Skip to main content

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
Anonymous658
Not applicable
As a fan of Kevin Smith AND a fan of SWA, let me add my two cents. From what I understand, the only reason the airline would allow someone to purchase two seats is because of size. I have tried to purchase two seats, and was told I couldn't because I don't need two seats, and it wouldn't be fair to others that wanted on that flight. Kevin wouldn't know this, and purchases two seats for comfort and privacy, but he is a big guy, so employees wouldn't say anything because they figure his size was the reason he purchased two. After reading everything, and listening to Kevin's Smodcast, I think I understand what happened. The girl at the gate wasn't sure if she should let him board the earlier flight, as far as she knows, people are only allowed to purchase two seats if they need them, not just for privacy. She relents and gives him the boarding pass, a bit later, the pilot is saying he wants any issues resolved so they can take off, she remembers giving the boarding pass to the customer that had purchased two seats, and according to policy, she wasn't supposed to let him board with one seat. She's afraid she could get in trouble, and wants to expidite the plane taking off, like the pilot asked. At this point, I agree, she was wrong, she didn't listen or pay attention to what Kevin was telling her. It seems the employees were frazzled and didn't handle the situation very well (a bit of an understatement). Kevin has a right to be upset, but it appears to me they have investigated the situation, and have apologized, even if they didn't go as far as Kevin wanted. I know the size policy rankles some, but the fact is, every airline has basically the same policy, so flying another airline won't make a difference unless you purchase a first class seat, which is probably still higher than two seats on SWA in most cases. It's like watching that show Airline, seeing somebody get bumped from a flight, assuming that only happens on SWA, and vowing never to fly them again, but all airlines have the same basic policy. I'm still a Kevin Smith fan, I understand why he's upset, and he has every right to be. At the same time, SWA is my airline of choice, they are reasonably priced, on time, and normally provide great customer service. This situation wasn't a shining moment for them, but just as I don't judge Kevin based soley on Jersey Girl, I won't judge SWA based only on this incident. In fact, I will be flying them to see Kevin's Q&A in Austin soon. His take on this should be hilarious.
Anonymous2063
Not applicable
weak sauce.
Anonymous4616
Not applicable
too bad the "Too Fat To Fly" rules didn't apply to Kevin Smith, because he could buckle his belt with no extender and put the arms of the seat down. If only people could actually apologize instead of this "we're kinda apologizing, but you're still wrong" bull shit. nice try SWA. i hope someday you will be under the control of decent human beings
Kim28
Not applicable
Honestly there is no real customer service anymore from any of the airlines. My overall positive view of SW was damaged last spring when my 29 year old daughter was in a mva out of state and I was called by the FL Hwy Patrol saying she had head trauma and was in critical condition. I called SW and explained the situation and basically was treated like I was just leisurely calling to arrange a regular old trip. They said they could book me on the first open if I wanted to make my reservation over the phone with them and then I could go to the airport and try and get on standby. So I did and explained my situation at the desk there. They gave my my boarding pass for the reserved flight and told me my name was now on the standby list and to check with their reps at the gate area. So I did and again explained I needed to get to her as quickly as possible, at this time I had no ideal if she would even be alive when I got there but my goal was to get to her asap. I had talked to the trauma center and they confirmed to me she had serious injuries, head trauma, broken bones, facial trauma, respiratory issues and was in ICU in critical condition. I told them I was doing all I could to get there on the first flight they would let me on. The agents at the gate were very unconcerned and did not even seem like they gave a care about my situation at all. They told me they had no way to put me first on the standby list or do anything to help me get on the first plane out. They said they had no policy about this, you just were on the standby list in the order you were put on it, no exceptions. I was shocked they made no attempt whatsoever to assist me in getting to my daughter. Later I sent an email to SW about their policy and my treatment and got an oh well that is our policy, some people try and abuse the situation and get on first when there really isn't an emergency, we try to provide equal service to all etc response. Sorry SW but that is ridiculous. IF they wanted to confirm that my story was true, I could have given them the highway patrol officers name and number or the hospital name and number so they could confirm it. How would they have felt it is was them and their child in this situation???? I bet they would get on the plane and not have to wait on a standby list. I agree with some other posts that I'm glad they have a free bag policy and all that and the commercials are cute where they love my bags but people should be the priority and each situation is different but when it truly is an emergency like this........ come on! And they truly do not know how to apologize when they are wrong. They come off as arrogant.
Anonymous4369
Not applicable
I have refused to fly SW for years because it is well known that they discriminate against fat people, I have heard story after story like the one Kevin Smith describes. I am a large person and I buy two seats, not because I can't fit into one, but I am larger and taller and I always end up behind a person who puts their seat back so I like to put my legs into the other space. If a passenger bringing a baby/toddler on board is not a safety hazard and is not required to buy a 2nd seat, why is a person of size required to do this? I can't tell you how invasive it is to have a 1 year old on a parents lap next to you, so much fun to have them change a diaper on the tray table within a few inches from where you are eating, or have the child spit up on you, etc. Also, they will tell you if they pull you for size you would only have to pay 1/2 price for the 2nd seat, well, I should have that option when I purchase my ticket, not after I have been humiliated. I say, let me buy a 2nd ticket at half price at the time of original purchase as long as I gaurantee that no one will use that seat. They get revenue from the ticket but do not have the extra costs from the 2nd person or luggage. Just have a policy that states, everyone over X weight can puchase a 2nd ticket at half price as long as no one sits in that seat and they are not allowed additional luggage.
j_to_tha_d
Not applicable
I'm deeply saddened that so many public reactions on the internet reveal a deep-seated prejudice and bias against the overweight. Regardless of safety issues, it is not okay to have such vitriolic feelings towards anyone, to shame people. They don't deserve it, and you are not perfect, either ---shall we shame you for your flaws, or say that you deserve to be mistreated for them, even if they aren't visible?
