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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

No Avatar
256.

Grouch    

Welcome to Fat Bastard Air.....

1712 days ago
257.

Rick    

BBW a term used by FAT women to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror, sorry but the truth hurts!

There is nothing beautiful about a FAT cow sitting or standing anywhere.

1712 days ago
258.

Jessica    

While I agree with SW in principal (they have had a long-standing policy on this matter), I do not believe they should have issued him a ticket if they were just going to turn around and say he needed two seats and were booked otherwise. That is humiliating.
I am a person of size, though never so much as to need two seats. I have not infringed on another person's space during a flight but others certainly have on mine despite their small girth. I've had someone fall asleep and end up with their head on me, kids screaming at the top of their lungs, the person in front of me reclining their seat so far that they are in my lap and the never-ending bathroom goer. Why are these sins so much less valid even though they clearly violate comfort and potential safety of other passengers?!?
As to all the comments posted about Mr. Smith's movies, do you all really think that has anything to do with the situation? Learn to write English properly and perhaps you would be able to make a better point.

1712 days ago
259.

LenoIsALaira    

Fat people can lose weight, but the kind of ugliness demonstrated by the supposedly thin people here can't be changed, because that kind of ugliness is inside of you. You're very ugly and when you carry it inside of you, that's an ugly no plastic surgeon can erase. Better hope the airlines don't decide you're to ugly on the inside to fly, or you'll be the ones booted off the plane.

1712 days ago
260.

Kaci    

Being a frequent flier who has had to "share" my seat with many passengers that probably should have bought two, I say good job SW. I love flying SW. Even if you can put the armrests down and fasten your belt, if you spill over into my seat taking up three inches makes for a very unpleasant flight. I don't enjoy being squished against the wall! I wonder if the airline would give me half of for only getting to use a portion of my seat. Doubtful!

1712 days ago
261.

Marian    

I feel bad that he had to wait like everyone else but hey, it's not fair to the airline or someone sitting next to an obese person if they are spilling into a second seat. Get over it, lose some weight and you won't have these issues and will be able to sit in a single seat like everyone else. Grow up ya big, and I mean big baby. Just because you have somewhat of a celebrity status doesn't mean you should make someone else's flight uncomfortable.

1712 days ago
262.

thisisfunny    

Is your body confined to one seat? If it's spilling over to my seat buy a 2nd ticket or get off. I've been fat and I've been thin, it doesn't ever change the fact that I want my seat all to myself

1712 days ago
263.

Abi    

while it IS unpleasant to have a larger person next to you, this was not the case. Smith has made it quite clear that he fit within SWA requirements: he could buckle his seat belt w/out extender and could put the armrests down. He even asked the people next to him, and both said they were perfectly fine with him and were comfortable. There were also people larger than him on the plane who were allowed to stay. He admitted that he was going to let the matter rest until his return flight, when the young woman, also larger, was asked to buy two seats, even though Smith had already paid for the middle seat and there was absolutely no reason for it. check out
www.smodcast.com #106 for the entire story before you comment

1712 days ago
264.

pamela    

Seriously sick of hearing about complaining about flying. You dont fit in the seat, stop complaining and buy and second seat. Or fly an airline that offers large seats. Not the airlines problem. YOU ARE a SAFETY RISK. I dont want to be on a flight when and emergency happens and you have a oversized person blocking the exit.

1712 days ago
265.

Erik    

see, this is why John Madden took a bus everywhere

1712 days ago
266.

Tiger's Help Sucks Too    

Fat Boy needs to pay for a first class seat or two coach seats. Period. When you're so obese that you are pushing somebody else out of the ONE seat THEY paid for, you've got nothing to say about getting asked to either pay for a bigger/extra seat or get off the plane.
It's not like you got fat overnight and don't realize you're pushing somebody else out of their seat. I've spent 7 hours on a plane sitting next to a baby elephant like Fat Boy here, and ended up with numbness and bruising in the shoulder and arm that got squished by my neighbor's overflowing, unmoveable fat. Maybe next time I should sue the airline for allowing the fat one to crush me and cause pain and suffering.

1712 days ago
267.

Tiger's Help Sucks Too    

Oh, and P.S. --- Who, when they are first seated on a flight, is going to say to their fat neighbor, yeah man, you're crushing me, get out of the seat. Most people are going to grit their teeth and say um, no, I'm perfectly fine, even if they feel very uncomfortable. That's why the flight attendants need to either move people to different seats if available, or make the obese one take a different flight with an extra seat.

And Abi, it wouldn't really be fair to make one fat person pay for 2 seats and let another fat person pay for only one, would it?

1712 days ago
268.

Klick    

Hooray for Southwest!! I am tired of paying for a whole seat and having to share part of it with a space challenged passenger! I only wish the last two times I flew Southwest they had required these passengers to reserve enough room for the body they were clearly aware they possessed, and not forced me to surrender a part of my seat. This is good news for those of us who understand only two small carry-on rules on airplanes, and maximum 15 item lanes at the market. THANK YOU SOUTHWEST!!!

1712 days ago
269.

Clinton    

Have all the fatties sit next to each other in single seats and let them bear their own burden and fight it out.

1712 days ago
270.

ewamaria    

Yeah, I sympathize with large people but I sure as heck don't want to sit right next to one on a plane. I support the policy. They do have a choice, they can lose weight. If you're that large, you're risking your life everyday anyway. You need to do something about it instead of b$%^&ing about an airline trying to make sure you're not sitting in a part of a seat that belongs to and was paid for by someone else.

1712 days ago
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