Kevin Smith continues to insist he is NOT too fat to fly Southwest Air. The airline removed him from a flight Saturday after deeming him a safety risk, even though he says he was seated with the armrests down and seat belt buckled.
Smith says the airline made a mistake in trying to board him as a standby passenger then giving him the boot.
The Southwest rep who called Smith to apologize for his mistreatment, a woman named Linda, admitted that the situation was clumsily handled and that Smith was removed because they were trying to find room for a fatter passenger who had already purchased two seats. Linda wrote on Southwest's blog:
Now, 48 hours later, after talking to many involved, we know there were several things going on that day and that our Employees were doing their best to get his flight out safely and on time, including finding seats for everyone and trying to accommodate standby passengers. The Captain did not single Kevin out to be removed, but he did ask that the boarding be completed quickly. 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.
Smith accepted Linda's apology but took issue with her blog post, which did not go so far as to say his weight was not the reason he was taken off the flight. He blogged about their circular phone conversation, which went something like this:
"Linda - there's nothing about me not being Too Fat To Fly," I said.
"The people around you said they had to lean over to make room for you," Linda offered.
"Linda, they didn't! The older lady was leaning against the window like she was gonna nap, and the lady to my left was already leaning toward the aisle. I would never pick a seat that might possibly make me look even fatter because I don't fit in it or something."
"That's the report I have," she continued, then sighed and added "This is so embarrassing to talk about."
"Wait - what people around me?" I asked.
"The people seated next to you."
"You guys went to their houses and interviewed them?"
"Then where'd that statement come from?"
"Others people around you."
"Linda, there was nobody but me, the two ladies, and Suzanne. Are you telling me this is Suzanne's report?"
"The report we received said the ladies were leaning away from you."
"They were already leaning when I sat down! They didn't lean because of me! I even asked them both if I was a problem. But you said you took their statements, and now you're saying they weren't interviewed at all. You said we'd get to the bottom of who made the decision to boot me, since it WASN'T the Pilot."
And Linda apologized and pointed out the blog apologies for putting me on and taking me off the plane, as well as the refunded fares.
Smith would like the chance to prove on national television he was not ejected for being too fat, and he may do it on the Daily Show, although he would have to fly to New York.
"Hey @SouthwestAir: you bring that same row of seats to the DailyShow, and I'll sit in 'em for all to see on TV," he tweeted. "If I don't fit, I'll donate $10k to charity of your choice. But when I do (& buckle the belt as well)? 1) You admit you lied. 2) Change your policy, or at least re-train your staff to be a lot more human & a lot less corporate when they pull a poor girl off the plane & shame her."