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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
271.

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!!!

1673 days ago
272.

jj    

My husband is overweight and when we fly we always buy him two seats. It is a matter of being considerate to the person sitting beside you. We have flown Southwest multiple times and they are always very sensitive to the issue. Comments using the terms fatso, slob and tub of lard are uncalled for. Society should not have to change to accommodate obese people but we should still realize they are human. In turn those obese should consider their impact in turn.

1673 days ago
273.

Bill    

$100? $100? How is he supposed to survive on Happy Meals with just $100?

1673 days ago
274.

Robert Albee    

I tried to send a complaint to Southwest Airlines but it will not go through via email if you don't know the flight number. Someone find out the flight number and plaster the internet with it!

1673 days ago
275.

cely fowler    

Prejudice against overweight people should be regarded as politically incorrect as saying the "n" word. Most people have other problems, medical prescriptions, thyroid, etc., which cause them to be overweight. Just as there are lung cancer victims who did not smoke, there are also people who did not choose to be overweight. It does prove how stupid people think when they make these comments without knowing the medical facts and not thinking things through. I would trade 1,000 stupid people for 1 Kevin Smith anyday. By the way, I have a son who is overweight and he has never had any problems flying on American Airlines, Continental,or Delta. Not once have they made him buy a second seat or stopped him from flying. It is not our fault that the airlines crammed in more seats to make an extra buck. They should be sued for descrimination against overweight people BECAUSE they don't have larger seats for overweight people, just as handicapped bathrooms and ramps became the norm in today's society.

1673 days ago
276.

Melinda    

There are really two points that stand out to me here:
1. Kevin Smith states that he fit in the seat with the arm rests down and his seat belt on prior to being excused from the plan. SW has not denied/fought this.
2. Airlines' seats have always been notoriously cramped. Before airlines rain into economic trouble, they routinely tried to bring in customers by adding "inches" of leg room more than a competitor. As a frequent flier in the economy class, and one who is not overweight, I guarantee that space has *always* been an issue on planes.

A certain level of comfort that has never been offered, really should be expected on an airplane. If the average person were given a reasonable space to sit on a plane, safety wouldn't be an issue for anyone. All airlines are guilty of the "sardine" effect, and this really is to blame for the situation, not Kevin Smith's size.

1673 days ago
277.

Jane    

It is his own fault. According to SW's blog he routinely buys 2 seats when he flies with them. He does that for a reason. He knows he is more comfortable in 2 seats and if he doesn't he will have a problem with the airline. When he decided to change his flight and go standby, he knew he was taking a risk about seating. He is too cheap to travel first class, where he wouldn't have this issue.

1673 days ago
278.

raddave    

I applaud Southwest. I travel extensively by air (650,000 miles in the last 4 years) and the most annoying inconvenience is to have a big fat person who can still "put down the arms of the seat" sit next to me. It doesn't matter if the arms are down if the bulge is hanging 6 inches into my already cramped seat. I pay full price for the minuscule space that I do get I certainly don't want to share that space with an overweight person whose feelings the airlines don't want to "hurt". The policy should be that if you bulge over the arm into another passengers space then you have to pay for an additional seat.

1673 days ago
279.

spinner23    

They're too busy paying attention to 'too fat to fly' customers to notice people like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab skipping through security.

1673 days ago
280.

seethrufaded    

See Jay was right all along. He really is one tubby b*tch.

1673 days ago
281.

melissa    

I've sat next to many a big people on bus's, planes, in cars, we all know its not comfortable. Sorry kevo, I don't feel bad for you at all.

1673 days ago
282.

Jane    

No airline is going to change the size of their seats because most of America is over weight. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out it is not cost effective to do so. The same problem applies to people that are very tall. I know several tall men who are not comfortable flying because they don't have enough space to accommodate their long legs, not to mention hitting their heads and some with backaches by the time they have landed. They know they are not an average size and just endure it as best they can, unless they can afford to fly first class. KS needs to quit whining and realize that as long as he isn't average size he is going to run into these situations when flying.

1672 days ago
283.

Daniel Kunai    

Congratulations of Southwest for making obese people pay for an additional airplane seat.

I remember sitting next to a fat woman once. She spilled over into my window seat (she couldn't fit into this seat) and then made it almsot impossible for me to climb over her to get to the bathroom.

Tickets buy space. Also, fat makes for comorbid diseases which predispose to onflight emergencies.

Have special planes for them.

1672 days ago
284.

Mad Hatter    

With a new movie coming out, what cheaper way to get your name and movie out on the street? Get on a plane take up 10% of the seat to your side or both sides, act obnoxious if necessary, get thrown off the plane, tweet the world and set back in your over sized recliner at home and anticipate counting the green backs.

Bravo to Southwest as I have had other people next to me spilling over into my seat. Imagine the issue of getting Smith out the wing emergency exits.

1672 days ago
285.

Sal    

I have had to sit next to overweight people on a flight before and it is NOT fair that I pay the same as they do to fly but I am the one who loses 1/2 my seat & I am uncomfortable the whole flight. Sorry-being overweight I am sure is not fun but you ate it-you deal with it. Kevin Smith sounds like another spoiled Hollywood BRAT!! Either lose the weight or pay for the extra seat. Why should the person who is stuck sitting next to him have to suffer?? So sick of these Hollywood brats tweeting and posting when they don't get their way.

1672 days ago
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