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Fat passenger sent off airline
Los Angeles, Feb 16 (IANS)
Published on 17 Feb. 2010 12:07 AM IST
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An overweight passenger who required two air tickets to fly because of his heavy weight was thrown off a Southwest Airlines’ flight Saturday for refusing to buy the extra ticket. Kevin Smith had the choice to either buy two tickets for himself or be kicked off the flight as he could not fit into a seat and lower his armrests. He refused to comply. The airline asked him to get off its flight from Oakland to Burbank despite his pleas that he can fit in his seat. Outraged over his treatment by the airline, Smith tweeted his ordeal, saying, “I know I’m fat, but was (the airline) really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?” He insisted, “I broke no regulation, offered no ‘safety risk.’ “After his protests, the man was accommodated on another flight by the airline. The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) sprang to Smith’s support, condemning the airline for its discriminatory policies. The body, which has been advocating rights of fat people since 1969, gave a call for boycott of the airline. After the outrage, Southwest apologized to the passenger, saying, “We are sincerely sorry for your travel experience on Southwest Airlines.’’ But the airline defended its weight policy, saying it has been in force for 25 years. “The policy requires passengers that cannot fit safely and comfortably in one seat to purchase an additional seat while travelling,’’ the airline was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times. “This policy is not unique to Southwest Airlines and it is not a revenue generator. Most, if not all, carriers have similar policies, but unique to Southwest is the refunding of the second seat purchased (if the flight does not oversell), which is greater than any revenue made,’’ the Southwest statement said.

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