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View Full Version : SWA can't get a break - too thin to fly?


BigTigger
07-27-2010, 10:00 PM
(CBS) A petite Sacramento woman was bumped from a Southwest Airlines flight to make room for an extra-large 14-year-old who required two seats.

The 5-foot-4, 110-pound woman, who was flying standby from Las Vegas to Sacramento, was buckled up and ready to go when the teen arrived late to the gate, reported the Sacramento Bee. She was surprised when flight attendants said she would have to deplane to make room for the teen.


When the woman - who did not give her name to the paper for fear of being perceived as insensitive - expressed irritation, airline employees began to "berate" her for complaining, she told the newspaper.

"We know this was awkward and we should have handled it better," said Southwest spokeswoman Marilee McInnis, adding that normally the airline would ask for volunteers to give up their seats. In this case, however, flight attendants may have been rushing to make room for the kid in order to save him from embarrassment.

Southwest can't seem to win for losing. This is the same airline that made headlines recently when it booted chubby blogger Kevin Smith, 39, from his seat because he had to squeeze himself into it.

After the Smith incident, Southwest said his removal was for the "safety and comfort of all customers," maintaining that a large person could block passengers seated nearby from exiting quickly in the event of an emergency.

Southwest generally requires large passengers to buy two tickets. But in this case, the child's parents had purchased only one.


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20011748-10391704.html

Inkmahm
07-28-2010, 01:21 AM
I don't think the woman being thin had anything at all to do with SWA asking her to give up her seat. The important factor is that she was flying standby so she should only have been allowed on the plane after those with confirmed seats.

all4disney98
07-28-2010, 04:20 AM
I think the point the news talk shows were expressing about this was that the 14 year old had only purchased one seat so that is why they thought there was room for the stand by person and let her on the plane.

I think SW may have handled this differently if it was not a minor flying. Was the minor flying alone? If so, their first instinct was probably to get the child home on time without incident.

seashoreCM
07-28-2010, 06:07 AM
A person flying standby may be cleared, boarded, and then taken off the plane at the last minute. Normally she could try for the next flight and there is a good chance she, paying full fare, would be booked non-standby, or she could get a refund and try another airline.

In the actual case, it was reported both that the Southwest crew got a little huffy towards her and, apparently to make up for that, refunded her "full" fare while putting her on the next flight.

In the actual case, had the child had been ordered to buy another seat, it would still have been necessary to deplane someone else because there were no other seats available.

Since a passenger flying standby had been cleared, the plane was not considered full by Southwest's larger passenger rules, and all (larger) passengers who had bought second seats would have had those seat fares refunded.

Tara
07-28-2010, 10:05 AM
What a crummy way to sensationalize something that really isn't newsworthy at all.

kaytieeldr
07-28-2010, 10:17 AM
What a crummy way to sensationalize something that really isn't newsworthy at all.
Ya think? ;) There's a fairly active thread on this over on the Community board.

DebbieB
07-28-2010, 01:18 PM
I fly alot for work and have seen standbys taken off the plane after they were seated. Usually it's when a connecting passenger is late getting to the gate through no fault of their own.

bumbershoot
07-28-2010, 01:55 PM
The important factor is that she was flying standby so she should only have been allowed on the plane after those with confirmed seats.

Exactly.

I fly alot for work and have seen standbys taken off the plane after they were seated. Usually it's when a connecting passenger is late getting to the gate through no fault of their own.

Good to know!



Yayyyy, reasonable people over here.....

azdizzymom
07-28-2010, 03:18 PM
Sorry if I offend...but it is so so so sad that a teenager is so obese that he needs 2 airline seats. Shows what is happening in our country to our kids. Parents need to take responsibility and set examples for their children by eating healthy, exercising and showing that being extremely obese is not healthy. I see why SW didn't want to humiliate him but the parents are the ones who should have to pay for that extra seat. Hope this is a valuable lesson for him to get assistance in losing weight. Yes, it might be a medical condition but there are ways to lose sensibly and even with a medical issues. What is even sadder is when the airlines DON'T make the obese get an extra seat and they take up part of average size people's seats by 'hanging' over. Like someone said she probably wasn't removed for being too small it was because there was a very obese teenager who they knew they would get in trouble for putting on a different flight. So sad to see this story!

seashoreCM
07-28-2010, 04:30 PM
What is even sadder is when the airlines DON'T make the obese get an extra seat and they take up part of average size people's seats by 'hanging' over. !
Sometimes the flight crew doesn't want to do anything in order to get the flight out on time. It is up to the aggrieved person(s) to bring it to the attention of the flight crew prior to departure and when done right, including getting the head flight attendant, the captain, and the ground complaint resolution officer into the picture if needed, this gets the flight crew to act on the problem to speed up departure.

bumbershoot
07-28-2010, 08:52 PM
...but it is so so so sad that a teenager is so obese that he needs 2 airline seats.

