Too fat to fly?

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant asked filmmaker Kevin Smith to get off a flight after it was deemed he was a safety risk. Smith left quietly but then took to his twitter page.

“I’m way fat, but I’m not there just yet,” Smith twittered.

Interestingly, Smith said he initially bought two seats for himself on the  Oakland-Burbank flight. When he arrived at the airport he was able to get on an earlier flight, but it was the last seat. Smith  says a flight attendant told him the pilot had determined him a safety risk and asked him to leave— even though he fit in the seat with the armrests down.

Southwest officials apologized to Smith and offered him a $100 voucher. They also used their own blog and Twitter account to defend their “Customer of Size” policy, which requires overweight passengers to buy two seats or risk getting ejected from the plane if the flight crew feels they are too big.

But how fat is too fat to fly?

It is still unclear how much Smith weighs, and he certainly hasn’t offered up this information. Instead he used his blog and website to launch a public war against Southwest, stating that he will never fly them again. Aided by fans, it seems he’s gotten quite a bit of support.

But honestly Kevin, don’t you have enough money to purchase a first class ticket? I hear the seats are very big in first.

Why aren’t there strict criteria outlined for passengers so that we know exactly what constitutes too fat to sit in one seat. If you’ve ever sat in between two people, you know how uncomfortable it is to sit next to someone who clearly needs two seats. What I don’t understand is why we ignore the elephant in the room. I, for one, agree that the ultimate decision needs to be made by the pilot or flight attendants. In this post 911 world, no one should be arguing with them; however, airlines should have weight restriction for individual seats. Theme parks have no problem enforcing their height requirement. Why shouldn’t airlines have weight restrictions? They certainly enforce weight restriction on baggage.

That’s because obesity is ubiquitous in this country. Our super size nation promotes bigger as better. Thank God Michelle Obama has waged her own campaign against childhood obesity.

I commend Southwest. Okay, maybe the problem should have been dealt with when Mr. Smith bought his ticket, but the safety of the other passengers as well as the comfort of the people sitting next to him comes first.

If that sounds rude obese Americans, then buy two seats. We should not have to make concessions for the obese, considering the increased cost of healthcare that gets allocated for these 72 million Americans who are more prone to diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart attacks.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the airlines should post weight limits and charges per pound for anything over those limits the same way they do with baggage.

    If a person is too heavy to fly safely, they should outfit a space in the cargo hold suitable and safe enough to transport a living a human and sell them those seats.


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