never have to fly with the likes of you again.
Anonymous2768
Not applicable
Rock on Southwest! All of you saying you won't fly SWA again are nothing but gullible lemmings. Kevin Smith isn't upset about what happend, he's elated. He's using his obesity to promote his new movie, just like he did last time. Don't believe me? Google his name and toilet seat. Also, all the posts on here with a link to the "truth", who do you think is posting that crap? Wake up people. You are being used in a pathetic attempt to drum up free publicity. He's using you all to create a stir that keeps his name in the news. Linda, you and your PR team rock. Don't apologize. There's nothing to apologize for.
CSB
Not applicable
I have no idea whether Kevin Smith can fit into one seat comfortably or needs two so I won't comment on who is right or wrong on that front. What I do blame Southwest for is the way they handled this situation. If he was too large to take up one seat then it should have been noted and taken care of BEFORE he got on the plane. Subjecting someone to humiliation once they have boarded the plane is unnecessary and either speaks to the poor training of Southwest staff or the poor policy that the airline has. I actually have no problem with the airline implementing a policy on size but it has to be fair and handled with dignity. Clearly someone dropped the ball here. I also have to say that the way that Southwest has handled this is a perfect case study for what NOT to do. This latest attempt by Southwest comes closest to redemption but they really should have done more up to this point to nip the media storm in the bud. They seemed more intent on being right than admitting that they might have erred in how they handled it. Shame on Southwest. I am not too large to fit into a seat but I will be looking at other airlines for my future flights based on how Southwest has chosen to deal with the situation and their customers.
Anonymous3510
Not applicable
Southwest Air is garbage along with that apology. I personally will never fly SW again, for this and many other reasons. Considering that over half of the United States is considered "fat" in 2010 your 25 year old policy is grossly outdated. For all of the ignorant individuals making "fat" comments and applauding SW for keeping "fat" people from spilling over into your seats, your idiots and chances are you will find yourself in a discriminative situation one day... but that's just karma!
Scott41
Not applicable
try to remember , that customers service is your first priority, not who was right or wrong, and after hears both sides, i feel you could have handled it better, whatever policy is in place, human decency need to play a part, and the conduct of your employee's need to be reviewed, there is a way to do what needed to be done, without making him feel he was being discriminated against, my mother is a larger woman, and if she was treated like that, you all would be looking for employment after the lawsuit.
Ian1
Not applicable
That truly is a very slap in the face apology. While Kevin Smith isn't the thinnest guy in the world he is no bigger than many people I know. And you "apology" insinuates that he is indeed very fat and couldn't fit in the seat without actually coming out and saying it. try less PR speak and just say the truth. SW messed up and will try and make sure this won't happen again. If he was so fat why didn't you do something at check in? Perhaps SW should start weighing and measuring people before they head through security?
Katie13
Not applicable
Ms. Rutherford, that was horrifying. I know you have to do your job, but I'm embarrassed for you. That wasn't an apology or an admittance of any wrong-doing. From what I understand, SWA was completely in the wrong and treated Mr. Smith abhorrently, as well as another passenger on another flight he was on. How sad for you to be the one having to defend this. I know I will certainly not fly SWA again.
Rusty3
Not applicable
@Sabrina: This isn't about your feelings...I'm sorry you feel bad. This is about my comfort. If you have a health condition, I'm sorry...but that is not the issue. The issue is that, regardless of WHY you are overweight, I am made to be uncomfortable because of that condition. That is not fair and you should have to buy 2 seats. If you aren't traveling, your size is of no importance to me. But the minute you step onto a confined space like an aircraft, I have rights too
Kempton
Not applicable
I expected better from South West. What I saw from this situation is a disappointing South West that is an embarrassment of the excellence that your brand USED TO mean to me. The damage to your brand in the last many hours will take years to recover in my mind. Sure, Kevin might have readied to move on. Many people, including me, are NOT ready to move on. Reputation takes years to build and only take hours to tarnish for ever. This incident will forever be in the history of SouthWest as how it failed spectacularly. If SouthWest thinks that since Kevin is dropping this and is not suing, that means the end of this mess, well, SouthWest is even more clueless than I thought.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
They don't want special treatment. They want the same treatment as everyone else. Which they obviously are not getting. The only people getting special treatment are the thin people.
