100 lb. Club - What are your opinions re: Kevin Smith?




aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 12:20 PM
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?


thistoo
02-16-2010, 12:43 PM
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.

nelie
02-16-2010, 12:44 PM
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.


mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 12:51 PM
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.

caryesings
02-16-2010, 01:00 PM
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.

junebug41
02-16-2010, 01:01 PM
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 :?:

honeybjones
02-16-2010, 01:18 PM
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."

bargoo
02-16-2010, 01:41 PM
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.

nelie
02-16-2010, 01:41 PM
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.

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 02:00 PM
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.

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 02:08 PM
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.

Michelle98272
02-16-2010, 02:09 PM
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!

Thighs Be Gone
02-16-2010, 02:13 PM
Some will disagree but I believe everyone should have a weight limit for them and all their stuff combined.

time2lose
02-16-2010, 02:15 PM
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!

Thighs Be Gone
02-16-2010, 02:17 PM
OMGoodness--ROFL~!

aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 02:22 PM
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.

I've heard about this too, and it is clearly hypocritical and ridiculous. If this happened to me, I would absolutely demand my money back. I mean, even a kid would say "no fair" to an airline getting paid for one seat twice. :mad:

aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 02:25 PM
Some will disagree but I believe everyone should have a weight limit for them and all their stuff combined.

I actually don't think this is a bad idea. Every time I fly, I try to keep my luggage to a minimum. I travel pretty light. And every single time I fly, I end up sitting next to some prima-donna fashionista amazon woman who (somehow) manages to get on board with a garment bag, a rolling suitcase, a huge purse, a sweater, a chihuahua, a library of books and/or computer to entertain herself, etc. You get the point. I carry my one measly little backpack, and I stuff my purse into the backpack even, and I end up having no room to put anything.:p

Wizzie
02-16-2010, 02:26 PM
That's one of the reasons that I want to lose weight. I do fit in a seat with the arms down and no extender... THANK GOODNESS! but the airlines had talked about a weight limit for buying just one seat a few years ago. The thought of having to be weighed at an airport and told I'm too fat and must buy a extra ticket would be mortification beyond belief.

Wizzie
02-16-2010, 02:30 PM
I And every single time I fly, I end up sitting next to some prima-donna fashionista amazon woman who (somehow) manages to get on board with a garment bag, a rolling suitcase, a huge purse, a sweater, a chihuahua, a library of books and/or computer to entertain herself, etc.

ROFL!!!!!! I've seen THAT WOMAN! She was on my last flight.
:carrot:

thistoo
02-16-2010, 02:36 PM
I actually don't think this is a bad idea. Every time I fly, I try to keep my luggage to a minimum. I travel pretty light. And every single time I fly, I end up sitting next to some prima-donna fashionista amazon woman who (somehow) manages to get on board with a garment bag, a rolling suitcase, a huge purse, a sweater, a chihuahua, a library of books and/or computer to entertain herself, etc. You get the point. I carry my one measly little backpack, and I stuff my purse into the backpack even, and I end up having no room to put anything.:p

Yes! How do they do it? Do they carry an invisibility cloak for their luggage or what? Maybe there's bribery involved.

The last time I flew I put my carry-on in the overhead nearest me which wasn't already jam-packed, and some man behind me pointed at me and said to the flight attendant, "She took my spot!" He was still grumbling about it when we got off the plane and he had to retrieve his luggage. I felt sorry for him, honestly. Going through life with such rigid expectations has to be painful.

Sonata
02-16-2010, 02:58 PM
I think this should have been handled better, but the fact is, being a bigger person IS an inconvenience to those around you sometimes. I am always highly worried I won't fit in the seats on a plane, but I always do. If I didn't, I would be ashamed, humiliated, and embarrassed, and I certainly hope they would handle the situation appropriately, but the only person I would be angry with is myself.

kaplods
02-16-2010, 03:02 PM
My problem is that the rules aren't followed consistently. The airlines either don't have objective guidelines or arbitarily decide when and whether to enforce them. That sucks.

I've heard over and over again of obese patrons paying for two seats, but only getting one. If I'm paying for an extra empty seat, I'd better be getting one. If my husband and I (both very fat) can sit with one empty seat between us - then we should only have to pay for one extra seat, not two.

I don't have a problem with paying for an extra seat. I wouldn't even have a problem with being weighed or measured before boarding (though for people who have more modesty than I do, I think it should be handled discreetly, behind a screen and without the airline personnel shouting out the measurement or weight so that other passengers can hear).

