More Kevin Smith Flying Fat Fallout

Apparently Kevin Smith was pushed over the edge, and he’s not going to take it anymore.

I outlined a lot of what Smith said during his SModcast on the issue in my last post. There are also great Fatospherian posts on the subject here, here, and here. If you’re signed up, there’s also an interesting Big Fat Blog forum post on the matter.

What a lot of people in FA have noticed is that Kevin Smith isn’t exactly fat positive with respect to how he views himself. Though he says he accepts his fat, he also accepts the common-knowledge-pseudoscience that claims fatter people die sooner or suffer from more health problems. So there’s an inherent tension to some of his argument, in my view.

However, I believe what happened to KS put him over the edge, so to speak, and I don’t mean just his unfair ejection from the first SW flight he took (I think all fat-based ejections are unfair, to be clear, I’m not about to argue the whole policy thing with the armrests). I mean his experience with his fat female row-mate on the second SW flight home. To summarize, she was pulled aside by a flight attendant at the beginning of the flight and apparently told that she was taking up ‘too much space’ and might need to buy another seat. This, despite the fact that the empty seat between she and KS was already bought and paid for by KS (hence, was to remain unoccupied). So they humiliated her, threatened her with a fat fee, and unnecessarily so even taking into account their own policy (again, I think all fat humiliation and fees are unnecessary). This is what KS said himself made him absolutely livid.

It’s my personal opinion that KS is right on the cusp of real fucking fat acceptance, and it might be the experience of another, compounded by his own, that really makes him start looking into size activism in general, or at least turn an ear to it.

There’s more fallout on it today, and I thought I’d quote a few of KS’s tweets from his Twitter feed. (compiled)

(1/2) Hey @GMA: no means no. You called/asked me to come on/were told SModcast 106 covers it. So you SEND SOMEONE TO MY FRONT DOOR INSTEAD? (2/2) Even my sheltered, non-media-savvy kid, when told GMA showed up at the door, offered a look of utter surprise & said “That’s tacky…”

(1/2) @Supernova145 “why no to GMA? would you go on the today show?” 10 minutes to tell this story? To many, I’ll just sound like I’m in fat (2/2) denial. On 1.5hr SModcast, I can tell my whole story as PRELUDE to real story: the poor girl @SouthwestAir shamed on my flight home.

Via @ruminski “did you get details of the girl on your flight home? Are you able to help her in any way?” That’s was the SModcast was for.

But contrary to their claim that I regularly purchase two seats, I wasn’t a regular 2-seat buyer until just this week. They SEIZED on that. In their “apology” blog, they implied (or flat-out wrote) that I regularly purchase 2 seats. Writing that buttresses their lie: 2 Fat 2 Fly. 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…?

Hey @SouthwestAir: you bring that same row of seats to the DailyShow, and I’ll sit in ‘em for all to see on TV. If I don’t fit, I’ll donate $10k to charity of your choice. But when I do (& buckle the belt as well)? 1) You admit you lied. 2) Change your policy, or at least re-train your staff to be a lot more human & a lot less corporate when they pull a poor girl off the plane & shame her.

Sometimes it baffles me how little people think things through. “Free publicity!” = 200 new articles declaring I’m fat. Yay, me. Epic win.

Via @jmuir16 “justlistened to new smod. My heart’s breakin for that poor girl too. Unreal.” And THAT’S why I’m Tweeting up a storm. Fuck’em.

Via @spidermann “Herb Kelleher, @SouthwestAir founder, would get kicked off their planes: http://tinyurl.com/swafounder ” ARM REST TEST!

Via BierHall “Being heavy is not something to be proud about. I wish more companies would not tolerate the lifestyle of fatness!” Sieg heil!

Via @RavenAtNight “I like how wanting to be treated like more than subhuman is suddenly a call for special treatment.” I’M MAD AS HELL…AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Via @Admiral_Young “Dude…I’m so Kevin Smith Fat.” Deep down inside, aren’t we all just a little bit Kevin Smith Fat?

