When this first became news I wasn’t going to write about it. I know we are, well a lot of us are anyway, trying to lose weight and I didn’t want to rub salt into any wounds but it’s just not going away. It was a blurb on our “Good To know” the other night and I’m putting it right here:
“This story has already made the rounds of cable television and talk radio. An admittedly rotund, famous guy was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because the captain said he didn’t fit in the seat. Don Shelby said it is good to know that we can still care about such things.
First, the guy is the famous movie director Kevin Smith. If it happened to Bob Smith down at the filling station, it would not have been news, guaranteed. So, there’s that. He is “Silent Bob” in the “Jay and Silent Bob” movies. He says, in his own words, that he’s a fat guy.
Some have reported that he usually buys two seats, but flying standby, he could get only one, which he says he fit into comfortably. But, the Captain didn’t think so.
Smith is having fun with this, but it does raise some questions. Are the airlines making seats smaller just when health officials tell us that we are all getting bigger? Does it mean we all may be looking at double seating one day?
A caller to ‘CCO radio said today, “My carry-on has to fit into a test frame before boarding. Is the next step fitting into a test seat?”
Then there was this one:
“Southwest Airlines has a policy that requires fuller-figured fliers to buy more than one ticket. Flight attendants are trained to be on the lookout for passengers who can’t buckle their seat belts or put both arm rests down. But determining whether a person is too big to fit in a single seat should happen at the check-in desk, not on the plane.
Southwest instituted its “customer of size” policy more than 25 years ago. Like many other carriers, it requires passengers who need extra space to pay for a second seat. If the flight ends up having vacancies, the cost of the second ticket is refunded.
But Southwest blundered Saturday when it ejected Kevin Smith, the Red Bank-born movie maker, from a flight from Oakland to Burbank, Calif. Smith had paid for two seats on a later flight but was on standby for the earlier plane; he was allowed to board even though only one seat was available.
The check-in crew at the gate was wrong to let Smith board without making sure he could be accommodated. That left it to the flight crew to remove him from the plane, embarrassing Smith and inconveniencing other passengers. The airline later apologized.
Brandy King, a spokeswoman for Southwest, acknowledges that when it comes to asking portly passengers to purchase a second seat, “Ideally, that conversation should take place before the passenger boards the plane.” Indeed, an airline that prides itself on customer service should take a far more diplomatic approach with its “customers of size.”
How do you guys feel? I feel a couple of ways. Part of me thinks he usually buys two seats so he must not be comfortable in one. He says he “likes the extra room” but really, do a lot of people do this? I don’t know. I don’t fly. I also know I wouldn’t want to feel closed into my seat and feel I couldn’t get out if someone was that big and blocking my way. I’m very claustrophobic that way but neither would I want to sit next to a baby or a toddler or a talker or a snorer or many other types of behaviors that would make flying seem all the worse to me. I think I would become way to annoyed. But that’s not to be taken as I don’t love heavy people and small children. If I were to fly, I’d want to feel calm and at peace.
What do you think?