I do have a problem with paying for an extra seat and then having the airline fill it. If they decide that another person can fit next to me after all, then I should be reimbursed for the seat I paid for, but didn't get.

I think obesity taboos mask much of the unethical and unfair policies. People are hesitant to complain about unfair or outright cruel treatment, because they don't want to draw attention to themselves, especially spotlighting their obesity. An obese passenger who paid for an extra seat but didn't get one, is less likely to complain than a thin person who paid extra for that seat so that they didn't have to sit next to someone.

The airlines know they have people over a barrel. They know that most morbidly obese people would prefer not to have attention drawn to themselves in regard to their size, and therefore are less likely to complain in a public way if they're mistreated. I'm not talking about paying for the extra space in and of itself (that I believe can be justified), I'm talking about being treated insensitively and/or not getting what's been paid for.

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 03:16 PM
As for the "a bigger person is an inconvenience" argument, I absolutely agree. But obesity is the only "inconvenience" that results in an extra charge. I've been inconvenienced by parents literally allowing their in-lap, non-seated children to crawl across my lap (how's THAT for invading my seat space?), people cramming in their oversized carryons so that they fill the underseat space in front of my seat, and people (small people, even!) spreading themselves and their stuff out so thoroughly that they are practically laying sideways, half into my seat (I had a seatmate once that PUT THEIR HEAD ON THE WINDOW, laid across the empty middle seat, and PUT THEIR FEET ON MY ARMREST, and fell asleep, snoring and KICKING).

Flying is inconvenient. Sometimes your seatmates take up more space or annoy you. It's the reality of life that sometimes, you're uncomfortable. But the venom coming out of people toward larger folks in response to this incident really astounds me.

honeybjones
02-16-2010, 03:17 PM
Some will disagree but I believe everyone should have a weight limit for them and all their stuff combined.

I think that is the best way to approach this issue. That way, body builders and pregnant woman will be subject to accounting for their increased weight as well. Because hey, if obesity is a "lifestyle choice" so it body building and pregnancy.

Trazey34
02-16-2010, 03:35 PM
Personally, I'd sit next to a fat guy spilling over into my seat before someone with a crying baby LOL

I've been following Kevin on Twitter - frickin' hilarious stuff BTW -- and I think my back gets up at the notion of pointing to someone in a crowd and saying HEY FATTY OFF THE PLANE!!! really??? you couldn't determine that AT THE TICKET COUNTER???? it's humiliating and wow did they pick the wrong guy to tick off LOL he's so funny and articulate, I'm sure he'll sway everyone on to his side.

Yes he normally purchases 2 tickets, just in case and because he can afford it, but an hour domestic flight - a safety hazard? really? he said "safety? are you afraid i'm going to ROLL over on to another passenger?" hahahahah He doesnt' even seem THAT fat??? Kind of 'regular fat' not "off the plane fat"

:D

aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 03:49 PM
As for the "a bigger person is an inconvenience" argument, I absolutely agree. But obesity is the only "inconvenience" that results in an extra charge.

I agree with your main point, but I have had to pay extra (exorbitant) fees to have my cat fly with me in the cabin. AND she counts as one piece of carry-on luggage. So, I pay the $150 fee, then I'm only allowed the cat (who stays in her carrier under the seat for the entire flight and NEVER makes a sound) and one carry on. Meanwhile, the aforementioned woman (the proverbial woman who always seems to end up on my flight) is allowed on with a pull-behind bag, her huge coat, her boat-sized purse, her computer, etc.

It always grinds my gears because I don't understand why I'm forced to pay a fee for her to fly IN THE CABIN at all. They're not having to handle her or go out of their way to ensure her safety. In fact, if I didn't tell anyone "hey, I have a cat in this bag" no one would ever even know she's there. I guess it's more of a "convenience" fee rather than an "inconvenience" fee. It's convenient that they'll allow me to pay $150 EACH WAY to carry the cat with me on trips. I swear there have been times when the cat's "plane ticket" costs more than it cost to buy a ticket for myself.

Taurie
02-16-2010, 03:56 PM
I'm not sure what is more annoying on a long flight, someone taking up half my seat or a child constantly kicking the back of my seat. They are just things you have to tolerate.

Though, SW does have that policy and apparently Kevin Smith did have two seats booked but took an earlier flight instead.

He doesn't even look that big. I think these airlines just make the seats as small as possible to fit as many people in the plane as possible.

JulieJ08
02-16-2010, 04:14 PM
I would just say that the safety hazard they claim is in regards to emergency exiting. How long the flight is, or whether it's domestic, would be irrelevant in that regard. A crashed plane is a crashed plane.