Anonymous811
Not applicable
And you want special treatment on the airplane just because you're fat? No To whoever made that comment: You want special treatment on the airplane because you are thin? No That is what you are saying. You do not want fat people to ride on planes for your comfort. Are we not all entitled to comfort? Fat or thin, tall or short, we are all the same inside and we all deserve to be treated equal. I cannot believe how horrible some people can be. I need to stop reading about this because it makes me very angry.
Paul_Gray
Not applicable
I am a smaller than average sized person, no airline including Sloth West has ever offered me a refund for using less space, increasing safety or using less fuel. Your industys planes are D*mned uncomfortable for people of all sizes, average sized people impinge on my space all the time. This issue does not come down to "fat people", it comes down to Soth Wests not giving a whoop about it's customes basic human rights, fat, thin, tall or short. I'll never fly your metal tubes again and I'll push to have your arline removed from every terminal it has. You didn't just handle this bad, you've handled your business bad and we all pay the price for it each time we enter any airport in the country. Kevin Smith is high profile but the unknown people you punish daily on your airline should suffer no more. It starts with South West today, the rest of the industry should take warning... the flying public has had enough.
Anonymous163
Not applicable
Skinny people should fly southwest. Fatties should fly the better airlines like Jetblue and Virgin America that have much more room anyway. Noted.
DAGindi
Not applicable
Bravo Southwest!! Hopefully the other airlines will wake up and start enforcing this as well. Enough of this PC crap at the expense of others.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
Wow, lots of SWA employees showed up. You can tell when it's a customer versus an employee because the former doesn't lick the company's ass so much.
Anonymous4599
Not applicable
Whether Kevin Smith or any other fat person is a safety issue isn't the problem here. The problem is that you kicked him off the plane. That is very embarrassing, and this is coming from a 100lb woman. This should have been taken care of before he boarded. You can solve any question in the future by having two mock plane seats in the terminal. If the person does not take up two seats, can buckle up, and have the arm rest down, then he is fine to board.
Anonymous2121
Not applicable
Wow. I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Smith, but after reading this, I guess I have to say that free bags or not, I'll never fly Southwest - because if you have a policy that employees can fall back on to discriminate on people based on a perception, then what's next? Color? Odor? A general uneasy feeling? What about someone who is skinny but wears large, flowing, voluminous clothing? What about someone who hasn't showered in four days? What about someone who bought two seats just because he's more comfortable that way, and then you figure "well, he'll get us some free publicity..." I won't be using your airline any further. And I'll be recommending that no one I know use you, either, because of these "policies" you can arbitrarily "invoke" because you feel like it. Not that anyone's going to read my comments, but I'm glad I've gotten this off my chest.
Roger1
Not applicable
Good job SWA you did not use profanity unlike Kevin. I have flown next to fat people and it's not fun.
Anonymous3762
New Arrival
Because it deserves repeating: "I am a smaller than average sized person, no airline including Sloth West has ever offered me a refund for using less space, increasing safety or using less fuel. Your industys planes are D*mned uncomfortable for people of all sizes, average sized people impinge on my space all the time. This issue does not come down to "fat people", it comes down to Soth Wests not giving a whoop about it's customes basic human rights, fat, thin, tall or short. I'll never fly your metal tubes again and I'll push to have your arline removed from every terminal it has. You didn't just handle this bad, you've handled your business bad and we all pay the price for it each time we enter any airport in the country. Kevin Smith is high profile but the unknown people you punish daily on your airline should suffer no more. It starts with South West today, the rest of the industry should take warning... the flying public has had enough."
Anonymous3625
Not applicable
I love Southwest Airlines and I feel that Kevin Smith was NOT owed an apology, a refund, or a $100 voucher! if it weren't Kevin Smith, would the same have been done? I have no bias against large individuals, but for the safety of that passenger as well as the comfort of other passengers, the rule should have stood without apology. Too often on other airlines, I have been sandwiched between large individuals...I am 5"2" and 105 #. Smith should not have felt he deserved special treatment. This is very disappointing for me to see Southwest take this position. I realize you are big on customer service, but what about the people who have to sit next to this guy? What about their customer service? If anything there is a bias against smaller people. A 210# passenger has the same luggage limits as I do, and if I am even 2 pounds over on my luggage weight I have to pay extra, even though my body weight is half of that passenger. So why shouldn't you enforce your two seat rule with Smith? He obviously knows the rule as he abided by it before. He knew that flying standby would only give him one seat. Southwest, toughen up and don't cave to the media. While some people are large and I don't hold it against them, let's not start a pro large people campaign for those people who should do something about their size.
