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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.

1,803 Comments
J_9
Explorer C
Oh, and the 'VM was full?' excuse? Gotta love it. It gets used a lot when CSR's drop the ball. Lying is not good customer service either. That just kind of firmed up my decision not to fly SWA.
Anonymous3694
Explorer C
I'm so disappointed in SWA. Your policy would be demeaning and hateful even if it weren't so inconsistently applied as it was in this case. I've actually seen Southwest eject so-called "passengers-of-size" on a reality show they produced called "Airline". This policy is enforced without tact or grace by twiggy airline officials who seems to relish it. It is either accomplished with a pretentious air of superiority or with a sugary sweet condescension. It is almost always entirely discriminatory. And that's why I don't fly Southwest!
Happily_Looking
Explorer C
I've flown Southwest on and off since the 80s. I'll be actively avoiding this airline from now on. And I'm a not-fat person - but I've noticed the seats getting narrower and foot room decreasing as time passed - on yours and other airlines. Eventually no one with hips or wide shoulders or who is tall - no matter what weight - is easily going to fit in those seats, or have leg room. It's uncomfortable enough now, and I easily fit between the armrests. But you'll certainly be able to make lots of nice money on the 2 out of every 3 people who'll have to buy an extra seat. Because of course it doesn't matter if you can put the armrest down - only thing that matters is whether you've bought two seats in the past or if someone who works for the airlines makes a visual snap judgment "they should have bought two seats."
MitchGallant
Explorer C
I'm a bigger guy, and fly the same route that Smith apparently flies all of the time. I'm about 260 pounds, and I fit in the airplane seat perfectly fine, in fact, I find the seats more comfortable than most movie theater seats. I have never "infringed" upon another customers seat area, and I have had no complaints from other passengers. Listening to Smith's podcast, it really makes me reconsider flying with your airline ever again. You seem to have arbitrarily made him unboard your plane, for some mystery reason (probably to siphon more money out of the guy) or because someone along the line did not enjoy their interaction with the man. Regardless of the reason, you have to realize that bigger people are, well, people too; and right now, we are ALL watching how you react to this incident. So far, the reaction has been horrible. You have released the man's public information, you have posted some ridiculous blog/press release trying to act all cute about the incident; and it simply is embarrassing the man further. Your customers are watching this interaction, and those beyond the idiot "screw fat people, I hate them" mentality are pissed. Good job angering your customers during this fragile economic climate; I have never experienced a flight with SouthWest that wasn't at least somewhat screwed up. Customers, minus one.
Anonymous3378
Explorer C
I'm more interested in the statement: " 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." The pilot and gate crew were trying to maintain their on-time departure statistics for the FAA. The FAA statistic is more important than the customer.
Anonymous2944
Explorer C
What is the 25-yr old policy, exactly? Was it--as Smith indicated--that both the arm rests must be able to go down 'comfortably'? Is there a certain diameter/girth length a person must fit (just like baggage)? Can you clarify this nebulous policy you're referring to? Or will it continue to be capriciously applied??? Personally, I am of average (or perhaps below average) weight/girth so this problem does not affect me directly. But I, like many Americans, have close friends and relatives I choose to fly with who are of above average size. And I'd like to set their mind at ease (since they know their OWN measurements) whether we will have to pay double for them to fly; rather than have to worry about it each time we try to board a plane...
DJ9
Explorer C
"Everyone seems to keep forgetting that this is not only a comfort issue, but also a safety issue. I certainly don't want to have to try and climb over some obese passenger who is stuffed into their seat in the event of an accident or other unexpected emergency." I read this comment on the first page and think if that person is willing to go as far as to say that they wouldn't want to try to climb over an obese passenger, then this should also extend to old people, as they are slower to get up. Let's also not forget- tall people,(one could trip over those long legs) pregnant women (slow to get up AND large bellied), mothers/fathers with children on their laps, any person with compromised mobility- all of which would be difficult to climb over in an emergency. 8-| Seriously, I can NOT believe that some of the people on this blog are applauding Southwest. There's a nice conspiracy theorist mouthing off as well, wondering how many of the negative posts were from competing airlines, trust me, there are MORE than enough people that have heard about this in the media to constitute coming here and making their opinion known. What about this as a conspiracy- some of the applauds given may be people from South West?!?! I can't believe that some of the comments on here are so incredibly angry toward over weight people. Do these people just hate fat people or are they just ill from the diet they are on? The US (and some other countries as well) have all gotten bigger than we were 25 years ago. Not only fatter but taller as well. The policy SHOULD be reviewed but WON'T. I don't even know if a loss of revenue will prompt a change. Obviously from reading this forum, there are PLENTY of skinny people that should keep them up and running.