I'm not sure, however, how much the emergency exit explanation makes sense. I mean, wouldn't all the carryons jammed into every possible place cause the same hazard?

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 04:14 PM
It always grinds my gears because I don't understand why I'm forced to pay a fee for her to fly IN THE CABIN at all. They're not having to handle her or go out of their way to ensure her safety.

Well, a couple issues - first, they might have to reseat you if someone is allergic (even if the cat is silent, her dander is not to someone with severe allergies). And second, YOUR cat might be an angel (my sister's dog is the same way...no one ever knows he is there), but there are cats and dogs who hiss, growl, and in general behave in a very unmannerly way in the cabin (I have been on a flight with a constantly barking dog. For 3 hours.) This can also mean a cleanup of the plane is needed. So I do understand the fees in this case, at least, as much as I understand them for someone truly taking up more than two seats.

I'm not sure, however, how much the emergency exit explanation makes sense. I mean, wouldn't all the carryons jammed into every possible place cause the same hazard?

Not to mention, if someone is large enough that they're blocking exiting, won't they block the exit whether there are two people in their row or three? Is it a matter of less people being behind them? Couldn't they then be seated in the window seat?

PaulaM
02-16-2010, 04:53 PM
My feelings on the subject are I am horrified at the comments in all the online newspapers I have read, and on various other sites. The extreme loathing toward overweight people is really coming out. It makes me wonder what they are saying about me/us all the rest of the time, we smell, we sweat etc etc. Fat really does seem to be the one area where you don't have to be politically correct.

MindiV
02-16-2010, 05:00 PM
I would just say that the safety hazard they claim is in regards to emergency exiting. How long the flight is, or whether it's domestic, would be irrelevant in that regard. A crashed plane is a crashed plane.

I'm not sure, however, how much the emergency exit explanation makes sense. I mean, wouldn't all the carryons jammed into every possible place cause the same hazard?


I've never flown...but if a large person causes a problem with emergency exits and creates a "safety issue," WHY are large people allowed to fly at all??? I don't get the "safety issue" angle of the airline's argument in the slightest.

I also agree...if size was an issue that determination should have been made prior to his boarding the flight. My sister is a large woman and flew overseas recently. LONG before she boarded the flight the subject of her size was brought up and she agreed to buy a second ticket. It didn't happen when she was seated and ready for takeoff.

I honestly don't think this issue is about his size at all - not sure what it IS about. But even if it was, bringing up size issues moments from takeoff is something embarrassing for ANYONE. It should've been handled before that point.

aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 05:21 PM
Well, a couple issues - first, they might have to reseat you if someone is allergic (even if the cat is silent, her dander is not to someone with severe allergies). And second, YOUR cat might be an angel (my sister's dog is the same way...no one ever knows he is there), but there are cats and dogs who hiss, growl, and in general behave in a very unmannerly way in the cabin (I have been on a flight with a constantly barking dog. For 3 hours.) This can also mean a cleanup of the plane is needed. So I do understand the fees in this case, at least, as much as I understand them for someone truly taking up more than two seats.

These are legitimate issues. The allergy thing was something that I considered before, actually. I can see that perhaps the airline would have to carry additional insurance to protect themselves against a lawsuit filed by someone who had an allergic reaction to a pet they encountered on the plane. So, I can sort of understand this.

As far as pets making noise/being disruptive during a flight, I've had far far many more flights that were disrupted by screaming/kicking children who got to sit in their parents' laps for free. But I do realize that not all pets handle traveling well, and it could cause an inconvenience to other customers' experience. :^: I know that children =/= pets, so I mean no offense. I'm just sayin'...

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 05:26 PM
Well, I think they should require kids have a seat, regardless of age, honestly...even if a parent ends up holding them most of the time, they still take up auditory space and flight attendant time (not to mention "stuff" space and "I'm cranky and want to roam" space...see previous about a baby crawling into my lap while her mother smiled and said "Oh, she likes you!" Yes she does. And I would like to continue working on my laptop, not have to put it away because of sticky fingers, thanks!). So we're in agreement on that point.

eratosthanes
02-16-2010, 05:46 PM
I took a flight last April from WA to KY and, boy was it humiliating. I didn't need to buy an extra seat (they didn't even ask) but I STILL had to ask for an extender on the first plane, as, for some reason :?: the seat-belt was half the length of my seat-mates. Then, on the second plane, I was up against the window with a seat in between myself and the next person, but had to use the bathroom several times, and as we were right behind the first-class divider, and I had to practically crawl into this man's lap every time. To make matter's worse, the bathroom was so tiny I couldn't clean myself properly and ended up spending half the flight as the stinky fat person who is in everyone's way. I wasn't even that heavy, only about 260 or so! If the seat fit, why didn't the bathroom?

