I’m a fat guy but not supersized*. The same is true of movie director and podcaster Kevin Smith. On Valentine’s Day a few years ago, Smith was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight because it was full and he hadn’t reserved a second seat. Kevin cried foul, but despite his efforts, Southwest won that media battle. Even so, it (and other negative attention they got for being mean to passengers) might have gotten them to think about how they treat people, because a couple years after that incident they updated their fat passenger policy so that people who need two seats are encouraged to buy the second while reserving their flight, but if they don’t do so and still need an extra seat when they check in, they will get it for free. And based on reports from fatties in the field, including this one, Southwest really has gotten better.
I’m 6’0″, 260 pounds, and fit into a single airplane seat, so none of this should matter to me (except as it affects those I care about). But Kevin Smith also fit into a single seat, and Southwest decided to treat him as if he were committing fatty terrorism anyway. I don’t want to be fucked with the way Smith was.
So when I was making travel plans from San Jose to San Diego (on business), and found out that Southwest was basically the only choice, I got worried. I posted to the Fat Forward group on facebook to see what others’ experiences were, and was told that Southwest is now pretty good toward fat people, and I shouldn’t expect any problems. I took my flights in February, and all went well. One thing that helped was that I bought early-bird check-in, so I was in the first of the regular boarding groups, and was able to snag a nice window seat. It was even maybe a bit more civilized than most boarding experiences because of the way Southwest makes people line up.
The real test will be my next business trip, which will be to Seattle, and on which Tante Terri will be accompanying me. I will keep you guys posted.
*My doorway into fat acceptance was that I am attracted to fat women.