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Adam Kayce : Monk At Work

Hi Anne,

Put me down for the "totally unaware" category. It's just not something I've ever encountered, personally, so it has been invisible to me.

And, by the way, I don't think Brian Lusk reads my blog at all; my guess is that he saw that I'd linked to them, and came to respond.

So, I'm happy to have more conversation about this on my blog, but his blog is the one where the comments should go — these days, companies are wising up and listening to their customers more than ever. If you've got a beef with them (and obviously, you do), let them know.

You never know what kinds of changes you could enact.

Anne

Thank you, Adam, for hearing me and the others who posted to your blog.

You make a good point, and I encourage anyone who feels that fat bigotry has no place in businesses meant to serve everyone, to let your feeling be known on Southworst's blog: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/

As Adam says -- you never know what changes... after all, we people of size are the majority of the U.S. population -- let us not be so silent.

AmpleHugs,
Anne

Kari

I totally disagree that SWA's policy is bad. I am a very large woman, and at first I was totally outraged by SWA's policy. I also avoided flying them. However, flying within California can make that difficult.

So, I tried Southwest again...this time not fighting their policy. I purchase 2 tickets ahead of time (thus avoiding any embarrassment at the airport of having a gate agent suggesting it to me). When I check in, I get a card that says, "Seat Reserved" for me to put in the seat next to me. Again, with the card, I don't have to explain anything to passengers finding a seat on the plane (no embarrassment). Finally, purchasing two seats grants me pre-boarding privileges so I can get a second seat without any issues. I LOVE not standing in line A, B or C and wondering if I'll be stuck in a middle seat.

The best part about Southwest's policy is that they will refund the second seat if they are not full. The only time they keep the second fare is when they have standbys who didn't get on because you purchased a second seat. If the flight is full but they didn't turn anyone away from the flight, they will still refund your second fare. Now, I do have to call Southwest after the flight is over to get this refund, but to me it is fine because I know I have flown in comfort.

I purposefully fly on days/times when I know the flight is not likely to be full. In 4 years of flying Southwest regularly, I have only had to pay the second fare (no refund) twice.

After experiencing this policy, I actually think it is the other airlines that are not serving fat people well. If I purchase a second seat on another airline, I have to pay for that seat whether the flight is full or not. I would much rather that airlines adopt a similar policy to SWA.

P.S. SWA doesn't require a second seat purchase if you ask for a seatbelt extension...only if you can't comfortably fit in the seat with the armrest down.

Coach Anne

Thank you, Kari, for sharing your experience and your perspective.

I agree that if one must purchase a second seat, it's good to be assured those two seats will be next to each other (which is not always so on other airlines), and, that you can get a refund if the flight was not full. If SWA is truly as consistent and non-arbitrary in their policy, then perhaps my stance needs softening.

However:
1) I have not flown them in many years, and the reports I hear from others is that SWA is quite arbitrary and not as consistent as you indicate.
2) I maintain that public transportation should serve people of all shapes and sizes by design; there should be seating that accommodates extra-tall people as well as extra-wide people, just as some modes of transport now have seating (at no special charge) to accommodate people of limited mobility.

Adam Kayce : Monk At Work

Sign me up for some of that 'extra-tall seating' - most airplanes are painfully built for folks like me (and I'm only 6'4", which is "just getting started" in the tall people section).

I did get bumped to first class once because of it, though... a sympathetic (and probably 5'11" herself) flight attendant gave me an upgrade because she felt sorry for me!

daisy

Thank you for sharing your experience and your perspective.it's really good.

Rose

I absolutely disagree with SWA's policy. It is a discriminatory policy to overweight people. If that's the case, how about half price for very thin people? It sounds ridiculous? I saw a topic about it on pluscupid.com forums. All people on the site hate this policy.

MM

I had a very embarrasing occurance yesterday in harlingen where an airline representative approached me in the lounge and pulled me aside to ask me if I could fit comfortably in a seat. I was mortified. Do they charge 1/2 price for children? I was with a co-worker and was seriously traumatized.

coach anne

So sorry you had this experience, MM. No matter where on the validity<-->bigotry spectrum SW's policy falls, there is no excuse for publicly humiliating and traumatizing a customer.

AmpleHugs to you,
-Anne

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