Of course it is sad; my heart goes out to someone with that problem. But if you've ever been overweight, you know that humiliation only rarely helps someone lose weight...usually it's going to cause binges and eating even more poorly. There ARE people who have one final humiliation and decide "that's it" and make changes, but that certainly doesn't happen to everyone.

Being bigger is NOTHING new, though...just go look at any fine art museum and check out the paintings...

I think it's just easier now to get to that point (no need to be a wealthy person having 13 course banquets), because of our junky food supply in this country. DH travels for work, and the "same" products in other countries are made with much better-for-you ingredients compared to the American versions...

cdrn1
07-28-2010, 09:00 PM
What a crummy way to sensationalize something that really isn't newsworthy at all.

Totally agree. Standby is always a risk; it had nothing to do with her diminutive size. Journalism at its worst. Give us news, please.

kaytieeldr
07-28-2010, 09:17 PM
Sorry if I offend...but it is so so so sad that a teenager is so obese that he needs 2 airline seats. Shows what is happening in our country to our kids. Parents need to take responsibility and set examples for their children by eating healthy, exercising and showing that being extremely obese is not healthyThat's a great topic for a general conversation - but saying now, or even at the time, that the teen shouldn't be so obese to need two [narrow] airplane seats doesn't do any good. It doesn't resolve any awkward situation; it simply polarizes and causes arguments.

sharadoc
07-28-2010, 09:20 PM
(CBS) A petite Sacramento woman was bumped from a Southwest Airlines flight to make room for an extra-large 14-year-old who required two seats.

The 5-foot-4, 110-pound woman, who was flying standby from Las Vegas to Sacramento, was buckled up and ready to go when the teen arrived late to the gate, reported the Sacramento Bee. She was surprised when flight attendants said she would have to deplane to make room for the teen.


When the woman - who did not give her name to the paper for fear of being perceived as insensitive - expressed irritation, airline employees began to "berate" her for complaining, she told the newspaper.

"We know this was awkward and we should have handled it better," said Southwest spokeswoman Marilee McInnis, adding that normally the airline would ask for volunteers to give up their seats. In this case, however, flight attendants may have been rushing to make room for the kid in order to save him from embarrassment.

Southwest can't seem to win for losing. This is the same airline that made headlines recently when it booted chubby blogger Kevin Smith, 39, from his seat because he had to squeeze himself into it.

After the Smith incident, Southwest said his removal was for the "safety and comfort of all customers," maintaining that a large person could block passengers seated nearby from exiting quickly in the event of an emergency.

Southwest generally requires large passengers to buy two tickets. But in this case, the child's parents had purchased only one.


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20011748-10391704.html

Chubby blogger Kevin Smith??? You mean movie writer and director Kevin Smith of Clerks fame, most recent movie Cop Out with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan?? Wow - this story is crazy! I had no idea that something like this could happen.

Another reason I'm happy I drive! ;)

kaytieeldr
07-28-2010, 09:24 PM
Chubby blogger Kevin Smith??? You mean movie writer and director Kevin Smith of Clerks fame, most recent movie Cop Out with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan?? Wow - this story is crazy! I had no idea that something like this could happen.

Another reason I'm happy I drive! ;)
Yep - "that" Kevin Smith!!! :rotfl2: I wonder how much trouble that reporter gets into for a lack of simple research? I know it's not vital to the article, but he's SO much more than a "blogger". Director, actor,,,

NHdisneylover
07-29-2010, 03:10 AM
Exactly.



Good to know!



Yayyyy, reasonable people over here.....

Refreshing change from the thread about his topic on the CB isn't it?:goodvibes Good to see that we can count on the transportation board to know what Standby means:thumbsup2

My take on the situation is that Southwest may have been able to handle things a bit better at the time (biggest thing being they should have not informed the standby passenger about the other passenger needing two seats--they should have just told her that a late arriving conection had made it after all and her seat was needed so she would have to give it up as a standby passenger), but they did not REALLY do anything wrong, it was just a quick judgement call went was not handled in a stellar fashion.

The standby passenger was given compensation over and above what was required and has no valid right to complain.
The news article is poorly researched and intentionally tries to set up a fat/thin debate by its descriptions of the standby passenger's weight.

left_arm
07-29-2010, 09:33 AM
two [narrow] airplane seats.
:rotfl2: the seats aren't the problem. My father was flying first class, and the gentleman next to him not only filled the wide seat, but also spilled over the larger armrest, too! Fortunately there were other seats open. I wonder if anyone has ever been charged for two first class seats, cause this guy should've.

