More elbow room on SWA

qxeplt

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DALLAS, June 19 (Reuters) - Passengers who are too large to squeeze between the arm rests of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV - News) seats will be charged double for flying the low-cost carrier, the company said on Wednesday.

The Dallas-based airline, which does not have first or business class sections with larger seats, said the policy has been in effect for some time but will be more strictly enforced beginning next week.

Starting next Wednesday, its "people of size" policy will require passengers who need seat-belt extensions or cannot lower the arm rests on their seats to purchase two seats if they are flying on a plane near or at capacity.

"If you consume more than one seat, you will be charged for more than one seat," said spokeswoman Beth Harbin.

Harbin said that under the existing policy, fewer than 1 percent of Southwest passengers have been asked to buy a second seat, which is offered at the same rate at which the passenger purchased their original ticket.

Southwest seats are 18-3/4 inches (48 cm) wide.

When the plane is not crowded, a larger passenger can apply for a refund for the second seat, she said.

Southwest said that about 90 percent of the letters it receives on the issue have been from passengers complaining that their seating has been encroached upon by larger neighbors. The airline said one of the top complaints it receives are from passengers who say they were "sat on" during their flight.

Fat activist Marilyn Wann, author of the book "FAT!SO?", said airlines should provide seating that accommodates people of all shapes and sizes who are paying for a trip.

"You are buying passage from point A to point B. You are not buying real estate," Wann said. "I encourage people of all sizes not to encourage this kind of treatment."

The airline was sued eight years ago on the issue by a larger passenger forced to buy a second seat and the case was dismissed, Harbin said.

The airline said the move to more strictly enforce the policy was prompted by its decision to stop giving out its trademark plastic boarding passes on a first-come, first-served basis to passengers at its departure gate.

Southwest, which does not have assigned seating, is starting to dispense paper boarding passes instead in an effort to cut waiting time for customers who have to pass through more stringent security measures after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The new boarding passes, which are given out at Skycap counters, ticket gates and at departure gates, provide an opportunity for Southwest workers to show greater discretion in enforcing the people of size policy, airline officials said.
 

SWA GUY

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The policy has been in effect since 1980....

Come on now, you've had 22 years to lose that 40lbs of baby fat.
 

qxeplt

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Thinking outside the box...

This could possibly be a new stratagy. Just think if thay start handing out twinkies instead of peanuts pretty soon everyone will be buying two seats. That's one way to generate revenue...
 

CoopDog

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I gotta buy another what????

Well, this two seat policy is probably going to really cramp the style of all of Clinton's old girlfriends.

"IF IT DON'T FIT, THEN YOU MUST ACQUIT"
Johnnie Cochran
 

skydiverdriver

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Man, I had to sit next to a huge guy that took part of my space, and I think my back hurt for the rest of the day! If I were a paying customer, I would have been upset. It's true that they are not buying real-estate, but the airline can choose how it handles larger passengers. Don't they charge for cargo by the pound and have size limitations? What's the difference? I think the big people have no room to complain.
 

chperplt

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How many times is this same topic going to be posted??
 
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