Monday, September 17, 2007

More Southwest Controversy

The recent incident in which a female passenger complained that she had been required to 'cover up' as a condition of traveling on Southwest has led plenty of people to come out of the woodwork, apparently. Now an obese passenger has come forward to complain that he was required at the last minute to purchase an additional ticket, given that he was too large to fit completely in one seat:

I can understand his being upset at being required to make the purchase at the last minute, and his surprise at being so required when he never had been before.

Is there a better alternative, though? Presumably any airline with such a rule would prefer to err 'heavily' on the side of not upsetting the passenger and risking loss of future business. And since few flyers buy their tickets in person, the first opportunity you have to determine whether a customer needs a second ticket is at check-in. Unless you propose to insert a pop-up on the ticket purchasing screen where you acknowledge that if you are over 300 pounds, you might require an additional ticket.

More generally, if the practical effect of a person's size is that he or she must use two seats -- ie, if it's plainly impossible to sit another passenger in the seat adjacent -- then it would be foolish of them not to require an additional ticket -- at least on a full flight, right? If you have to deny a flyer the right to travel, and preserve an open seat for this gentleman, then you have to charge him -- don't you? I have no way of knowing if that was the case here, just saying that I can see clear circumstances where this policy is really a no-brainer.

And of course, if you're an average person -- anywhere in the 150-200 pound range, you have to be thankful that at least one airline is 'looking out for you,' right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He was so embarrassed that he went on TV to talk about it. No silhouette, or altered voice -- come on, prove your embarrassment!