Flying While Fat

How easily do you forgive and forget?

Here’s the thing. I’ve always preferred to fly Southwest over other airlines. Some people hate their policies, but I like that everyone is treated equal, there is no first class, and you get to pic your own seat. I also like their prices, the fact that the airport is closer to my house, and they don’t charge for luggage (a practice that makes me want to scream.)

A little too tight for comfort.

A little too tight for comfort.

So when all the brouhaha about their discriminatory practices with overweight people started buzzing around, I had mixed feelings. I had never had anything but positive experiences with Southwest, and I travel a lot for work. At the same time, the stories I read were horrible and the way certain people had been treated was outrageous.

Plus, I was always a little worried that “it would happen to me.” Like luggage getting lost, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before I ran into someone who would rudely shame me in front of the whole flight.  Only it never did.

And now, I’m happy to say, it seems that Southwest has revised its policy on how to deal with customer’s of size. Or, to be more accurate, it has posted these policies and educated its staff so that no one is singled out by a rude or ignorant representative.  It is an interesting approach. They give the customer the choice. You can purchase one ticket and discuss seating with the Customer Service Agent on arrival. This puts you in the precarious position of not having that extra seat in case of a totally booked flight. Or, you can proactively purchase a second ticket and then get a refund for said ticket after the flight. There is the added expense of purchasing a second ticket, but then it is refunded. Kind of like a rebate.

I’ve read several articles with mixed reviews about this policy, but I haven’t heard of any airline doing anything even close to this. I even like the way Southwest words their policy. They give the customer several options, so that they don’t have to be embarrassed about approaching the Representative and asking for the extra seat if they don’t want to.

I read one blog about someone who tested out the policy without buying an extra seat, and I am glad to say she had a mostly positive experience. I would very much like to hear from anyone who did purchase the extra seat about how quickly they got their refund, and what the experience was like. I feel like even having a policy like this is progress.

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One thought on “Flying While Fat

  1. Pingback: The Empty Seat | Fat 'n Forty

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