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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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226.

Dave In Banning CA    

I understand he did not accept the $100 voucher, so it's incorrect to say he accepted anything. He said later than they tried to give him more, and that was rejected as well.

1629 days ago
227.

Raejean    

I'm so glad that fat people are here to stay; now that we can't discriminate about anyone or anything else (like them "N word" folks or smokers, for example), the obese provide illusory reassurance to the world's sorriest losers that there is someone around that they can actually feel superior to.

Even though Kevin Smith has probably accomplished more than any of the jerk-wad posters mouthing off against his weight ever will, they still feel smug to be slimmer-what a joke.

1629 days ago
228.

tomcat    

If being fat was 'healthy', then they'd not have all the issues like diabetes, heart attacks, strokes. Go ahead and pig out, but pay for your own health care!!!!!! Yes, I said it!

1629 days ago
229.

tehheh    

The point here is not to call people names -- though I've gotta say that a lot of you need to be called a few names -- obnoxious, judgmental or assface. Many of you aren't getting the concepts here. You just want to make fun of people. I hope fat people sit on you skinny jerks and your brains get crushed. Then we don't have to hear or read your stupid comments anymore. The idea is that this should be a determination made long before someone boards a plane. They do it visually after getting a total plane weight. This could be handled in the ticket area without a scale -- unless the customer requests one. This would allow the customer to buy a second ticket or receive a refund so they arrange for other transportation. Just because someone is fat doesn't allow someone else (or an industry) an opportunity for callousness. People of all sizes understand physics. Too much weight means the plane won't fly. Too many people fly anyway. This is why the industry provides such poor customer service. Unfortunately, I probably will have to see some of you turds out in public.

1629 days ago
230.

tomcat    

It's not hatred, it's frustration with obese people trying to claim that they are 'disabled' and an 'opressed minority'.

It is not the same as race or ethnicity, it's a HEALTH ISSUE!! It is causing health care costs to go up, just because some have to eat all they can at Old Country Buffet!

1629 days ago
231.

Meg    

Why was he flying Southwest at all? If I had his kind of money, I'd be flying everywhere first class. If he's buying 2 seats on SW, he might as well buy a first class ticket on a better airline. Take Virgin from SF to LA instead!

1629 days ago
232.

jodii    

Screw you, Southwest and all you douchbags on here that spew garbage about everyone else. This is a bunch of crap that this airline has to put their head out of their a** about. And before you losers say 'I'm sure you're a fat b***h yourself', I am 97 lbs and 5'4 and have sat beside people that are overweight mny times on flights with no problems. I won't fly these guys cuz they suck and this is a perfectly good reason for not flying with them as well as douches like you mouthy pinheads (Allen Ridak,Marketing $ociologist, sternfan) that I'm sure DO fly with them. I would MUCh rather be 'stuck' beside Kevin Smith that are that critizes Kevin and so many others you have no clue about.

1629 days ago
233.

tomcat    

My complaint is Kevin Smith considers himself 'cool' since he is fat, but then any women in his movies better be hot and thin!!!

1629 days ago
234.

Tim    

I am sooo tired of society worried about offending fat people. Guess what ? If you are to fat to fit in one seat, than why in h_ll should the person sitting next to you suffer !! Lose weight or get two seats. that is for the comfort of all people, not just the comfort of the fat. And yes, America is getting fatter. Maybe America needs to get their FAT A_S on te treadmill. That would sure help out our medical cost.

1629 days ago
235.

Raejean    

I will sit far more equitably and happily next to a "fattie" who is spilling into my space, than any slimmer person who is a smoker, has gum disease, too much cologne or perfume, too long since a bath or washed clothing, too weak a bladder, intestinal gas, someone with a toe-tapping or throat-clearing tic, a whiny, staring, or crying child, or someone who really thinks I want to strike up a relationship with them and learn everything about them, where they are going and why, in the course of our flight.

People don't realize how obnoxious and annoying they are when confined to close quarters, and you don't get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Social Approval from me just for being slender!

1629 days ago
236.

Leslie    

I have seen on TV the folks that usually need a second seat and they are the 350 or 400 lb.folks Smith is not exactly super model size but unless he has put on a 100 lbs. since the last photos I saw of him from a few months ago, then SW screwed up. Smith said he was seated comfortably in his seat and it seems this flight attendant just decided by herself that he was too big. If SW is going to have this policy, they should approach the customer before they board so as not to humiliate him or her. I think SW really handled this badly. If Kevin smith is considered one of their customers that need a second seat then by their standards, 1/3 of the folks flying would probably qualify.

1629 days ago
237.

Warren    

Watching his films is like watching a six year old boy smear feces on a wall. Buy a first class seat you cheap, whiny, flatulent, tub of hot, boring air. Tweet dat.

1629 days ago
238.

poage    

#215 They allowed you to bring Cheerios on the plane?!

1629 days ago
239.

Haterade    

Poor guy, I think his movies are pretty funny! I guess he could use this experience as fodder for further comedy?

1629 days ago
240.

Cindy B    

That policy is not just a Southwest policy but many airlines have a similar policy but may not enforce it equally. Although the situation may not have been handled correctly or humanely, it is up to any company or airline to enforce their policies, ie. kicking off people flights who are unruly, who have horrible body odor, are disturbing others or simply weigh too much to occupy 1 seat. Why should other passengers have to suffer through a 2-3 hour flight of being very "cramped and uncomfortable" in order not to hurt another passenger's feelings? It is up to the airline to make sure that ALL passengers be comfortable. Policies are in place for a reason, whether people like them or not. If you take up 2 seats, pay for 2 seats. If you have a "lap" child over the age of 2, pay for an extra ticket. My son turned 2 a few days before we were going to fly, and guess what, I had to pay for another full price ticket! That's life!!! I am tired of people playing the victim card whenever they are made feel uncomfortable or when things don't go their way. If you don't like it, change it. Life is not always fair! You are in charge of your own destiny. Either lose weight, fly another airline and fly first class or buy 2 tickets. BTW, Southwest doesn't allow preboarding with infants or children anymore. My husband and I thought this policy was discriminatory and vowed never to fly Southwest again. But the fact of the matter is, they still have cheaper flights than many other airlines. If we want to preboard with our son, we just pay more AND fly another airline.

1629 days ago
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