soulnik
02-16-2010, 05:54 PM
I agree with mandalinn82. We make a big stink about people being big in this country. It's not a crime for a large person to fly or to even take up a bit more room on a plane. It's not your living room. You can't expect to have all the comforts of home. I have put up with wild, crying kids, people with no volume control (on their mouths or headphones or video games), smelly cologne and food (I was on a flight recently where someone brought on a burger packed full of onion), and folks with little ability to maintain their own personal space (dozing off on my shoulder and men spreading their legs wide). If I can put up with all of that, my seat mate should be able to put up with the need for a tad extra hip space from me.

mandalinn82
02-16-2010, 06:33 PM
I want to clarify my position - I don't really mind policies that require people who occupy more than one seat to purchase more than one seat. I do think that other folks (for example, in-lap children) should also be required to purchase one seat, and I think that the rules should be established and consistently applied (in this case, it appears that SW stated in their FAQ and booking policy that a lowerable armrest is the cut off for requiring a second seat, and then kicked people off the plane despite the fact that the armrest could be lowered). And I think that anyone who pays for a second seat should GET that second seat, and that those seats should never be sold or given to other passengers on overbooked flights.

aerotigergirl
02-16-2010, 07:25 PM
I agree with mandalinn, I think. I think the key for me is consistency. It's harsh to develop a policy regarding things like this, but I can understand why it's necessary. And, however much anyone disagrees with the policy, as long as it's being consistently applied, it's fair.

kuchick
02-16-2010, 07:30 PM
I agree that if someone is required to buy an extra seat, then that seat should not be sold to someone else. I also want to add though, that children under 2 fly free (all others are required to buy a seat), but I'm okay with that because a child under 2 cannot safely sit in an airplane seat without sliding down until the seatbelt in around their neck - even my 3-year-old couldn't do it. The seats are slippery and their legs won't reach the floor to brace them. That's also why your seat back gets kicked so often. My 6-year-old had to brace his feet on the seat in front of him to keep from sliding around (we arranged it so that DH was sitting in front of him).

I hate getting my seat kicked, too, but I didn't realize until I traveled with kids how impossible it is to stop it. Maybe the airline needs to start providing booster seats for kids too short to fit in the regular seat? If they're so concerned about safety - maybe they need to start looking for other ways to make their flights safer?

And, we had multiple people complain about my kids taking up a seat and wanting to take their seats - and we paid for their seats!

I don't know how to fix them problem of determining when someone needs a second seat - maybe BMI? I'm short, so at 212 pounds, I was overflowing my seat a little, but the seatbelt fit fine and I had my kids on either side of me, so it wasn't like I was crowding anyone. I've just found that even nice people, when stuffed in a plane, behave like nasty, mean people, and the airlines are trying to avoid an uproar at the expense of the overweight. Flying SW sucks, but flying China Air is 100 times worse! (I think someone else here mentioned that - it's truly a nightmare)

Thighs Be Gone
02-17-2010, 01:15 AM
I agree with mandalinn82. We make a big stink about people being big in this country. It's not a crime for a large person to fly or to even take up a bit more room on a plane. It's not your living room. You can't expect to have all the comforts of home. I have put up with wild, crying kids, people with no volume control (on their mouths or headphones or video games), smelly cologne and food (I was on a flight recently where someone brought on a burger packed full of onion), and folks with little ability to maintain their own personal space (dozing off on my shoulder and men spreading their legs wide). If I can put up with all of that, my seat mate should be able to put up with the need for a tad extra hip space from me.

You know, these are excellent points.

Thighs Be Gone
02-17-2010, 01:34 AM
I HATE when men sit down with their legs spread wide. Why the **** do they do that anyway? I mean, I notice them doing it when their legs aren't even as long as my own! Don't even get me started on the expelling of gas on planes!

Gracie789
02-17-2010, 01:41 AM
...I think my back gets up at the notion of pointing to someone in a crowd and saying HEY FATTY OFF THE PLANE!!! really??? you couldn't determine that AT THE TICKET COUNTER????
That's what bothered me about this whole situation...why did they have to wait until he was on the plane to make the determination he was 'too fat.' He was on stand-by and managed to get the last seat on the flight so obviously at some point he had to have been at the counter. Urgh.

