Southwest Air responds to Kevin Smith controversy

Southwest Airlines representative Linda Rutherford reached out to Kevin Smith in response to the director’s “Too Fat To Fly” controversy. Smith had issued a flurry of angry, disappointed, and sarcastic tweets to his 1.6 million followers after he was asked to leave a Saturday flight; according to Southwest’s “customer of size” policy, passengers must buy a second seat if they cannot fit between the arm rests. “I let [Smith] know that in my 18 years here at Southwest, I have never dealt with a situation like what has been unfolding in the last 48 hours,” wrote Rutherford in a Southwest blog item titled My Conversation With Kevin Smith. “At that time, our Employees made the decision to remove Kevin after a quick judgment call that he might have needed more than one seat for his comfort and those seated next to him…. The communication among our Employees was not as sharp as it should have been and, it’s apparent that Southwest could have handled this situation differently. Thanks, Kevin, for your passion around this topic.” According to Rutherford, the airline “will be reviewing how and when this delicate policy is implemented.”

Comments (214 total) Add your comment
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  • DW

    I’m a thin person, but I’ll never be flying Southwest after hearing how their employees treat their customers. Completely ridiculous.

    • Putdowndafork!

      He’s admitted to breaking a toilet when he sat on one – had he sat on that flight, he could’ve crashed the whole plane down all by himself

      • Angela

        This is a ridiculous statement.

      • steven

        Yeah, that happens all the time.

      • dano

        I weigh under 200 lbs and I’ve broken a toilet twice. That’s completely irrelevant.

      • Pete

        2 words – Biggest Loser

      • Ben

        Yes you are, Pete

    • JJ

      It’s not Southwest airlines fault that he is such a fat ass, I mean would it kill him if he exercised instead of being such a Lazy couch potato. Attention fat people: GO LOSE WEIGHT YOU LAZY BASTERDS.

      • Sandra

        So helpful. Thanks for advancing the debate.

      • Debbie

        Not all people are overweight due to overeating. Some have medical issues that cause it like experiencing thyroid cancer, having their thyroid removed and having the misfortune that the medication they take doesn’t work. Also JJ, you might spend some time learning to spell before you go after others; it’s spelled bas tard, and you are an idiot.

      • truthhurts

        I dont understand why people think they can openly make fun of bigger people. This whole thing is ridiculous. Either we are all open to ridicule or no one. Because Isnt there people who are too dark or too sandy to fly in plains. Any kind of ridicule is ignorant

      • Mike

        great analysis genius…It’s not that easy…if it were don’t you think we’d all be just as perfect as you…But I guess you can disregard the facts of the issue and ignore what Smith says happened none of which Southwest disputes at all…but het we have JJ’s sage words to go by….

      • jmo

        It’s the last bastion of bigotry stemmed from the fear that you could and will be fat. Karma’s a b*tch JJ. Just sayin

      • jjay

        he’s mad about how the whole thing went down. jackass

      • Jim Moore

        hey, JJ, I’m 6′ tall and weigh 300.
        I guarantee you that I can break you in half with just one arm. No, I’m not violent, just a master auto mechanic/technician. I can lift cast iron cylinderheads, engine blocks, transmissions, etc. When I was 30, I ran a 4.6 sec 40 yd dash. I could dead lift 700 lbs.
        Now at age 60, I still am able to lift over 200 lbs. not a lotta reps mind you… so why can’t people see that God made us differnt sizes just like He/She made different numbers in mathematics, but you’re so superficial, you cant understand any of this… I’ll bet you love judging people, don’t you.

      • pickle tits

        @debbie… those statistics of fatties who are fat because of the medical afflictions you mentioned are so minute and rare… face it,99% of fatties are fat because they did it to them selves… “god” didn’t make them fat, they did. there is no such thing as “KFCitous” or “sudden haagen dazs syndrome”.
        for F U C KS sake.. put the fork down tubby.

      • Daniel

        Ok I generally hate blogs for your comment. Pointless and hateful. Which is typical of such “conversational” media. Now, I’m even more distraught to lower myself now. Go f u c k yourself JJ. OMG you’re an idiot.

