Fitbloggin Southwest Airlines Travel

What Do You Think? Did Southwest Do Enough?

Last night, shortly after posting about Southwest Airlines on my blog, I was contacted by them via twitter then e-mail.  I was told that someone would call me first thing this morning, and that is, in fact, what happened.  A supervisor (Mr. S) from HQ in Dallas called twice before reaching me late this afternoon. 

In my head, I knew I had to go into the conversation with an open mind (and without shouting expletives to someone who would never understand) so I did that.  I listened to what Mr. S had to say and spent the next 2 hours and 18 minutes trying to express the depth by which I was hurt, embarrassed and traumatized by Southwest Airlines.

It took some time, but by the end of the call I believe that Mr. S had expressed sincere empathy regarding the way that my mother and I had been treated.  Is that enough? No…of course it’s not.  Unfortunately, no one at Southwest Airlines can undo the damage they’ve done to my self-esteem,  nor can anyone can erase the pain and humiliation so let’s talk about what they did do.

First, Mr. S said that he hoped to convey apologies on behalf of Southwest.  He also admitted that mistakes were made when the gate agents/supervisor did not follow their policy, and he promised that they would take internal steps to fix it.  Unfortunately, I have to take his word on that because he informed me that they’ll never be able to show proof of this due to privacy issues.  He also said that he was unable to share what kind of steps they would take as a company and/or what kind of discipline the disrespectful employees would face.  #fail

Secondly, he offered to refund Mom’s round-trip airfare as well as my airfare which included two Southwest flights that I had purchased individually.  At least that’s something.  We should never have to pay to be insulted.  Living in large bodies means we can be mocked for free. #win

Third, he offered one “Green Pass” for Mom and one for me as well.  A “Green Pass” is good for one round-trip flight from any city in which Southwest flies.  And, to be clear, it is a confirmed seat as opposed to a stand-by ticket.  But the big problem here is that I’m not comfortable giving Southwest the opportunity to humiliate me again so after discussing my trepidation in regards to flying on Southwest, you know, ever again, we came to an agreement. 

Per our agreement, Mom and I will both receive two “Green Passes.”  I requested it because I believe that if I’m willing to put myself at risk again then I should have the opportunity to enjoy an additional flight with less anxiety at a later date.  Mr. S quickly agreed.

I also made him aware that if anything similar happens on my next flight (which will be in May when I travel to Fitbloggin’) I will call his office so he can book the next flight to Baltimore for me on a different airline.  He gave me his direct number, and I can only hope that he took me seriously.  And as much as I hope he did, I hope I don’t have to call him to find out!

So, in short, Mom and I both received a $200 Southwest voucher (which doesn’t cover government taxes so I had to pay $21.40 for my trip to Baltimore) as well as two “Green Passes” which are good for one year and a refund on our tickets for the flight from hell.   I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet.  Do you think Southwest compensated enough for humiliating Mom and me?

Now I want to talk about the “Customer of Size” policy that the gate agents were unable to share with me Sunday evening.  There are rules in place for wide passengers, but there is no particular weight restriction.  In short, a 7 ft. person can board an aircraft while cramming his knees into the seat in front of him, but he will not be asked to purchase an additional seat as long as his hips fit inside the 17 inches between the armrests.  

Mr. S clearly explained that buying an additional seat has nothing to do with body weight, but rather body dimension. He used a 6’5″, 300 pound male as an example of someone who can comfortably fit his hips in the seat while a woman who is 5′ or so and weighs a little more than 200 pounds could struggle to fit her hips in the seat.  For the record, I am 5’4″ and weigh about 270 pounds.  And my hips do, in fact, fit within the 17 inches between the armrests.  