Anonymous1547
Explorer C
He met your own policy of being able to put the armrests down did he not? Yet you still booted him of the flight, why? I cant imagine the embarrassment of a non celebrity going through this BS. He was the last person to board (being stand by) and sat near the front of the plane, I'm sure people were saying "Hey it's silent bob!!". Now you boot him off, I'm sure people were then asking themselves hey what's going on, why are the kicking him off: Exploding underwear? Drugs? He couldn't argue with you else you would have had the air marshals arrest him etc.. So he suffered the embarrassment and debarked. I think he regrets going to twitter so quick, but i understand in the heat of the moment i'd be pissed and would likely do the same. In this internet age one screw up can really cost a company, and it's cost you all of my future business.
Frequent_SW_Fly
Explorer C
I will be joining the many people who will no longer fly Southwest after this blatantly discriminatory incident. Clearly Southwest hates fat people - the fact that Mr. Smith was able to put down his armrests (your stated standard) but was booted anyway shows that this is simply discrimination. Shame on you.
Anonymous3424
Explorer C
I for one find this to be a very weak response to the issue. Yes, you contacted Mr. Smith only after it became such an embarrassment to the company and the legacy that it was in the days when Herb Keller was in charge. The fact that your employees did not follow your 25 year policy shows how arrogant your airline and people have become. He fit in the seat and his seatbelt was fastened. What part of the policy was he not line with? And the comment "The Captain did not single Kevin out to be removed, but he did ask that the boarding be completed quickly." reeks of ironic hypocrisy. If Kevin was seated, didn't it take MORE time for him to be addressed, make him get out of his seat and leave he plane? Trust me if a fat person takes up too much room, yes they should probably lose weight and if needed, buy 2 seats, but if a passenger is given permission to board, then you have given corporate approval for him to fly. At one point I had over 300,000 miles on your airline. I gave away the awards to my employees as I decided over 3 years ago to stop flying what was once a great, fun, professionally run airline. Unfortunately that airline seems to have crashed a long time ago. Too bad.
Joe_Janz
Explorer C
Worst apology ever. You humiliated a human being. I like to think that I learn from other people's mistakes. I am going to learn from this one and never fly Southwest again!
Brownz
Explorer C
Simple way around this, stop trying to squeeze money out of your flights by packing in as many rows as you can. Simply fit slightly wider seats. I'm not huge, but am a large bloke, 99% of airline seats in cattle class are way to small unless your anorexic.
David_Polensky
Explorer C
I have experienced Southwest as a thin and obese flyer. I have been a long time customer of Southwest Airlines. When I was a young man I was average size weight but unfortunately over the years I have gained weight and have to my dismay become obese. I try to work around the weight issues with Southwest by flying the most undesirable flights that are typically not full and therefore I am not typically hassled by the flight attendants. However at times even these flights are full. I cannot tell you the terror and fear I go through wondering if this will be the flight I am thrown off of. I hate it to no end, but unfortunately I have to fly for business and buying an extra seat is on my dime which I refuse to do for business trips. I do however always pay full business class fees for my tickets which typically are two to three times the internet rates for the same seat. I of course never fly standby. I couldn't handle the faces of the passengers as I headed for that last middle seat. Another problem airlines must never think about. Big people don't fit in the airplane toilets. Unless the front one by the pilots is bigger then the rear. If a big guy gets stomach flu in route their is going to a bad mess to clean up. That provides even more traveling issues for the big man. I cant understand how you can have provisions for handicapped people flying but not provide a washroom they and the bigger person can use. Its not just fat guys, my son is 6' 6" 325 lbs he is not fat looking and can just squeeze into your seats, but he doesn't fit in the washrooms either. The major problem with airlines and Southwest in general is the 17" seat issue, they were uncomfortable when I was thin and are horrible, not to mention painful now. An enjoyable flight is impossible these days regardless of size. Between security lines and searches, over booking and babies always crying and flight attendants who act like the passengers are their enemies makes the whole experience terrible. Its like paying for aggravation and pain and airlines wonder why people are not flying as much these days. On vacations, though I have the money to fly my entire family I rent a car and drive to my destinations because flying is such a pain in the ass. Also does Southwest save money by always being at the last gate in the airport??? The long walk to the terminal adds to the headache of using Southwest. Why do the flight attendants make you push down the arm rest on both sides when the seat next to you is empty. Safety is pure bull, the armrests are more of a hindrance during an emergency evacuation then any type of help? Why to they have to be nasty about it? Those arm rests are a useless pain in the ass most people push them up out of the way regardless of their size. Get rid of them so people can get in out of the dam three seat rows easily. I have to say that not all flight attendants treat us big guys badly. Some go out of their way to be nice and treat me like every one else and are nice about the arm rest issues and seat belt extensions. I am currently on a diet for health reasons not because of flying issues. I doubt anyone of any consequence will read this but this my feelings toward this issue as a thin and now obese southwest customer. There are obese people in our society we need provide accessibility for them as we do for anyone else who has a physical characteristic that makes them not fit in the 5' 10" 180 lbs. no impairment person image. For all you folks without a weight problem just thank God you don't and try to treat us big folks like any other person. Dave Polensky