      • WW30

        JJ, your dung-for brains is showing. Thank you for displaying for us (cowardly and anonymously) your incredible intelligence. Please stop breathing now.

      • Daniel

        You got that right

    • jason

      I guess you’re not flying with anyone ever again then, since EVERY airline has this policy? Southwest is the ONLY airline that actually refunds the second seat price if the flight is not full, by the way.

      • Kristin

        But is it every airlines policy to allow passengers onto the plane, allow them to be seated, then suddenly decide they are “too fat to fly”? Kevin Smith isn’t complaining about the policy he is complaining about the way that they went about enforcing it.

      • Shawn

        @Kristin – would it really be a better policy if Southwest employees were just making flash judgments based on looking at a passenger before boarding? Or should they just institute a policy that states “If you are over X amount of pounds you must by a second seat”. They saw he was too big once he sat down and didn’t fit in the seat…what is your solution?

    • DMH32056

      The passenger sitting next to Smith complained to the flight attendant about his crowding tehir space. That is when his weight became a problem. Who do you accomodate, Smith flying standby or the passenger scheduled to be on the flight? SWA made the right decision.

      • Danno

        DMH32056… Don’t just make up blatant falsehoods on here. He actually asked both passengers on either side of him prior to sitting down if they minded him sitting there and they were fine with it. Typical bully troll using the anonymity of the internet to advance an agenda of hate.

      • I Know Most

        You obviously accomodate Smith. He paid for a total of four seats (listen to a smodcast) AND this could have been handled better. If the ladies were unhappy, it would not have gone this far. Smith is a paying customer (who flew Southwest often) and he has the ability to speak. It’s about time someone blasted companies for being insensitive.

    • Jerry

      I am glad Kevin Smith publicly outed the airline industry. It’s something we all should do more.

      Why aren’t more of us talking about the airline policies and their treatment of their customers? Seriously, people are getting bigger (not just fatter) yet seats are getting smaller. Also, many of the flight attendents (not all) need to be reprimanded in how they treat customers. I almost feel that I am a hostage until I vacate the plan. And unless you are in first class, you are pretty much treated like dirt.

      Again, I am not saying all airline crew are idiots, but for those that are, here’s a thought: treat your customers well … it’s the reason why you have a job.

      And here’s an idea for the airline companies, enforce all employess to wear name tags, and then create and promote a place for customers to give feeback on their flight service and experience. And don’t just create it to amuse us … listen to our feedback and change. And if an employee who continously gets bad feedback, fire them.

      • Bree

        Jerry – do you have proof the seats have gotten smaller? Cause I’d like to see it. Also, if you’re treated so poorly when you fly, why don’t you complain? Switch airlines? Drive? The airline industry is just as customer-service based as every other (business class and coach are the biggest group of flyers, remember), and the airlines are in such heavy competition that there’s never been a better time to speak up! That being said, go f*** yourself for insulting flight attendants, it’s almost as bad as dissing nurses.

      • Mitch Logan

        I think they should just charge by the pound and instead of seats they should have long benches with adjustable seatbelt locations.

      • Nobeezwax

        LOL I used to work for Delta and flight attendants aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. You fat bashers should be more worried about having to rely on one of those rocket scientists to get you off the plane safely in the event of an emergency.

      • Mike

        if you dont like the way airlines operate dont fly..Nothing will ever change if everyone keep getting on the planes. I agree that an airline should protect the majority of its customers, one large customer shouldn’t force others to suffer..nor should an airline be forced alter their seating to accomodate large customers. Why, because the cost would roll to everone else.

      • Kat5523

        Bree, are you kidding? Nurses and flight attendants the same? Nurses save lives. Flight attendants serve drinks and make covertly hostile comments.

      • Kent

        Waitress in the sky…they are not nurses. Some are great, others, well, not so great.

      • Jerry

        It sounds like Bree is one of those flight attendents I was talking about. Great language and incredibly respectful of others. For the record, seat widths have decreased 3 inches (on average), and that is documented.