X-FighterPilot
Not applicable
After reading the fact the Kevin meets your own 25 year policy for NOT needing 2 seats, the fact that the policy was even mentioned is truly insulting, and at 6'-1' 180 lbs, I don't consider myself obese. The handling of this and the comments left by others is mind blowing. Especially since EVERYONE world wide knows that the majority of America is obese. I'm surprised that a company that services the "FATTEST country in the world" would treat customers in this fashion. @Rick.... I doubt you could run a 15 minute mile let alone drive one. What an ass.
Anonymous987
Not applicable
I saw this on another blog (FlyerTalk) , and if this doesn't cut to the real heart of the matter, I don't know what does. I can't believe how many media outlets were suckered into making a "nothing" story into a "national" story that ended up directing people to his Twitter page that just so happened to promote his upcoming movie. -------------------------------------------------------- Quote: Originally Posted by Ken hAAmer Here's him talking about protesting one of his own movies, and the news coverage that ensued: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UDoIBgiUAQ (Take note of his self-description at about 6:30.) -------------------------------------------------------- Thanks. It's quite amusing. As you note, he admits being a "press whore". More to the point, he describes in detail how he enjoyed playing the media for suckers with a fabricated story. --------------------------------------------------------
Kempton
Not applicable
Having heard the full story from Kevin and Natali, SMODCAST #107: Thinicism In which Natali tells her story. you guys suck big time! How did you turn someone who loved you guys (and had never flown with you guys) to someone who hate you guys and think you guys suck!!!
Anonymous3921
Not applicable
Keep censoring the pro-Kevin Smith comments all you want Southwest, the whole truth is still coming out. Smith could fit just fine in his seat, the seatbelt worked (without an extender), the armrests came down, and the pilot did not kick him off. But since you insist on implying he's too fat to fly I guess he'll have to go on Oprah to get the truth out. Oh well, you could have made this all go away....if only you had decided to tell the whole truth from the get go.
Anonymous2672
Not applicable
One thing ppl keep forgetting is that some overweight ppl are NOT fat b/c they are lazy or overeat but In fact have medical issues through no fault.of.their. Own. Should we. be punished b/c thin ppl are lucky enough to Not be sick ?? By the theory. That being fat is a safety risk then NO handicapped ppl should be allowed to fly b/c. Trust me you would. be able. To get off the plane quicker sitting next to Kevin smith than next to me it or someone paralyzed needing a flight attendant to bring a wheelchair. Or needing someone to carry them off. If. They are so worried about a fat person slowing down an evacuation then do with them what is done with everyone & don't sit the.m in an emergency exit row. AND as to the ppl who fear a 400 lb person is going to throw off the baalance of the p.ane... REALLY??! Then don't fly at all b/c its not fat ppl you're. Worried about its flying in general. Comeon do you truly believe that if noone ”fat” is on board the plane is truly balanced? Never in my 30+ yrs of flying (skinny or not) have. I or anyone in my party or near us in line been asked how much We. weigh so we could be seated according to which side of the plane needed more or less weight in it. Basically this is just another excuse For finding reasons to harrass others Did anyone take note of the fat that Kevin Smith was actually being responsible?! He could have easily done what more & more rich ppl have been doing lately & taken a private plane. Then everyone would have complained about the waste of fuel & the waste of $ in todays economy & if he and others continue to fly private then some airlines would have to cut back on employees & such. In MY (long winded) opinion. I think SWA. Was in the wrong. Kevin was already belted in so he obviously was not too fat for the seats on that plane. His seatmates had no complaints so they should have let him be & if they wanted to remove someone why not remove those ppl who wear too much cologne or didn't put deodorant on & really ARE an annoyance & health risk? Too many ppl have to suffer migraines & allergies (sometimes Severe attacks leading to asthm attacks or worse) & nothing is done about that. Worry about real problems & quit picking on those who don't look the way you want them too. I would rather have sat next to someone like Kevin Smith who probably has interesting things to talk about or possibly does not talk the whole flight than that 170 lb guy who won't shut up about his hunting trip or the game on TV or his work convention. & so you know I am. Overweight. I am a 42yr old woman 5'7” 185 lbs due to medical issues. & I know I would fit in their seats just fine but I get looks & comments too b/c I am no longer thin like I was in my 20s. I just wish SWA would step up & do the right thing & realize Kevin Smith is far from the worst thing or person to have been on that flight and offer him a True apology & reevaluate their policies & be happy that with the way our world is today they are still lucky enough to have ppl like Kevin Smith willing to fly the not so friendly SWA skies! Kevin Smith if you read this be aware that I am on Team Kevin & I'm very certain that more ppl are than Aren't! [plz forgive my typos & instances of bad grammar I did this entire entry on my blackberry with the txt block cutting In & out & when I went back to edit it it wouldn't let me]. GO Team Kevin Smith! Go Team NOT perfect !
