Lisa, you are unfortunately incorrect. There are people who know quite well that they fit into the seats available, with the armrest down, but also know that they can be singled out anyhow and asked to leave the plane -- despite the fact that they need neither a raised armrest nor a seatbelt extender.
Personally, I don't mind the 2-seat policy. I do, however, mind that SouthWest does not enforce this policy in any kind of a reasonably consistent manner. One need only look so far as Nancy's friend's story above. SouthWest's employees thought she was perfectly small enough to fit in one seat for five flights. On flight number six, she was suddenly too big. For those of us who fly regularly, this is an issue. I don't want to have to be forced to reschedule travel based on the perceptions or biases of a single employee -- if SouthWest is going to continue this policy, it needs to be codified in such a way that allows passengers to know ahead of time whether or not they will need the second seat. As the policy stands, that is truly not the case for many customers who can fit in one seat, but are large enough to be noticeably fat.
And Lou, yes -- I am aware of your refund policy. Money is hardly the issue for a passenger who is being pulled off of a plane, however. We would EXPECT to have money back if the "second seat" wasn't actually necessary for purchase, just as we'd expect to be offered another flight if pulled off of the plane, etc. That's just common sense policy. What I'm asking (and what others seem to be asking) is that you apply the same common sense to the second seat policy itself -- it's not necessary to remove the policy. What is necessary is standardizing it so there are measurable or testable ways to know these things ahead of time. If the issue is having the arm rest down, how about having a sample chair that a person can sit in or be respectfully/discretely asked to sit in to see if they "fit" in the seat in the way SW wants them to "fit"? It would be no different than the little metal structures that one can put their carry-on luggage in to ensure that the carry-ons aren't too big for flight regulations.
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