Kevin Smith Booted From Southwest Airlines for Being Too Fat to Fly?

by Craig Perrine

Here’s a goofy tid bit, fresh from the headlines:

Southwest Airlines booted Kevin Smith, controversial director of movies like ‘Chasing Amy’, ‘Clerks’, and more, for being too fat to fly.  For the record, I recently lost 40 pounds (see here for story) because I had, in my opinion, gotten FAT… so I can empathize with Kevin Smith.   I’m sure he was feeling pretty embarrassed!

Apparently, when flying standby on Southwest, he didn’t pay for the ‘two seats’ required (or they didn’t have two empty seats, not sure) when a passenger is unable to fit within the 17″ confines of a single seat on their planes, and was forced to leave the plane.  He was able to get on a later flight that day with a $100 coupon and a big fat ‘I’m Sorry’ from the airline.  Not satisfied, he’s now crucifying them in the media.

I can see his point, he doesn’t appear so heavy that I’d have thought he wouldn’t fit in a single seat…

BUT, if he didn’t, then it’s really kinda obvious that if he’s going to take up two seats he should have to pay.  I mean, recently I sat next to someone who was so large that they encroached over my side of the arm rest and I leaned away toward the window the entire flight to preserve some personal space.  I would have appreciated it if that person had bought two tickets.  And, I suspect they would have been more comfortable, too.

Reason I say this is that it is experiences like that when we are confronted with something we don’t want to deal with about ourselves that we can finally be motivated to make the necessary changes in our lives.  Seems like Kevin Smith has chosen to use his high profile to instead attack Southwest for their policy – and because he’s a smart, funny guy, they’re taking a beating.

Even tho Kevin Smith is a bright and talented guy, I gotta say, why should another passenger be short changed their seating space because their neighbor is oversized (whether due to obesity or simply body size)?  I mean, hypothecially, if a 7 ft basketball star were to try to sit in coach and take up a ton of space with broad shoulders and long arms and legs, wouldn’t it just make sense to not cram them in to a seat right next to one or two people around them?

I know, it’s not necessarily easy losing weight, and as far as I know there are many different causes of obesity, some even genetic – but this isn’t about being thin or obese, it’s about paying for the space you use and being fair to your fellow passengers.  Think about it – Southwest isn’t saying ‘lose weight’, they’re saying,’pay for the space you take up because it’s larger than our seats’. 

Honestly, I can’t see where Southwest doesn’t have a right to charge according to their rules.  If you are more than 17″ wide, you ain’t gonna fit in one seat, so you’ll pay for two.  Just like, if you have more bags than allowed, you have to pay an additional fee. 

But with Kevin Smith’s celebrity and a zillion Twitter followers, and now the news media picking up on the story, Southwest is under fire. 

I’ve always been treated well by Southwest and it bugs me that he’s thrashing them in the media and new media alike for something that, ulitmately, is his own responsibility. 

After all, folks who drive big fat SUV’s pay more for their gas, we pay a premium to Supersize our Fast Food – why not pay extra to SuperSize an airplane seat, especially on a full flight?

I guess it’s easier to lash out and blame others when one is embarassed, even if it might cost some decent Southwest airlines folks their jobs.

For someone who makes fun of people mercilessly in his movies, I think Kevin Smith ought to have been able to laugh a little at his own expense here and man up for the 2nd ticket and hit the gym when he got home instead of the Twitter ’send’ button.

Craig Perrine

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Farewell February 15, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Dude, I totally miss you.
I’m sorry you’re too fat to fly.


Mike Shippey February 28, 2010 at 3:32 am

I agree with you, Craig. Good perspective.
Southwest is a solid company that does a lot of things right. I think Kevin is taking the low road, but as you say, it’s probably due to embarrassment, which is certainly understandable.
But as you point out, they didn’t say, “You’re too fat! Lose weight!” They just stand by their policy that if he wants to fly SWA, he has to buy another seat like everyone else who doesn’t fit in the 17″ space…
Here’s the funny part, it would already have been sufficiently buried in the past and no one would even be talking about it, had he just let it go.

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