He went on to share what they should have done which is to take us somewhere privately to ask if we had ever been approached about buying a second seat. And when I asked him how they would charge for an addition seat if needed (which it was not) he expressed another mistake made by the gate attendant and supervisor.  He said that per Southwest’s policy, they cannot charge for an extra seat on a return flight.  And this question, if asked, must be asked by the gate attendant at the city of origin.  This means that if no one asks before you leave town then no one can make you pay on your way back into town.  Good call on their part of though I have to say that the rest of the “Customer of Size” policy is biased and absurd.  I can be as tall as I want.  I just better not be fat. #fail

When I asked Mr. S how he would ensure that this would not happen if I fly on Southwest again, he stated honestly that he could not.  He did, however, say that he believes that it won’t happen again.  And he hopes that if I’m ever approached again that it will happen discreetly without overwhelming humiliation.

Over all, I think the conversation was fruitful though I don’t think they did enough to repair the damage that my mother and I are facing as a result of this public embarrassment.  I received several e-mails, phone calls and messages today suggesting that I ask Southwest Airlines to sponsor me at Fitbloggin’ this year.  When my father suggested it initially, I wasn’t interested in giving them any chances to use me to make themselves look better, but when others started to suggest the same thing I began wondering if I should pursue this or not.  What’s few hundred bucks to them, right?

So, to those of you who took time to respond to my last post, let me ask you…What do you think?  Is giving Southwest the opportunity to sponsor my trip to Fitbloggin’  – a health conference in Baltimore next month a good idea?  And if they do sponsor me will it change your view on them as a company who doesn’t respect its overweight passengers?

As I stated at the beginning of this post, it is impossible to erase the humiliation, hurt and overwhelming damage to my self-esteem as a result of my travel experience with Southwest Airlines, but they did contact me today in an attempt to start repairing some of that damage.  I wish I could tell you that everything is better and that my heart and mind no longer hurt, but they do.  And I’m terrified to travel with Southwest next month, but I feel as though I have to face this fear just as I’ve faced many others over the last two years.  So that’s my plan, and I will, of course, keep you posted.

So what do you think?  Should I forgive and forget?  Has Southwest done enough to compensate for our horrific flight experience?  Should I ask them to sponsor me at Fitbloggin’?

I’m looking forward to hearing what you all have to say, and I want to thank each of you again for your unwavering support in this and always.  I’m not sure what I’d do without you so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Wednesday afternoon update:

I posted a poll asking whether you thought I should ask Southwest to sponsor me at Fitbloggin’, and many of you responded via my blog, twitter and email.  The response, when I closed the poll this morning, was pretty split so here’s my decision: There’s absolutely no way I’d let a company like Southwest sponsor me. 

Some of you thought that it would go further to right the wrongs they made regarding Mom and me, and many of you passionately expressed that it would be an utter mismatch by a company who has shown little respect for Mom, me and the situation we faced Sunday night.  And I agree with you.

Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion! 

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  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:09 am

    good on you for speaking with him and outlining what you need. They're doing their best not to get drug into a class action lawsuit for discrimination by giving you free things to appease you. I personally would go after them and demand that they institute clear policies, discrimination training, and sponsorship. How is what they did any different then being racists, sexist, or homophobic? It's about education and for a company that prides itself on being a leading carrier they need to polish themselves up. I would take what they've given you and continue to push them to refine their policies and not let up. It's worth the fight.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:12 am

    well, did they do enough? maybe….do I think that all they are doing is covering their butt? Yep!!!
    I would like to know what kind of response they gave to that gate agent?
    free ticket or not, I don't think that I would feel comfortable flying with them either.

    there is no excuse for cruelty and bullying, and that is what that was! And as far as how they treated your mom!!! that made me maddest of all.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Dang, that is such a difficult experience! It's hard to say if they did enough. I'd like to think that just those employees were jerks and that it doesn't reflect the entire company, so hopefully your next flights will be better. It is decent of them to at least spend the time to try to find an agreement that you were comfortable with and your complaint wasn't just ignored. I don't know about the sponsorship. If they were sponsoring you it seems like a good way to open up a dialogue about it at the conference, but you really just need to do what you feel comfortable with. Good luck!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:16 am

    This is a tough one. To me, it sounds more like damage control than any effort to fit a broken policy. I wrote about your post (and linked back) on my blog and I said that I actually don't have a problem with some people needing to purchase a 2nd seat. However, they circumstances around that need are so blurry that I don't think the policy can ever be fairly and uniformly enforced.