We_may_be_lean_
Explorer C
I work for Southwest and I can tell you that 99.9% of our agents absolutely hate addressing passengers of size. That's part of the problem .... we are not as consistent as we need to be. Hopefully over time that improves. We get yelled at , cursed out, called racist if the pax is of another race than ours...... You name it .... it happens .. I happen to be in good shape and work hard at it,,,,, so If I address someone taking up two seats its because I don't value the large passenger ????? or is it because I am looking out for the normal size passenger?? Obviously our policy is clear (even though we don't apply it consistently) and for pax that don't feel it is fair or it discriminates can choose a different airline or mode of transportation.... We are stuck in between a rock and a hard place because of the amount of complaints from people who don't get their full seat because their neighbor infringes into their seat. Everyone needs to remember that if the airlines just block seats for pax that take up more than their 1 seat and don't charge that person then everyone will absorb the cost of that seat..... Is everyone willing to pitch in a few more dollars so the larger pax don't have to come out of their pocket.... Maybe those thin/average size people who think its not fair can volunteer to sit next to the large pax on each flight since they have no problem with losing half their seat??? Help us out??!!
Haddayr
Explorer C
I was SO excited that Southwest was starting to serve the Twin Cities. But I will not be flying with you until you prove that your staff has been trained and educated on treating everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of size. I am a rather small person, but I always feel packed into flights like a sardine; I have flown next to larger people and losing 3 or 6 inches makes no difference; treating someone like that is ridiculous, hateful, and unnecessary. You apologized to Kevin, but have you mentioned anything about how you treated a larger woman on his follow-up flight? The attendant scolded her or not buying two tickets and said "people need their space." Is that sort of shaming behavior acceptable at Southwest Airlines? If so, you can count me out.
Anonymous3245
Explorer C
Obviously poor judgement and an outdated policy. SWA certainly won't be my first choice. This appology seems like 80% BS.
carroll3
New Arrival
For those people who say they will never fly SWA again, please use your real name. For those who do not like the COS policy grab a cocktail napkin and start your own damn airline. For those of you who do not realize full refunds for the 2nd seat are issued if the flight is not full now you know. For those of you who do not appreciate the fact that is a free country and there are many choices when you travel shop around. YOU'LL BE BACK. The same policy is practiced by most US carriers.
Anonymous2884
Explorer C
Oh Southwest, Swallow your misplaced pride and apologize to Kevin Smith and Natali and discipline the staff who were involved in this situation. Admit that you messed up, make amends by sorting out and clarifying your 'people of weight' policy - the policy in your regulations is not the one being followed by your staff. Whatever it is, decide what you're going to do and talk to your staff about it and let us put this whole ugly situation behind us. There can be no call for humiliating people after they have got on a plane and are seated. Until you do this, you'll just find yourself losing customers. Nobody expects no-frills airlines to be perfect, but politeness, courtesy and graciousness don't cost anything. Come on, Southwest - I have taken many flights with you out of Oakland and am now thinking twice about taking another one . . . on principle (I am not a person of weight).
Anonymous4365
Explorer C
Linda, Do you really think that a lousy refund and an empty apology are enough to dismiss this case of extremely and inappropriate customer service? Your treatment of Kevin Smith was horrible (at best). I used to be a big fan of Southwest, but this incident makes it clear that you are just as bad as all the other airlines. This incident also make it clear that the leadership within your airline leaves a lot to be desired. Shame on you and your company. I hope you and the others involved in this situation will, some day, suffer the same level of public humiliation and embarrassment that you willingly and happily inflicted on Mr. Smith. Perhaps then, you will understand the error of your ways. Pathetic. I am NOT nuts about Southwest. Not anymore. Pathetic.
trinaKS
Explorer C
who is Kevin Smith?
Ajax
Explorer C
Not a single assumption of responsibility in this entire post......Apology FAIL. What hope is there for regular Joe's that SW screws over if a rich personality can't get retribution? The Cover Your Ass Doctrine continues....
