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Kevin Smith

Southwest Thinks I'm Fat

2/14/2010 1:48 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0214_kevin_smith_twitter-1Kevin Smith was thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight yesterday for being a "safety risk" -- a polite way of saying he was deemed too fat to fly.

Smith was flying from Oakland to Burbank and was, according to his own tweets, already seated and ready to go when a Southwest attendant named Suzanne "told me Captain Leysath deemed me a 'safety risk.'"

He flew into Oakland on a SW flight, and tweeted later
(along with the photo on the right) that he eventually flew out on one as well.

Smith also received a $100 voucher for his trouble and a few apologetic tweets from SWA, but based on the number of four-letter words used on Smith's Twitter page ... we don't think the apology was accepted.

UPDATE: Southwest responded to Silent Bobgate on their blog.

UPDATE 2
: The SW site seems to be down. Read the blog entry by clicking below.

2/13 Flight 2394, Oakland-Burbank:
Many of you reached out to Southwest Airlines via Twitter last night (2/13) and today (2/14) regarding a situation a Customer Twittered about that occurred on a Southwest flight. It is unusual for us to handle individual Customer concerns in so public a forum, but with so many people involved in and aware of the situation, 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 last night and another call this afternoon (2/14). 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. Our pilots are responsible for the Safety and comfort of all Customers on the aircraft and therefore, made the determination 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 who cannot 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 (policy is available at www.southwest.com). 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.
327 COMMENTS

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136.

asdf    

"a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement."

I was in cramped restricted seating because the guy next to me was like 6'5", why not make him buy more leg room. I held my piss from Dallas to LA because his legs took up the entire space and I didn't feel like giving him a lap dance just to get out of my damn seat. Make Mr. Spider legs buy a first class seat Southwest, according to you he's infringing on my safety and comfort.

1529 days ago
137.

rhbjorn    

The issue here is that Kevin Smith is not lager than a significant part of the population.It is true that an airline can have a reason to demand that someone who is unusually large buy more than a single seat.But this is not the case here.
If an airline has so small seats that the vast majority of passengers cannot fit in them then the airline is not providing the service they have been payed to provide.
But then why does anyone need yet another reason not to fly Southwest..

1529 days ago
138.

ralphie the one-eyed    

South west: Kevin Smith wrote DareDevil for years and is noted for resurrecting Electra. (Again).

You are about to get 500 of The Hand and AIM on your flight, along with MODOK, their leader. (MODOK is about 2000 pounds, floats on his own anti-gravitational generator, and his head is inside his chest-cavity.)

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

1529 days ago
139.

Robin Paddock    

I think if Southwest Airlines wants or needs to implement safety precautions that's fine, but I think they should tell customers what the requirements are so they don't have to be embarrassed if they are to large for the requirement. What happens if someone isn't rich and can't afford two seats for one flight, and does this mean tall people or obnoxious people as well? Or how about people who smell bad, or talk to much or have to much boob showing...or have screaming kids who won't stop kicking the seat, or people who carry on to much baggage... blah blah blah.. just fly the plane, and give the larger person the extra space if your so concern with customer safety.

1529 days ago
140.

Aelwyn    

I'm tired of people putting down overweight people. I am a woman, and I am a size 18. I fit perfectly FINE in an airplane seat, with room to spare. I fit fine in a movie theatre seat, a dinner chair, and a coffee shop chair.

The size 14 is NOT huge. Sizes have actually minimized from "back in the day". For example, a size 14 is what a size 10 or 12 would have been in the past.

And has anyone "fatty bashing" think about the fact that someone may be heavy due to health problems or adverse effects of medication? Don't judge a book by its cover.

1529 days ago
141.

Twinker    

Kevin Smith doesn't look morbidly obese to me. I would adore sitting by him any day. The folks who haven't bathed or changed clothes in weeks who them procede to take off their shoes and then fart all during the flight, whiny and deaf elderly folks in stinky squishy adult diapers and the folks who wear an entire bottle of perfume or cologne should not be allowed to board...

1529 days ago
142.

honesty    

Southwest is cheap. If you are more than size 12; If you are taller than average(ask any basketball player if they have flown that airline); if you are wider(big boned) than 17 inches, if you are disabled; DO NOT FLY SOUTHWEST. Disabled people have known this for years. They do not treat people well.
If someone is "too Large" or a safety risk, then you stop them before they get on the plane. No one there does their job, no one makes the customers first, and individual service goes out the window.

1529 days ago
143.

dirtythirty    

awe, lunchbox got kicked out.

1529 days ago
144.

T    

Southwest was totally right. I fly almost weekly and I would hate to sit next to someone Kevin Smith's size. I saw him at a table in Vegas and he is enormous. If he has purchased 2 seats in the past, he knows the rules. Lose some weight fatty and it wouldn't be an issue. Put the maple bars down, quit crying about it on Twitter and go to the gym.

1529 days ago
145.

samper    

First, if he is so rich and "important", why is he flying SWA Coach?