    And I agree with you about the problem of the question of "dimension." I'm sorry, they can't claim that an extremely tall person in a seat is "safer" than an obese person. And, speaking from personal experience, they cannot claim that an extremely tall person does not compromise the comfort of the people around him or her.

    So, um, no…I don't think they've done enough. Enough would be to clarify–for both employees and customers–the policy so that there is never a misunderstanding. I don't think they did that in your case. Instead, I think they tried to buy your silence.

    I have to wonder if their "customer of size" policy is just a method of trying to sell vacant seats on a plane. I don't know how full your flight was, but when I've heard similar stories, it has always occurred on flights that were probably no more than half full.

  • Reply
    Chris - My Awkward Existence
    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 am

    This isn't an isolated case and I almost feel as if its their policy to take advantage of large people so that they can get us to give them more money. I honestly wouldn't deal with them ever again, but that's just me.

  • Reply
    Deb Willbefree
    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Re: Fitbloggin. I would NOT even ask and would sincerely hope that SW wouldn't think of it. I think that would be awfully embarrassing for you to be sponsored by them.

    Why? Well. The public humiliation was over their belief that you were too fat to fit in their seats. So, they are so mortified by the way that concern was handled that they will sponsor you to go to a fitness thing…they really care that much about your being so fat, they'll help you get less fat. Ha. Nope. Wouldn't touch that one with a ten foot pole.

    As far as have they done enough? I think they have compensated you in the way they are able and have, in fact, gone the extra mile with the extra Green Pass. (I do understand that they don't want legal action and bad publicity, but motives aren't in our control.)

    Unless you're really enjoying being in the fight and all that will go with that, I'd accept their attempts to put concrete, monetary action behind their apologies and move on.

    You need to give yourself credit that you got TWO Green Passes for both yourself and your Mom. I think that's quite a victory and you seem to have come away with the impression that the exec understands the emotional distress that was caused. I love that he had to admit his employees were wrong–especially about the return trip rule.


  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Ok, since my last comment didn't get posted…. ugh. in short, I dont think it's appropriate to have SW sponsor you to Fitbloggin' you want to actively promote a company/brand, and your experience with them wouldn't really allow for that to happen. Although it does sound like it would be a good idea, it just wouldn't carry enough worth (if that makes sense)

    I think that SW is doing damage control, they contacted you really quickly (which does speak well to me) and they were quick to offer "prizes" to fix things. And promises were made to go over policies with their gate staff.

    Nothing will ever be able to replace the experience that you and your mom had, but hopefully SW can at least handle the situation better for the next "person of size" that comes along, someone who may not be as strong as you were.

    I condensed my previous comment, but I hope that my message is clear enough.

  • Reply
    ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥
    April 27, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Deb and Cassie, I think you may be right. It was just suggested enough that I've decided to ask everyone to weigh in on it. I'm pretty certain I couldn't/wouldn't ask them to do it even if everyone suggested that I do just that. We'll see…

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Freaking Southwest. I'm so sorry they treated you, your mother, and Barbara that way. There is absolutely no excuse for it! I flew SWA at the end of last month — someone else bought the ticket for me — and I was terrified at each of the three gates that I'd experience exactly this problem. I'm so sorry it happened to you.

  • Reply
    Shari @ FindingAWeigh
    April 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Im going to play Devil's advocate here and say that not only have they done enough, they've done more than what most would have. Was it embarrassing? Yes. Humiliating? Yes. But I dont disagree with their policy, its a safety issue. I also dont feel the agents punishment should be revealed. They admitted wrong doing and tried to make it right. You asked if they sponser you to Fitbloggin would that change my perception of them as a company. Im not upset with them now, those were the actions of a few employees not the company as a whole. I have firsthand knowledge of the good they do for the Ronald McDonald House and other charitable organizations and its pretty awesome what they do. Just my 2 cents =)

