Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Not So Silent Bob

cday
Not applicable

Many of you reached out to us via Twitter last night and today regarding a situation a Customer Twittered about that occurred on a Southwest flight.  It is not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations, but with so many people involved in the occurrence, you also should be involved in the solution. First and foremost, to Mr. Smith; we would like to echo our Tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you.   We are sincerely sorry for your travel experience on Southwest Airlines. 

As soon as we saw the first Tweet from Mr. Smith, we contacted him personally to apologize for his experience and to address his concerns on both Twitter and with a personal phone call. Since the situation has received a lot of public attention, we'd like to take the opportunity to address a few of the specifics here as well.

Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank – as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest.  He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby. As you may know, airlines are not able to clear standby passengers until all Customers are boarded. When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. We are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, we made a judgment call that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our Employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.

You've read about these situations before. Southwest instituted our Customer of Size policy more than 25 years ago. The policy requires passengers that can not fit safely and comfortably in one seat to purchase an additional seat while traveling. This policy is not unique to Southwest Airlines and it is not a revenue generator. Most, if not all, carriers have similar policies, but unique to Southwest is the refunding of the second seat purchased (if the flight does not oversell) which is greater than any revenue made (full policy can be found here). The spirit of this policy is based solely on Customer comfort and Safety. As a Company committed to serving our Customers in Safety and comfort, we feel the definitive boundary between seats is the armrest. If a Customer cannot comfortably lower the armrest and infringes on a portion of another seat, a Customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable and a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement.

1,759 Comments
Brian_R
Not applicable
I'm concerned about a growing atmosphere of contempt towards customers by Southwest employees. I say this because there is another, Southwest flight attendant taking shots at Kevin Smith over this incident on her Twitter page. Her twitter name is @mimiface and I believe her name is Miriam Mimi M (or something to that effect) Some of her quotes include: "In Kevin's defense...he does have quite a bit of free time right now." "I'd go see @thatkevinsmith's new movie but I already have 48 hours, Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Cop on VHS...oh and their sequels." "Team @thatkevinsmith criticizing @southwestair over their statement to him...because the way he is handling it, is MUCH better and classier." "RT @thatkevinsmith: This is the first flick of mine that DOESN'T need free publicity.<--awwww lol...Bless his heart. It does sweetie... " Ouch! Well she has a right to voice her opinion, but I do worry about how Southwest employees views their customers.
Texrat
Not applicable
The PR fiasco is karma for Southwest, which killed the chance for Texas to have a bullet train system years ago using strongarm politics. Not the kind and gentle company their PR hacks would have you believe.
Anonymous2796
Not applicable
Everyone should boycott southwest airlines for the mistreatment of larger individuals. Treating us like second class citizens. You need a better solution than charging for two seats. Maybe put slightly larger seats in your planes and then there would be no problem. You could even charge more for larger seats I know I would pay for a larger seat.
Anonymous3444
Not applicable
You have shown that you have no respect for the privacy of your customers. You should not use this site as a forum to tell your side of the story. What happened to the customer is always right? Is southwest's policy "the customer is always right- unless they are fat"? You should be ashamed of this and make a change. People have changed in the last 25 years- there are a lot of obese people out there that travel and you should accomodate your customer. Increase your seating size in one section, its better to have a fatties section where everyone fits and don't place your customers in "danger" than to single them out and make them pay for an extra seat. Get a test seat and have them sit, if they don't fit send them to that section. There is too much predjuice in the world and finally fat predjudice is being exposed. I really hope your company actually does something about this, in a positive way. You have already shown how immature you are by titling this post "not so silent bob". You are a company and should show respect to your patrons- not write your side of an arguement online. It is this type of attitude that gets you named "walmart of the skies".
Part_of_Silent_
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest... many of us have sat squished against the wall/window by oversize people. It makes for several hours of pure misery. I'm sorry Mr. Smith was inconvenienced but that's better than putting the person(s) next to him through hell. I will continue to fly my twice monthly routine!
Sean_in_AZ
Not applicable
Mr. Smith clearly has stated that he buys 2 seats for comfort of not wanting to be next to other people and not due to his girth. Your apology comes off pithy and very "pass the buck". If you really want to explain why anyone, regardless of stature both physically and professionally, was allowed to board a plane, stow their luggage, sit down, buckle in and then told to get off the plane for any reason other than a threat of violence towards fellow passengers or the crew, try much much harder. Don't try to pass this off as a weight thing. Ultimately, if even a small portion of Mr. Smith's fan base never flies your airline again because of this, that will be millions of dollars in lost revenue for your business in an already struggling market over the next few years. Is that really worth removing an already seated, comfortably, passenger? I hope you think so. You should be glad that the stock market is closed tomorrow, cause I have a feeling a lot of financial institutions are going to be downgrading LUV. Lots of "Passengers of Size" in that group!