Growing up wearing a combination of "husky" jeans with legs that were too long and sweatpants, I'm familiar with the embarrassment that comes from being larger, but society and airplanes shouldn't have to make everything wider and wider because we can't even get exercise walking inside for a double lard burger with grease (but I'm so busy I have to use the drive-thru!)

If I wanted a wide seat I would pay to fly at the front of the plane. If seats get wider, less seats will fit on the plane, and prices will go up. Tickets are already pricy enough. I make sure I fit in one seat, if any passenger needs a second seat (including the aforementioned child) they should pay for it so that another customer isn't inconvenienced. Yes, the lady was flying standby, but the overweight child is the root if the problem.

andymattmom
07-29-2010, 10:18 AM
:rotfl2: the seats aren't the problem. My father was flying first class, and the gentleman next to him not only filled the wide seat, but also spilled over the larger armrest, too! Fortunately there were other seats open. I wonder if anyone has ever been charged for two first class seats, cause this guy should've.

Growing up wearing a combination of "husky" jeans with legs that were too long and sweatpants, I'm familiar with the embarrassment that comes from being larger, but society and airplanes shouldn't have to make everything wider and wider because we can't even get exercise walking inside for a double lard burger with grease (but I'm so busy I have to use the drive-thru!)

If I wanted a wide seat I would pay to fly at the front of the plane. If seats get wider, less seats will fit on the plane, and prices will go up. Tickets are already pricy enough. I make sure I fit in one seat, if any passenger needs a second seat (including the aforementioned child) they should pay for it so that another customer isn't inconvenienced. Yes, the lady was flying standby, but the overweight child is the root if the problem.

I totally 100% agree with you! Southwest did NOT humiliate the child. They accommodated him like they do any other disabled person. It is sad in today's society that being obese is a disability. If people actually knew what was in the food they were eating and realized the portions at restaurants are at least double what we need maybe there wouldn't be as much obesity. People live with blinders on when it comes to eating...you assume a salad is a good choice...WRONG! I have been reading Eat This Not That and what an eye opener.

No one can MAKE anyone lose weight. No one ca MAKE anyone eat healthier. People chose to eat and be the size they are (aside from those with LEGITIMATE medical reasons they are not able to lose weight). Airlines SHOULD make people buy two seats if they in any way hang over into the aisle or another person's seat. There is a way to do it without humiliating the larger person no matter what the age.

Why should normal size or even slightly overweight people be punished by having someone take up a portion of the seat we paid for, why should I be cramped in an already cramped airline seat. Why in a restaurant should I have to sit crammed in my seat because at the table behind me there is a large person who has to have chair far away from table.

It is also sad when the children are learning from the parents that this is ok. On a recent Disney trip there were numerous large people on their scooters with the disability passes (IDK how many were REAL medical reasons and how many were just because the person was too POOH sized to walk around the park all day). Why should a child not have to wait long in line cause mom, dad, grandma or grandpa is too POOH sized to walk. I realize the majority of people do have a medical reason for this, but we all know some are because the person is too big to walk all day. Then you read and see "how old is too old for a stroller". .... my 7 or 8 or 9 or 6 or 5 year old gets too tired. Will they fit in a stroller. SORRY get kids outside walking and exercising before going. If they can't walk all day take a break. At 4 and 5 my kids walked Disneyland. At 7 and 8 they walked ALL day at Disney World with no breaks or complaints. Two years ago we spent summer exercising and "walking and riding" our bikes the total number of miles to Disney World from our house. Video games and watching television are not exercise or ways to prepare for a trip which we ALL know involves lots of walking.

I completely understand and don't want to offend if there is a legit medical reason for a stroller, scooter or being super POOH sized but in lots of cases there is probably no reason other than eating too much and no exercise.

The teenager was not humiliated by Southwest (it doesn't appear so). I think the lady made a fact of it because she was "tiny" and it got press all upset.

I apologize if I offend anyone but I posted my opinion.

Inkmahm
07-29-2010, 11:02 AM
Why should a child not have to wait long in line cause mom, dad, grandma or grandpa is too POOH sized to walk.

Although I disagree with you, you are entitled to your opinion.

One error of fact though in your post is that scooters go through the same long line as other people in most cases at WDW. They do NOT have "go to the front of the line" passes. In fact, it sometimes means you wait LONGER as there are only so many HA vehicles available (like at Toy Story Midway Mania, for example.)