I post this with the certainty that people will weigh in (oops-- sorry for the bad pun) on this story. Basically, it's about being too fat to fit in a single airplane seat. But there's more to it:
Published: Saturday, Jul. 24, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1B Last Modified: Saturday, Jul. 24, 2010 - 9:56 am Southwest Airlines made headlines earlier this year for kicking overweight actor-director Kevin Smith off a flight because he took up more than one seat.
Now we're hearing the airline recently removed a 5-foot-4, 110-pound Sacramento-area woman from a plane so a hefty passenger could have an extra seat.
The incident happened last week on an early-evening Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Sacramento.
The local woman was flying standby, paid full fare for the last available seat, got on board, stowed her bags and sat down – only to be told she would have to deplane immediately.
A late-arriving passenger required two seats because of her girth.
The Sacramento woman, a frequent-flying sales rep, was stunned.
"It didn't seem right that I should have to leave to accommodate someone who had only paid for one seat," she tells us. (She has asked to remain anonymous for fear some may regard her as insensitive.)
She's even more miffed because she says Southwest personnel berated her when she questioned the decision to boot her from the plane.
She ended up getting on the next flight.
"It's small potatoes, in the scheme of things," she says. But she believes Southwest should have been more considerate.
Airline spokeswoman Marilee McInnis agrees.
"We know this was awkward and we should have handled it better," she says, adding that the airline intends to apologize to the local woman.
McInnis says normal policy is to ask for volunteers when a flight is overbooked for any reason.
In this instance, she says, airline personnel may have been influenced to choose a faster course of action to reduce embarrassment for the late-arriving passenger.
Why the extra concern? The person requiring two seats was just 14 years old.
Maybe Southwest gets in the news more due to this issue because they have smaller seats to start with... (?)
There used to be a really intersting show called "Airline" that chronicled Southwest personnel interacting with customers. This was the first time I ever knew they canr refuse to let you board if you are too intoxicated! Who knew???