Lorelei_Smith
Not applicable
Hello Southwest, If Mr. Smith needed 2 seats, why was he placed on Standby for 1 seat? Why was another woman for this flight publicly berated for not having bought 2 tickets? Surely there was a way to discuss it with her privately LONG before she got to the gate and on the plane. Why was there another man on the flight who was larger than Kevin Smith but left in his seat? If your rules are so important, then the ticketing counter should have stopped all 3 of these customers and dealt with the issue quietly and privately there. So your staff made 3 errors right there. And if the ticketing counter made an error, then these missed customers should have been stopped at the gate counter, quietly and privately informed of the error, and given their options about how to purchase a 2nd seat. But that didn't happen either, so your staff made 3 more errors there. So no matter what you want to write or rewrite at the top of this page, Southwest, your staff screwed up somewhere, and now you're trying to pretend that it's totally appropriate to bring everyone onto the plane and stow their luggage and then at the last possible moment start arguing with people about how many tickets you wish they'd bought. That's ridiculous. You don't really know how-big is too-big. And none of your employees really have an idea either: not at ticketing, not at the gate, and not on board.
Anonymous2994
Not applicable
Dear SWA, It seems your best PR people took the day off. An apology includes a mea culpa. You apologize like a bad girlfriend. Just saying you're sorry that he didn't have a good flight is NOT an apology. I realize corporations never like to admit anything without consulting their lawyers first, but in this instance a self-flagelation and promise of future sensitivity would be more productive. My brother is HUGE, and he's never had a problem on your (or any other) airline. He heard about this story though and he is afraid of being needlessly humiliated by your staff. Policy be damned! Get your staff to be lenient whenever possible and sensitive at all times. Also, telling the truth is always the best policy. When I say truth I mean the full-frontal truth, not some slanted lawyer-speak version of the truth. If you don't, no one will trust you ever again. I'm not sure I ever can.
Anonymous1746
Not applicable
I just listened to kevin smith's podcast about his experience at your airlines. Truly disgusted and disappointed in how your airline conducts business, and not just for how he was treated, but the woman as well. Abhorrent. I will not be flying with your airline any longer. Please rethink your policies for the sake of being CIVILIZED.
Anonymous692
Not applicable
I can't believe that you asked a seated passenger to get up and exit the plane. Would you have penalized a passenger for being extraordinarily tall? A person with broad shoulders? I don't believe you would have posted this if Kevin Smith wasn't a celebrity, and shame on you for commenting that he is known to purchase two seats. It sounds like he ultimately flew out using only one seat, so what was the problem? I will never fly SWA again. I've never heard of someone being treated this way on United, Alaska, or Virgin America. It's worth paying the extra fare to support an airline that doesn't actively humiliate its customers.
Anonymous3381
Not applicable
Oh you Americans are so entertaining. Lots of love, Europe.
prowse
Not applicable
In the first paragraph you come off with some BS about "...not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations...". Too bad. Welcome to Twitter, morons. Maybe that's too harsh. Maybe not. However, that is one more policy you will have to change: customers will forever complain about piss-poor customer service on Twitter, and when Twitter is gone or merged or bought, on some other similar platform GET USED TO IT. IT WILL NOT GO AWAY. Be realistic. As Kevin said in his latest Smodcast, re-train your customer service! Obviously, currently you suck at it. Just, get better. Then maybe I will fly on your fat planes again.
Alisha_DeWitt
Not applicable
Oh, Southwest. Just yesterday a friend of mine was raving about you, and then I came home and read about this mess. Your pilot's behavior was inexcusable and rude; it doesn't matter what your "policy" is, if you're going to disregard it and let individuals make random decisions like this. You owe Kevin Smith a true apology--and I hope the furor he's raising is making you realize just how many people you're discriminating against a) by having a policy against fat people at all, b) by being completely arbitrary about it, and c) by refusing to even apologize or admit you might be in the wrong.
BMorane
Not applicable
This apology is needless. Celebrities shouldn't expect special treatment, nor should lard-asses.
prowse
Not applicable
The following comment from above HAS to be from employee JustPlaneNuts (read her tweets and see if you dont agree) "I don't really feel sorry for people when they let themselves get to that level of obesity. It's unhealthy for you and its a safety risk for those you fly with. But just because you're famous it's Okay to piss and moan about it on Twitter and hurt a company for enforcing a regular policy?" Are you insane?