Anonymous150
Not applicable
People are just ignoring the issue at hand, and the FACTS of the matter. They boarded Kevin Smith. If he was too fat, he should not have been boarded AT ALL, not when everyone sat down. Clearly that is a FAILURE on the part of YOUR employees, if Kevin Smith was indeed too fat. And there was another man on the plane who was twice his size. He passed the test of buckling the belt without the extender and could put down the two arm rests. The girl he mentions Natali in his SMODCAST, was taken away by a stewardess to tell her she should have thought about buying an extra seat, even though the plane was HALF-FULL. She also passed the belt and arm rest test. Unnecessary bitchy statement from a stewardess, simply because she could. Because she works on an air bus and is unhappy with her life, and this is how she gets shits and giggles. This website also censors some responses, just so you know. Probably mine. And the fact that you allowed a person like Christi Day to type up your "apology" just shows how sincere your company is at rectifying this situation. I'm glad at least you allowed another person who is much more articulate and less passive-aggressive to show the tail between your legs, and that your company is getting much more press than it ever has, and negative at that. And for people who say that SouthWest is a private company and can choose who to serve, really? An airbus for poor and generally BIGGER people can afford to be choosy and have attitude? Really? Alright..
Clare
Not applicable
Remember Rosa Parks?
Matthew_Cavalie
Not applicable
As a pax of size, I have, up until this minute, lauded SWA's "Passenger of Size" policy. I've found the policy to be clear, and ultimately, fair. As a matter of fact, when I first heard about this story, I was on my first flight in 5 years without a second seat for comfort. I initially backed Southwest. "If I can afford a 2nd seat, so can he. What's his excuse?" But now that I've read both sides of the story, I feel like a fool. Well, Southwest hasn't given much for it's side of the argument. These blog posts are a transparent attempt at PR-spin without even acknowledging the possibility that this was truly a mistake. And it's done well in playing up to "average" or skinny people who don't know all the details. That's why we see all these brilliant posts like "I've sat next to a fatty before, and they smell and take up my seat. Good going Southwest!" But this clearly wasn't the case here. The man sat down, passed the stated test of armrests going down, and the passengers next to him, by their own admittance, did not feel uncomfortable. So where's the issue? Now, not only do I feel foolish in supporting SWA in this matter, even briefly, but I also feel extremely lucky. I had to make a last minute trip on Sunday. Booking literally 8 hours before departure, fares were very high. As I've been losing weight over the years, I gauge myself when I get on a plane. Even though I have two seats when I fly SWA, I always put that armrest down, at least for a minute, to see how I fit. On a number of my most recent flights, I found that I fit reasonably comfortably, and did not encroach upon the passenger next to me at all. So when I had to book this last minute trip, and found that I literally could not afford to purchase a second seat (even if I *knew* it would be refunded afterwards), I confidently booked passage in 1 seat. Sure, I was nervous about how comfortable the whole thing would be for myself, but I knew that I could sit in my allotted space without disturbing anyone else. As I've seen now, I could've easily been ejected from that flight for no particular reason. If I knew then what I know now, fear, even if not outrage, would have kept me from making that flight. I know that there's a certain amount of capriciousness in enforcement of any policy, and especially in the air in a post-9/11 world (as we saw on "Airline"), but when I can't even feel confident that I can reasonably trust your stated policies, that's just no good. To top it all off, if someone (even moderately) famous, like Kevin Smith, can't get satisfaction or an honest apology, then what chance do I have? Mistakes happen, it's a fact of life, but it's the way that we handle those mistakes that truly speak volumes. And frankly, the doublespeak trying to make it look like a defense-able course of action is an extra disgrace. In an attempt to CYA, you're fostering hatred. All of the published comments of "Good, that fatty had it coming to him!" prove it. Not the kind of thing you'd expect from the "LUV" airline. I, for one, will have to re-evaluate my flying habits. If this is where the matter is left and no concrete changes happen, I doubt I can continue to fly Southwest Air in good faith. And to tell the truth, if that happens, I will miss you. But as customers, our true voice is our dollars, and I'll have to put my money where my mouth is. Which is not always around a hamburger.