        Also, although there are many airlines, there are not a lot of choices to fly … unless you go from one major city to another … or choose to fly non-direct. Let’s face it, the airlines hold a monopoly … especially when driving is not an option.

    • Mike

      Pull your head out of your as DW. Do you never go to McDonalds again because one restaurant delivers bad service? Then again, maybe you do because your an oversensative prick. Anyway, that’s what we call generalizing! I for one have flown Southwest countless times, and can say I have never been disappointed (considering its price).

    • Kristina

      At the end of the day, it’s not about being “too fat to fly,” it’s about the poor customer service and how these employees decide to treat those flying on their establishment.

    • sam

      Too fat or not southwest is the only one who doesnt charge for bags, and had some of the best deals my family always flies southwest

    • None

      Hope you sit between to fatties

    • Matt

      DW you are an idiot. since when is it okay for a fatty to bulge into others space. they should have to buy a row of seats.

    • Ben

      Forget not flying Southwest because how they treat fat people. Don’t fly them because their flight attendants are the rudest bunch in the air. I almost punched one out because the overhead bins were full and he wanted me to sit with my carryon in my lap. I refused. They have the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced.

    • Roger

      So this fat boy has “rights” to cause discomfort to others as a result of a poor diet and no attempt to exercise (obviously). You are the ridiculous one…glad I won’t have to worry about sitting next to you. Thanks.

  • walter

    It’s Kevin’s “passion” for other things that got him in this mess. Like triple fried gorditas smothered in Velveeta topped with sour cream.

    • Kieran

      You forgot to mention Smith’s passion for attention. This is most famous he has been in a long time. He’s loving every second of it. He’s milking it because he knows his fans are like zombies. He could punch out a 2-year-girl and they’d still rally around him as if he were Jesus.

    • Homer

      Mmmmm, cheesy gorditas…..

  • lee

    Hey, DW — evidently, you’ve never had to sit next to someone who takes up all of their own seat and half of yours. It’s awful!

    • Danno

      Hey Lee do you have children, because nothing is more annoying than having some bratty little kid kicking the back of your seat for 2 straight hours on a flight. Should those people be kicked off the flight as well for making people uncomfortable?

      • Jaye

        Yes, they should! Seriously, I do not want to have some disgusting fat man’s blubber sitting on me for the duration of a flight, however short. I am paying for my seat, I don’t want you touching me. Good on the airlines for sticking to this policy. You should be the one apologizing for your corpulence.

      • J


      • Mike

        Children are children. Fat adults are fat ADULTS.

      • jjay

        yes they should be kicked off. and banned for LIFE!

      • Jeanne

        Thank you soooo much for saying that Danno. Couldn’t agree more. I’d rather sit next to a large person than a bratty kid or someone who stinks.

    • Cardsgal

      @Lee and Danno – You’re both right. I think I have the right, when I buy my plane ticket, to not have anyone’s girth encroaching on my seat, and to not have to be bothered by someone’s children who have never been taught to behave in public (these days, that’s almost everyone’s kids)!

      • susanmarie

        The keds are another issue. I have been on flights where kids are well behaved but on others where everyone is miserable the entire trip! I fortunate enough to be coming home from a long planned trip from Ireland last year and I never thought in a million years some child could cry for 9 Hours but they did! Thanks god for headphones!

      • suanmarieisamoran

        what about people who smell or look as stupid as you, should someone have to sit and look at your ugly inner and outer appearance?

      • susanmarieisagenius

        Meow! what’s your problem? Wait, I can guess: you have children you can’t control and people have complained. You know, it’s not Susanmarie’s fault you’re a lousy parent. Please feel free to blame your parents because it can’t possibly be your fault, right?

      • James

        The real problem is that too many people want the flight to be absolutely perfect. If you really have to have it completely quiet, fly first class. If you want to sit next to smaller people, print your boarding pass the night before so you can actually choose a seat you want. If you can’t afford to do either, don’t complain. It’s that simple. Makes life easier for everyone. After all, it’s only a minor nuisance for, what, 2 hours? 3-5 most. How often are you flying international?