SW_Hates_Fattie
Not applicable
Someone is lying because Kevin Smith said he was able to fit in the seat with armrests down and did not need an extender for the safety belt. He also says he has not received a call. I would suggest SW comes clean, tells the truth, and apologizes. I think it's all a scam on the part of SW to get people to spend more money, ie, have to buy two tickets. Hopefully the fatties that you publicly humiliated will get together and sue you. I for one will never fly your airline.
Anonymous3606
Not applicable
When you're that fat, it's time to get off the plane and get onto a treadmill. Seriously, stop making excuses and making a bigger scene - you're embarrassed and we're embarrassed for you. http://www.tgdaily.com/sites/default/files/stock/article_images/misc/people/kevinsmith2.jpg Both armrests down, my @$$.
E_
Not applicable
I also am a person of size. It pisses me off that this is treated as something I willingly chose for myself (I had severe sleep problems which required nose surgery to correct). I have flown recently with both armrests down (barely) and a seatbelt extension on a different airline - thank god for them. I will be having surgery this year to help me to try to get to a more healthy weight and when I get there I will still stay as far away from Southwest Airlines as possible. Nazis.
Duke_Rufus
Not applicable
I wonder if your apology would be so "heartfelt" had Mr.Smith not been a celebrity? At this point you must be glad it was Mr.Smith and not someone like Michael Moore. As crippling to your business as Kev's remarks on his Twitter and SModcast may have been you'd go bankrupt had Michael Moore made a Documentary "Too Fat to Fly" inwhich he called out your BS rules. A 25 year old rule at that. Maybe Americans 25 years ago were more slender but Mr.Smith's build is on par with the American Average. I am not obese but your seats hardly contain my 6ft-1in and 250lb body. I can think of many things in life worse then sharing an armrest with Kevin Smith. I think maybe your CEO's should blow that 25 year old dust off your manual and rethink your policies. Larger seats would be nice as well, not just for your larger customers, but for your average sized customers as well. Believe me had you kicked me off that plane I would have raised a stink too, except since I'm a nobody all I could do is bitch to my friends. Luckily for Kevin Smith he has a fountain of outlets that hopefully either A) make you rethink your policies or B) go out of business. Mr.Smith had it right when he refered to you as both "The Greyhound of the Sky" and "Welfare Airlines".
Ray_Hill
Not applicable
I am disgusted. First, this "apology" is anything but. "We're sorry, Mr Smith, but you ARE too fat to fly" is possible the worst thing Southwest could say right now, but here they are saying it. Clearly, they're not paying attention. Second, in both cases (Kevin being ejected, and the girl on the next flight being "talked to"**) the arm rest was able to go down. The Southwest policy and the half-assed apology both state that the policy applies when the armrest can't go down. So there was indeed no grounds for either incident. Finally, Southwest is bending over backwards to apologize to the famous person who has the audience to hold them accountable for their policy, but doesn't mention or address the poor gal on the second flight, or the fact that this kind of treatment is apparent commonplace on their airline (what are the odds of it happening on two flights in a row?). Which clearly shows that they're just trying to placate a PR nightmare, and aren't actually paying attention to the fact that it is their policy - or more accurately, overly aggressive enforcement of their policy, and piss-poor customer service - is in serious need of an overhaul. Cristi Day, I do not envy you your position. I know you weren't involved in the original incident, and you're stuck between PR's and Legal's likely conflicting instructions. I've held your position for other large corporations. But as a customer service representative, your responsibility is to fight tooth and nail to make sure the Powers That Be in your organization understand what the real issue is, and make the appropriate policy changes to correct it. I sincerely hope that you take your position seriously, and are willing to fight the good fight from within the organization. Southwest's PR folks clearly think this is an issue of people not agreeing with their +size policy, when it is in fact anger at the policy being inappropriately enforced, and - worse - enforced rudely, overzealously, and with little regard for the customer. The folks who were responsible or mis-enforcing the policy (both on Kevin's first flight and especially the second flight) have lost my business. Hopefully you can convince your higher-ups to address the real problem and stop making matters worse with such blatantly hollow apologies that fail to address the actual points of contention, before this turns into a full-on boycott of what is otherwise a pretty decent airline. Good luck. I'm afraid you're going to need it. ** See Kevin Smith's podcast on the topic for additional details regarding the armrest being able to go down and the experiences of the girl on his second flight: http://smodcast.com/smods/smodcast106.html
Anonymous952
Not applicable
You just lost me as a customer, SW.
Anonymous494
Not applicable
Treating people inhumanly to save a few dollars in jet fuel. Screw you, I will never fly Southwest again, and I'm not fat. Just human.
Anonymous4611
Not applicable
Maybe you should just apologize and leave the excuses out. It defeats the purpose of the apology.
