Director Kevin Smith wants Southwest to acknowledge that he’s thin enough to fly

Gautham Nagesh Contributor
Font Size:

The refund was nice. But what director Kevin Smith really wants is for someone from Southwest Airlines to acknowledge that he is not, in fact, too fat to fly.

Smith was removed from a flight from Oakland to Burbank on Saturday night due to the company’s “Customer of Size” policy, which requires passengers “that can not fit safely and comfortably in one seat” to purchase an additional seat. Southwest later apologized to Smith and issued him a refund, but the filmmaker behind movies such as “Clerks” and “Dogma” remains furious that he was asked to leave the plane at all.

“You guys screwed up, SWA; why’s it so hard to own up to it?” Smith wrote Monday night on his blog. “Now I’m gonna carry this Too Fat To Fly shit around like herpes for the rest of my life, and it was never even true.”

In the post Smith writes that the ‘Customer of Size’ policy should not have applied to him because he was able to fasten his seat belt and lower both arm rests. Southwest’s Web site states that lowering the arm rest is the definitive test for application of the policy:

The armrest is the definitive gauge for a customer of size. It serves as the boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width. Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seating should proactively book the number of seats needed prior to travel.

In a blog post from Sunday afternoon, a Southwest spokeswoman wrote that the plane’s pilots determined that Smith was too large for one seat, an account Smith disputes:

According to [Southwest VP of Communications] Linda Rutherford, with the melee surrounding boarding and finding a second seat for the other passenger, the pilot called for a quick settlement of any outstanding issues so that they might take off. And even though I was already planted in my arm-rest lowerable, seat-belt-buckleable seat, I got the hook.

So the pilot DIDN’T bounce me because I couldn’t fit in the seat. In fact, it sounds like the pilot had very little to do with bouncing me at all.

On Monday night Rutherford wrote her own post after apologizing to Smith over the phone. In it she acknowledges that the pilot did not ask for Smith to be removed:

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.

Rutherford goes to say she is “not here to debate the decision our employees made,” which prompted Smith to admonish Rutherford for acknowledging the employees’ mistake over the phone but failing to disclose it publicly. Smith also transcribed his account of a back-and-forth between himself and Rutherford that was primarily centered about whether or not the two women sitting next to Smith were leaning away from him because he was too large for the seat.

Smith did not respond to a request for comment. Southwest referred The Daily Caller to Rutherford’s blog post for the company’s latest comments on the subject.

On Monday night Smith wrote that he was ready to move on to other topics, but not before getting in a parting shot at Southwest:

But wrapping up with a repeating of that 2 seat policy (the one THAT HAS NO BEARING ON MY CASE) is a reminder that you guys haven’t learned anything: you’re still blaming it on the Fatty. Still, you tried. Thank you for that, Linda — and for being human.

Southwest, I appreciate you refunding my airfare. But if you’re not gonna admit I wasn’t Too Fat To Fly, then I’ll cover it.