JJ3
Not applicable
When there is a large person seated next to me on an airplane, it can be very uncomfortable because the large person's body usually spills over the arm rest and into my space (even when the large person has both arm rests down and the safety belt fastened). This can cause great discomfort for the person sitting next to the large person, as to avoid rubbing against the large person's body, the other passenger must often contort into awkward and uncomfortable positions. So, even if the large person can fit into the seat with the arm rests down, this does not mean that the person next to the large person will not be bothered by the great discomfort caused by a lack of personal space. Of course I would never complain to a flight attendant that the person next to me was too large to fly, and that is why this policy is important.
Anonymous121
Not applicable
Its a good policy. I think the price of a ticket shud take in consideration the weight of a passenger, only because you have to pay for heavy bags etc
Pat_F1
Not applicable
Look, SW has a right to set their company policies the way they see fit. Kevin Smith bought two seats originally, so he knew he was overweight according to SW's policy. He decided to change flights and fly standby (seated last) and one seat was left on that flight, so he had to have known he was in trouble. Just because he got the arm rests down doesn't mean that he fit properly. I've flown on many flights next to an overweight person who spilled over into my seat leaving me miserable the whole time. Kevin Smith is embarrassed by this incident, but he's only keeping people focused on his sad situation by continuing to do what he's doing. SW probably won't (and shouldn't) change their policies. They did the right thing to look out for the majority of their customers, and Kevin Smith should keep his "big" (excuse me) mouth shut to stop looking any more foolish!
Moderately_fat_
Not applicable
First, I believe all airlines should have some sensible policy for people who are too large to fit in one seat without inconveniencing the passenger next to them. "In my former life" when I flew a lot, when a very large person came down the aisle I would find myself saying to myself "Not next to me, not next to me". This feeling did not come out of any inherent bias against fat people, but out of the memory of being stuffed into the last middle seat between two large people who didn't fit in their seats and consequently, caused me to squeeze uncomfortably into 2/3 of my seat. Second, If I were still traveling a great deal, an obese persons boycott of Southwest would probably make it more likely rather than less likely that I would fly Southwest. The problem all airlines need to come to grips with is that Americans are growing fatter and airlines are trying to stuff more people onto their planes. I applaud Southwest for giving a bit more leg room in the past several years so that I do not have to inspect the tonsure of the passenger in front of me when he reclines his seat. When you can't open a laptop in a normal airline seat, that's going too far. Southwest is still my airline of choice, however, all airlines need to address the growing problem of larger passengers. Perhaps several "Plus size" seats on each flight with appropriately higher pricing. (You are seeing it now in Doctor's waiting rooms) Or perhaps an "accommodation class" seating area for those who are larger or who, for some other reason, want or need a larger seat. All airlines need to get their collective heads out of the sand and address this problem or their own P.R. disasters are right around the corner.
Anonymous121
Not applicable
Its a good policy. I think the price of a ticket shud take in consideration the weight of a passenger, only because you have to pay for heavy bags etc
Phil17
Not applicable
Guess what? Still not flying SWA ever again.
Anonymous811
Not applicable
Quote: The issue is that, regardless of WHY you are overweight, I am made to be uncomfortable because of that condition. Are fat people to be made uncomfortable for you? We should all be comfortable. Yes, if you cannot fit in one seat buy 2 seats and be comfortable. Fat peoples money is just as good as yours. What about people with bad breath or smell like booze. I would not want to sit by anyone like that, but I would. I would because I do not judge people like that. Should we kick the alcoholic off the plane and the person with halitosis? No, because they are people too. They paid their hard earned money just like you and should be able to ride on the plane just like you.
Anonymous2093
Not applicable
This policy is not just for the safety and comfort of the large person. It is also for the comfort of the person seated next to them. The last time I traveled by airplane, I was seated in a middle seat, next to two very large people. And I did not have enough space to use a single arm rest. It was an uncomfortable experience for me. Plus, the person to my right was snoring the entire time.
flyingsafelyons
Not applicable
Safety is not a catch phrase. This is another example of an individual changing his plans for his own convenience, without considering the ramifications of his action to others. Mr. Smith changed up, and apparently got pieved that everyone else involved just didn't see things his way. Let's face it, besides being the safest Airline on Planet Earth, Southwest is also the least expensive airline to fly. The fact that Mr. Smith was taking the cheap seats rather than grabbing a 1st Class Feather Filled Couch on Delta, Alaska, US Airways, or another expensive air carrier, only speaks to his frugal travel budget. So, I say, suck it up Kevin! Quit your manufactured outrage, keep your flight schedule next time, and you'll arrive just fine, albiet without the 15 minutes of fame generated by your blogged tantrum! Bottom line: Let's get back to being silent BOB!