      • Bree

        Bwhahaha, I thought for a second “moran” was a last name. Man, if you’re gonna insult someone is an online forum, checking your spelling. Cause otherwise you’ll be mocked mercilessly, especially if what you had to say was stupid to being with.

      • Jeff

        its not the kids its the parenting.

      • Jeff

        Bree, if you are going to make fun of others typos make sure you proof read yours…Begin..not being…..B*&ch!

      • Jeff

        Bree- actually that whole entire last post was full of typos….not so smart now are you, Queen Snot!

      • BW

        Wow, I am a thin person 5 9 and always under 140 lbs, to hear you jerks speak about other humans this way is disgusting (fatties???) , sure we all have to deal with crap when taking some means of public transportation… and until I see a company advertise if you do not like then buy your own plane, bus, or train and shut up,… I have overweight people in my family.. they do not sit on the couch all day, they have full time jobs on their feet and not enough time to eat lunch much less a big lunch. I am really glad for you people, who stand on your pillar of self righteousness, glad your life is so perfect and hope all the best for you… but you’re the type of people that only surround yourself with people like yourself… marry someone like yourself and turn your nose up at anyone that deviates from your norm…. vanity is a sin and I believe there is more of that in America than gluttony of food. Keep up the good work… cause in the end we are all judged by what we do in our life now (including how we treat our brothers and sisters)

    • Ben

      Nothing is worse than being stuck on the tarmac for 4+ hours while the gay guys in front of you make out in front of your family. Seriously, straight or gay, if you that close to actual penetration on an airplane…go do it in the bathroom.

  • Sally in Chicago

    this is good publicity for Kevin & his new movie…betcha he’s on every late night show for the next week…and good Publicity for Southwest, because there are those of us (me) who believe FAT people should pay double the price to take up two seats.

    • Bree

      Right there with you Sally! America is getting fatter, and not because of thyroid problems (DEBBIE). Such incredibly unhealthy people should not be given extra accommodations simply because they made a lifestyle choice to be lazy (modern technology can do everything for you if you’re lazy enough to want it to) and eat insanely-sized portions of the edible food-like substances people mistake for real sustenance these days. I’m not rewarded for exercising and eating well as a consumer, why should fat people be any different?

      • Cardsgal

        Amen, sister!

      • jp

        Actually, some medical conditions can make people “fat”, depending on your definition. People with autoimmune disorders who take cortisone, every day for example, do have increased fat. It doesn’t matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. Have some comapassion, not everybody is fat from overeating.

      • ricobuss

        Spellcheck much? Heed your own advice breeitch.

      • BW

        It is American, if you do not like it move to Europe… maybe we should tell the restaurants … I really should not eat all that could you give me half and charge me the full amount….???? you people are so lost in your own world you are ready to throw every overweight person under the bus so you can fell like you know what your talking about….

  • Tarc

    Obviously Southwest has some serious customer service issues, but, frankly, the airlines deserve lambasting. A majority of coach passengers from Western countries (even those with low bodyfat) find that the seats are much too small. People have gotten bigger due to great nutrition, but the seats are still way, way too small. Beyond the nightmare of getting to (and off) the actual plane, airlines need to make air travel more attractive. I quit flying a few years ago because the experience is horribly uncomfortable and generally nightmarish. I’d rather take the train or a bus than the bad experience flying has become. And that’s too bad because I enjoy the actual flying part. (As an aside, people have flaws. I’d take a fat person any day over a stupid or mean one, and I’m seeing a lot of stupid and mean regarding this issue).

  • Tarc

    @lee – and if the airlines would make appropriately sized seats, this would be a non-issue. You’ve just bought into the idea that it’s acceptable to be packed in like sardines, when it’s not.

    • Desmo

      I’m six five, if I can do it I’m sure all you little people can handle it.

      • Tarc

        I’m not much shorter, and you’re being ridiculous. If you actually were that tall, you’d know that everything from doorways, chandeliers, car roofs, and airplance seats are not appropriate for people of that height.