I understand having the policy and if it is enforced across the board equally then that's fine. But to arbitrarily apply a policy in the most humiliating way is completely unnecessary!

crcossel
02-17-2010, 02:53 AM
I don't get the attitude of "well I have to put up with other people's S$$T so everyone should have to deal with my fat". Doesn't that seem kind of childish? What about people like me who are normal size with one carry-on, no kids, and pretty quiet. Should I then be, "well this person is half way into my seat so I am going to be rude, mean and noisy....so there!" ???

Horrible logic.

mandalinn82
02-17-2010, 03:25 AM
I really hate rudeness, intentional or unintentional, from anyone. I think the world would be a much nicer place if everyone tried to be courteous to everyone else.

And that courtesy extends to keeping my self and my stuff out of the space of people around me as much as I can, and ideally, keeping my (future) kids quiet on a flight and from bothering other passengers, for example. But sometimes, your kid is cranky, or has a cold, or slips out of the seat and kicks someone in front of them. And sometimes, a person is bigger than a small airplane seat will allow, and there is some need to share space. I'd hope that people could have compassion in either situation, regardless of whether they understand or have been in the same position or not.

Anyway, discussion of whether it's rude not to buy two seats is sort of beside the point for this story, in my opinion, at least until SW offers some sort of substantiation that he didn't actually fit in the seat...his assertion is that he did, with the armrests down. At that point, I do think it was wrong to remove him from the seat, because he met the airline's policy for occupying a single seat. The general policy is a bigger issue.

kaplods
02-17-2010, 03:56 AM
I'm willing to spare others as much incovenience related to my weight as I can, but I'm not willing to apologize for existing and having the gall to take up more space on the planet than is my "fair share."

It isn't a "so there," it's "sorry I know I'm probably inconveniencing or annoying you, but there's not much I can do about it, at the moment." I'll try to keep my annoyingness to a minimum, and I hope you'll do the same, but if you can't I'll try to understand (if you breathe funny, have bad breath, are annoyingly chatty, keep popping your gum....).

I don't have a problem with buying that extra seat, but if the airline fills that seat anyway, to what extent am I still supposed to go to ensure that my leg doesn't even graze someone esle's - and exactly how do I go about doing that? What is the proper penance for being fat on an airplane anyway (Oh that's right, we really don't have a right to exist, or do anything that "normal" people do, I keep forgetting that).

I think it would be just as childish to play a game of "stewardess, (s)he's touching me!" I once had an elderly woman fall asleep next to me on a bus trip (lucky the seats were very wide and I didn't encroach into her space). Her head was resting on my shoulders for almost an hour (felt like ten).

I could have woken her, but I didn't. When she did wake up, she was incredibly embarassed, and apologetic. I laughed and assured her (lying through my teeth) that I didn't mind at all and that it had only been for a few minutes anyway. Her relief only made me even happier that I didn't wake her (even though my back was killing me from being so tense for that hour).

Courtesy means "I'll try to be civil despite the fact that you may intentionally, unintentionally, or due to circumstances beyond your control annoy the heck out of me, and I hope you'll grant me the same courtesy."

Andy by the way, while I'm ranting - if Greyhound can make a bus seat into which my nearly 400 lb butt (at the time) could easily fit without overflowing into the seat next to me - SO CAN THE AIRLINES.

lizziep
02-17-2010, 05:00 AM
good post kaplods! and yes- the airlines could make seats that fit big butts - but they won't because it's better to cram two or three people into the space of one of us. I find it completely unacceptable that they could force you to buy an extra seat and then give it to someone else without compensating you. un-freaking-believable! I had no idea that happened.

I always assumed that the "safety" issue was related to the amount of weight that the plane can carry. And if you weigh what two people weigh- that's one less person that can safely ride on the plane.

one last note- I never really thought Kevin Smith was all that big. Yeah, he's overweight - but I never really looked at him and thought- oh my god he's a two seater!

Taurie
02-17-2010, 06:22 AM
Good one Kaplods! There are just things one must tolerate.

Kuchick & Mandalinn - I always find parents to be very aware of their kids on planes and always do their best to entertain them and keep them from annoying other passengers. So, I'm always appreciative about that. But it seems a lot of people forget to board the plane with tolerance... tolerance that they normally have in their every day lives.

Elladorine
02-17-2010, 06:39 AM
This is ridiculous. SWA is stating in their public apology blogs that the real issue at hand is needing to enforce their existing policies: passengers must be able to put both arm rests down and fasten their seat belt, otherwise they must proactively purchase the required number of seats. Which would be understandable, except Kevin Smith is arguing that he indeed was able to do so and did not need the second seat, only that he wanted it as a preference.

