‘Silent Bob’ Bashes Southwest: ‘I’m Too Wide for the Sky?’

February 15, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Film director Kevin Smith, known for his comical role as “Silent Bob,” and the movie “Clerks,” was thrown off a Southwest Air flight over the weekend for being a “safety risk” due to his weight. Although Smith says he was already seated on the flight from Oakland to Burbank, with his arm rests fully down and a seat belt on without an extender, the flight attendant was ordered by the pilot to eject the rather large Smith for safety reasons. The airline offered the furious Smith a $100 voucher for his trouble, but he was not placated and he took to Twitter to bash the airline in a series of expletive filled rants. His first tweet read: “Dear @SouthwestAir — I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?” And that was just the beginning, as he capped off his tweet ranting with a Sunday evening podcast to take further jabs at the airline.

Southwest Air apologized to Smith after his colorful tweets made the news, by phone, Twitter and the company’s blog. But the airline also reiterated its policy for large passengers:

“Southwest instituted our Customer of Size policy more than 25 years ago. The policy requires passengers who cannot fit safely and comfortably in one seat to purchase an additional seat while traveling. This policy is not unique to Southwest Airlines and it is not a revenue generator. Most, if not all, carriers have similar policies, but unique to Southwest is the refunding of the second seat purchased (if the flight does not oversell) which is greater than any revenue made (policy is available at www.southwest.com). The spirit of this policy is based solely on customer comfort and safety. As a company committed to serving our customers in safety and comfort, we feel the definitive boundary between seats is the armrest. If a customer cannot comfortably lower the armrest and infringes on a portion of another seat, a customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable and a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement.”

Smith insists that his armrests were properly lowered, and that per the airline’s own stated policy, he should have been allowed to fly.

Below are a few of Smith’s Tweets about the incident:

“Dear @SouthwestAir, I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn’t give last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a safety risk. Again: I’m way fat…But I’m not there just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I’m seated with arm rests down. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who’d already (noticed) me as Silent Bob.”

“So, @SouthwestAir, go (expletive) yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no safety risk (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And (expletive) your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don’t embarrass easily (bless you, Jersey Girl training). But I don’t sulk off either: so everyday, some new (expletive) you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.”

“Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: If you look like me, you may ejected from @southwestair.”

Smith eventually boarded another flight and safely landed in Burbank.

Source: LA Times


3 Responses to “‘Silent Bob’ Bashes Southwest: ‘I’m Too Wide for the Sky?’”

  1. Kirk Harnack on February 15th, 2010 8:54 am

    Like it or not, the Captain of the aircraft gets the final say-so. He may suffer correction or reprimand as a consequence of his decision, but someone has got to have the ability to make immediate decisions about the safety of any given flight – and that would be the Pilot in Command (PIC).

    How fat is too fat? How rowdy is to rowdy? How drunk is too drunk? How many carry-on extras are too many? The PIC gets final authority for an individual flight. He’s responsible for flight’s safety and he gets to postpone a flight until something broken is repaired or replaced, or if he feels a passenger or crew member compromises safety.

    Again, he may have to face his supervisors at Southwest. He may have some explaining to do. He *could* lose his job or be demoted. But as PIC, a flight Captain has the responsibility for a safe flight – in his best judgement – and this is as it should be.

  2. Handel on February 15th, 2010 9:05 am

    Yep! He is too fat! Too fat with arrogance and hypocrisy. He thinks he has more rights then the “common” folks which must suffer because of him and becasue “the chosen one” decided to broke the rules and to get only one seat no matter he know he must take two seats. And now instead of apologizing he proceeds to show his arrogance and probably sincerely thinks he is above the others.

  3. Dee on February 15th, 2010 10:00 am

    C’mon. If the armrest goes down, he’s not infringing on your seat. What is apparent by the posts here is a war on fat people. I get it, they’re fat, so that makes us less than human, morally corrupt, and open to your insults.
    The arrogance seems to be from the captain who waited until Mr. Smith was seated to deem him a flight risk. Why not do this sort of thing prior to boarding? While I agree that if one is taking up more than their seat, I have to wonder if this same rule applies to those who are extremely muscular, people carrying their babies, people who lean their seat back, etc. All of these people invade on my space while I am flying. Please, explain to me how your comments are not deep rooted in your disgust for people who you feel simply lack the will power to change?

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