Monday's Morals

Monday’s Morals – Episode 35


By now you’ve likely heard that film director and Silent Bob star Kevin Smith was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight. He says it’s because of his size. They say, officially, it was because of his safety.

Smith has complained that Southwest blogged the fact that Smith normally buys two seats when he flies with them. Smith has gone on to tweet on and on about the controversy, which seems to take some of the punch out of his complaints about Southwest blogging about him “without his permission” and revealing “personal” details, like his previous practice of buying twice the real estate he argues he actually needs.

In any case, regardless of whether Smith could or couldn’t fit into the seat properly, the policy of oversize passengers seems a good topic for this week’s Monday’s Morals.

  • First to play last week: Mika of Euromerican. Congratulations!
  • (According to the rules, “First to Play” requires you to be the first to include the link to the specific entry in which you answered the questions, not just the general link to your blog.)

Here is this week’s “Monday’s Morals” question. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your blog…but either way, leave a link to your site so that everyone else can visit! If you repost the questions on your site, you must link back to this site as the source. Permission is not granted to copy the questions to message boards for the purpose of having members answer and play along there.

Should airlines and other transit organizations be allowed to force a passenger who cannot fit into a single seat to buy a second seat? Why or why not?

If you have a Reader’s Choice question you’d like to see asked (and answered), send me an email! I’d love to be able to include it in a future edition of the Saturday Six.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • I have to say I really enjoy your questions! I answer memes and they’re varying degrees of enjoyable, but yours are really posers, and make me think considerably more than the average meme. Thank you for this.

    I am 5’4″, 170lbs. That is, right now. I have been as heavy as 200lbs. Flying is uncomfortable with or without the 30lbs – in fact, I suspect it will remain so unless I can get down to 130lbs, which would be nice but unlikely. Now, I am not slender, however, at 170lbs, I am not clinically obese. Why are seats on airlines designed to hold a skeleton?

    It is fortunate that I have been able to fit in one seat, but it is a tight fit. I usually save to fly anywhere, so buying two seats is out of the question. And when I flew to Montana in 2009, taking three flights to get there, the cost to buy two seats on each plane would have been extremely cost prohibitive. And why should I have to? Why shouldn’t some accommodation be made? Why isn’t traveler comfort first? I bet any airline that went down that road would become very popular with vacation travelers!

    There is a point at which a line should be drawn. But I don’t think where it is now (super-model thin) is the right place. I’m not sure how big Kevin Smith is, but if he wants to fly and is truly taking up two plus-sized seats, well that is a problem.

    And James, you are correct – the ADA does not address the issue of obese people flying the unfriendly, expensive skies – glandular or otherwise.

  • I think the overall question here is this: are the airlines selling (or is the public buying) passage from point A to point B, or merely leasing the physical real estate that is one seat aboard an aircraft?

    To complicate matters, it is the airlines themselves that have created this dilemma to a certain degree. I recall reading about Boeing’s Dreamliner aircraft a year or so ago, and the spokesperson for Boeing pointing out that the Dreamliner was appointed with x number of seats on order to carry x passengers, though their clients would most likely order the aircraft with more than x seats. In is in the interest of the airlines to cram as many seats as possible on any aircraft and fill as many of those seats as they can. So their objective is: capacity first, passenger comform second. How many among the non-obsese have you heard complain about how tight the accommodations in coach are? One does not have to be “heavy” to edure a miserable ride in coach. Then compare with similar coach accommodations aboard Amtrak. Or Grayhound. There is a big difference (pun intended). Granted, passenger trains and busses must compete with the airlines and part of their strategy is to offer roomier accommodations, but it must be stated that airlines have not put adequate space and customer comfort at the top of their list of priorities (business and first class excepted).

    Furthermore, if a passenger suffers obesity as a result of a glandular condution (as opposed to, say, an overeating propensity), isn’t requiring him to purchase two seats discriminatory? I don’t think the ADA addresses this.

  • Well lets first define this a bit more. First are the seats on coach seats that the AVG American can fit in. Interesting. What is the weight of an AVG American today. We all know it is not IDEAL weight. Even children obesity rates are sky high! (Sorry about that! Ha!) Are we talking about someone who is on the Biggest Loser who is hundreds of lbs overweight and physically does take up 2 seats? My mom stood the whole flight from Hawaii to the midwest because of someone who did physically take up two seats. That was not right. She complained and did get a one way trip free. So then the airline loses out because of the other person. So I think really there are two separate issues here. I do believe the seats are just small and unreasonable for the avg American & not some supermodel. Heck I wonder if some body builder guy can fit in them? Maybe his waist/butt would but the breadth of his chest/arms may carry over. Now he is not “overweight” so that is really interesting. Next is the issue of someone who really may be hundreds of lbs overweight. I even wonder if it is best for them to fly healthwise. Have to ask my doc on that. I’ve seen 3 avg men, not particularly overweight have a hard time sitting next to each other. Here I thought they just wanted to sit next to some pretty woman when maybe they just wanted to have more room to sit. HA! The airlines are just interested in just cramming in as many seats as they can so they can make more money. They don’t realize if they have more comfortable seats people will be happier to fly with them & fly more often with them. They may even pay a bit more for it. I know I would. How about you?

Comments are closed.