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My Conversation with Kevin Smith

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I had the chance this afternoon to speak directly with director Kevin Smith. I let him know that in my 18 years here at Southwest, I have never dealt with a situation like what has been unfolding in the last 48 hours. I let Kevin know we have refunded his airfare. I told him we made a mistake in trying to board him as a standby passenger and then remove him. And I told him we were sorry. 

 

Now, 48 hours later, after talking to many involved, we know there were several things going on that day and that our Employees were doing their best to get his flight out safely and on time, including finding seats for everyone and trying to accommodate standby passengers. 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.  

 

Although I’m not here to debate the decision our Employees made, I can tell you that I for one have learned a lot today. The communication among our Employees was not as sharp as it should have been and, it’s apparent that Southwest could have handled this situation differently. Thanks, Kevin, for your passion around this topic. You were a reasonable guy during our conversation.  

 

Southwest, like most carriers, has a policy to assist passengers who need two seats onboard an aircraft. The policy is an important one for the comfort and safety of all passengers aboard a plane, and we stand by that 25-year-old policy. This has our attention, and we will be reviewing how and when this delicate policy is implemented.

1,804 Comments

  1. Wanted to thank Southwest AND all its passengers on the times my twins and I flew and you were there to do the assisting, holding, lifting and stuffing while I poked, pressed, squeezed and ordered a Mimosa just as fast as I could ….

    I find if I need help ever …. JUST ASK !!

    P.S. Remember – some of the very BEST comedy comes from flying. For instance, my cousin is a flight attendant and once on an international flight she had to motion to a lady who did not speak english to place her baby’s carrier in the overhead compartment. As she walked by an hour or so later, she didn’t see the baby and asked the customer about it – the poor woman misunderstood my cousin and had placed the carrier overhead WITH the baby strapped in it.

    Gotta Luv It!

  2. I just had the worst flight from southwest this week! I have made calls to customer service about my horrifying experience. My name must need to be Kevin Smith to get an apology! I was told that I was too big to fly on my way back home…At the end of my trip. The person that told me this…could not explain the policy to me or tell me why..(I fit into the seat with both arms down and can buckle the belt. I told her why would you tell me this at the end of my trip? Her reply(looking me up and down) I don’t know why they didn’t tell YOU someone should have told YOU something in a loud voice! At this time everyone is looking at me… 3 people came to help me that were in line. Because of her condescending tone and manner..She also said that I would need to buy another ticket…(mind you she can see the flight and if its oversold…) She tells me I need to do this for the comfort of myself and others! I told no and went to my gate. Only to find out that the flight is emty! She humiliated me in front of so many people…for no reason!!! I will take action! How can you let your employee speak to customers as if they are NOTHING? And use the weight policy as an excuse for her lack of respect for people! She was having a bad day and was rude to the people she serviced ahead of me!

  3. I fly A LOT, I fly southwest a lot – it’s one of my favorite airlines. And while I’m not about to claim to “never fly southwest again!”…I will say I’m extremely disappointed to hear about all of this – even so late in the game.

    And the reason for this disappointment? The fact that I cannot even begin to tell you how many times – on many Southwest flights, as well as other major carries – I have been squished against the window or forced to lean into the aisle because the person seated next to me was encroaching upon my space. Including several occasions where the arm rest was unable to lower. And NOT ONCE have I seen any airline employee say a word. I’ve even had a few apologize to me because they realized how uncomfortable I was…but never, NEVER have I been moved to a more comfortable seat; and I have neither seen the ‘person of size’ moved to another seat, nor removed from the aircraft. And even a few times, I was seated in the exit row when this happened – yeah, sure I have faith in surviving in case of emergency.

    Southwest, it’s not your policy that is the issue – in my mind, it’s the fact that it is so selectively, and POORLY, enforced. I refuse to be silent going forward – call me rude, mean…whatever.

    “People of size” – look, it’s an unfortunate situation and I’m sorry. But I paid for my ticket too, and I should be allowed to sit in my seat clinging to the little bit of comfort still afforded on an airline.

    When my seat space is invaded – i WILL point it out and I WILL ask why it is that Southwest felt it was justified removing Kevin Smith from a flight while allowing another offender to fly. I do hope that over a year after this incident your employees are going to be ready to answer that question.

    Thank you.

    • db — 07-06-2011 at 10:34 pm
    • 41
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