Kevin's words from Twitter:

"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...? Hey @SouthwestAir: you bring that same row of seats to the DailyShow, and I'll sit in 'em for all to see on TV.

"If I don't fit, I'll donate $10k to charity of your choice. But when I do (& buckle the belt as well)? 1) You admit you lied. 2) Change your policy, or at least re-train your staff to be a lot more human and a lot less corporate."

Sounds like a fair enough challenge to me. I'll eat my hat if SWA takes him up on it.

losermom
02-17-2010, 08:59 AM
I think this whole situation is crazy. I do think that airlines must follow their own stated policies consistently and with compassion. On a personal note, I flew from DC to Milwaukee last summer. The young man I sat next to on the flight, while very polite to me, stank to high heaven! I could not for the life of me determine the source of the stench and I do not have a sensitive nose either if that's what you're thinking. Mildew, BO, life, cigarettes,I could not tell you. Only that I was relieved to get off that plane!

Eliana
02-17-2010, 10:19 AM
Just like movie theaters remove seats for wheelchairs to have a spot, perhaps airplanes should have X number of larger seats for this growing problem in America. It's a lot like having a handicap. And unlike clothes, I think the larger seats should cost the same as regular! But if that was too much to ask, perhaps $10 more. But no one should have to buy an extra seat. That's just not right.

crcossel
02-17-2010, 11:59 AM
Well I don't know about kevin smith but a business has the right (especially economy) to have whatever size seats they want and to have whatever policies they want. If you don't like that airline because its to small choose another more expensive one. (just like a car, you may not fit into a vw bug but that doesn't mean they should make that bug bigger.)

(I do agree they shouldn't be allowed to resell that seat, very underhanded) I don't really understand how this works on SW because they don't sell the actual seat spaces.

I also don't think that this is a disability. It may be a disease and it may be a problem but its not the airlines problem.

salsa chip
02-17-2010, 12:57 PM
As I understood the situation, he had bought two seats as usual (whether because of his size or because of his disdain for the great unwashed aside), but then switched to an earlier flight which only had one seat free.

I have no idea what Mr. Smith looks like these days (in an article (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2008/10/kevin-smith-say.html) from a while back you might get an idea, but a person can change a lot in two years), but a massive person is a safety risk on an airplane. Think of the worse case scenario of someone blocking the aisle and emergency exits trapping others inside. No amount of 'making people feel better about themselves' or 'fat acceptance' is going to change that, unless you want the entire commercial aviation industry to widen all their doors (with the associated costs - business have to make a profit and aviation isn't the best industry to be in right now).

If someone's too large for a seat they should buy two next to each other. Granted, the seats should be somewhat normal (memories of a horrid Virgin flight from LHR to HKG haunt me even now), but I don't think we as 'fat people' can demand that the industry change its definitions just to suit us.

Whether an aircraft has a row of larger seats is up to the airline. It might be cost effective; it might not. None of us have a right to fly.

Whether Mr. Smith is right in badmouthing an airline for following policy (if they haven't been consistent in this before then they've got to start somewhere. Why him? Why not him?) is something else.

Aclai4067
02-17-2010, 01:23 PM
If you're claiming it's a safety issue then they kinda have to kick all fat people off planes. But when you're giving the option of buying a second seat that isn't a safety issue, it's a space/money issue. I don't see how having an open seat next to you changes anything about emergency exit procedures. I mean what is the emergency exit concern? That they can't fit through the door/down the aisle? They obviously came in through the door and down the aisle. Or is it that they would be harder to move/get around if they were to become unconscious in an emergency? Frankly, if someone was unconscious and blocking the my way to the exit, I'd climb over their a$$ in a heartbeat.

PeanutsMom704
02-17-2010, 01:29 PM
My guess is that at some point, SW realized that he had bought two seats for the later flight, and made an assumption that was because he could not fit into one. So even though he was physically fitting into one seat on the plane, he was already flagged as "safety issue/can't fit in 1 seat" and when they realized the flight he was on only had that one seat, they asked him to leave. So I don't think it was a situation where they should have identified him prior to boarding, I think it was that his profile is flagged for this.

On the general issue, I do think airline seats are much too small and even average sized people seem to be pretty tightly squeezed into them. So yeah, I think airlines should design their planes better but that would mean giving up revenue so we all know it ain't gonna happen.