Anonymous4128
Not applicable
Liar liar pants on fire. He does not "regular" buy 2 seats. If you are going to throw people off the plane for being to fat, do it before they actually get on the plane. Plus he DOES fit into one seat and abides by ALL of your rules and regulations (arm rest test and so on). Lying assholes
Anonymous4611
Not applicable
This is a PR nightmare. Who were the geniuses who kicked off an indie legend? Heartfelt apologies sound empty if you then justify your actions for 3 paragraphs. Just say sorry for embarrassing him. Period.
Anonymous284
Not applicable
Here is one of the many tell-tale signs your policy is absolutely BULLSH!T - you mention " timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement." So you think having an empty seat would magically speed up the process? You think Kevin Smith couldn't get his @ss off that plane in record time if needed? You think he could only do it by breaking the neck of nearby passengers in the process, but an empty seat would change that? Just more corporate concocted BS lingo designed to say "we hate fat people" - guess what, the majority of the country is fat. Whether you like it or not, it's true. You need to come up with a better system. How about you take out one row of 3-seats and put 2 "big boy seats" on every plane and charge for a seat and a half? Whatever the solution, you guys need to come up with a decent one instead of just outright public humiliation.
Anonymous2100
Not applicable
Dear Southwest your handling http://bit.ly/95n6Bf of Kevin Smith was wrong. I'll think twice before I fly on your airline again.
HanJoelo
Not applicable
so basically you scold him for being fat, then refund and reward him for being fat, then enforce a rule that stats fat people must pay a "fat tax" on your airline. fuck that!! i heard that american airlines has way better deals to texas...so he can fly to your HQ and throw his "weight" around.
cheryljones
Not applicable
We fly CONSTANTLY (several times a month, and have for the last 10+ years). I am also tall (6'1") for a woman, overweight AND in a wheelchair (due to a car wreck several years ago). My husband is 6'5" and overweight. He flies with me (we work for the same company). A few years ago we happened to have our company book us on a Southwest Flight. Upon arrival at the airport we were "lectured" about our size by Southwest staff at the ticket desk and were told that we would HAVE to purchase another seat. We assured them that we were able to fit within the armrests (without lapping over into the adjoining seat) and fasten our seat belts, and therefore were refusing to purchase another seat.. Upon arrival at the gate we got the same lecture, and we offered the same explanation. At the door of the plane, we got the same lecture (and I offered the same explanation). When everyone was seated on the flight, I asked the man sitting next to me (I was in the middle) if he had enough room, and he stated he was fine. Coming home from our trip, we went through the same BS. I, again, asked the person next to me if I was invading his space... he said, "Honey, you're fine!" and we chatted for the whole trip back. After that trip, we told the company to NEVER book us on Southwest again. After hearing what happened, they said they wouldn't book ANY of the employees on Southwest. Southwest says that "all" companies have a similar policy in place regarding their fat passengers... but I've NEVER, EVER, had another airline (and I've flown on most all that service destinations inside the US) treat me like Southwest did. And, honestly, If I'm (as a fatty... a handicapped fatty at that) so offensive to everyone... why aren't folks that refuse to shower (or take a bath in cologne), brush their teeth, etc. offensive? For those of us that do bathe (and don't stink), the stench is offensive. I don't complain, though. Southwest lost our business a few years ago (we tend to fly on either American or AirTran), and I thought that the treatment we received from Southwest was reserved for us; I take comfort in knowing that it doesn't matter WHO you are, Southwest is going to treat you like crap if you're a "fatty". I'm glad I have a policy about not dealing with bigots!
Herb_Finn
Not applicable
Kevin Smith has this to say on his twitter account... "But contrary to their claim that I regularly purchase two seats, I wasn't a regular 2-seat buyer until just this week. They SEIZED on that." I"n their "apology" blog, they implied (or flat-out wrote) that I regularly purchase 2 seats. Writing that buttresses their lie: 2 Fat 2 Fly. " "But, by their own guidelines, I was not, in fact, 2 Fat 2 Fly: the arm rests went down & I could buckle my seat belt w/o an extender. So...? " http://twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith Also in his "smodcast" #106 he relates the complete story, as well as sating the fact he buys two tickets becuase he likes his space and he can afford to since the seats are so cheep - and not becuase he has to,or has been asked to. http://smodcast.com/
John_T
Not applicable
Well done Southwest. Pity you were forced into an apology just because Kevin Smith is well known. Personally I am sick and tired of having of sit next to fat people on flights (especially long haul). I end up scrunched up and can't sleep. Fat people should buy two seats or take another flight - what could be fairer. Definitely against my human rights. John T
Anonymous4444
Not applicable
Hey SW, I'm out too. I too am "a person of size" that fits between lowered arm rests without an extender but if you're going to single out and humiliate people even if they fit in within your policy, I'll pay more (but still less than 2 SW tickets) on United or Delta. Your policy is wrong and you need to treat people of all sizes, shape and colors with the same respect. Also take a hint from "Undercover Boss" and think super hard about instilling policies that you wouldn't want to have to enforce yourself to a real life, embarrassed, humiliated and defensive person.
