A woman shared her story of flying Southwest Airlines from Montego Bay to Baltimore to Denver where she was refused boarding in Montego Bay, she says, because because the flight was overbooked and they were treating her as a standby passenger. She was traveling with two teenagers on the full flight, and the airline learned that a passenger of size needed an extra seat but hadn’t purchased one. So she was “stuck outside the country” to make room for that other passenger.
The video ends with a Southwest Airlines customer service agent in Baltimore saying that “even if there are not enough seats, we have to accommodate that customer of size.”
— It’s Meseidy (@itsmeseidy) June 6, 2023
It’s odd that she says she was stuck outside the country, yet she had to “spend the night in Baltimore” and identifies the taped conversation with customer service as taking place in Baltimore. So it’s sounds like her connecting flight was the issue.
Meanwhile, according to a Southwest Airlines spokesperson, “from a regulatory sense, there was not a denied boarding on the flight referenced as there was an error with one of the reservations.”
They offered that the airline’s customer service agents “followed established procedures for both the Customer of Size and reaccommodating these Customers.” And said that they “compensated the Customer for interim expenses, offered three LUV vouchers as a gesture of goodwill and booked them for the following day when seats were available.”
We’ve recently seen a plus-sized influencer demanding free extra seats from airlines for passengers who need the space, and a plus-sized woman shaming a passenger who moved seats in order to have more room, when she overflowed into their space.
I think we can all understand being frustrated with the tight fit of an aircraft. Southwest Airlines generously gives more legroom than other U.S. airlines in their regular economy cabins. But the width of the seat is pretty much fixed by the size of the Boeing or Airbus fuselage. Passengers who need more space should reserve that space for themselves in advance – and pay for it as necessary.