Via @YoPaulieNJ ” @GMA is running the story w/o u – talking about the safety issues” My safety issue: GMA showing up at my house last night.

Had three seats/whole row for me & Jen. She skipped SF, so I went solo checked in and was given the 2 tix there & return 2 (for that p.m.). Going out, even with 2 tix, I only sat in one seat, sleeping against window, w/empty seat between me and follow passenger. Coming back would have been the same, at 7pm. But I got to the airport early enough to try to bump-up my flight to 5:20 – a practice @SouthwestAir does often. I was told 5:20 flight was packed, but I could go Standby. They sent me to gate. Told lady whole story, and she said there wouldn’t be two seats on that earlier flight. I said I only needed one seat & that I didn’t buy an extra seat because I’m fat (which I am), but because I’m anti-social and didn’t want to sit next to someone & possibly have to make convo (in person, I’m very shy). She said she understood. I was issued the solo ticket. I get on the plane: open seat in the front row. Put my bag away, the sit between two ladies. As I’m about to buckle my extender-less seatbelt, the woman who issued the ticket to me appeared in the doorway of the plane, came over to me and said the Captain said I wasn’t going to be allowed to sit there because I was a safety risk. I asked for clarification and was given none (also asked “Please don’t do this” but that, too, fell on deaf ears. Ladies on either side said I wasn’t a problem. SWA-lady said arm-rests the decider. Arm- rests come down, and voila! I’m legit! I’ve passed the stinkin’ arm-rest-test. And still, the lady asks me to get up and come with her off the plane. I get up without a fuss at all, quietly grab my bag, make eye contact with a fellow Fatty who was praying he’d pass, and leave. You think I wanna fuck around on an airplane? I was right: I fit in that seat. But I can’t risk not complying: I’m more afraid of AirFeds.

Via @bknaust “story about how @SouthwestAir kicked someone else off a plane: http://tinyurl.com/fattyplane ” His Uncle’s funeral?! Fuck SWA.

Via @marfer828 “Listening to the smodcast now. Kinda outraged. @SouthwestAir is effing ridiculous.” Hear the story here: www.smodcast.com

Flying SWA Fat

Thanks to Marianne at The Rotund for her recent post – Death Fats With Wings: 10 Tips For Flying at 300 Pounds

Please read it if you get a chance. It’s a great guide for Traveling While Fat — which, as we know, isn’t that easy to do these days (with seat widths getting smaller and airlines cutting down on flights and using fat people as customer ire scapegoats).

I wanted to relay my recent experience with flying Southwest Airlines while fat. SWA, if you might recall, was one of the first US airlines to openly state that it will charge “too” fat passengers for an extra seat. Other airlines followed, and now nearly all airlines have explicit anti-”too”-fat policies. These policies usually base off of whether one needs a seatbelt extender, has the ability to put down the armrest, or doesn’t unreasonably encroach on a seatmate’s real estate.

I flew a total of four separate SWA flights (one roundtrip connecting once on each leg). Here’s what I determined:

1. For the wide-of-upper-body (which the tall and fat usually are), go for an aisle or a window. ONLY go for the window if the window is placed where your shoulder would naturally fall (centered above the armrest). Otherwise the window seat could actually be less roomy than the middle or aisle seats.

2. For the wide-of-hips: Go for a window seat. That way your hips can push out under the armrest on the window-side without encroaching, and you can lean into the window a bit, which can pull your lower body a smidgeon away from the middle seat. Avoid the middle seat at all costs — if your hips squish under the armrests, better to have one seatmate who has to deal with it rather than two.

3. If you are traveling with wide-framed companion and the flight isn’t full, get a good boarding spot and find an empty row behind the wing (where most people won’t want to sit). Sit in the window and aisle seat. Chances are, most people will squeeze between two average- or petite-framed people rather than sit in your middle seat, and then Voila! you have the whole row to yourselves, and can fly much more comfortably.

4. Further, don’t be afraid. The SWA flight attendants I have known have all been remarkably friendly. I think they would try their absolute best to keep you on the flight and not enforce the SWA rules whenever possible.