Airline tells movie director he can not fly because he is too big

A Twitter storm has erupted over the ejection of an American film director from a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat.

Kevin Smith, the director of films Clerks and Chasing Amy was told he could not fly on a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to California, because he didn’t fit properly in the seat.

Smith, who updated his Twitter account throughout the incident, at one point tweeted: “But, by their own guidelines, I was not, in fact, 2 Fat 2 Fly: the arm rests went down & I could buckle my seat belt w/o an extender. So…?”

His Twitter feeds, which are followed by over 1.65million followers,Top of FormBottom of Form has sparked support from fans and prompted Southwest to issue an apology via its Twitter feed, as well as issuing him with a $100 voucher.

The airline’s “Customer of Size” policy, which has been in place for 25 years, requires larger passengers to purchase two seats if they cannot be comfortably accommodated in a single seat.

A frequent flier reported a similar incident in June last year. He claims to have been prevented from boarding a Southwest flight from Las Vegas because he was deemed too large to fit in one seat, despite having flown with the carrier up to 50 or 60 times in the previous year alone.

A statement on the airline’s blog said: “This policy is not unique to Southwest Airlines and it is not a revenue generator… If a customer cannot comfortably lower the armrest and infringes on a portion of another seat, a customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable and a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement.”

Both Smith and the airline acknowledged that he had bought two seats for his original flight from Oakland, where he had attended a conference. But he was flying standby in order to catch an earlier flight, and only one seat was available.

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