Andrew8
Not applicable
I don't know what the commotion is over. I have not met Mr. Kevin Smith but from his pictures and movies, yes he is portly, and I assume if I was sitting next to him, I would have to cross my arms and keep my arms outside of my arm rests because he is taking it up...involuntarily. So, he is a big movie director, what about the poor unknown passenger next to him? I am sure that person is happy he/she didnt have to stick it out for Mr. Smith's sake. I do think Southwest probably tried to accommodate him by letting him get off standby with 1 seat even though he normally buys 2. He was inconvenienced for being made to believe he was set to go, but when he sat down, it was overtly obvious that he was too big for 1 seat and asked to leave. It appears an honest mistake in the Southwest employees' part...provided they were courteous about it. Anyway, having flown next to a very obese man on a 5 hour flight. I appreciate it when airlines do enforce some sort of policy on this AND have seats that can accommodate these individuals. It is unfair to both passengers when neither one is comfortable in such a situation even though both paid their fare. To Mr. Kevin Smith, if you are going to make an issue, center it on poor customer service if you were being treated rudely, not because you don't think you are too fat. I'll guess his doctor would tell him that he can definitely lose some weight.
the_mistress_of
Not applicable
Here's a simple solution. Make the dang seats bigger! Don't overbook. Quit whining about the cost of fuel and make the consumer the 2nd most important part of your equation...next to safety, obviously! Stop trying to rape the consumer by charging for every LITTLE tiny thing, checking bags, food, what's next? The bathroom? Isn't it enough that we pay $300 bucks to fly already? I have been flying across this country and all around for most of my life...and as time goes by, the airlines suck more and more. The seats get smaller and smaller, so it's no wonder that we feel crunched, regardless of who is seated next to you! Seriously! Quit trying to blame the supposed fat guy here, I mean seriously 3/4ths of the dang country is "morbidly obese" and those of you who aren't overweight in any way, most of YOU don't strive to be thin, you just get off the hook by genetics. So herein lies the real problem, the airlines blow! The seats are so small that I can barely fit my legs in! And I am the average american woman, not morbidly obese, and I am uncomfortable on planes...no one has pointed out this particular part of this equation. That torques me! C'mon, we aren't sardines for the love of mexico! We are people, and yeah there's been calamity on planes but should we sacrifice everything for safety? PUHLEEZE!! What ever happened to common sense and common courtesy? I am afraid for our society. SHEEP!
Anonymous1094
Not applicable
Kevin Smith is not the opportunist you have all alleged. Check out his YouTube videos about this issue. He addresses all of your criticisms. Southwest: I have always been a big fan and love your sound business and operational philosophies. It's always refreshing to have a silly attendant announce our arrival in whimsical song and so forth. I am, however, very disappointed in your mismanagement of this issue. One or more of your flight attendants made a very poor decision in regards to kicking Mr. Smith off the plane that day. In fact, if it had been presented as "Oops, we made an overbooking mistake, you'll have to wait for the next standby." I suspect this would have not been as big of an issue. It was the attendant's choice to target him and clearly provide the excuse that it was a problem because of his weight. That takes it out of the realm of a tough customer service choice and firmly into the realm of discrimination. If, in fact, his weight was truly a problem, then he would have had the same action happen previously with yours and other airlines. This would have been a trend, not the isolated and poorly handled event that it became. Those attendants should be reprimanded for discrimination, in my opinion. By the way, I am a fit and healthy person who works in the medical field, and who feels that obesity is a huge problem in our country. I don't see how that justifies the treatment of Mr. Smith, or any obese person, in any way. Southwest--> Be the company you committed to. Make it right by admitting your flight attendants made poor decisions, apologize to Mr. Smith with sincerity, and meet his request to clearly and publicly admit that it was not the result of his weight. That will cost you a lot less in the long run, by winning some customers back who have always had faith in you.
Kim17
Not applicable
There are far more customers complaining when they have to be squished next to an overweight person, who hangs over into their seat (even with the arm rests down), than customers complaining because they have to buy an extra seat. Of course, no one wants to be embarrassed, but the situation still needed to be handled. Maybe it wasn't done as professionally as it should have been, which is why there have been apologies, a refund, and a travel voucher given. The policy, while it could use some clarification, is still completely necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of ALL.
Kim17
Not applicable
There are far more customers complaining when they have to be squished next to an overweight person, who hangs over into their seat (even with the arm rests down), than customers complaining because they have to buy an extra seat. Of course, no one wants to be embarrassed, but the situation still needed to be handled. Maybe it wasn't done as professionally as it should have been, which is why there have been apologies, a refund, and a travel voucher given. The policy, while it could use some clarification, is still completely necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of ALL.