  • Reply
    Mary (A Merry Life)
    April 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I think it's a horrible idea to ask them for sponsorship and I hope you don't do it. I agree with Deb that it would be pretty embarrassing for you. People love to ask how you get sponsored and telling that story is over and over isn't what a sponsor would want nor is it a positive story for you. Plus I don't think that's how bloggers should approach companies for this kind of thing… it feels almost like you want to blackmail them into giving you something that's not even related to the situation you went through so you change from giving them negative to positive press.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 7:16 am

    To anon above, if you buy a 2nd seat and the flight is not full you can get a refund. Its not about the profits, or so they say. Ive flown Southwest a few times with 2 seats and gotten money back every time.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I don't think there is any way they can really make up for their treatment of you and your mother without being more clear about what steps will be taken to ensure an effective corporate culture change. They need to post the information about their customer of size policy front and center on their website (preferably in printable format) including the information that this is a request that can only be made on the outgoing flight and not the return leg. Also, whether it is for safety or for comfort, they may wish to analyze whether or not it is fair for them to require additional seating be purchased only by a passenger's width when passengers above a certain height pose as much of a comfort/ safety risk.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I believe Southwest did all they could do to make up for the humiliation you and your Mom experienced. The situation was so traumatic nothing they do is going to take away the feeling of shame and discomfort you felt. However, having said that, I think a good "punishment" for them because of their attitude toward someone who is overweight is to sponsor you to Fitbloggin. I believe that would be the ultimate "gotcha" Also on your flight to Baltimore, have Mr.s's number in your cell. At the first sign of a problem, dial him up and let the person giving you the grief talk with him directly. Stop it before it starts and I bet you're treated like a queen from that point forward.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I'm with you re: not asking for them to sponsor. I would somehow feel that my experience at Fitbloggin (which I CAN'T wait to meet you at) would somehow be cheapened by having them by me off. Yuck.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

    At first, having SWA sponsor seemed like a good idea, but I agree with one of the other commenters – it just sounds like damage control. There's no excuse for how you were all treated, and maybe, at this point, it's just best to move on. Not necessarily forgive & forget – just move past it. Easier said than done, I know.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I am conflicted on adding my comments here. If more financial compensation would make you feel better, then I think it's fine to ask…but from reading what you wrote, nothing will change the humiliation…so, it depends what your goal is.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I think you should ask them to sponsor you. It may not solve all their problems as a company, but your experience shows that all of them could use some sensitivity training of some sort. I even think you should take it a step further and have them sponsor one or more of your marathons. Or even better, write them a letter explaining what happened and ask that they need to show some respect as a company, not just individually. Request that they organize an event of their own that shows their support of people struggling and trying to lose weight. I know they probably wouldn't do that, but HEY, it's worth the try, and maybe more people that have been insulted by them will speak out and join in on your request.. you never know?!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I am not really sure. Of course, nothing is going to remove that horrible experience from your mind. It's going to haunt you for a while, not just when you are anxious about flying, but also as you try to keep up your weight loss. It's going to be just one more thing added to that little voice that we often hear telling us negative things.

    However, the refunds and additional compensations are a start. The issue I'm iffy about is the employee reprimanding. I get that there are privacy issues, but he could have said that they would have to undergo sensitivity training and that they would issue a company wide class/email/meeting of some sort about how to handle their overweight passenger policy.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think he personally handled it the best he could but I would have LIKED to know what was done internally because those people should be made an example of. It is NOT ok to treat people poorly.

    I hope your later interactions with the company go smoothly if not, I'm pretty sure it's their loss.

  • Reply
    Emily Sandford
    April 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    First, even though it will never repair the embarrassment or disrespect, I AM glad that they reached out to you and took the time to have the discussion. You asked great questions, and are to be commended on that.
    Second, as far as Sponsoring for FitBloggin'- I would personally steer clear of it. When it comes to sponsorship, I'd personally find it difficult to "represent" a company who has done this, and that you feel strongly against.
    Lastly, I guess my question as to what is "fair" compensation or not – is what would make it better? Nothing can make the situation or the memory of it go away, so free tickets and a refund might be all they could do – unless you flatly rejected the green passes and just asked for vouchers or cash on a different airline without their policies. In the end, only you can decide if it was "fair," but I'm glad that you were able to voice your opinions- which may be the most valuable of all.