Big_Daddy
Explorer C
Pure BS. Southwest screwed up, admited it in their phone conversation and is just praying this goes away like all other bad PR. My hope is that Kevin sues them or at least keeps this going. Way to label someone "Too Fat To Fly" when they clearly weren't. That's like giving someone herpes and then telling them it was their fault to begin with. SWA won't be seeing my business ever again (100K+ miles per year)
jb
Explorer C
Thank you SW for taking a stand, If you are so large you take up 2 seats then go cry about it to someone who doesn't have to share a seat with your rolls and mouth breathing. Its horrific, 8 hours like that? no thank you
TD
Explorer C
I applaud Southwest's loyalty to its employees -- very rare in the business world to publicly side with its employees, and a brave, valuable, and underestimated commitment to those people who work for the company around the country. However, speaking as a customer on the other side of the ticket counter, I believe this blog post reiterates what is often the airline's blinders-on approach to customer conflict, i.e., "We acknowledge receipt of your complaint. We're sorry you (think you) had a bad experience. We don't (choose to) see it. However, we'll give you a voucher for your (perceived) trouble." More outside-the-headquarters objectivity and good PR advice might help them have the best of both (employee and customer) worlds.
TD
Explorer C
I applaud Southwest's loyalty to its employees -- very rare in the business world to publicly side with its employees, and a brave, valuable, and underestimated commitment to those people who work for the company around the country. However, speaking as a customer on the other side of the ticket counter, I believe this blog post reiterates what is often the airline's blinders-on approach to customer conflict, i.e., "We acknowledge receipt of your complaint. We're sorry you (think you) had a bad experience. We don't (choose to) see it. However, we'll give you a voucher for your (perceived) trouble." More outside-the-headquarters objectivity and good PR advice might help them have the best of both (employee and customer) worlds.
Freemarket
Explorer C
sound to me like SW has lost a bunch of fatties and gained the respect of people who like their personal space and health. bully for you. mr smith is a fat famous person, that does not make him special or an exception to the airline's rules. if we had more public shame, much of society would be greatly improved. down with thugs, spoiled children, grossly obese people and generally rude / self centered people of all creed and color.
John_O_Sullivan
Explorer C
@Mean and Lean: His whole point was that he didn't take up two seats. He was able to easily put both armrests down. He was buckled in—without an extender. He fit. According to everything available on your website, he was not a "customer of size." The problem is that your company and your colleagues LIED. And, in so doing, you've all lost the business and respect of many people. And your fellow stewardess' treatment of Natali was reprehensible. Making a lady cry? That's low. Hope you're proud to work with such compassionate winners. I'm 6" tall and over 200 lb., and although I don't think I'd have a problem fitting in your seats, I won't take the risk of being humiliated in front of over 100 people. What a bunch of lying jerks.
Anonymous782
Explorer C
I am a frequent Southwest customer, but I am one no longer. I grew up in Texas and have loved the quirky and fun way you do business. From my perspective, you have reached the nadir of your corporate history. Until this incident, I can honestly say I was more a fan of Southwest than I was of Kevin Smith. The disingenuous PC-ridden apology from corporate is shameful. The employees who continued to eject Kevin after he demonstrated that his seatrests could be lowered should be shown the door. Even saying "is he revenue?" in front of a customer is crass and shows the mentality of these particular frontline workers was way off. Also, we can totally see through the faux talking to given to Natalie was just a lame attempt to demo that "we treat all you fat people the same". Just thinking about how they were treated makes me furious. If Southwest honestly own up to their mistake, relooks at their person of size policy, you may see me again. Until then, no way. PS - I'm thin...so don't think you are only losing fat customers.
Anonymous782
Explorer C
I am a frequent Southwest customer, but I am one no longer. I grew up in Texas and have loved the quirky and fun way you do business. From my perspective, you have reached the nadir of your corporate history. Until this incident, I can honestly say I was more a fan of Southwest than I was of Kevin Smith. The disingenuous PC-ridden apology from corporate is shameful. The employees who continued to eject Kevin after he demonstrated that his seatrests could be lowered should be shown the door. Even saying "is he revenue?" in front of a customer is crass and shows the mentality of these particular frontline workers was way off. Also, we can totally see through the faux talking to given to Natalie was just a lame attempt to demo that "we treat all you fat people the same". Just thinking about how they were treated makes me furious. If Southwest honestly own up to their mistake, relooks at their person of size policy, you may see me again. Until then, no way. PS - I'm thin...so don't think you are only losing fat customers.
