Too Fat to Fly vs. Too Thin to Fly in New Southwest Flight Controversy

Poor Southwest. They’re getting slammed from both sides.

It began this past February, when the airline caught hell for booting a passenger for being “too fat to fly” – well, too fat without getting a second seat anyway.

Too Fat to Fly?

And there was no second seat, so film director Kevin (“I know I’m fat“) Smith had to leave the plane. He made his displeasure known though, by tweeting bile-laced communiques to his 1.6 million followers on Twitter.

Thus, the great “too fat to fly” debate began. But now it seems, it has morphed into a “too thin to fly” controversy.

Find a Good Deal on a Flight Right Now (for One Seat or Two)

Too Thin to Fly?

You see, last week, Southwest removed a skinny passenger from a plane – well, a 5’4″ 110 pound woman – to make room for a “very large” 14 year old passenger who was flying on his or her own (no one is identifying this hefty teen, so don’t worry kid, you can stop cringing).

Needless to say, the petite displaced passenger was not happy, and Southwest has said they “could have handled this better”. And guess what – they did!

Southwest Does Something Really Nice

Southwest’s Marilee Mcinness told us that the woman was put on the very next plane, and the airline has since “reached out to the customer and reimbursed her fare for the inconvenience.”

Don’t you love a happy ending? Now – did Southwest do the right thing originally? Should they have contacted the teen’s parents and insisted they purchase two seats?

Obese Passenger Problem – Solved?

I think what irks everyone, and that includes obese passengers – is the sometimes arbitrary nature of the judgment call regarding who is too fat to fly – or to fit in a single seat.

There’s been a suggestion that airlines place a row of three seats in the gate area – maybe behind a curtain or something – so borderline passengers can sit there and prove their ability to fit in a single airline seat. Any other ideas?

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Published: July 27, 2010