  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    April 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    As I said the other day, I have been nothing but impressed with SWA in the past. Overall, as a company, their policies and practices are what have made them the only financially healthy airline in the U.S. That said, it does not excuse, at all, what happened to you and your mother.

    I agree with whomever it was who asked what your goal is, as there's pretty much nothing SWA can do, short-term, to take away the humiliation you experienced. That said? I see a FANTASTIC opportunity to proactively approach SWA with the idea of addressing this kind of behavior and to facilitate a larger, longer-term change in how the company deals with this kind of situation in the future.

    As we all know, in the end, no one can make you feel better about what happened, but you. Forgiveness is not for the other person (or for a company) it's for us.

    I would love to hear, in the future, that you had a positive experience with SWA.

    AND! I can't wait to meet you at Fitbloggin'!!

  • Reply
    Miss S.
    April 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I would suggest calling Mr. back and asking if they have sensitivity training in place for those clearly incompetent employees and I think those employees should send you the apology.

    I also don't think SW is a good sponsor for fitbloggin.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I think you got as much as you reasonably could have expected to from SW. (And let's note that some shlub, your Barbara, say, without a popular blog and popular twitter feed, would have been SOL and complaining to her friends. Your prominence online is what got you something for your pain to begin with.)

    As for letting–even asking for– SW sponsor you at FitBloggin? IMO you'd be selling out, bigtime. We're all adults and we all make our choices but that would be a choice that would cause me to lose respect. This company did wrong by you and continues to do wrong by people of size. It soothed your feelings because you're important but isn't going to change how it treats fat people any time soon, and in fact did not commit to anything to you beyond personal recompense–no policy changes. That's not the company I'd want with my name or image, you know?

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    First off, no I don't think you should have them sponsor you because you don't need to be reminded about such a negative experience while you're at an extremely positive event.

    Southwest didn't do enough, as others mentioned, they were just doing damage control. They need to take a proactive stance against this kind of discrimination.

    Yes, I think it's alright to have a policy for larger flyers because of safety issues. But they need to have an actual policy that the employees know about, as the one you dealt with didn't know of a policy he could quote you.

    They should develop a seminar that is required for each of their employees to take on how to deal with the situation when it arises. They should learn things such as: taking the flyer to a private area to discuss them fitting in the seats, having a seat for them to try out so their is no doubt in anyone's mind. Their policy should have exact specifications so their is no gray area for interpretation. And if the flight isn't full, the second seat, if needed, should be free.

    It probably would never happen, but it should. You and your mother should never have had to go through what you did. I think you are very strong and brave to have dealt with it and stood up for your rights as a human being!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I think Southwest handled it quite well. They have tons of employees, each of which comes to work as a human being, hopefully trained well, but fully able to make insensitive mistakes that can hurt people. Even giving you over two hours on the phone says something positive about them in my mind. The vouchers and passes were extra, for me the apology and promise of training agents was the key thing.

    The important thing for you to do is to move forward and away from this unfortunate experience. Holding on to it in any way only hurts you. As one of my great friends always says in times like these, "Turn the page!"

  • Reply
    Danny K
    April 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I don't think the sponsorship would be something that Southwest should do. It seems like it would be them saying "sorry", spending a few dollars and wiping their hands clean of the problem without addressing how to correctly handle this type of situation in the future. Unfortunately, that is done by way too many businesses these days.

    The type of treatment you received starts with learning and development of Southwest's employees. I understand that Mr.S could not make any guarantees, but at the same time more training should be done in the first place so a situation like yours never happens.

    Your experience alone is enough for me not to choose Southwest as a company to travel with. A business that treats their own customers so poorly that they are embarrassed and made an example of in front of others is clearly missing the mark as it pertains to repeat business and brand loyalty.