Anonymous2672
Not applicable
You're right when you point out that were it ”Joey smith” instead of Kevin smith chances are we wouldn't have heard about what happened or if We did it would have been a tiny little story not a huge one (pun intended). So even tho I am sorry it happened to him I am also glad so that it IS a big deal b/c maybe something will be done to prevent it from continuing in the shadows. Ppl need to be aware that being fat is not really a choice its not something ppl wake up & decide to make a New years resolution to acheive. It just happens. Yes a LOT of. Overweight ppl can make the choice to lose weight but there is a huge % of ppl who can't change it any easier than changing their height or gender. For various reasons. I for one am overwieght due to genetics as well as medical reasonss now I am not obese but if I were should I be. Punished for it? Its not MY fault. they claim its a danger to have fat ppl on board b/c in an emergency you have to climb over them to get out. Why? Aren't they allowed to stand up with everyone else? You would have to climb over the handicapped person next to you before having to climb over the fat. Person & if its because the fat person is having trouble getting up why don't you just HELP. Him up? Wouldn't you want your seatmate to help YoU rather than climb over you? About them ”unbalancing” the plane if you truly believe an additional. 200 lbs on one side is going to down your flight then maybe you should be more worried about the actual plane than the passéngers. Have. You EVER seen the flight attendants move ppl, carryons etc around trying to balance out the plane before? On a BIG plane not a prop plane? As for him encroaching into your "space".really? I bet those complaining about that are the same ppl who hog the arm rest (in theaters too) I'd rather sit next to a fat person who is clean & isn't wearing perfume or strong deodorant. Or playing a loud game or music the whole flight or won't shut up. Some skkinny ppl get drunk & puke on you or get airsick. What about the skinny person in front of you who lays his seat back onto your lap and snores the whole flight & refuses to move or the thin person next to you who falls aaleep on your shoulder & won't move? Their perfume making you sick either due to allergies or bad taste? Should they be removed? Is being fat really worse than someone causing a health crisis because of being rude & wearing too much cologne? That is something that can be prevented but that person is allowed on the. Flight. Why is it ok for parents to bring badly behaved children who the. Moment tje seqtbelts come off start running around kicking your away throwing toys & drinks at you but god forbid the fat mans arm or thigh touches you. Quit picking on ppl with things that make them different & can't be changed & worry about REAL problems. If the. Person can fit in the seat & not need an extender they are obviously fine in the seat. IF they need an extender five them one. That's why they are on the plane after all. If they overflo into the seat next to them ASK the person in that seat if it bothers them & if so that is the time to do something about it. Move one of the passengers. If noone is willing to change & there isn't an extra seat then make them deal with it. Come on its only a few hrs out of your life where you are uncomfortable. I bet that any one of the ppl in one of the highjacked planes would have rather Sat next to a fat mam or woman. & if the obese passenger really needs two seats then make. Him buy the extra ticket unless you have an underfilled plane. Be nice its not like the seat would be. Filled if he was thinner. If its such a big deal have a row of seats near check in & if concerned have the. Person. Try the seats out in advance so if the need to buy a second ticket is there they will hve the opportunity to either buy it or. get their $ back for the 1st ticket w/o being humiiated. On the plane & if you HAvE to charge for the second seat charge half price for it & don't use that seat for someone's stuff. You could always make your seats a little bigger after all the avg American is overweight & eitherway. everyone could use the extra spaace. We are ppl not cargo. Animals on cargo flights are given more space The important thing to remember is there is a person under the fat. Treat them kindly. You never know karma could bite u on your butt some day & it could be. You being humiliated one day. Worry about real safety issues & five Kevin a real apology!
Anonymous2756
Not applicable
Being a fat person and growing up fat, I'm quite used to manuevering in a thin world. I find it sad that we're still treated as second class citizens and that we will be punished for not being able to fit into your small, thin friendly seats. You have lost me as a customer and I encourage my friends and family to do the same.
Anonymous3379
Not applicable
I will never fly on Southwest......Ever. You people are horrible. I sincerely hope this company goes bankrupt and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. How dare you insult and humilate someone like that. And for everyone else who says boo hoo I had to sit next to a fat person and it was a flight from hell. Well what if that fat person was flying to see a dying family member and could only get one seat. You don't care about that, you only care about your own slight discomfort. You want to see discomfort take a trip to Haiti. You people make me sick. You apathic entitled spoiled brats. I hope you people gain weight or see someone you love get treated like this maybe that'll be the wake up call you people need to treat others humanely. I hope this company goes bankrupt. I will never ever fly using your service.
Anonymous500
Not applicable
I do wonder if Southwest would have apologized if Mr. Smith wasn't a celebrity.
T__McDaniels
Not applicable
All of you fat haters should be thanking Kevin Smith for publicizing his experience on Southwest because hearing that his armrest was able to go down and he got thrown off anyway has convinced many of us never to fly Southwest again. Now your plane will have fewer of us repulsive fat people on board and you will be free to luxuriate in your self satisfaction over not being fat yourselves. I have been amazed and disgusted by the depth of fat hatred expressed in reaction to this blog entry. I myself have never been a smoker or had a drug or drinking problem but it never occurred to me to assume that makes me a better human being or that I have some right to view people who struggle with those problems as less human or deserving of respect. Maybe fat people make you uncomfortable because you have trouble eating a healthy diet yourselves, I don' t know. It is possible to eat badly and remain thin as long as you don't consume excess calories and exercise. In any event, I might someday succeed in one of my many attempts at losing weight--I've been trying since age 9 and at times have lost as much as 60 lbs and kept it off for a few years. I do have one of the genes implicated in obesity as genetic testing demonstrated so it is a life long struggle. I suspect it will be easier for me to lose weight than it will be for some of you to learn compassion. I'd rather be in my large shoes and treat all people respectfully than be so hateful towards people I don't even know. Like the song says, "Hate on me haters..."
Anonymous657
Not applicable
I know the chick that took Kevin off may have been in the wrong. But I still feel kind of sorry for her, Kevin has been talking about this for days, mentioning her name, his fans are even equating her actions to that of Nazi Germany. I mean, even if she was wrong, all it meant was Kevin had to take his original flight, I don't think she deserves this kind of villification. What if some deranged fan (have you seen his Q&A's, some of those folks are a little...off) decides to take this stuff too seriously and does something? I know you were inconvenienced Kevin, but was it really worth all of this, really?
