Rants & Raves
A LETTER TO SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
[Big As Texas founder Terry Lawler Early's husband, Jay, gave me permission to share this email he wrote in response to an editorial supporting Southwest Airlines "two seats for fat people" policy. Particularly interesting to me is his experience in actually purchasing a second seat from Southwest. He never received an answer to his email.--Lynne]
I am responding to your letter to try and give you a little different insight on this problem. Although I am not required by size or any other reason to buy 2 seats when I fly, I do because I wish to be comfortable and not be crowded by anybody.
Here are a few facts for you. On a number of airlines, Southwest (Southworst in my book) and JAL, to name a couple, they do not allow advance seat assignments. Even if you buy 2 seats, there is no guarantee that you will get them both together. It is a bit hard to place one cheek on a window seat on the left side of the plane and your right cheek on the aisle seat on the right side of the aircraft. The airline offers no refund to you if this happens and is not the least bit sympathetic to your cause; after all, you do have a place to sit on the plane. On full flights, the gate agent walks the aisle counting empty seats. Immediately afterwards, a troop of people comes marching down the aisles and one plops into your purchased seat. You then have to make a big deal to defend your empty seat and try to retain it for your flight.
You are not allowed to get an extra meal for your second seat, not that you would really like one but the Grandma's Cookie would be a nice treat for your kids when you get home. You can not get the additional air miles for your extra purchase to add to your frequent flyer account. You can not bring an extra carry-on bag onto the plane because you have 2 seats. You are not allowed to check in any extra baggage because you have an extra seat without paying extra for it, a real bonus if you work out of the country like I do. If you get bumped from a flight, you stand a very good chance of only getting a single seat on the next flight out. If you are willing to help out the airline on an oversold situation, they will not give you vouchers for both seats that you have given up. The worst part of the fat person 2-seat policy is that it is up to the airline gate person whether you buy a second seat or not. If you leave your starting airport, not having to have bought an extra seat, why are you forced to purchase a full fare seat at the airport where you have to change planes to continue your trip, usually for more money than your whole round trip ticket cost in the first place? Are any of these practices fair for anybody?
Now for some pet peeves of mine for airline flights. Are you a smoker? Do you come onto the plane still exhaling smoke and then plop your smoking butt down next to mine and make me smell you throughout the whole flight, breathing your smoky bad breath into my face. Do you drink alcohol? Do you come on board the plane drunk and then proceeds to become even more intoxicated while the flight goes on? Do you fumble for that airsick bag and then miss, right on top of me? Do you buy those cheap standby airfares for you and your family and expect me to be your rotten kids' baby sitter throughout the flight because you were trying to save money? Are you the type of person who brings on the largest carry-on allowed, a garment bag, and shoves it into the overhead compartment and sucks up all of the room intended for 3 people to use? Are you the small bladder type of person that insists on having a window seat and then spends the whole flight climbing over everybody else to get to the restroom? Do you leave your window shade up during the movie? Do you fart? Are you the type that gets airsick? Are you contagious?
Since you and I are not any of the above things, why don't we lobby to get rid of all of those types of people off the airlines also. Big, small, black, white, male, female, fat, or skinny, it doesn't matter, they are annoying to all the rest of us perfect people. They should be eliminated from the aircraft. Wouldn't that make the flight perfect. Oops, forgot to add in the terrorist. When we get done with this campaign, the next thing you and I should do is tackle the drivers on the highways. Have a great day and keep that American flag flying high. Your sheet and hood are in the mail.
[Used by permission of Jay Early - BigAsTexas@juno.com]
© Lynne Murray