      • MSNY

        @lee..Your six five, really?? I can’t believe that at all. I’m six four, I travel alot, and I feel totally cramped when the person in front of puts their seat back even a little. I always ask for an exit row or an aisle whenever possible to try to get a tiny bit of extra room. Your not seriously telling me that when you put your tray down you have room for your knees, are you? Come on, lets be honest. AND the average seat width on South west is 17.25 inches. Are we all to agree that anyone over 17.25 inches wide is FAT? Why is it so hard to believe that the airlines are (literally) squeezing every penny they can?

      • peggym

        Are you the 6’5″ guy who thinks it’s his divine right to take up all the leg room? I’d rather sit next to a chubby ,polite person than a tall one who thinks all the leg room is his, as well as the arm rests on both sides of him.

    • Jess

      Why do fat people always complain about things being the wrong size? I have heard that clothes are not sized for “regular people” (meaning overweight people) and airplane seats are now not “appropriatly sized” even though it has only been a problem now that people have let themselves become obese. I’ve seen people even complain that booths at restaurants aren’t big enough for them to sit in. Maybe its not the size of the objects thats the problem, maybe its the size of the people…

      • Tarc

        Or, more likely, the dim of the wit…

      • MSNY

        Jess, its not ONLY that Americans are becoming bigger. Yes that is a HUGE (no punn intended) problem. BUT It is absolutely true that the airlines are making the seats smaller and tighter. I’m not fat at all, I’m not even overweight, so can I complain about the loss of leg room? or is just a problem of people getting taller? Please don’t just attack the overweight for being overwieght. Share the blame with the greedy corporations.

      • MSNY

        And not for nothing, the size of the allowed Carry on has shrunk considerably over the past 10 years. In fact, people now must pay for extra luggage. This is clearly a case of the airlines trying to maximize space to make more money. We must understand that is their prime motivation — NOT the safety of passengers. We need to be realistic about SouthWest’s real goals.

      • Lisa Simpson

        MSNY – Southest does not charg for checked baggage. And overhead space has been increased on many planes to accomodate wheel bags.

    • Gabe

      I’m short and thin and I think those seats are way too small.

    • DMH32056

      The airlines should have EXTRA LARGE seats for EXTRA LARGE people and charge them an EXTRA LARGE price!

      • Dave

        Why is it price-adjustments only affect larger people? Why do 2XL shirts cost $2 more than XL shirts? By that logic, shouldn’t XL shirts cost more then L? And L more than M? And yet, we don’t care about that disparity. Interesting.

        In this case, if someone should have to pay for 2 seats because of their size (even if they can fit into one seat) with reasons like weight distribution considerations being given, then doesn’t it stand to reason that you should be charged a fraction of the seat cost when buying a ticket for a 3 year old that is about 1/3 the size of an average adult? Furthermore, shouldn’t a 5’5″ 115 pound woman have a different price than a 6’2″ 200 pound man? And yet that’s not the case.

        We only go after the fatty’s wallet because it’s socially acceptable to gouge and humiliate him.

      • Holly

        Dave – More material means more money. It really does cost more to make bigger things.

      • sheila

        How do you determine what is an EXTRA LARGE person? Do we use clothing size, BMI, a scale at boarding, maybe those fat-pinching calipers?

      • BW

        what about people with EXTRA LARGE FAT Heads!!!

      • BW

        holly the price to manufacture a certain type of plane, train or bus does not include extra materials to accommodate larger people… you should have understood what was being conveyed… I believe someone has too much FAT between their ears and information is not processing to well

      • Dave

        Holly, you really didn’t get it. Yes, more materieal means more money. So why don’t people buying XL shirts get charged more than people buying L or M? Only the fat get these discriminitory pricing set against them.

  • Shamrock

    The only mistake SW made was the timing. He should have been notified prior to boarding.

    • Lisa Simpson

      He was and had purchsed two seats on the flight he had intended to take. He decided to get on standby for an earlier flight, where only one seat was available.

      • Jaye

        Then why is he complaining when he knew about the policy? I’m sorry, but I am on the airline’s side in this case. I know it’s a delicate matter and feelings are going to be hurt, but I’m paying for my seat too, and since space is at a premium, I shouldn’t have to sit next to someone who is hanging over the seat, yuck! That means you, Kevin Smith!!!