Trish11
Not applicable
I just think it's awful what you did! I read that your policy is "if you can't fit between the armrests" you may be told to leave and that Kevin FIT between the armrests. I'm so glad it happened to Kevin though, not because I don't feel bad for him, but because he's not just a "nobody" and he's getting the truth out there!
jennie1
Not applicable
Knowing that Southwest will actually ENFORCE their policy of not allowing overweight passengers to squash me into a corner of MY OWN SEAT, this frequent flyer will be far more likely to choose your airline in the future. I understand that obesity is not necessarily something a person can "fix," and I feel for those who suffer because of it, but that doesn't mean I want to fly 3,000 miles with someone essentially sitting on top of me - which has happened to me more than once. Airline seats are small enough as it is, without having to share them with someone who is spilling over their own allotted space. (And, for the record, I'm someone who won't even recline her seat on long flights because I know how obnoxious even that can be to the person behind me with the limited amount of space on offer!)
Karl_in_Phoenix
Not applicable
Kevin makes a great point -- those of us over 200 lbs are NOT too big to fly, we're just too big to fly on Southwest. If you're over 200 lbs (as I am), either buy two seats or use another carrier.
Doug111
Not applicable
This is insulting, and discriminatory, hardly a safety concern. I will not fly SWA again.
Jona
Not applicable
Shame on you Southwest!!! Your policy is outright discrimination. I have used your airline for years and am now ashamed I ever flew with you. You have lost my business forever!
Eliza
Not applicable
Seriously, Jennie? Do you people even read the details before you go making posts like the one you made at 15:19? One more time, for people like you: HE WAS ABLE TO FASTEN HIS SEAT BELT WITHOUT AN EXTENDER. HE WAS ABLE TO LOWER HIS ARM REST, EASILY. HE WASN'T SPILLING OVER. THE PEOPLE SITTING NEXT TO HIM SAID THEY WERE NOT BOTHERED BY HIM. Their rules should be enforced, but NOT arbitrarily and NOT when the person in question has PASSED the necessarily restrictions on size. THIS frequent-flyer will NOT be flying with Southwest. One, because they're incapable of admitting when they're wrong. Two, because they've robbed at least two people of their dignity by publicly humiliating them. And three, so I don't have to sit next to people as narrow-minded as yourself.
John_S
Not applicable
What a lifless, corporate, insincere NON apology. You still suck, and I still won't fly with you.
Anonymous3954
Not applicable
Hey Southwest. Not only am I PARANOID to fly you but why is it ok for someone to elbow me in the chest on my entire flight? I was afraid to say anything since I am over 100lbs and have a very large chest. I had bruises on my last flight because of the person next me how fair is that to me? I fit in your seats JUST fine as appearently Kevin smith always had but now I am paranoid to take my vacation coming up for fear of public humilation. I've thought about canceling my trip all together but since you guys don't actually sell refundable tix I am forced to lose the money or fly. I didn't purchase a second seat because one I've never been told i needed to and two I don't one. Last time i flew i didn't need a seat belt extender and had the arm rests down.. I perfer the arm rest down I don't like to socialize on a plane across the country.. Also can we do something about the little kids that recline their seats the entire flight?? That seems un nessacary. I for one am 5'3" and NEVER recline my seat because I find it to be unfair to the person behind me espically if that person is tall. But hey I guess I am just a fat considerate person. Oh and as far as the first reponse to this blog I can run a mile in under 15 mins but I bet you would still be disgusted by me. Also why is it you guys haven't responded to Kevin smiths requests to meet him on the daily show? You guys are so sure he TFTF then it's an EASY 10k for a charity or hell donate the money to hati! Please stop ignoring this issue in this blog you have over 1500 responses. You should have another blog so people know you care.
Rob21
Not applicable
I am a frequent flier and count myself lucky that most of my flights are on SWA. The flight attendants are far and away the most helpful, pleasant, and efficient in the industry. I am sorry that Mr. Smith got booted, and it sounds like it was a mistake to even to attempt to allow him to switch his flight. However, I can tell by looking at him, he would not fit into a middle seat without infringing on the others. He may claim to be able to put the armrest down, but no doubt he would take up both armrests with his arms, his shoulders would be on the other seats, and his thighs would be under the armrest and onto the other person's seat. And SWA has the biggest seats in the industry, so no doubt he either flys First Class on other airlines or he infringes on other people there too. Hats off to SWA for enforcing a policy of fairness to all passengers.