Richard_Steed
Not applicable
The general attitudes of people these days would conventionally agree that racist or sexist acts are not only are frowned upon, but are in many cases illegal. This policy for the comfort or safety of the next man, woman or child seems to me to be window dressing. Fat folks would like some bigger seats that allow for the comfort and safety of them selves, and they'd be okay if it benefitted others, they'd even take the seats specifically being at the back of the plane. The distaste directed towards fat people, in any other color would be illegal. This should be the issue. I can do up my belt and put the arm rests down. I will however never use your airline as I will remember this story and the 90 minute story by Kevin Smith I just listened to. You may have a policy that makes you right, it however doesnt make you "right".
MJFattyFatty2by
Not applicable
I am sick to death of your discriminatory policies. If you really want to ensure the "comfort of ALL of your passengers," how about you start charging extra for whiny children, smelly passengers, drunk seatmates and making tall people pay a surcharge as well? I grew up on SWA. My Dad and older brother LOVE your service. I liked it. Over the last few years though, I'd read more and more about your arbitrary policies regarding fat people, and had avoided flying SWA whenever I could. This recent incident, and your subsequent disingenous apology, have sealed the deal. You have my weird I will go out of my way to AVOID SWA permanently!! Why don't you just go ahead and change the slogan to: "SWA: The Skinny People Airline"? Or, "You are now free to move about the country - unless you're a fatty"? I'm sure there's a market there." It just won't include a great many of us, who will choose to fly with and pay more to an airline that treats us with respect and dignity.
Jason9
Not applicable
LOL! I wonder exactly how many of those "Southwest is right... make 'em buy two seats!" comments... are coming from actual customers? I'm guessing that the damage control folks at Southwestern are posting the vast majority of those comments. I've used Southwest quite a bit in the past... and I would guess that I'm about as big as Kevin Smith is. I've never gotten hassled... but you know what? After hearing what you did to him... and to a separate passenger a few hours later... I'm not even going to take the CHANCE of letting that happen to me! Unless you CLEARLY state EXACTLY what criteria you use to determine if someone is "a saftey issue" (ie. fat)... then my travel dollars are going to your competitors from this point forward. Just because you don't charge much for a ticket... doesn't mean that you can treat people like they are less than human beings. The fact that you did this to two different people in the span of less than 2 hours tells me that it's more than an isolated incident. I hope all the thin people enjoy flying the "skinny skies" with Southwest. Me? I'll most likely be flying JetBlue from now on. I hope your business model of alienating and degrading paying passengers, in a lousy economy... works out for you.
Liam
Not applicable
I'm not fat and while I disagree with your policy, one of my main concerns is how you are treating Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith makes disparaging remarks about your company publicly, and the tone of your response is certainly not one of respect. If I complain about Southwest on Twitter and it actually gathers attention, will you strike back at me in a post like this and with this attitude? How many Twitter followers do you have to have for Southwest employees to consider you a public figure and to make the decision that private customer data about the customer's habits can be released? Or do you breach any and all customers' privacy? A better response to a celebrity or non-celebreity would be "We have been made aware of an anomaly that occurred in regards to a customers experience. We are very sorry, have apologized, and are looking for a solution with the customer." This is all you should say!! Do this rather than try and justify yourselves because no one is buying your corpspeak spin and its insulting.
Anonymous3205
Not applicable
i will never fly Southwest again after having a similar humiliating experience. I fit in the seat with the armrests down, yet was publicly asked to buy another seat with no one next to me and then had to endure the stare of others who couldn't understand why there was a reserved seat next to me on a full flight. They even OFFERED to sit there, but instead I had to sit there with the reserved sign like I was wearing a scarlet letter. Humiliating, degrading and offensive. Figure out how to handle your customers before they board a plane,,,,instead, public humiliation seems to be your forte.
Mumon
Not applicable
I will say at the start that I detest your airline. I detest the cloying insincerity of the idea of forcing your staff to do doggie tricks for the crammed in like sardine passengers who, truth be told do not want to feel like they're hobos or those relegated to the getaway Greyhound bus, but only wish to be treated as human beings on long travel. I took your airline once, and hated it. Your airline is the apotheosis of everything that is wrong with airline travel, and I could give a hoot about "cheap fares." I DO give a hoot about being treated as a human being. And the seat dimensions for coach seats on ALL airlines are a crime against humanity. And I'm friggin' 5'6". It's about time airlines sized seats for people. And stop with the friggin' pretzels. That's an insult.