Aclai4067
02-17-2010, 01:41 PM
My guess is that at some point, SW realized that he had bought two seats for the later flight, and made an assumption that was because he could not fit into one. So even though he was physically fitting into one seat on the plane, he was already flagged as "safety issue/can't fit in 1 seat" and when they realized the flight he was on only had that one seat, they asked him to leave. So I don't think it was a situation where they should have identified him prior to boarding, I think it was that his profile is flagged for this.


This is exactly why they SHOULD have realized it before he boarded. It's the people at the desk with the computers that would have seen that he had purchased 2 seats for the other flight, not the flight attendant.

salsa chip
02-17-2010, 01:47 PM
A large person taking up two seats in a row of three is potentially blocking one person in an emergency rather than two. Not much comfort for the one person left, I grant you, but still.

Perhaps the large person could sit by the window and not block anyone? How long would it take him to get out? Or should he sit by the emergency exit - but then is he able-bodied enough to operate the door in an emergency?

How long does it take a large person to board? My thighs are still that in order to get down an aircraft's aisle reasonably swiftly, I twist to an angle and do a kind of hop-skip - it means I have a fighting chance of not holding up other passengers behind me. Mind you, it's only a fighting chance (better than it was Summer last year though!), and I'm a sight more nimble than many.

You can argue that the airline staff should have taken into account that he had previously booked two seats: but really, do people need to be spoon fed? How about mentioning it yourself?

mandalinn82
02-17-2010, 01:53 PM
You can argue that the airline staff should have taken into account that he had previously booked two seats: but really, do people need to be spoon fed? How about mentioning it yourself?

He did. He said "Hey, I know I booked two seats, but I do that because I don't like people, I fit in one with the armrest down". And then once he boarded, he could put the armrest down, at least according to his statements, and did, in fact, fit in a single seat.

FitGirlyGirl
02-17-2010, 01:55 PM
I have no problem with the policy. I have (thank goddess) never had to go through buying 2 seats, but I would if I was flying an airline that had a policy and I fit their written criteria of someone who needed to purchase another seat. However, if I purchased another seat, they would not be seating anyone else in it. It just would not happen and if they tried I would throw a fit, I'm sorry but I would. I do have a problem with that. I also would not allow strangers to sleep on me or allow their baby to crawl on me. Some may consider me rude, but I honestly don't think that it is rude to refuse to allow others to be rude to me. I also have a problem with the policy not being applied fairly and equally, with them letting someone board and then deciding that they should have had 2 seats and will have to be removed when they could see the person's size at the ticket counter or gate just as well as on the plane, and with them claiming it is a safety thing because like others have said if it were a safety thing they would not let people of that size fly at all.

JulieJ08
02-17-2010, 02:06 PM
I wonder what would happen if anyone needing a wheel chair or crutches was considered a safety hazard, or persons who are blind. So many causes for mobility problems! For that matter, persons with several small children are going to be in the way too.

salsa chip
02-17-2010, 02:07 PM
He did. He said "Hey, I know I booked two seats, but I do that because I don't like people, I fit in one with the armrest down". And then once he boarded, he could put the armrest down, at least according to his statements, and did, in fact, fit in a single seat.

So the issue is not actually whether he's too fat to get into a seat or not.

:shrug: I'm not (as may have already been gathered :p ) terribly fussed about this. Airlines and their pilots and cc have a job to do and ultimately if the decision's made to not allow a passenger to fly, that passenger won't fly. From what I understand he's received compensation.

And a very personal reaction from me is that if someone dislikes being that close to other people on a plane, he should either buy into First or Business, hire Mr. Travolta for a day, or suck it up.

(For comparison, try the BA flight that was forced to turn around whilst over the middle of the Atlantic: the USA refused to let it cross USA airspace - it wasn't landing in the country - because one of the US citizens on board was on their no-fly list)

There are worse things in aviation than a 'celebrity' being told, perhaps without reason, that he can't fly and receiving an apology for it afterwards.

(NB: I'm not connected with this airline at all. I'm merely a cynic, an aviation enthusiast, and when the same story comes up on two different forums I'll form my opinion on the bigger picture as I see it. I've got a flame suit right here)

Aclai4067
02-17-2010, 02:15 PM
So if safety/moving swiftly in an emergency is the issue perhaps they should charge/seat based on mobility more than size. My thighs encroached on the seat next to me at my largest (though I was never asked to buy a second seat), but I guarantee you I could run down that aisle! Oh, and what about the elderly or those with physical disabilities. They might get in our way in an emergency as well!

