RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—You may've heard about the turbulence last week after film director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, and the upcoming Cop Out) was removed from a Southwest Airline flight for being too large to fit in a seat. The resulting hullabaloo—Smith lambasted Southwest on his Twitter page—has called some attention to the issue of oversized-passenger policies. Turns out that several airlines have recently clarified their seating rules. (Even though the food they serve isn't helping anyone slim down.)
THE DETAILS: Smith had actually booked two adjacent seats on a later flight, but found a seat on an earlier flight once he arrived at the airport. Only one seat was available on the flight, but Smith decided to chance it. After being seated, Smith was told that, in accordance with airline seating policy, he was deemed too big to fit properly in the seat.
Southwest later apologized to Smith for the inconvenience and embarrassment, and gave him a $100 voucher for a future flight. But meanwhile, Smith had begun sounding off about the incident. A heated debate ensued across the Internet between supporters and those who felt that such seating policies—which airlines say are based on legitimate safety concerns—needed to be enforced.
Read on to see how airlines determine who needs an extra seat.
Published on: February 18, 2010