‘Too Fat’ to Fly Southwest02/17/2010
Day 162 –
Recently, actor and director Kevin Smith was asked to leave a Southwest Airline flight because he was deemed too fat to fly. He has since begun a Twitter campaign to boycott Southwest.
The story hit me really hard when Kevin mentioned that as he was leaving the plane he made eye contact with a fellow “fatty” who was trying to sink into his seat as to not to be exposed. Who among us has not asked for a seat extender or sat for 5 hours with ankles crossed and arms folded about the chest? I have often recited to myself, “Next time I fly I’ll be skinnier.” There is a careful choreography played out while on a plane put the armrest up, think small thoughts, pray that the person in front of you will not put their seat back and lean only into the aisle when the coast is clear. I’ve cried many times on planes. The tears just come. I don’t want to cause any discomfort for other passengers.
Once on a plane I assumed the position and the lady in the middle seat asked me to relax into the seat because she “loved chubby women. Her momma was chubby and her whole family was chubby.” She even said she always wanted to be chubby but to no avail. It was the best flight ever. Most of all when I fly it is another mirror moment. I am once again disappointed with my efforts in this area of my life. For hours I sit there uncomfortable and thinking of nothing else. Oh how could I let this happen. This world is just not made for people of my size but, I do believe there needs to be a little more compassion. It’s as if it has become socially acceptable to be mean or derogate obese people (I can’t believe I used the “o” word).
I personally can’t wait to use my Companion Fare for a friend and not an additional seat. When I fly with two tickets in hand I do find it entertaining to read the expressions of other passengers as I walk down the aisle. I just know they are thinking to themselves, “Please don’t sit here! Please don’t sit here!”
Since the “Too Fat To Fly” story broke the media has made it seem that we are this united group of people and as a group we think that we’re entitled to special treatment or allocations. But I believe that the airlines have negated many other populations of passengers that are not only large but in my friend’s case “freakishly tall.” Yes on his last flight he overheard a flight attendant use those words to describe him to a passenger in an effort to free up a seat for him in the Emergency Row. We as a society are just supposed to deal. Squeeze into the seats with both armrests down or as in my friend’s case put your knees up to your chest and deal. Whatever happened to customer service?
In the days since the incident the most recent angle that has transpired with this story is how not only do large people infringe on the rights of other passengers but we also create an emergency hazard if we have to disembark the plane. Give me a break.
We’ll deal and accept your disdain as a group of people whom you can still pick on but, in the mean time I’ll keep on keeping on. I’ll board the airplane, sit next to you at movie theatres, scan the room for armless chairs and walk in your gym all the while knowing that you have no idea what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes carrying 100 pounds.
Let me know what you think leave a comment!