Liz_Z
Not applicable
Some of these comments are making me seethe. It is ridiculous to me how many people have failed to explore both sides of the story and are commenting blindly. Not to mention the people essentially cheering at the fact that a fat person "got theirs." Let's get some facts straight: The captain supposedly didn't even see Kevin, as the lady got to him from a desk yards away no more than 13 seconds after he had sat down. It was likely someone in the jetway profiling him. Also: the customers he was seated with stated that they were fine with him staying, he could put down the arm rests just fine, and he doesn't even need a seatbelt extender. The title of this blog is extremely unprofessional. Along with that and the fact that the second flight Kevin was placed on had a stewardess humiliate the woman seated in Kevin's row by telling her she needs to purchase an extra seat in the future and that she needed to ask for Kevin's permission to take up her own space: Southwest Airlines will never receive any business from me or anyone close to me.
Anonymous3074
Not applicable
This is exactly the reason I DO NOT use Southwest Airlines. Let's be honest: The airlines have continually tried to reduce individual passenger space over the last few years to accomodate more fliers. The seat space on most airlines cannot comfortable fit an average size person. The fact is MOST Americans are overweight. The "average" size of an individual has grown while the airlines have continued to reduce the size of their passenger space. All airline should be regulated to at least provide the minimal amount of space per passenger to comfortably fit the AVERAGE sit passenger - whether or not some of you deem that person as 'overweight' -is besides the point. The airline should be expected to provide comfortable seating for people. I flew across country last winter and my legs were cramped against the back of the guys seat in front of me -- I'm under 6" tall. I can't imagine how uncomfortable a slightly taller person would be. BTW: Many states recognize overweight people and obesity as a form of disability. I hope some lawyers see this blog and Keven Smith's case and finally file a class action lawsuit against the airlines who discriminate against heavy people - what about "tall" people? Do they kick them off the plane too? Or how about crying babies? Don't I have the right to fly without a crying baby sitting next to me? Or why should I fly next a handicapped person? or a mentally retarded individual? Maybe they would block the exit as well>?? Seems to me that this falls into a discrimination class-action lawsuit.
Anonymous3074
Not applicable
This is exactly the reason I DO NOT use Southwest Airlines. Let's be honest: The airlines have continually tried to reduce individual passenger space over the last few years to accomodate more fliers. The seat space on most airlines cannot comfortable fit an average size person. The fact is MOST Americans are overweight. The "average" size of an individual has grown while the airlines have continued to reduce the size of their passenger space. All airline should be regulated to at least provide the minimal amount of space per passenger to comfortably fit the AVERAGE sit passenger - whether or not some of you deem that person as 'overweight' -is besides the point. The airline should be expected to provide comfortable seating for people. I flew across country last winter and my legs were cramped against the back of the guys seat in front of me -- I'm under 6" tall. I can't imagine how uncomfortable a slightly taller person would be. BTW: Many states recognize overweight people and obesity as a form of disability. I hope some lawyers see this blog and Keven Smith's case and finally file a class action lawsuit against the airlines who discriminate against heavy people - what about "tall" people? Do they kick them off the plane too? Or how about crying babies? Don't I have the right to fly without a crying baby sitting next to me? Or why should I fly next a handicapped person? or a mentally retarded individual? Maybe they would block the exit as well>?? Seems to me that this falls into a discrimination class-action lawsuit.
