Southwest Bumps Thin Woman for Fat Teen

Girl, 14, needed two seats, other flyer furious
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2010 3:36 AM CDT
Some industry observers believe airlines should begin to install special seats for obese passengers.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)
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(Newser) – A skinny California woman was bumped from a Southwest flight to make room for a fat teenager who needed two seats. "It didn't seem right that I should have to leave to accommodate someone who had only paid for one seat," said the booted passenger. A Southwest spokeswoman said managers tried to make the "best decision possible" in "extenuating circumstances." The woman had purchased the last standby seat when it was discovered the 14-year-old girl, who was traveling alone, needed two seats. The woman flew out on a separate flight shortly afterward with an airline apology and a one-way fare refund, reports ABC News.

Southwest may have been trying to improve its image with weight-challenged flyers after heavy criticism for booting actor-director Kevin Smtih from a flight earlier this year for being too fat. Some industry observers are calling for airlines to install seats made for wide loads. "Whether or not we treat obesity as a medical or mental condition, facts are facts—there are a lot of wide people," said one expert. Adding extra-wide seats—sold at a premium—protects chubby flyers' "dignity" as well as those who are "sometimes forced to share half their seat with them," he added.

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