kairry
Explorer C
After my personal experiences with Southwest Airlines in recent weeks and coupled with Mr. Smith's experience I can definitely say my company will no longer be utilizing SW airlines. Just in the past 2 months I've purchased over 300 round trip tickets with SWA for both short and extensive trips but I'll be switching airlines immediately. I don't know why your flight attendants are so rude, hostile and carry such large chips on their shoulders. I can understand that people have bad days and for the first few times I just wrote it off to them having those bad days - but no longer. I am a very respectful "normal" sized business woman who flies in both business and coach and have an unfortunate habit of seeing how your flight attendants treat others beside myself. I'm quite tired of never knowing if I'm going to be treated nicely when boarding your SWA flights and more than not the attitudes are atrocious! If they hate their jobs that much they shouldn't be in the air. I do NOT want a refund or other reward...I just want to be treated with courtesy and kindness that should normally be used between anyone we come in contact with during a normal day. Unfortunately SWA LACKS that common courtesy anymore and you're unfortunately losing me and my business as customers. Very sad. Some customer service training may be warranted and something to look into.
Woolf
Explorer C
I see so many comments of "I support Southwest's policy of making people buy two seats if they are fat".....But you are all missing the point here. Kevin Smith was NOT too fat according to Southwest's own policy. He fit into his single seat and was able to put the armrests down. He did not "spill over" into the other seats as so many of you seam to believe. Even the two passengers sitting on either side of him said they were comfortable with him in the middle seat (or as comfortable as anyone can be in the cramped seating that Southwest offers). The reason why so many of us are outraged over this is because SOUTHWEST EJECTED KEVIN SMITH EVEN THOUGH HE COMPLIED WITH THEIR "PEOPLE OF SIZE" POLICY. They subjected him to extreme humiliation and treated him rudely and can get away with it because they can say he is too fat. He is, as he himself admits, fat. But NOT too fat that he did not comply with Southwest's own policy. The only reason that they are making any effort whatsoever to be nice about it now is because Kevin Smith has a large following on Twitter and his own website. He has a voice that can be heard. If Southwest had treated me the same way (which they might, who knows?) would they ever try to make it up to me? No, I am just a lowly paying customer without a national voice. This is why I and my family will now always choose a competitor of Southwest in our future travels. I don't want to take the chance of being humiliated on a plane in front of everyone like Kevin Smith was. ------------------------------------- Question to Southwest: If you are truly concerned about the comfort and safety of ALL of your customers, why not offer actual "People of Size" sized seats for those who need them? You can still charge double if you want. But it is not very comfortable for a large-sized person to ever sit in ANY of your seats even with the armrest in the up position as the armrest does not retract completely back into the seat. Since studies now show that 2 out of 3 people in America are overweight, I am sure you will be able to sell out ALL of these rows. Just a thought (if you really mean it when you say you care for the comfort of all of your passengers). You can even sell them with the tagline, "Bigger seats for bigger seats."
Anonymous2999
Explorer C
Having read Kevin's side of the story, this is one of the worst attempts at an apology I have ever seen. Corporate smoothing over does not an apology make. Sounds to me like you guys screwed up, and can't admit it because then it would be your fault. You know, making a mistake isn't an issue, mistakes are made. The problem I have here is not taking responsibility for it. In fact, going all the way to lying about it. I will not be flying with you guys again any time soon...
Noel1
Explorer C
Mr. Smith did buy two seats and his second seat as pulled. This apology is horrible. You were wrong. He not only fit in his seat, but he fit in the seat with the arm rests down and was able to buckle his seatbelt without the assistance of a belt extendor. You should be ashamed.
Michael_C___tha
Explorer C
You know what its pretty stupid that America has come down to this. If Kevin smith was a millionaire and fat no one would give a crap for one. But as Kevin says it really is not about him being fat now is it. well at least not for southwest airlines but I'm really not talking about the hypocritical ass's like Rick here and I'm sure more people that have the fingers so far up there ass's. Southwest is just like every other company that uses lies to get what they want and keep them from simply apologizing! are you kidding me! All he wants is a stupid apology and to admit that it wasn't about him being fat! come on! Can America be this wrong! You know what America is going down the tube because company's like southwest and people like Rick over here soil what it is to be an American. Stop acting like a bunch of 3rd graders and grow up!
Kay_Peek
Explorer C
In regards to a few comments on here. 1. I have seen Kevin Smith.. my husband and him look.. exactly alike, down to facial features. That includes body structure and height. My husband is 275. So Kevin Smith must be close to that range. 2. This is not a question of "fat people need to be kicked off" this is a question of whether or not he should have been allowed to stay on the plane and whether it was right for them to let him get seated only to publicly pull him off the plane. 3. I'm glad everyone else who is "regular sized" feels the need to chime in with having to sit by a fatty sucks. Know what else sucks? Having to sit next to a loud baby. Having to sit next to someone sick. Having to sit next to someone who just plain smells. Someone who snores. Someone who eats their food loudly. Someone you know but don't like. Someone who falls asleep on you. Someone who tries to talk politics with you the entire flight. Someone who constantly has to use the bathroom. Did it occur to you it would be wrong to kick any of those other people off. Its public transportation. Get over yourselves and buy two of your own damned seats if you don't wanna sit next to someone.