Zak_Millslagle_
New Arrival
I am owning this comment, sirs: Zak Millslagle 5809 73rd Ave N. #151 Brooklyn Park, MN 55429. I have worked in customer service several times in my life, and I know that as a buisnessman, a clerk, and a human being, you do not, and cannot, treat other people in this appalling and altogether unprofessional manner. Kevin Smith is fat, but he is not THAT fat. To call this person out and publicly humiliate them by singling them out in front of a crowd is low class at best. Not only do you begin your post with a condescending attempt at humor, which comes off as snarky and all together innapropriate for the situation, you proceed to attempt to apologize with corporate bile and completely refusing to own your own mistakes. A true "mea culpa" requires you to accept responsibility for your actions, not avoid it, sir. I have listened to Kevin Smith's podcast on the situation, and find your arguments completely do not fit the truth of the matter. He was able to put his armrests down, you have flown him in one seat previously, and he purchased extra seats not out of neccesity, but out of comfort that anyone with a disposable income (fat or thin) would probably love to have. I realize I called his version the "Truth". This could be argued, however, common sense dictates that his version is most likely the truth. What is he gonna gain by ripping on an innocent airline? If he wanted publicity, he could rip on a celebrity and find himself all over the tabloid rags and entertainment news shows. He gains little from this unless his large fanbase picks it up and runs with it... and would someone with a large, devoted fanbase really need more publicity, sirs? Southwest, on the other hand, is a company, a company that has suddenly found itself in a shit storm (a well deserved shit storm, I add.) Looking to protect the bottom line, and it's own public image, it concocts its own versions of events that paint Smith as a petulant fatty, and Southwest as the sad and beleagured airline just trying to "Help us all out". Kevin Smith has also gained credibility by being one of the most candid, self effacing, honest, and all together open people with his (or any) level of celebrity. From his blogs to his podcasts, films, commentary tracks, anything, he has always revealed intimate details, (even the ones that paint him in a negative or foolish light.) I highly recommend "Me and My Shadow" a blog series he wrote, as a particularly sterling example. Why would he throw all of this credibility away on giving some sass to a 2nd rate airline? For a movie that features one of the biggest stars of his generation, directed by a fellow with a built in fanbase? In all honesty, Southwest just seems like they suddenly realize they stuck their hands into the wrong fucking beehive. I think this quote from a film sums it up nicely. "Now, dicks have drive and clarity of vision, but they are not clever. They smell pussy and they want a piece of the action. And you thought you smelled some good old pussy, and have brought your two small mincy faggot balls along for a good old time. But you've got your parties mangled up. There's no pussy here, just a dose that'll make you wish you were born a woman. Like a prick, you are having second thoughts. You are shrinking, and your two little balls are shrinking with you." - Bullet-Tooth Tony.
TrinSF
Not applicable
I quietly stopped flying Southwest years ago over their "Passenger of Size" policy. I also don't fly anyone on my family on Southwest; when friends mention travelling, I let them know about my concerns, too. Because I'm part of a community of people who travel regularly to weekend events -- and the mother of two college students -- this comes up a lot. The bottom line is that because Southwest's policy is worded to allow any employee to challenge any passenger at any time, without regard to whether that passenger fits in a seat with armrests down, does not use a seatbelt extender, etc, I and others never know if they are going to be subject to exactly the kind of harrassment that Mr. Smith and the other passenger on that flight received. One could be a regular flyer for years, and then one day an attendant in a bad mood or an irritable pilot may decide, arbitrarily, that one does not meet their subjective criteria to be allowed to remain on the plane. Why would I choose to purchase a service that may be arbitrarily denied me in that way? Why would anyone? Southwest has repeatedly show that as a company, it maintains a policy of allowing employees to make these sorts of arbitrary decisions, to the detriment of the customer. (For example, the infamous short shirt and irritable child incidents.) So, I don't fly Southwest. My family doesn't fly Southwest. I don't pay for others to fly Southwest. Because I have worked professionally in the travel industry in the past, my employers in the tech industry have often sought my guidance in making travel plans and travel polices, and I have always counselled them to avoid Southwest, in large part because of policies like this one. Several other commenters have suggested that Mr. Smith and his supporters are the "vocal minority" and that the "silent majority" supports Southwest's decision. If I have posted for no other reason, it is to make sure that Southwest knows that as all other customer service situations, for every vocally unhappy customer, there are, in fact, plenty of silently unhappy ones who simply walk away, taking their business elsewhere. There are countless thousands of people affected or offended by this policy who never complain; we just spend elsewhere. Many of us are reading Southwest's response right now, sharing it with others, and adding to that number. How many past, present, and potential customers can Southwest afford to alienate, I wonder?
Nicole111
Not applicable
It doesn't really matter how fat people think Mr Smith is. The problem with this incident is that even if he IS too fat according to Southwest's policy of 25 years that they are so proud of, they should have mentioned something BEFORE he boarded the plane and not AFTER he was seated and ready to fly. There is no excuse for publicly humiliating a paying customer, whatever the reason.
MJFattyFatty2by
Not applicable
Just to add something else: Look, I understand plenty of people hate fatties and don't want to sit next to them. I am a fatty - and I don't want to sit next to another fatty on the plane. And I definitely understand that others don't want me encroaching onto their space on the plane - NOBODY likes that. I usually go out of my way to get a seat where I'm not sitting next to anyone for my comfort as well as theirs. Of course, I travel a lot and am an elite on another airline so I don't generally pay extra for this "privilege." Nor would I ever choose to fly an airline that would make me do so, or humiliate me into doing so. That's why I haven't flown southwest in a good six years - and avoid them at all costs. That said - there is no doubt that your policy IS both arbitrary and discriminatory to a specific group of passengers. Your own FAQ states clearly that putting down the armrest is the definitive determination of whether someone needs to buy an extra seat or not. Mr. Smith WAS able to do that - so why was he taken off the plane? Additionally I would argue your policy quite clearly discriminates women, who are much more likely to carry their weight on their hips, making it more difficult to put the armrest down. Men tend to carry extra weight in their gut, which wouldn't necessarily affect being able to put the armrest down. I would argue that someone who was unable to fasten their safety belt would be a greater safety risk than someone who couldn't put an armrest down but hey, whatever. Your policy is NOT uniformly enforced and it should be. Quite clearly it comes down to the whims of the passengers, the flight attendants and the pilot. The pilot I will give it to - they should be the final authority regarding safety on the plane - but as it stands now your policy seems to go on the crew and other passengers feelings rather than following your own policy guidelines on this issue. Finally I would just like to say whether your feel someone is morally inferior because they are fat (as many of you on this forum seem to do regardless of the fact that you have no idea other than your own prejudices as to why an individual is fat or what they eat/how much exercise they do) , kicking someone off a plane because they haven't lived up to your own moral code is pretty ridiculous.
