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What are your opinions re: Kevin Smith?

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Old 02-16-2010, 11:20 AM   #1
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Red face What are your opinions re: Kevin Smith?

Just sort of curious if anyone has thoughts about this....

Anyone have an opinion about director Kevin Smith being taken off the Southwest Airlines flight?

He's really upset about it, it seems (I don't do twitter, but I read in the news he's been making all sorts of angry remarks towards Southwest Airlines via his twitter account). I can understand being upset about it. I'm sure it is embarrassing to be told that you can't fly, or that you must purchase an additional seat, because you're too large for one seat. And there's much to debate regarding whether Southwest's (or any airline's) policy regarding this issue is fair or what their policy should or shouldn't be. But the fact remains that they do have a policy regarding it, and someone decided that he violated their published policy.

I read on cnn that he claims that he was taken off the flight not because he was too fat, but rather because someone didn't like his movies. Does it seem like maybe, as a celebrity, he has a large sense of entitlement? Like Southwest's policy shouldn't apply to him? Sometimes it seems like celebrities, in general, are a little out of touch with reality... Maybe he doesn't see himself as he actually is? Then again, he said he was able to buckle the seatbelt and fit comfortably between the armrests, so maybe there was an ulterior motive for removing him from the plane?

What are your thoughts?
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #2
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Here's my thing: If there was an extra seat available for him to purchase, and they just wanted him to pay twice, then that indicates to me that his presence on the plane was not actually a 'safety issue', as claimed by the airline. If the flight was full and they kicked him off because he was too fat for that one seat, that's a different story. But unless he's gained a ton of weight since the last time I saw him, that seems pretty outlandish.

I don't know the actual circumstances, of course, so I can't cry fat discrimination, but Southwest does have a history of tossing people off their flights for kind of weird reasons, so they aren't really doing themselves any favors, PR-wise.

I am glad to be 'normal-sized' these days and able to fit very comfortably in a tiny coach airplane seat (though I never fly Southwest) but I remember the dread of flying at my high weight, the 'will the seatbelt fit this time' worry, and if I'd read about this story before I lost weight, I think it would scare me off flying altogether.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:44 AM   #3
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I read this on CNN or something. So he normally buys 2 tickets because he is a big guy but wanted to fly earlier/standby and they had 1 seat available and he took it? And he is upset?

It seems like drama to me. Now I would be upset if I was taken off a plane as well but it sounds like he just had to fly on his original flight.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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I have followed this story in depth, including listening to his podcast with his side of the story.

At this point, he has stated that he does fit in the seat with both armrests down, and he books two seats, typically, because he doesn't really like to sit next to people, not because he can't fit in the seat. He can lower both armrests and can buckle the belt without an extender.

According to the SW folks, what happened was essentially that the flight had already been slightly delayed due to another passenger's seating requirements, the pilot had asked the flight attendants to hurry up and get everyone seated, and a flight attendant made a snap judgment that he *might* not fit in the seat and might require re-seating that they didn't have time to do, so they asked him to leave the flight.

Now, since he has offered to have them bring a seat onto national news media and sit it in, lower armrests, and buckle his belt, I do believe he's probably telling the truth. In my own experience with being morbidly obese, if there was ANY chance I wouldn't sit in that seat, I'd have exited the plane quietly, mortified, and never speak of it again.

Important to note is that he was booked on a later flight (7pm), with the two seats he customarily purchases (again, he says, for people issues, not because he doesn't fit in one), and tried to get onto the 5pm flight on standby. Once that flight was boarded, there was only 1 seat left. At that point, I think Southwest giving him standby boarding with only one seat on the plane when he had booked two was not responsible...if he HAD booked the two seats because one didn't fit him sufficiently, they were setting him up for removal. Even if he DIDN'T fit in a single seat, letting him on the flight and then removing him would be unnecessarily embarrassing.

As for how vocal he's being, honestly, I don't know that he had much of a choice. That was a full flight of people, at least some of whom recognized him and snapped camera phone pictures. If his options were "tell this story myself because it's BS and I am indignant" or "slink away and wait for a magazine to publish it in a way less flattering light", it's pretty clear what the right media policy would be.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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I have flown Southwest and sat with a large man who had to buy the second seat. And he was a little upset about it, but he also understood it. On the inbound flight, he was able to sit with his smaller son and "overlapped" into his son's seat. However on the return flight that didn't work out (I don't remember why), so he would have been taking up part of a person's seat who had paid for a full seat themself but would have been "sharing" with this larger man.

