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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
286.

Elvis Twin    

Southwest Airlines is screwed. This guy makes movies that people watch and is not afraid to use them. They better start seriously kissing his a$$ if they want to keep their market share!

1624 days ago
287.

Balin    

You can afford it, go to a fat farm instead of doing all this complaining or else buy your own airline. Suck it up fat ass!!!

1624 days ago
288.

Flo    

I am writing because I hate to see any company get a bad rap for doing a good job. I applaud Southwest, and any airline, for refusing to carry that obese man. This is a good policy for the bulk of 'regular' travelers. Obesity is always a choice, even if there are medical reasons, weight can always be lost. Subjecting regular weight fliers to sitting near an obese person is NOT a choice they have. Flying is a privilege, not a right. If you want the privilege, conform to the rules. It is really that simple. if you choose to be obese, you cannot travel by mass transportation when it is unsafe or it would be detrimental to the comfort of others who also pay for their tickets. We have become so politically correct that we are now a nation of pure stupidity and a joke to most other countries. I say, if a plane goes down because an airline was forced to carry an obese passenger, [the small 1 or 2 hour flights are subject to weight distribution effects (dad flew for Pan Am)] then all the other passengers and crew families should sue the obese person's estate and/or family for wrongful death. Where are the rights for the regular everyday person who obeys all rules and does things correctly? We are sat on by the obese, the smokers, the drinkers, the welfare baby-makers, and the illiterate, undereducated, something for nothing big mouths. We would not make the news. We would not have media and special interest groups standing up for us. No one would stand up for us - until Southwest. Bravo.

1624 days ago
289.

Sylvia    

If they're going to kick obese people off planes because they may be a flight risk, then maybe they should start kicking off the the 3 1/2 feet wide bodybuilders too, like they guy who was in my lap for 6 hours this past January.

1624 days ago
290.

garyv    

Kevin knew the rules...if you are too fat to fly in one seat buy a second seat. He decided to go around the rules after he already bought the second seat and now is making a big deal out of it...Get a life! He should take the $100 and sign up for a weight loss program. I've had to had to live through a flight with the fat of the person next to me flopping over me and it is gross.

If he chooses to eat more, buy three seats.

In case of an emergency and I have to vacate the plan how do I get over this fat person--yes it is a safety issue BIG time big guy.

1624 days ago
291.

Linda    


Thank you for shining the light on fat. I have been fat so I think I have room to talk. Fat is probably
the biggest health problem in our culture today from babies to senior citizens. Instead of belly aching that you got kicked off a flight for being too fat, why don't you be a real role model? Why don't you
help everyone out by losing the fat and become a spokesperson for being healthy? Quit whining and
start shining. Because of you, I plan to use Southwest as my primary airlines. Step up to the plate big boy. Quit eating so much and hit a real home run for all of us!

1624 days ago
292.

Brad    

Great job Southwest! Anything you can do to find ways to make these 'victims' lose weight and lower my health care costs is perfectly ok with me!!

1623 days ago
293.

CJJ    

To all who are disparaging ” large ” People,
There are only 17 inches between the arms of the seat, even if you can put the arm down if ANY part of you exceeds that 17 inch space and “ENCROACHES” on someone else you can be removed. Now let’s see the average desired hip width for an American female runs around 34 inches wide “which is DOUBLE the width of the seat”. I know 34 inches is Around but remember women tend to be wider across their hips and men tend to be wider front to back. the standard they use means that if someone from the airline was to arbitrarily decide that some one with 38 or 42 inch hips is too far beyond the arm, then your LESS THAN OBESE person could be removed. Lets take that one step further, Would a professional football player who may fit between the arms but their shoulders and well pumped biceps “ENCROACH” be held to the same standard? I have known some with 50 to 60 inch shoulders not have to buy extra seating on Southwest or be removed. The standard they use is not universally applied and is therefore unjust and illegal. The airlines give people space far smaller than is realistic just to make money. To all of you IGNORANT and Prejudiced people using expletives and nasty terms to refer to big people if use used the n word about someone of color or called some one by any ethnic slur you would be reviled for your words but if someone is large you feel it is OK. If your child had downs syndrome would you want someone using re***d? Not all Large people are massive over eaters, some are unable to be smaller because of medication like prednezone or psychological disorder. Grow up. You are defending a corporate entity who cares not at all if you have any comfort as long as they can make as much money as possible by squeezing as many of us as they can get away with into too little space.

1623 days ago
294.

viking    

This is Kevin Smith's pitiful attempt to get attention. Yes, if your too big to easily occupy an airline seat, then buy two! If I am the guy that has to sit next to this bozo on a full three hour flight, I am not going to be happy. You do not have the right to infringe on my space on a crowded flight!

1623 days ago
295.

Steve    

Airplane seats have been the same size for decades and work fine, unless you are obese or stuck next to someone that takes up half your seat as well as theirs. Do you really want the world to remember you as some fatass Robin Hood to a generation of Americans who are getting fatter by the day?!?!?!...get with the program lard ass, the airlines aren't wrong, you are. Hit the gym or take a bus.

1623 days ago
296.

Stacy    

I fully support Southwest's decision to look out for the safety of ALL of their passengers instead of only that of a "celebrity" passenger. Mr. Smith acknowleged his need for two seats when he booked his initial flight and booked two seats for himself for his as well as the other passengers comfort and safety. Yes, he wanted to get on an earlier flight with an open seat which is something that Southwest (and not many if ANY other airlines allow)without a major penalty (at least $100) just to change the time of your flight even if you have already paid full fare. In my opinion, Southwest is one of the most fair and affordable airlines as far as baggage cost, change fees etc. I am a loyal customer to Southwest airlines and I think we should all appreciate this decision for the greater good vs. the good of one high profile customer.

1623 days ago
297.

christine    

I don't think it would have been a big deal if SWA didn't humiliate him and followed their own rules. I think SWA sucks anyway, I try to fly united they are so much better and the seats are bigger.

1623 days ago
298.

c stiz    

I hate to admit it but SW's statement does make alot of sense. It's not as if he was personally attacked because of who he is. It has been a policy of theirs for about 25 years. If he, or anyoneone else, took the time to read the fine print before they purchased their ticket they would have known this. I get the fact that it sucks but you can't please everyone. It's a bad situation for everyone involved but you have to admit the airline covered their ass legally and, in my opinion, fairly.

1623 days ago
299.

rainbabe    

Sounds like Kevin knew he needed extra space and paid for it up front, so to get upset when he was trying to get a seat that didn't allow for his size was unreasonable on his part. We never know how to handle these situations because obesity is still an illness we are trying understand and work around. The airline needs to work on its policy, and not let situations like this slip by when reworking reservations. That having been said, as an average sized person who has been seated next to someone who needed extra space because of their size I am in complete support of the airlines actions. For him to have been seated next to me, or any one, would have infringed drastically on our personal space; the space we paid for. Weight loss is very hard, and I don't expect Kevin to loose the weight, but he shouldn't expect me to enjoy having him bleeding into my space.

1623 days ago
300.

gato    

Southwest is now my favorite airline.

1623 days ago
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