MJFattyFatty2by
Not applicable
Just to add something else: Look, I understand plenty of people hate fatties and don't want to sit next to them. I am a fatty - and I don't want to sit next to another fatty on the plane. And I definitely understand that others don't want me encroaching onto their space on the plane - NOBODY likes that. I usually go out of my way to get a seat where I'm not sitting next to anyone for my comfort as well as theirs. Of course, I travel a lot and am an elite on another airline so I don't generally pay extra for this "privilege." Nor would I ever choose to fly an airline that would make me do so, or humiliate me into doing so. That's why I haven't flown southwest in a good six years - and avoid them at all costs. That said - there is no doubt that your policy IS both arbitrary and discriminatory to a specific group of passengers. Your own FAQ states clearly that putting down the armrest is the definitive determination of whether someone needs to buy an extra seat or not. Mr. Smith WAS able to do that - so why was he taken off the plane? Additionally I would argue your policy quite clearly discriminates women, who are much more likely to carry their weight on their hips, making it more difficult to put the armrest down. Men tend to carry extra weight in their gut, which wouldn't necessarily affect being able to put the armrest down. I would argue that someone who was unable to fasten their safety belt would be a greater safety risk than someone who couldn't put an armrest down but hey, whatever. Your policy is NOT uniformly enforced and it should be. Quite clearly it comes down to the whims of the passengers, the flight attendants and the pilot. The pilot I will give it to - they should be the final authority regarding safety on the plane - but as it stands now your policy seems to go on the crew and other passengers feelings rather than following your own policy guidelines on this issue. Finally I would just like to say whether your feel someone is morally inferior because they are fat (as many of you on this forum seem to do regardless of the fact that you have no idea other than your own prejudices as to why an individual is fat or what they eat/how much exercise they do) , kicking someone off a plane because they haven't lived up to your own moral code is pretty ridiculous.
Anonymous849
Not applicable
You suck SWA. Why not place him into an aisle seat? I will never fly SWA. It is a shame you have not ergonomically designed for your customer needs.
Ben8
Not applicable
I can see why the policy is there and really have no problem with it, it makes a lot of sense. I'm sure if you asked Kevin to buy an extra ticket he would have, he says he usually does anyway. Why was he not told at the ticket counter? Why wait till he is seated and belted up before asking him to leave the plane in front of all the other passengers? Apologise properly, you screwed up.
Anonymous2653
Not applicable
Fat people - you don't realize how terrible it is to fly next to you. Sure, get indignant and upset about how you're treated, but consider another perspective. I paid just as much as you, and I have to sit awkwardly crammed into a corner for several hours because your girth encroaches on my space. That armrest you stuff down onto your sides, totally unusable for me unless I want to basically elbow you. That leg-room which is already cramped, I now have to sit with my legs angled into the wall, aisle, or another passenger. Every time you move, my seat shakes. Every time you adjust your arms, I get elbowed or rubbed against your sides or massive arms. Think about it - if you sat next to someone that was constantly bumping or disturbing you, you'd get pissed and would complain. I tried it once - a large person was next to me, so I elbowed them back every time they violated my seat space. I got called an asshole and they complained to the stewardess. Suck it up, eat less, or pay for another seat. Just because America is fat as a whole doesn't mean it's a license to essentially rob other paying customers of their seats. Kevin Smith, just pay for two seats. You can afford it. Save that "I'm trying to save money" for when you buy a new car, a second house, or asinine lush junk that you don't actually need. Ridiculous 'celebrities.' You never cared about this so-called 'issue' until it happened to you. Your privileged and jaded social perspective is absurd. Cram it. Kudos to you Southwest - thank you for trying to make the skies comfortable again.
Anonymous3976
Not applicable
I didn't need to read any further than the smarmy title to this post to know that SWA is not interested in sincerity or customer service.