I've had this seating situation myself on a full train and it's pretty uncomfortable to physically be touching a stranger's body for length of the ride so I appreciate Southwest policy. So if they only had one seat on Kevin's second flight after he paid for 2, it makes sense. If he is a 2-seat size person then on the 2nd flight he would have been inconviencing another paying customer.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:01 PM   #6
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Why is Kevin Smith flying economy anyway? If I could afford it (which I assume he could), I wouldn't fly economy for anything. I thought that was a perk of having $$$?

Regardless, I can't imagine how embarrasing that was for him, especially with people taking pictures. I think it really did boil down to taking some kind of control over the story or have everyone else tell it for you.

I don't mean to sound pretentious with the whole economy thing, but the only thing I can think of is that he's just frugal by nature, which is sort of defeated by buying 2 seats. I'm just a little confused
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:18 PM   #7
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A lot of the public's reaction has been "Hey big people buy 2 seats and stay away from me." Well, I would like to say, "Hey thin people if you want to control who sits next to you why don't YOU buy 2 seats and stay away from me."
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:41 PM   #8
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I have had to sit next to a very obese man who overlapped on both sides.This was a long flight, Iceland to Minneapolis. I literally could not move my arms during the flight,this was Iceland Air. I don't think we will hear the true story because both parties think they are right . I have flown Southwest many times and never had any trouble with seating, I don't think Southwest has a firstclass section, I don't remember ever seeing one.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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Well I'd agree that its different if he buys 2 seats just for the **** of it rather than because he doesn't fit in just one seat.

Even at my highest weight, I never bought a second seat but I also think that was partially luck. I did have more of a tendency to upgrade to first class when it was an option though.

There is also the problem that over the years, airlines have given passengers less and less room. I will admit that even the tiniest cramped US airline was tons more roomier than a flight I took in China. The seats were smaller and there was a lot less room between the seats in front of you.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:00 PM   #10
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He was flying Southwest...for those not familiar with the "Greyhound of the Skies", it only has unassigned, economy seats that people pick as they board...they're the most convenient carrier between the airports he was going between (Burbank and Oakland...they run two planes back and forth all day, pretty much, so there are more convenient flight times), so first class wasn't an option. That's why he says he buys two seats...because he can afford it and get more of a first class experience, not because he cannot fit.

Anyway, the more interesting half of the story was, for me, the second flight that he actually boarded, with his two booked seats. Another large girl was also on that flight, and sat in his row (so the empty seat was between them). She, after boarding, was also told by the flight attendant that she she should purchase another seat, even though there was an empty seat between them and the flight was not full...completely unnecessary and embarrassing.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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To add on - I think what bothers me most is the arbitrary nature of enforcement. The Southwest FAQs are clear that the line of acceptability is being able to lower the arm rest. That's the cutoff. Both Kevin Smith and the girl on his second flight were able to do so (he says), and he has volunteered to prove that on the national media (which is why I believe that at least he probably could). If you don't have a clear standard, how are people supposed to know that they even need two seats? And that means people get unnecessarily embarrassed, because even if they do meet the criteria specified, they may be removed.

I also have read several online stories since of customers "of size" who purchased two seats on full flights, then had their second seats given away to paying customers by flight attendants because their flight was overbooked and they'd have to compensate another passenger for bumping them...so their policy is enforced, except when revenue is involved, in which case, oops, no safety issue, I'm sure ya'll will fit just fine? Not OK.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:09 PM   #12
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I have flown Southwest and while I could buckle the seatbelt AND put down the arm rests a whole lot of me protruded out the sides. Luckily, I sat next to an equally fat man.

I joked to him that we were getting acquainted awfully fast and it usually took a drink or two for me to press that much flesh with someone I just met. We were literally fused like conjoined twins from shoulder to ankle. I kept my arms crossed tightly to try to keep my blubber from rubbing on him anymore than it had to.

We were both embarrassed but I at least was secretly relieved to be sitting next to another fatty rather than protruding onto a thin person. At least his girth buffered me from flooding into his space and mine, his.

I have no answer for the question regarding Kevin Smith, I haven't really followed it. I do know if I was removed from a fight, I'd die of shame. I do think if Southwest is going to enforce the policy, it should be on ALL flights and be something standard...not differing from flight to flight or based on opinion of flight attendants.

Maybe airlines should put a seat by the gate with a sign that says "Your A** must fit in this seat to ride"...like they do with the little Plexiglas boxes for individuals to test the size of their baggage as carry on. Tee Hee!
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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Some will disagree but I believe everyone should have a weight limit for them and all their stuff combined.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Maybe airlines should put a seat by the gate with a sign that says "Your A** must fit in this seat to ride"...like they do with the little Plexiglas boxes for individuals to test the size of their baggage as carry on. Tee Hee!
I wish they did! I would run to the airport every now and then just to see if I fit!
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:17 PM   #15
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OMGoodness--ROFL~!
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