Southwest Airlines, come fly the NOT to friendly skies. I guess that’s not all true. I had a wonderful flight out of Kansas City into Tampa.
For months, I have been worried about fitting on the airline since the Kevin Smith/Southwest Airlines incident. If you’re not familiar with the story, He got kicked off the plane because he was too big. I stressed myself out, made myself sick for months worrying about this. I even bought an airline extender seatbelt to try to not draw attention to myself.
So Vacation day arrives. I sit beside my 7 year old nephew and use my extender. I leave the armrest down, because that is their policy, It’s a tight squeeze, but the armrests are down. The plane takes off, not a word is said to me. Yes! I made it! All the stress and worries are gone!
If you don’t know about southwest’s “Customer of Size” Policy, you can find it here. But plain and simple, if you cant fit comfortably with the armrest down, then they can make you buy a second ticket. It doesn’t matter if you have someone smaller (like my nephew or spouse) next to you. It’s for everyones safety. If the flight is not a sell out, they will refund your money.
So we are getting ready to leave Tampa. I’ve checked in my luggage, I’ve received my boarding pass and I’m waiting for my airplane to board. We arrived early so we had a couple hours to sit and wait. Well my husband and I decided to move closer to the gate and wait. He went to the laptop station and my mom came over to visit. The lady boarding the flight ahead of us asked me twice if I was waiting on someone or if I was flying out. I told her flying out both times. The second time she went and told one of the customer service people at SWA. I’m guess she went and told her that there is a HUGE woman waiting to fly out because the Customer Service Lady came over to talk to me about their “Customer of Size” Policy and telling me that I should purchase another ticket. Well you guess it. I am flaming pissed. Mom is there and helped handle the situation. She told the lady we are on our way back to Kansas City and we were never approached about our size or informed of the policy. We told her that I flew out with my little nephew and that’s how we are flying back. She went ahead and told me for his safety I need that extra seat. I got lucky that I didn’t have to buy another seat because it was Kansas City’s fault I didn’t buy an additional seat in the first place. So she was turning Kansas City in. She gave me a pre-boarding pass and a sign that reserved a seat next to me. She also told me that my nephew is still allowed to sit next to me. WTF??? Seriously??? You just told me it’s not safe and that’s why you make “Customers of Size” purchase two seats!
I wrote a complaint to SWA and let them know how discriminating it was to sit in an airline with 100’s of passengers, and yes many were large, and be told that I am too large. I didn’t even get the chance to sit in the seat! Just because I look to big you approach me and make me feel like shit? I don’t think so. And then you tell me it’s your policy that you have to buy two seats even if you planned on having a family member sit next to me, because of Safety! And you then proceed to tell me after you’ve made me feel like shit about my size that he can still sit next to me? Oh I don’t think so! I’m waiting to hear back from SWA on my complaint. I’ll keep you posted!