Greg111
Not applicable
Okay, let's take it from someone else's point of view: a skinny guy. There's nothing worse than being jammed in a seat next to someone who's so overweight that they spill into your seat, and wind up pressing you against the far side. Even when the arm rest is down, thigh, stomach, and shoulder spills over into my seat. No, I don't want to touch you, I don't want to be constantly rubbing against you, I don't want to be crammed against you for the entire flight. Yes, you have your rights. You have the right to be treated respectfully, if you treat others with the same respect, exactly the same as I do. But you don't have the right to infringe on MY personal space, for which I paid the same amount to you. Let's try a revolutionary thought experiment: putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. I paid for my ticket the same as you, why should my flying experience be uncomfortable because you choose to be "larger" than the average person, but you don't choose to buy 2 tickets? I'm certain you would be upset if I dug out my laptop and had it shoved halfway across your seat, taking up your personal space! Or even just stretched out , took up the entire armrest, and pushed you over to the opposite side! Take it from me, it's miserable being crammed into half a seat. That's absolutely unfair to me. If you can't afford a second seat, then you need to realize that, in order to avoid infringing on my rights, the airline is going to have to reseat you, and if it's a full flight, bump you to another, less full flight. That's the most fair outcome of the situation. You might say that they should bump me, however, I'm not the one who a.) requires two seats, and b.) doesn't wish to or is unable to pay for two seats. I have done nothing wrong, nor have I made any selfish decisions; you have, in not wishing to pay for 2 seats, therefore you are the party who is more "wrong" in the situation, and therefore should be the party who is given the less optimal resolution--i.e, bumped to another flight. Southwest is totally correct in their decision to bump Mr. Smith, it's actually refreshing to see that they treat every customer equally, instead of kowtowing to celebrity or wealth. (I am a fan of his work, he always seemed very down-to-earth). That said, the situation needs to be handled with as much dignity as possible, but since I wasn't there, and we haven't heard from a third party with presumably no vested interest in either side, I'm not going to pass judgment on how the situation was handled. There will always be people who take any level of unfair treatment with a smile and blow it off, and there will always be people who erupt in self-righteous fury and accusations of unfair treatment whenever they don't get exactly what they want, despite how the other party is acting (anyone who's ever worked retail or customer service, you know this). Unfortunately, the latter seems to be more prevalent than the former. I'm going to go with SW handled the situation in appropriately until a third party weighs in with eyewitness information to the contrary.
Anonymous585
Not applicable
there's no doubt a person of size could potentially impede other passengers in an emergency exiting the airplane just as there is no doubt a person with a disability would. the only difference is that there are laws protecting the rights of the disabled, therefore southwest must comply and accomodate these passengers. you can bet your last dollar that if these laws didn't exist, southwest would treat these people with the same disdain they treat large passengers with using all the same excuses. i am a fairly large person, and like others have stated, i do everything possible to minimize my intrusion upon anothers space. i try to be as invisible as possible. i endure whole cross country flights with my arms crossed, my legs crossed, and move as little as possible. the aches and pains that build up towards the end of my trip can sometimes approach blinding levels. i doubt that, by the end of a long flight, there are many people on the plane experiencing the level of discomfort i do. i have never once had a thin person offer me a window or aisle seat when there is nothing but a middle seat to take. with those types of seats, a large person can do a much better job of keeping their junk to themselves, so failing the offer to switch seats, i have to assume the folks next to me are satisfied with the arrangement, and i take my middle seat, cross my arms, close my eyes and endure the flight. all that is about to change though with all the fat-hate i've been reading the last few days. in the future i'm gonna get on the plane, sit down and sprawl out, screw your personal space and your comfort. it's clear to me that there is no consideration for others in the world, peoples' personal space and comfort is all that matters so i'm going to stop doing things that make ME uncomfortable and start worrying more about MY comfort and you can whine, piss and moan about it all you want, i don't care anymore. there is always going to be hate in the world and it's sad that it usually takes laws to reign in the haters. in the past it's been (fill in your choice of religions here), (insert your choice of ethnic groups here). today it's smokers and fat people. it's like humans have and innate requirement to hate. and just because a policy has been in effect for 'x' number of years doesn't make it right. the us government practiced genocide on the american indians for 100's of years, blacks had the jim crow laws to deal with for many years. slavery existed in this country for 100's of years as well. i guess length of time made all that right? using length of time a policy has been on the books to justify the policy is ridiculous. lastly, to all the people who say obesity is bringing down our medical system and costing everybody money you are probably right. i cannot deny those statements may be true, but at the same time, where does that line of thinking stop? should we outlaw motorcycle riding? rock climbing? driving automobiles? what about hang gliding? bicycle riding? football? i don't participate in any of those activities so why should my medical costs be impacted by others high risk lifestyle? where does it end? eventually it will be illegal to get out of bed.
Anonymous79
Not applicable
I mean, really - this really is complete bullshit - and I honestly can't believe it's coming from Southwest, a company I really like, and whose customer service I have come to love. Southwest - you're doing a very poor job handling this situation. It reeks of empty excuses.
tacogoe
Not applicable
Love all these "I'll never fly with SW again!!!" comments. Yeah you will--next time you want to go to ______ (basically anywhere) and you find that SW's ticket is $100 cheaper, that they're the only ones on time, and that they don't charge you baggage fees. Be real...no one makes flight choices based on how the airline handles a PR issue!
Anonymous3561
Not applicable
As a larger guy, I don't think I want to risk buying tickets from you anymore. Glad it wasn't me. Thanks for exposing the risks of traveling Southwest Kevin!
Anonymous1941
Not applicable
I have to wonder if there is a correlation between people who are obese and the negative posts contained herein. Southwest, you are a great airline.
Anonymous766
Not applicable
Southwest Airlines is the best commercial airline. I will, as always, continue to support and fly Southwest.
Hass_Fett
Not applicable
I applaud your removing an overweight passenger who would intrude in to someone space. Please continue to enforce this policy for the comfort and safety of all fliers.