Anonymous1019
Not applicable
Yeah for Southwest...anyone who has had to endure a flight next to a "spacially challenged" passenger oozing over and under the armrest into their seat should also cheer a policy that puts the comfort of the majority of the passengers over the excess needs of the fewer -I had one flight on a Delta flight where I could, literally, not drink my soda because I could not move my arms up because of the huge person next to me...I did request a move and fortunately another seat was available...not always the case so Cheers to Southwest!
vinnie_mirchand
Not applicable
As the "social customer" like Kevin grows more prominent - Paul Greenberg has written a recent CRM book on the social customer - expect more incidents like this. I think you came out ok this time because Kevin went on and on and turned the tide - as I blogged at http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2010/02/setback-for-the-social-customer.html But as a fan of SW - and one of your best customers having qualified for a companion pass for 6 years now - I am constantly shocked at how little access you give your front line employees to customer lifetime info. Kevin should have flagged as one of your best and this incident should never have happened in the first place. In your goal to be democratic you ignore the physics of business. Your best customers deserve better treatment than your infrequent customers.
Anonymous1019
Not applicable
Yeah for Southwest...anyone who has had to endure a flight next to a "spacially challenged" passenger oozing over and under the armrest into their seat should also cheer a policy that puts the comfort of the majority of the passengers over the excess needs of the fewer -I had one flight on a Delta flight where I could, literally, not drink my soda because I could not move my arms up because of the huge person next to me...I did request a move and fortunately another seat was available...not always the case so Cheers to Southwest!
Anonymous3989
Not applicable
BULL. You forgot to mention he was already seated. Go listen to his podcast... your "apology" doesn't address the fact that he was not too fat for the seat; that he could both lower the arm rests AND buckle the seat belt. If said regulations were not broken, why on Earth was the man thrown from the seat in which he was already seated? the MORONS in PR should probably learn to write a decent apology cause we're not buying this.
Anonymous3523
Not applicable
I am a California native. I occasionally fly Southwest. I just wanted to send you an email complimenting your actions in removing Kevin Smith from the single airline seat. I have flown on many flights where the person sitting next to me was overweight and I was extremely uncomfortable throughout my entire flight. Usually the over weight / obese person sitting next to me would be able to initially fit in their seat, put down their arm rest and buckle their seat belt. But they obviously would not be able to maintain the position for more than a few minutes. The end result is the other person's knees and legs going into my space, elbows and hands hanging over the arm rests and them leaning/angled over their seat. In the end I spend the entire flight leaning over one side of the seat, my arms tucked in and my legs over to one side of my seat. At the beginning of the flight if the person was traveling with other people and was about to be removed by a flight attendant and the person asked me if I "minded" having him sit there I would say "no" out of being polite and embarrassed of being put in that position. Obviously I do mind because of the reasons I listed above and would hope that the person had the common decency not to put the flight attendant and people around them in such an uncomfortable position. If a person takes up more than one seat they should know to only put themselves in a situation where two seats are available or fly an airline where first class is available where they could have more room. Kevin Smith commented that Southwest is a cheap airline and he could afford to buy two seats. That is not the case for most people. Flying is a privilege and luxury for most people or they have to travel for business. I would love to have the disposable income where I could fly to San Francisco and enjoy a nice weekend in a different city, but the cost factor keeps me from being able to do it. When I do spend the money for something like a flight for a vacation or trip, I would like to have the entire seat that I purchased available for just me so I am not cramped and miserable by the time I reach the destination. Thank you Southwest for enforcing your policy even though it must have been awkward and difficult for your staff. Being an airline employee must be a hard job (one that Kevin Smith doesn't recognize) and it is made all that much harder when customers try to get around policy and staff have to spend time trying to enforce it.