Anonymous4634
Explorer C
Get Your Kevin Smith Action Figure Today! A great silent statement to place on your tray table next time you fly Southwest Airlines! Just make sure it's in the upright and locked position!! http://tinyurl.com/flyfatassfly
ShogunGamer
Explorer C
Is this shit for real? Why don't you admit he could put the arm rests down and you guys messed up? If someone is so big that they fall over or under the arm rest, or cant even get it down...fine...policy is policy. But the dude can buckle his belt fine and put the arm rests down and you still throw him off? I'm not even fat, I'm like a buck 70 and pretty tall and this still pissed me off. I got dicked around by your horrible security screening and almost missed my flight because you lost my luggage on my last trip to Vegas. You guys are tools and this apology is horrible. It's not even an apology. It's just you saying you feel bad that Kevin Smiths feelings were hurt cause you're dicks who can't enforce your own policy's right.
IflyAA
Explorer C
As usual with SWA, they make no apology for keeping people off who go against SWA weird policies. They kick people off with too many tattoos, short skirts, shirts that are too tight, and yes if you fly standby and your buttocks and thighs are deemed too large by "someone" pilot, agent, FA.....they'll keep you off or move you off a plane. Seriously, the pilot ogles every person that comes on? I doubt it and therein lies the problem with the policy. It's capricious, vague and ultimately intolerant. Seriously, Oakland to Burbank....a ONE HOUR flight....and SWA employees made a judgement call that in order to fill the plane, they needed to move Kevin off for his "comfort". An executive that comes across as disingenuous SHOCKER!
Anonymous1548
Explorer C
Some people are missing the point here.. His size wasn't an issue, he met the airline's requirements of their size limits the arm rests were down. The real issue here is they treated a paying customer like dirt and once they realized that the chubby guy has an rather large soap box and audience who will listen they tried to cover their butt (and done it very poorly). People complain that he is just another celebutard who thinks he should be served on a silver platter. No he is a guy who thinks about the average person who is screwed with day in and day out who doesn't have an audience and takes their lame ass $100 voucher to pay for their public humiliation. He knows he is fat, he is the 1st to admit it, any one who has seen him do an interview or speaking engagement knows he makes fun of it all the time. All he is saying is that he hasn't exceed their rules for single seat flying yet, if and when he does he says he'll be the 1st to make jokes about it or deal with it. It kills me the people who are taking SWA side, have you never been screwed over by an airline. Skinny people may stay skinny, but sooner or later you'll get old. maybe you'll be refused entry because the airline refuses to assist you to your seat. Or sorry lady, but your kid appears to be too hyper, and we'll have to ask you to leave the airplane. You're a private company, you can create any rules you wish, but you should respect those rules. You screwed up, lied trying to cover you're butt and now your customer base will be skinny people who cant stand chubby people. Well since north americans tend to be on the heavy side, 2 out of 3 are chubby, I suggest you start a really cheap line of fitness clubs across america so you can retain you customer base. NWA = North West Airlines or No Wide A$$es. I'll be taking my skinny A$$ business else where thank you.
Anonymous992
Explorer C
All of you people who are insulting Kevin, and other people of size, should be ashamed of yourselves. I'm sorry to have to break this too you, but none of you are perfect, and I'm sure none of you want to be publicly embarrassed for your faults. It really sucks that we live in such a hate-filled world.