    Danny K

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    As I said in an earlier comment, the situation was horrible for you, your Mom and Barbara. As a corporation, and a large one at that, the exec did what he could to apologize and compensate for something that should not have happened and that really cannot be paid to make go away. I agree that you should not further request compensation because the pain and humiliation will not go away with more money.

    All that being said, what goes around comes around. People will be people – sometimes kind and caring, sometimes cold and mean spirited. I know what they did was so wrong on every level but don't let them control. Hold your head high, embrace your life and experiences and continue to be the kind and loving person you are!
    And, if they (the company) are true to their word I'll bet it sucks to be those employees who treated you badly! : )

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I did comment on your orig post about the airline, and I still have a concern that I'm not sure was metioned. I don't want this abuse to be overlooked in the later mistreatment/focus on size.

    "My mom and I missed our original connecting flight due to delays and weren't sure when our bags would arrive at our destination. When I asked the man at the gate before the last leg of our flight, he cursed under his breath and called me stupid for not remembering my first flight number. That was annoying so I responded by asking him why he bothered whispering that I was stupid because I was right there. He looked away, and that, believe it or not, was not the worst part of my experience at Southwest Airlines."

    My point is, the insensitive, unprofessional treatment of customers began before it had anything to do with Barbara sucking you and Mom in to her problem. This is unrelated to size.

    I assume this too was discussed with Mr. S, but the overall feel of customer (non)service here is appalling.

    Calling a guest stupid?? Really, SWA??


  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I think you are right that there is no fair compensation in this, the humiliation and offensive "service" can not be taken back. I think he did by you the right thing- refunding the tickets and green passes. Where he falls short is the promise of change or reform.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    If they use seat dimensions of 17" then that needs to apply to SHOULDERS as well as hips.

    Ever sit next to one of those 6'6" 350 pound football players and try to negoiate who sits forward and who gets to lean against the back rest? They spill over the seats too!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Not sure about the FItblogging meeting, but in order to be sure to spare yourself the possibility of future humiliation, you should ask Mr. S to provide you an apology letter from the PRESIDENT of SW Airlines on airline stationery. (I usually go right to the top in such situations…don't waste your time with underlings.) In the letter, which you can produce if necessary, he should include directions to gate attendants and other such personnel, tell THEM to call him if there are any issues or questions regarding your weight, seating, etc.

    Hopefully, this would at least alleviate some anxiety.

    I still feel sorry for other SW patrons who might be subjected to the bad treatment.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Kenz what can I say, I am so sorry this happened to you and your mom…our world is really freaking messed up…I think you deserve more!!!! Public humiliation was not necessary… they should be ashamed of themselves. Maureen speaking from a mothers point of view…play nice my dear!!!

  • Reply
    ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥
    April 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks Maria…"Maureen" is just out to get the best of me. She's one of the awful few so the comment has been deleted. That's the beauty of comment moderation. =)

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I think Kenz was a brave lady to not sit in the dark and take the abuse. In this day and age people think they can walk all over each other and if no one stood up to their bullies, we'd all be in a much worse place. I applaud you, Kenz, for handling this situation like a calm, mature adult.

    I can't say I wouldn't have let out a few choice words, if I was in your situation.

  • Reply
    ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥
    April 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks Tiff!!! Thanks for the comment you left here and for the other one..::hugs::

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    No, I do not think they did enough. I thibk that they owe you muc more than a refund and a couple of vouchers. Southwest prides themselves on being such a great company and a great company to work for I truly expected more. In my opinion, my faith in their company has not been restored.

  • Reply
    Echo de Mumbles
    April 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm


    Ok, so you have lived my nightmare that I fear ever since I got to "the size" I am.

    While I believe that NOTHING they say could ever take back the feelings of humiliation. And as a business goes, what they did was appropriate.

    I used to work for the airlines in my "younger years", so I know the trials and tribulations that even the gate reps face when they know a larger person won't fit in the width of the seat, yet the person is in denial. I have watched people literally JAM themselves into the seats and deny needing an extender even when they can't get the belt around them.

    And for most empathetic airline people, having to even try to bring up someone's size is mortifying. And it doesn't get easier.