      • know the news

        Just to clarify, he buys 2 seats normally just because he can (wouldn’t you if you could afford it?), not because of the airline’s policies. He was not aware he qualified as a “person of size”. The policy is just as discriminatory as violations of the ADA, so let’s be fair to all.

      • Jason Dobbins

        I find it funny that he buys two seats normally, so in case Jen(his wife) and him and sit together, and in some cases,they then buy the other seat. Where the extra seat is usually next to HER and not him. What would be the point then?

        The fact is, the policy dictates if it makes you a safety risk, i.e.: you cannot sit down in the seat, you can not lower the armrests, then you are deemed such.

        Kevin stated clearly that he could easily put the arm rests down.

        I sorta wanna get my own airline and just randomly throw people off for things. Like, your shirt supporting your college team is a safety risk. There might be rival fans on board and it might cause problems. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s our policy. Or, your hair is distracting.

      • are you sure?

        Kevin Smith has already said that this statement was released by Southwest and that it was not true. Watch what you read and don’t accept it automatically as the truth.

  • Elsie

    This whole situation confirms why I am nervous about flying SW any more. I am not that fat, and don’t even need a seat belt extender. But, facing the possible embarrassment of being asked to buy two tickets has been enough humiliation to keep my feet on the ground. After all, fat is in the eye of their employees and I don’t like my odds. Getting kicked off would be too much for my soul, which tries to accept myself as I am. As for the safety issue, I can’t imagine Kevin qualifies as a safety concern. I have personally ridden on the plane with the huge man in the photo being shown around. That was TOTALLY dangerous and unfair to the persons sitting on all sides of him. He was the extreme, but there has to be a happy medium to ensure safety yet respect for the rest of us overweight people who could still manage ourselves in the event of a crash and fit in the seats.

  • Pants Pie

    I hate it when fat people sweat on and breath heavily on me. And when they chew, their food flies out everywhere. And the constant gas them seem to always expel……

    • Von Raschke’s Claw

      I hate it when mouthbreathers breath through their mouth.

      • jason

        I can actually hear you getting fatter.

  • Shamrock

    Just another celebrity who didn’t care about this problem before it happened to them.

    • Sara

      I think that’s probably the case for anyone, really. Maybe it’s not that you “didn’t care about it” but sometimes it doesn’t hit you…til it hits you.

    • maiv

      I think that would apply to a lot of people, celebrity and non-celebrity alike

  • Randy

    Fat people got no reason to live.

    • Cocarco

      …so should I end it all because you hate me, hate Kevin Smith, and other people like me just because you think fat people are icky?


    • James

      Way to stay classy, Randy.

  • joe

    Hey, Kevin Smith is in the news! Hey, Kevin Smith has a movie coming out!!! Coincidence?

    • Stevie

      I’m with you Joe – I bet if this had happened 6 months ago we wouldn’t have heard a word about it.

      • Matt

        Nah, Smith is pretty open. He’d be all over twitter and SModcast no matter what was going on.

  • bruno

    dear kev-o,
    time to lose a few buddy.

    • Kallen

      Seriously, consider it a wakeup call and be grateful.

  • Jon

    Most amusement parks on their major rides have a size restriction, but they also have a sample seat out front. If you can fit in the sample seat then you’re allowed to ride. Southwest and other airlines should have something similar at the ticket counter. A sample passenger seat to determine whether you can fly on one ticket or two.

    • Te

      They Do! If they are unsure about a passenger’s size they will have them sit in a “sample” seat to see if the armrests can be lowered.

    • jp

      That would probably be subjective, as well. We’ve all flown with a person who oozes into other seats. Just because the arm rests go down, doesn’t mean their arms. legs, shoulders don’t spill over..
      Besides, the overhead luggage has a sample that it should fit in, and that “rule” is not enforced..

  • Greg

    I think its a way to try and drum up movie tickets as well. Its funny he talks alot about being fat and knowing he is not healthy yet does nothing about it. He has a wife, daughter, and a somewhat succesful movie career, you would think he would like to be around longer to enjoy it.

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