Nicholas
Explorer C
HEY! HEY! HEY! Do I have your attention? Doubt it, not within the thousands of other comments. I barely read any because there are too damn many, but I still want to try to add my voice in the matter. I will be making a few points. I don't understand why what Kevin Smith is saying is missing some people. I'm guessing most people that are siding with Southwest have never read Kevin's blog or listened to Smodcast. I will put out there that I AM a Kevin Smith fan, but I can totally see this from both sides. Kevin is not asking that they completely remove the policy and he is not asking for any extra money or service from the company. He is only asking for a public apology that pretty much states that he was wrongly ejected from the plane and that he wasn't too fat to fly. He was able to put down both armrests comfortably (as he states) and proved that he was capable of flying without the need of another seat. He is also asking for an apology for the lying and the disclosure of his buying of second seats (which I would do as a thin person because sitting next to strangers is just awkward). If he didn't fit to Southwest's policy, then he would have just owned it and got off the plane, but he did fit to the policy and that's all he's asking for to be stated. So that people don't think I'm completely one-sided, I will say that Southwest has every right in the world to have a policy and to enforce it. If you are a "person of size", why should a thinner person have to suffer because of it? Know your own weight and if you have to buy a second ticket, then suck it up and do so. Do not make your size somebody else's problem. But honestly, I don't think I need to say this because most larger people already know this. Large people are not just large in body, but hell, most are large at heart as well. Every fatty I have known has been very kind and also knowing of their size and how to avoid making it a problem. For all you thin people who are like "Jeez, this fat person is taking up like half my seat, why didn't they just buy an extra ticket." Please realize a few things: One, they may not be able to afford it. Two, they may not have known the size of the seats as it may be their first time flying on Southwest or flying in general. Finally, they are just as upset about taking up have your seat as you are about them. They are probably feeling the guilt of it the whole flight and chances are, that next time they WILL buy a second ticket because they want to avoid causing someone else discomfort due to their size. Although I realize that there are some ignorant ones, or ones that just don't care, and for them I give them the one finger salute! I hate people who go through life not caring about how they may effect others by their size/smell or any other feature that may affect others. Sum things up? Probably should. There is no need to change your policy, you just need to follow it yourselves. If a person can fit and put the armrests down, then they are fine to fly with only one seat. If not? Then enforce your policy in a kind way. If the person is out of the way and not troubling anyone, then maybe a kind reminder in a way that does not draw attention, but still allow them to fly. If they are really causing an issue with their size, then maybe they should be removed from that flight and added to the next one. What to do about Kevin Smith? Give the man some dignity back. Admit that you were wrong and that he shouldn't have been ejected, and if you still feel that he should have been ejected because of the pilot wanting to leave, then at least say that it was because of that and not his size. Honestly, he isn't asking for much and NOTHING bad will come from it, only good. If somebody already said this, then just chalk me up as being in line with everyone else who has said this before me.
bay_area
Explorer C
I personally have had poor service with your airline in the past, but decided not to pursue it. After a water cooler chat regarding Mr Smith's experience i've been told that an employee of mine went through almost the same thing with your airline. So being the CEO I've instructed our travel coordinator not to use your airline again.... Word of mouth always impacts a companies reputation, companies need to realize in this IP age word of mouth is like a wild fire. You couldn't have handled this any worse and you company will suffer for it.
Dale3
Explorer C
Jeez, can it be anymore obvious that Southwest is throwing out the majority of anti-Southwest responses?!? Even small, local newspapers have more comments about Southwest's folly than Southwest's own blog. Could the fake, canned pro-Southwest posts be anymore fawning? Guess you have a couple interns cranking them out and they've run out of original ideas? In fact, I'm surprised not to hear folks booming out a lusty "Heil, Hitler!!!" at the end of more than a couple of them. Get bent, Southwest. You people can't even engineer a simple mea culpa correctly without your lawyers lapsing into Orwellian Newspeak and going back and editing your original posts. Fly Southwest... and the Terrorists win!!!
Anonymous1678
Explorer C
Uninformed people defending SW need to listen to kevin's smodcast 107 it explains SW's real agenda here. Make some extra cash and embarrass the $hit out of people. Kev used two tickets to return home sitting in the window seat, not because he could fit, cause he wanted some privacy. A flight attendant insisted that another passenger a young "women of size" sit in the 3rd seat (isle). The woman didnt want to, she preferred to sit elsewhere (window) on the now near empty plane (she paid extra to board early, there are no 1st class seats anywhere on these flights) but was refused. The middle seat was and would remain empty (since kev owned it). So after the plane was near full and no row with two adjoining seats were made available the SW size cops show up and pull this young lady off the plane and tell her that essentially in the future you'll need to buy an extra seat. Why did they have to do that? She was sharing a "size" overflow seat with Kevin already? Neither of them need it, but SW appears to get off embarrassing people for no apparent reason. Put yourself in their shoes for one second. People of size me included do everything not to draw attention to ourselves. Are all of your relatives pencil neck thin? I doubt it, and the statistics of Americans prove it. How would you like you mother, daughter , sister hauled off a full aircraft and told "hey you know what you're fat, thank you for flying south west". Everyone on the plane is asking What's going on? Why did they pull her off the plane? Is she a terrorist or is she causing a problem? Does she have drugs? Hey why is she back? has she been crying? And this is a person who isn't famous just a young women trying to get home. Skinny people, do you not find the seats too small for your narrow butt too? Whats next, sorry lady but your child is just making too much noise, you'll have to gather your things and leave. Sorry lady, but your too old, and if you cant put you bag in the overhead by yourself you'll need to leave. South west screwed up, and thought that Kev was just another fat guy... well he is but with a voice that is heard. The heavies will speak with their wallets as will the fans of "not so silent bob". For those who dont like the masses enjoy your flight while SW still is flying.