I don't mind the policy of making someone buy another seat if they can't fit in their own, but be consistant and be honest. Someone earlier mentioned that on the later flight they asked the woman in the row with him to buy a second seat as well (so buying the seat in between them that HE ALREADY BOUGHT). And if she's in the window seat, where's the safety issue?

edit- clearly I need to type faster as I repeated Julie's point a little

mandalinn82
02-17-2010, 02:19 PM
I absolutely agree that an airline can refuse service to anyone, and that flying isn't a "right". I just think that it was handled poorly, and given the complaints I've seen from other "people of size" removed from other Southwest flights with more poor behavior, that it would be nice if SW created a solid policy that they enforced uniformly and with courtesy toward all passengers, instead of establishing a policy, enforcing it in times when it doesn't apply and not enforcing it at times when it might, and on at least a few occasions, enforcing it and then selling the seat anyway.

Keep in mind that he was flying Oakland to Burbank, which is a route only serviced directly by Southwest, which only has one class (no business/first class, and open seating). If I were wealthy and wanted to get quickly from Oakland to Burbank (and he flew up that morning and flew down that night, so speed was probably a factor), I'd certainly consider booking two seats for my comfort, since the alternative would be turning my 2 hours and 20 minutes total flight time direct between the two airports into 6 hours of flight time with a connection in Denver (US Air) or 8 hours of flight time with a connection in Portland (Alaska).

kaplods
02-17-2010, 04:05 PM
The airlines have the right (unless there are laws against it) to do what they did.

Mr. Smith also has the right to do what he's doing (complaining about it publically, and choosing whether or not to accept their apology).


Restaurants have the right to give horrible food and horrible service, but if they do, customers will complain and "bad mouth" the restaurant (also their right). If the businesses profits are affected, they may (if they're smart) change their policies - or accept the financial losses.

Free market. It usually works.

Thighs Be Gone
02-18-2010, 01:16 AM
Courtesy means "I'll try to be civil despite the fact that you may intentionally, unintentionally, or due to circumstances beyond your control annoy the heck out of me, and I hope you'll grant me the same courtesy."

.


Yes! Once again Kaplods nails IT beautifully!

When one goes out in the world, you understand you are going to deal with the public. PERIOD. As the old bumper sticker says, "if you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch."

SuchAPrettyFace
02-22-2010, 08:25 PM
From what I understand he's received compensation.

You understand incorrectly. Eric Diaz from SWA offered him a $100 voucher which he refused to accept. This was before he realized who Kevin was & how many people were reading about what just happened on Twitter. Regardless, it's not about being compensated. Kevin wants them to admit Suzanne The Flight Attendant lied, and Southwest lied further to cover up for her.

There are worse things in aviation than a 'celebrity' being told, perhaps without reason, that he can't fly and receiving an apology for it afterwards.

You're missing the point entirely & that apology was the most insincere piece of BS I've seen in awhile.

If this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. Southwest is just very very unfortunate that they chose him, not realizing he's got a huge fan base spanning 15+ years. This is something Southwest won't be able to come back from. They still haven't fully apologized or admitted they were wrong publicly & they sure are defending Suzanne The Flight Attendant for lying, stating it was the pilot's decision. Makes me think her father owns Southwest or something.

This is the best article I can find that really lays it out there, as most media outlets are only printing half truths & doing no research.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-stranahan/kevin-smith-v-southwest-a_b_470024.html

I know we're not supposed to post links, but I'm not selling anything, just trying to get some understanding. I've been a big fan of Kevin's for a lonnnng time.

The strangest part of all this? I haven't seen Kevin this thin in YEARS!!!!!!!


And as a frequent flyer, I've gotta say NW flight attendants would have walked up & down the aisles first making sure everyone was buckled in & tray tables were up, then they would have come back to the front, where by then Kevin would have been seated, belted, armrests down, iPod on, and ready to roll. To not give someone who is on standby enough time to settle into the plane is crappy as well.

I've only heard bad things about SWA, but this just clinches it.

wannabesomebody
02-27-2010, 06:56 AM
So how much do you need to weigh in order to have to buy another seat. My and hubby were going to save up to go to vegas but now I don't want to be humiliated :( We are both overweight. Haven't been on a plane in over a decade. I remember men spreading their legs so far open. It takes a lot of strength you know to pin your knees together. Good work out but my legs were shaking the whole time :(

A lady was picked off for having a cat (the airline knew about the cat). they said it didn't fit well enough and even though it meant a 13 hour delay for the cat they didn't care. They showed her where the dogs go pee. Ugh.. now that's bad.