Anonymous4578
Not applicable
I'm appalled at the number of people who are allowed to make bigoted comments about overweight people in this comment section. Then again, Southwest Airlines has gone overboard to point out they really, really don't understand. They'll never get it.
Anonymous3237
Not applicable
What about all of the skinny minnies who have overloaded, multiple suitcases and fill every available compartment with their junk? I use a carryon backpack and hop off the planes immediately (and by the way, "large people" also comprise the tall and muscular). You can't tell me the "plane balance" is affected more by my bit of chunkiness than people who pack multiple giant suitcases for Around the World in 80 Days.
Anonymous873
Not applicable
Why don't you sell bigger seats for big people? Could be a big money maker.
Andrew6
Not applicable
What is not being mentioned is that Kevin Smith is not 'that' big. I believe he's said he's around 260 pounds. Certainly there are people on this board who have had a very poor experience with an overweight person that would not have had a problem sitting next to someone of Kevin's size and the two women he was supposed to sit next did not express any concern. SouthWest NEEDS to do something to fix this VERY quickly. Unfortunately for them Kevin Smith is a celebrity of some note, and has a pretty big mouth and is not shy about expressing himself. Can you imagine what this incident does to there image. Imagine the poor comments on this board being multiplied by a factor of 10 on boards on another website with a story not promoting SW's side of the story. Please SW, at least come out with a better apology, and a commitment to altering proper guest courtesy practices... even if you have no intention on following through. At least it shows you care about your guests in the friendly skies. Make it right
David27
Not applicable
I am a frequent flyer. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to people - no one is better than another, regardless of size, shape, net worth, looks, physical abilities whatever. However, there are many times in life that reality sets in and our differences must be taken into account. In the case of airline seats, the size of the person next to you has a direct effect on your ability to realize the value of your purchase. At a certain point, the size of the person goes beyond some gray line of reasonableness and needs to be addressed. One option is to force the airline to accommodate larger people by giving them more space, assumedly for the same price. This creates a negative impact to both the airline (bad economics) and society (higher airline fares). Another option is to force the other people on the plane to accommodate larger people by squeezing themselves into smaller spaces - sitting to the far side of their seat, sitting far forward, giving up armrest space, etc. This is a negative for the less-large people on the plane who are reducing their purchase price benefit for others who are larger. These two options are indicative of the victim mentality our nation to which our nation has been subscribing to for far too long. Rather than expect others (airlines, government, people) to meet our needs, we have lost the balance of responsibility for ourselves. The third option, which seems perfectly reasonable to everyone except for large people, apparently, is to define what is 'too large' for a single seat, offer the option to purchase additional space, and refund that cost if it is not otherwise used by the airline. A silly analogy: Let's say a big guy 6'10" and 240 - not fat, an athlete - goes into a restaurant with his 5'10" and 180 friend. They both order a ribeye, baked potato, broccoli and a glass of wine. When they finish eating, the 180 guy is stuffed. However, because he's bigger, the 240 guy is still hungry. Should he be able to demand more food from the restaurant for the same price? Further, should the restaurant force the 180 guy to cut off a piece of his steak to give to the 240 guy who needs more, but without reducing his meal price? Obviously, the rational answer to both questions is no. Like the third option above, the restaurant would be happy to give more to the 240 guy and would be happy to sell him an additional meal. And remember that, unlike most people who are 240, the guy in the example wasn't even that way by choice. All of this to say - we need to eat less, argue less and think more about what's best rather than what's best for the almighty ME.
Anonymous467
Not applicable
F all you people that sided with SWA. The guy paid for 2 seats, which they said they refunded, and it happened 2 hours later with the flight he did take. It's just corporate BS to pull in more money. 25 year old policy, maybe it's time to revamp your policy. SWA looks like an ass with the tweets to try to squash it before it blew up. I hope SWA has lost many customers because of this. Suzanah made a judgment call, security, oops. Now it's national news, you-SWA just make yourself look worse trying to defend your position instead of just admitting you were wrong. Boycott SWA, total A-holes for handling this so poorly.
T__McDaniels
Not applicable
The other issue that comes to mind is on one hand, Southwest is saying this is a safety issue and fat people NEED two seats for the safety of EVERYONE. On the other hand, Southwest is self-congratulatory because they refund the price of the second seat if the airplane is fully booked and that second seat wasn't available. You can' t have it both ways. Either there is a safety hazard for a fat person to have only one seat or not. I'm not sure how a second seat makes us or anyone else safer, but in any event either it does or it doesn't. Either you should preserve that second seat during booking or admit that really the bottom line is money and pleasing your socially acceptable thin customers at our expense.
Jorge1
Not applicable
T. McDaniels : You've got something wrong that needs to be corrected. You said "On the other hand, Southwest is self-congratulatory because they refund the price of the second seat if the airplane is fully booked and that second seat wasn't available." A refund is given for 1 seat ONLY if the plane is NOT fully booked. The passenger of size will still have 2 seats, but will ultimately ONLY pay for ONE. IMHO...that's a great deal and is hardly a revenue generator. SW could just keep the money for the extra seat now that might make some extra revenue.