Second, he had ORIGINALLY bought 2 seats on another flight. He CHOSE to take this flight, where 2 seats weren't available. Therefore, he OBVIOUSLY knew that he is too big for one seat and tried to get away with it anyway.

I book extensive domestic travel, and I can say with confidence that MANY SWA flights fly absolutely full. They don't have the luxury of shifting people around so one guy can have 2 seats on a full plane at the last minute. And why should a couple traveling together be split up for his arrogance/ignorance?

It is NOT unreasonable to expect that the seat I buy will be solely for my own use. I'm not fat, but not super thin, either. As an average person, the seats are bad enough. To have someone else taking part of my seat away because they are large isn't right.

I'm having a problem finding the "entitlement" here where a large person can take up part of MY seat?

SWA is reasonable to determine that the extent of space purchased by anyone is limited by the armrests. Armrests CAN go down while extra butt fat flows under them and onto adjacent seats. It's not whether the armrest will go down. It's what spills past the demarkation of the armrest.

Finally, from the sounds of this character's tweets, he wasn't being the model passenger to begin with. Sounds like he was not only fat, but belligerant as well.

No flight crew wants to deal with unruly passengers. No passenger wants to deal with someone who is uruly right next next to them, who happens to be taking up half their seat, either.

Forcing him off the plane was the right thing to do.

Finally: OBVIOUSLY, everyone is going to try to save a buck while traveling. Large people are going to try to do the same by reserving only one seat and, knowing they can't do it, try to squeeze into it anyway.

If there isn't a way to completely rearrange everyone around him/her to accommodate their 2-seat REQUIREMENT, it is reasonable to get them onto another flight that CAN. It is completely the large person's fault for the "inconvenience" because they didn't buy two seats in the first place, KNOWING they would need the room. And this yahoo is evidently one of such knowledge. He had 2 seats on the flight he abandoned.

If they are that ignorant, they don't DESERVE 1/2 of my seat!

PS: Many airlines detail their seat measurements on their websites. MEASURE before flying if you are that big!

Better yet, they have those boxes that determine whether your carry-on is compliant. They should also have a seat that should be used for passengers who need to prove they can fit into one seat BEFORE boarding.

I bet this yahoo's arrogance created a delay in departure.

1529 days ago
146.

KKK    

I am SHOCKED and horrified at some of the ignorance on this site. They way some of these people call out others is just beyond rude. Not everyone can be a size 2. Southwest has NO right to do this and they should be ashamed of themselves. How dare the people on this site call overweight people " slobs " " bloated pigs" and all the other nonsense. What are you people 8 years old. Heck my niece would NEVER act like this. ( BTW I am NOT obese I am a size 6. )

1529 days ago
147.

Texaskate    

Let me get this straight- he knew he was large enough to need two seats, he purchases two, tries to fly earlier (which, by the way, we are one of the only airlines that allows this without a fee), then, when he gets on the earlier flight and there is only one seat, he throws a fit when the captain deems him too big? Sounds to me like someone needing attention for his upcoming film...
For those of you badmouthing Southwest- our planes are NOT 20-30 years old, we have not made the seats smaller or closer together, we do NOT charge for bags, peanuts, Cokes, etc. We are the only airline that refunds the second seat for overweight passengers if the flight goes out with open seats. We are NOT the only airline that charges overweight passengers for 2 seats. We have the best safety record in the industry. We have made a consistent profit for 39 years and never laid off an employee. In this economy, I think that is quite an accomplishment. So, if you don't want to fly us- fine. We won't miss ya.

1529 days ago
148.

ShutBrownDown    

Put down the pie and get on a treadmill fatass! Or buy 2 seats. I don't want your blob spilling all over me.

1529 days ago
149.

futurestia    

I will def be boycotting SW airlines....I also exercise personal responsibility to ensure that I am not overweight.....SW will start sitting blacks in the back of the airline because it will be for "airline safety". It's ok because SW is allowed to do business however they want, we as the consumer are also allowed to not do business with SW.....Jetblue has screwed me over before but at least I have never been kicked off....SW is notorious for kicking people off....first it's "too pretty" then it's "too fat"....also shame on the passengers for not offering a seat next to a skinny person......I mean if they kick him off then they need to kick everyone off with his height and weight which it sounds like they did not.....

1529 days ago
150.

Oscar in Miami Beach    

Mr. Smith bought two tickets originally to be more comfortable but after the humiliating incident and wanted to get to his destination he opted for only one seat.That he bought two seat originally was no because he is fat and could not fit in one seat but he does it as a routine for comfort not necesity.I flew SWA once,never again.This is a situation where saving some money is not the deal.The deal is comfort and SWA is one if not the most uncomfortable airline there is to fly with.What SWA has to keep an eye if they want security is on how much do their pilots drink alcohol before the flight and that they stay awake all the time and pay attention to what they are doing.There has been a lot of pilot insecurity actions lately for SWA to pick on one fat passenger.Police your pilots first,dummies.

1529 days ago
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