    But what the folks did to you guys? Holy Shitake Mushrooms. Girl, make them sponsor you! Not only would it benefit them, ultimately it benefits you.

    It shows those peons that were awful to you that you are not going to sit around and do nothing. You are going to make SURE they know what they did.

  • Reply
    ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥
    April 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I feel like a broken record saying this, but I fit into the seat…securely between the two armrests which means that I meet their definitive standard. But even if I did not, I still deserve to be treated with the same respect as other passengers.

  • Reply
    Roz @ weightingfor50
    April 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Forgive and Forget? Well, forgiving is possible, but I'm sure you and your mom will NEVER forget this incident. Sounds like Mr. S did his best to make a bad situation better. However, all the vouchers and passes in the world can't remove the pain you both felt. I hope you feel better as each day passes. Take care Kenz!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I saw on SW's website the Customer of size section. Is that new just in the past day? I don't remember seeing it there after i first read your original blog. I think there is no right or wrong answer about allowing them to sponsor you or not…it's what you feel comfortable with. Are you going to use the Green Passes? It would be very interesting to see if there is any improvement in the service in a few weeks/months. If you are not going to use them, could you donate them to some sort of charity? (Not sure if the name could be transferred.) Or you could ask Southwest to donate them to a charity on your behalf.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    And you can sing too!!! I can't wait till fitBloggin…

  • Reply
    April 28, 2011 at 1:47 am

    IMO the only way you will know if they have done enough is if you consult an attorney.

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    April 28, 2011 at 2:35 am

    i suggested to kenz that southwestair, might be a possible sponsor to fitbloggin'. upon reflection that is in my opinion, a bad idea. it would give the impression that all is fixed. until southwestair provides definitive proof that they have clarified the rules concerning "large people" and have instructed their employees in that matter, i will not be satisfied that they are truly sorry for the humiliation and embarassment they caused my daughter and her mother.
    some things are inexcusable and should not be glossed over. this is one of them.
    i do believe a written letter of apology is in order, with assurances that no overweight person be treated with such disrespect again. anything short of that is a gloss over and is not in line with the commitment southwestair professes to have to the flying public.
    kenz dad

  • Reply
    ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥
    April 28, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Anon – it's not new. Apparently, it has been there though it's not easy to find…nor is it clear. But it's there…

  • Reply
    Dizzy Girl
    April 28, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Damn girl- just trying to keep up with the comments on this post is too exhausting. I would definitely not let them sponsor me. That is wrong and humiliating on too many levels. I think that's a slap in the face to even suggest. How can they in one second say you're too large and then in the next breath say- sorry, we didn't mean that, now let us sponsor your healthy pursuits? The whole thing seems seriously wrong- though i can't quite explain why. I'm sure you get it, and clearly you've discussed it a million times already so I'll let it go. I'm glad the whole ordeal is over for you for now.



  • Reply
    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
    April 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I'm a fan of forgiving, but not necessarily forgetting.

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    May 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I wonder what Mr S at headquarters thinks about the mistreatment of their own employees at Southwest lately. The Luv has long gone…look into it…the recent dispute the union had with Southwest about the 4 hours of daily mandatory overtime the employees must now work due to an argument the union had with Southwest Airlines. The employees at Southwest have no problem working 4 hours of mandatory overtime in addition to an already exhausting 8 hour day but not when the mandatory overtime is not necessary but only given as punishment assigned to get back at the union for a recent grievance and an argument that transpired over this grievance.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I don't know how I missed this whole thing when it happened, but I've just read your posts, and I want to convey my support, and also my respect. I think you are an incredible human being, and handled the situation with grace and just the right amount of balls (so to speak!). I'm quite torn now, because I've been flying Airtran as long as they've been a company, but now that they've been bought by Southwest airlines, I may have to stop that. (JetBlue is also my standard, but they don't fly to Atlanta, where my mom lives :()

  • Reply
    May 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I just found your blog a few weeks ago but had to comment this morning. I just got done watching you on the Today Show and just wanted to say – BRAVO!! The piece was excellent and overdue. Way to go!!

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