Rusty3
Not applicable
@whoever made the comment about me working at Southwest: I don't work at Southwest, but I fly about every week for business. I stand up for Southwest doing the right thing instead of the "politically correct" thing. I am not an employee, I am a consumer. A consumer who has rights just like you do. A consumer who pays for 18" (armrest to armrest) and when I don't get what I paid for because the person beside me is taking up MY space, that's just not right...regardless as to WHY you are as large as you are. I'm sorry, that's not MY fault. It may not even be YOUR "fault" either, but how can you expect ME to be uncomfortable because of your "condition"? That's just ridiculous
Jason
Not applicable
For the person that said it is a private company you should know airlines are all subsidized by the government. You can read about it here: http://www.hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001001.html Secondly a private company should be more worried about offending people because then they refuse to buy from your company. As airlines continuously file for bankrupcy and are bailed out by the government time and time again it seems to indicate that these very policies and the customer service issues that they have contribute to their eventual downfall. If Kevin Smith, who flies SouthWestern frequently stops buying several seats at a time for the privacy stops flying SouthWestern because of this it is going to mean less seats sold on all his flights. He makes frequent trips. It would be a pretty substantial loss of revenue for them. Are their any overweight businessman who are now less likely to fly with them? How much would that cost them? What if next time they ban you from the flight because you are a moron? I guess we have your comment as proof of your disability. He fit in the seat with the armrests down which is what the policy calls for, not that they checked it. He walked under his own power to the plane. He didn't require assistance getting in the seat or on the plane. It wasn't a safety issue. There was someone else on the plane that was larger than him that was allowed to remain on the flight. This is what I am responding to: "I can't believe the audacity of some people that think that a private company (as in: not owned by the gov't) is in some way required to accommodate anyone. Southwest has the right to create policies as it sees fit. Without proof of some need for the company to accommodate a certain disability, they don't have to do anything." Further they do need to do things if they want to remain in business.
Wylie_H_
Not applicable
I still don't understand how Kevin Smith had been able to repeatedly reserve the adjacent seat for his own use prior to this episode. My understanding is that the only people allowed that privilege are "Customers of Size" (who only have to pay for the extra seat if the plane is completely sold out). My impression is that Mr. Smith was abusing this customer friendly policy by saying that he needed the extra seat due to his size (when he clearly now appears to have had a change of heart). When his deception became inconvenient (he wanted to make a last minute change to fly on a fully booked flight with only one seat available) he decided that he was no longer a "Customer of Size." If I were a Southwest employee trying to get a flight out on time, I would be understandably confused.
Anonymous600
Not applicable
I believe this will happen again because fat is the last acceptable prejudice. They only reason that you are giving him a refund is because your flight staff and captain didnt realize who they were dealing with if it was just a regular person. he would not even gotten a voucher. Now you are dancing as fast you can to cover up your mistakes. How about you fire the captain you at least a little training to deal with this matter. I hope Kevin Smith rides this longer and show you that your policies are wrong.
Anonymous2096
Not applicable
I wish you'd stop apologizing to this fat ass jerk! You should apologize to all those poor people who have to sit next to hogs like this!!
Mike_Jangle
Not applicable
As a very frequent flyer, I can tell you NOTHING make a flight more uncomfortable than having the person next to you "sharing" your seat! If you can't keep your body within the space of one seat, then you should pat for another one. Very simple! People who are not overweight are subsidizing those who are! The issue is even more a problem than just the comfort of those involved. The cost of flying anything (people, bags, boxes, etc) from point A to point B is entirely weight-based. The expense of a flight (fuel) varies with the weight of the airplane. When we go to the post office, we pay postage, in part, based on the weight of the parcel. Shipping something via freight is no different. The cost of moving anything is a function of weight and volume. If people are not careful, there will come a day when your ticket price (and number of seats you are entitled to) will be determined when you check-in at the airport by STEPPING ON THE SCALE! It IS the only "fair" way to handle the issue. It is, in part, already done with checked bags. But there will no longer be a question about cost/entitlement. This will no longer be distorted into an issue of dignity, or discomfort. No longer will the smaller travelers subsidize those who are large. The airlines are trying to do business in this day and age with razor-thin profit margins at best! This solution may not only reveal the true distribution of income vs cost... But also put an end to fat people using THEIR problem as a lever to smear airlines and their policies as they attempt to deal with this issue. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR - YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT!
Melissa16
Not applicable
Kevin Smith didn't need two seats. He clearly stated that he could put the arm rests down and get the seat belt buckled just fine in the one. Kevin Smith is a larger guy, but if he could fit in the seat, then clearly he is not 400lbs as Letterer suggests. But then again, he doesn't look like he weighs anywhere near that weight (Letterer - you should do a google image search of people who *actually* weigh that much, they are much bigger than Kevin). This is about them saying he was kicked off because he was "fat" when reality, they needed to just kick off the last person on. He fit in the seat fine and he has even offered to sit in one of the seats on television to prove this. SouthWest should apologize for lying and the employee *should* have told Kevin the real reason why he couldn't fly that day!