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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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76.

kate    

I am a size 24. I am fat and have no problem admitting that. I bought 2 tickets on SWA because I am fat. I'm blunt about it. I can see a mirror. A woman 50lbs heavier than me plops down in the third seat and asked why the middle was reserved. I told her that I bought 2 tickets because I'm fat. She shamed me "awww it's horrible you need to do that". When all I'm thinking is how the F did she get on the plane with 1 ticket.

1622 days ago
77.

GRIMREAPER    

I am a bodybuilder and my shoulders are wide, i cant fit into a regular seat comfrotably. any person who is too large to fit should have to pay for two.

I always pay for an extra seat at all events i attend, the biggest problem i have is people asking if they can sit there or place their belongings in my paid for empty seat. I always reply with I paid for that seat for my comfort so hell no.

1622 days ago
78.

tyra amrein    

I applaud Southwest ..... I fly monthly and I cannot tell you how many times I have been sitting next to an obese person and how absolutely uncomfortable it was for BOTH of us. If there was an actual emergency ... there was no friggin' way in hell I was going to be able to get out of my seat and around this person. His butt cheek and leg were LITERALLY hanging out in the aisle by about a foot. I compare it to smoking on an airline .... the airlines finally made accomodations for the people that do not want to be "put upon". And as far as the incredibly narrow thinking poster that commented that airlines should make the seats "larger" because Americans are getting larger is completely assanine. We have a cultural issue with obesity in this country and if you can't push your plate away and if you enjoy being large than the consequence of that is that you have to buy two seats ... PERIOD. It is not my fault as a full fare passenger that you are obese and I should not have to live through a long flight being uncomfortable because you have a glandular problem.

1622 days ago
79.

ML    

I love SW, but even if I didn't I APPLAUD them for making obese Americans realize that they are a safety risk, and it's nobody's fault but their own. Sorry, but I have zero desire to sit crammed in my seat because someone can't be bothered to hit the gym occasionally. Furthermore, in the event of an emergency I really don't need to be climbing over this blob of a person to get to the emergency exit. Everyone who is offended should instead realize that being obese is not an excuse to get you special treatment, you need to take accountability for your (in)actions and lose some weight.

1622 days ago
80.

queenClark    

Please, all you fatties should sit together and let all us regular people sit together. Nothing against anyone but I like the whole seat I paid for, or else you give me back some of the money I paid for the whole seat for the inconvenience.

1622 days ago
81.

Gus van Rant    

I don't buy anything Smith is saying about this. He OBVIOUSLY did something obnoxious to get thrown off the plane.

1622 days ago
82.

honesty    

I hate to fly. I have been disabled for about 15 years now. I lost the use of my right leg, and have extreme chronic pain. I have been stuck in a chair for that time. Of course I gained weight. I hate to fly. If I do, I only fly first class. I arrange this ahead of time, and make sure the airline knows of my special needs.
Being older I do know that seats in everything place but first class has been getting smaller, and that every normal comfort has been removed from any class but first. No blankets, snacks, meals, water, and it seems that I always hear complaints about stopped up toilets in the terminal, while going to the plane. Service has went to hades in a handbasket since 9-11.

1622 days ago
83.

Pat    

Yeah, if the dude already flew Southwest once without being deemed a "safety risk," then he DIDN'T get thrown off this flight for being fat. Sounds like he's just trying to play victim here by demonizing the airline. I'd love to hear the ACTUAL reason why he was thrown off. For Godssakes, he's Kevin Smith... *I* fly Southwest because I'm broke and they're cheap. What's HIS excuse? He's a multimillionaire. I'd lay what little money I have down to bet that his behavior on the plane led to this, not his obesity.

1622 days ago
84.

honesty    

Southwest's boarding crew is suppose to spot "safety" issues before they ever get to the plane. If there was a "safety" issue and they did not quietly take care of before, then it is their boarding crew's fault.

1622 days ago
85.

NWChix    

SW Airlines dumped me in Vegas for a night because THEY decided not enough people bought tickets to justify the last run. SW sucks.

Stop flying on SW and you will see them go away. Pick a higher priced carrier and you will not see this desparation crap. If they keep making seats so narrow we will all be paying for two seats! UGH when you get the fatty next to you crawling into your seat - under and over the arm rest.

1622 days ago
86.

CP361    

Well... How fat is he? waist shoulders in inches that sort of thing.
I thought they simply required you purchase 2 seats so that the person who sits next to the wide person isn't totally miserable or upgrade to business class. In any event it is a safety hazard if the person in questions bulk prevents a cart from smoothly operating.

1622 days ago
87.

Lee    

How do fat people wipe their butts? They can't. You have to endure the smell of excrement when you sit next to them for 4 hours on a plane.

1622 days ago
88.

flygirl    

As a flight attendant I can assure you he was not "thrown off" because he was too fat. He was using two seats and all seats were sold so he had to be put on another flight that was not completly sold out. You would never go to a restaurant, eat two meals and then not expect to pay for the second meal. If you take up two seats, you pay for the extra seat.

1622 days ago
89.

Gern Blanston    

Not only is Kevin Smith fat, he's no longer funny. A flash in the pan as it were. Rich+fat=charter next time.

1622 days ago
90.

rogerthat    

wtf was he doing on a southwest flight anyway i thought he was rich??

1622 days ago
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