Anonymous633
Explorer C
So happy an airline is looking after the "normal" sized customer instead of pandering to the FAT folks. I get so tired of having to squeeze in to my seat because 1 or heaven forbid 2 fatso's are in the same row as me or my wife. Way to go SWA! I truly appreciate your efforts to make us more comfortable. Seems these fat people don't realize that normal people don't want to rub shoulders and / or other body parts with didgusting fat people who don't care about themselves let alone other people. It was great when airlines banned smokers.....maybe it's time to banned FAT PEOPLE!!!
Dave_Clark
Explorer C
I'm SOOOOO sick of airlines like yours treating their customers like they are human garbage. I am making it my business to discourage everyone I know from flying Southwest. By the way, you just lost a skinny and fit customer, assholes.
Jeff_C1
Explorer C
If he did not need a seat belt extender,, then it means (from my personal experience) that his waist size is under 52" (on the older planes0 or under 50" (on the newer ones). That in no way should interfere with others or with exit. I believe your policy is unfir as it does not address other body types that cannot fly comfortably and could impair others ability to exit. For instance, those over a certain height should be barred from ever flying, as they cannot purchase additional head room and thus could never fly comfortably. Also their long legs could easily get in the way and they cannot purchase additional leg room.
simba3
Explorer C
It pains me to see all the negative comments about a great airline. You guys must be kidding me - either that, or you don't fly very much. All of you that say "I'm never flying SW again" - see Ya on a SW flight soon... Either that or you have enough money to waste on other airlines seats that are the same size - and who have worse service. The guy was in the WRONG by posting this deal all over the world - and making the story completely one-sided against SW. I suppose all of you making disparaging comments toward SW and it's so-called "discrimination against fat people" would be completely fine sitting in between two people of Kevin Smiths size for a 4 hour flight? REALLY???? I applaud SW for HAVING a "C.O.S. policy", and enforcing it. I don't want to have someones fat oozing over the armrests and rubbing against me for 3 or 4 hours. Yes - maybe he got the armrests down - but then again - I have seen 350lb people in 38 waist pants too. The part ABOVE the armrest is the problem. I pay the same price for my 17" of seat as anyone else. I am entitled to have that 17" of space without having someone else blubbering over into it. If you can't deal with that - then too bad. Lose some damn weight or don't fly! Your "right to be fat" does not mean you can encroach on MY right to the seat space I PAID FOR. For those of you who say "make the seats bigger" - how about YOU fork out the hundreds of millions of dollars that SW would lose in one year from doing that. They are a business, just like your employer or yourself. They have to maximize profits while keeping the cost low, just like everyone else. They should not have to suffer or lose money just because some big-shot hollywood guy like Kevin thinks he can slander them all over the media just because they feel they got "slighted". Screw him. I am more pissed off that SW even BOTHERED to apologize to that idiot. They should be SUING him for slander and false accusations. Thank GOD there is a company like SOUTHWEST that actually CARES about people being encroached upon by overweight people that think they have the right to ruin everyone elses flight. Maybe there will be LESS fat people flying SW now - all the better for the rest of us!
Anonymous308
Explorer C
As an airline employee I must say that dealing with this issue is the hardest part of the job. For those who have never been put in that situation you really have no room to respond to the issue. Each passanger is different and all people carry their weight differently which makes it even harder to approach when needed. We all do our best and are as sympathetic as we can be in such a sensitive situation. Before commenting on this I highly suggest reading the policy when it comes to this issue because Southwest unlike many other airlines is highly accomadating when it comes to refunds for the second seat.
sdobie
Explorer C
Ok, this person said it best! "I'm a big believer in the concept of "owning" my seat while I fly. I bought that seat; the whole seat is mine for the duration of the flight. And when I'm seated next to someone who doesn't fit within their seat, they are using more space than what they paid for. In fact, they're using the space *I* paid for. How is that okay? How is that comfortable for anyone involved? If you need more room than one seat can provide, you should have to purchase it - unless, of course, the flight's not full. By all means, take up part of an empty seat, just not one that I'm sitting in. High five, Southwest. Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest. 'Large' people might be loud, but we average-sized people can be loud too. I'm behind you 100%." I too have been stuck next to a large person that was trespassing on my side of the armrest. And once I wasn't able to recline my seat because the guy in the seat behind me was so 'large' that he couldn't put the tray down if my seat back was reclined. SOUTHWEST ROCKS! Stick to your guns! We love you!