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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
106.

youpeopleareevil    

I seriously hope and pray that every one of you losers who made nasty comments about fat people will become one yourself. That would serve you right! And no, I'm not overweight. I just hate people who whine, and that's what you people are doing. I personally would rather sit beside an obese person than a douche or a bitch. Besides, you skinny hookers usually stink the plane up with your cologne and perfume. Probably wear so much to cover the smell of skank!

1522 days ago
107.

JohnSchuh    

The problem is the size of their seats. I started flying --third class--in 1966, and the seats were considerably wider. And there was more leg-room. People have been getting fatter, but the seats have been getting smaller. Wonder why people travel in casual clothes? It is more comfortable traveling on a military aircraft.

1522 days ago
108.

elb    

this country is OBESE...he should have purchased 2 seats..i work for an airline and i am sick of fat asses asking for seat belt extensions.. i worked a flight last month..we passes out 17 extensions in one flight..BUY 2 SEATS

1522 days ago
109.

niles    

It's obvious this guy had a chip on his fat shoulder and was probably making a spectacle of himself. He makes enough money to hire a personal trainer and nutritionist so we won't have to deal with his huge mass of blubber trying to squeeze into an airline seat. And was he flying coach? How cheap you are, slob.

1522 days ago
110.

Clinton    

He tried to squeeze his two-seater butt into a single seat on a flight before his actual booked flight. They gave him the chance to try but he was overflowing into the next person's space and there were no extra seats available. Yes, this is technically a safety issue (and enough of a reason by itself), but the discomfort of the passengers next to him is even more of an issue. Their payment for their tickets guarantees their seat and that seat's said space. Having to contend with someone elses flesh overflowing toward and upon you is HIGHLY uncomfortable, discourteous, and a breaking of the implied contract that goes along with the purchased ticket. Blubber-butt's choice is to buy two seats as he always does (and held for his ORIGINAL flight later) or to lose the weight. Aside from these choices, he can buy his own plane and pay the extra fuel necessary for lift-off.

1522 days ago
111.

luan    

Fat? Yes. "Safety Risk"? No. LOL!!!!!!

1522 days ago
112.

tehheh    

No. 121: I'm No. 114. You sound like one of those types I was talking about. You'd do the most humiliating thing to passengers for your own petty convenience. I'm sure you'll go far in the airline industry. I've watched people on planes who were thin and put into seats where the belts were short for some reason. They'd obviously been cut down for some sort of fast maintenance fix but never replaced with a good long one again. Let's say someone with a tummy sat in one of these. Hell, probably half of the people you gave extensions to sat in these types of seats, thin or fat. You're just a friggin' lazy jerk like many of the other people who work in your industry. Drunk pilots, cabin people who think they are jail wardens, half-wits running security checks. Everybody: Take trains and buses and put these people out of our misery!
P.S.: I plan on eatin' beans before my next plane trip. And I'll ask for a seat in the back near you cop-wannabes who work in the cabin.

1522 days ago
113.

lizard    

Number 121 when u dont have a job anymore because of budget cuts and us "fat asses" take our business elsewhere I am sure you wont be laughing. You obiviously have no business working with the public. It is airline employees like you, which make flying the last resort for many people. I do encourage everyone to not fly. TOday it is the obesity issue, tommorow it will be the scanners. I have an autoimmue diease called Hashimoto which attacked my liver and thyroid. Since I have been a young woman I have had to enjoy ignorance such as this.What is destroying our country isnt the fat people it is the selfish narcissism permeating this country. People cant stay married for 5 minutes, children are a liabilty which impede ones "happiness". The entitlment attitude where people complain because credit cards charge overdraft fees because JR has to have his sandwhich and coke after the gym. Who cares if I have no money in the account. THIS IS WHAT IS DESTROYING US. By the way I can more than pay for my second seat.

1522 days ago
114.

homer    

Mmmm, he does have a new movie coming out with Bruce Willis. He is not THAT obese. Sounds fishy.

1522 days ago
115.

Clinton    

The guys KNOWS he's fat and too bif for just one seat. That's whay he voluntarily buys two adjacent seats. He tried to force his way onto a previous flight that only had one seat. HE'S FAT, PEOPLE! HE ALREADY KNOWS IT!

1522 days ago
116.

Lisa    

I don't even know who the @*## this guy is, but Southwest's policy is totally reasonable to me. It sounds like they did nothing they wouldn't do with a non-celebrity passenger. Why does this jerk deserve special treatment again?

1522 days ago
117.

elb    

to number 114...oh yes i havegone very far with the airlines..28 years to be exact. btw, all seat belts are the same length, thats faa enforced

1522 days ago
118.

Me    

If you as a person require two seats to fly comfortably on a plane, then that is life. He is well-known to purchase two seats together because of this, so it is hard to understand why he is so upset to find out that he cannot fly on a plane that has only one seat left. HE were the one who decided to change his flight, and it is not Southwest's problem if the flight he VOLUNTARILY changed to does not have two seats available. Almost every airline has a policy that 'if you can't fit, you don't ship'. This is not only for his comfort, but for the comfort of other passengers. He doesn't appreciate someone taking up his personal space on a flight, and as a person who is smaller in stature than most, I would find it very annoying, arrogant, and rude if someone would INSIST on invading my personal space in order just to make them happy.

He's an overprivilidged brat throwing a temper tantrum. Count me out of seeing his movies for a while.

1522 days ago
119.

tehheh    

I know what I saw. Airlines break the rules constantly and only appear contrite when they are caught. I'm not saying they constantly break big safety rules, but they are overwhelmed and break a lot of rules and do a lot of hinky stuff for the sake of expediency. I'm happy you enjoy your work but many of us don't like the way your industry treats passengers -- the people who pay good money for the service it provides. Granted, not many people die from air travel. But the industry doesn't handle the people it moves very well. This is why people need to seriously rethink their travel options. Air travel has become too popular for its own good.

1522 days ago
120.

Crank    

Dude is wearing an Edmonton Oilers hoodie? THAT's probably what got him kicked off...

1522 days ago
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