Plus-Size Passenger Strands Woman by Taking Two Seats on Southwest

by Anthony Losanno
Denied Boarding

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Another day, another issue caused by passengers trying to squeeze into packed planes with seats too tiny for them. This time a woman flying Southwest Airlines from Montego Bay with connections in Baltimore and Denver is reporting that she was denied boarding because the flight was oversold and a plus-size passenger needed two seats even though the passenger of size only paid for one seat.

As View from the Wing reported, the woman was traveling with two teenagers on a full flight. The airline decided that a passenger of size needed two seats even though she had only purchased one. Southwest decided to bump her so that room could be made for the plus-size passenger.

The only weird part of this story is that she reports that she was “stuck outside the country” even though the video has her speaking with a customer service agent in Baltimore. She might have waited to make the video when she connected in Baltimore. The agent tells her in the recording that “even if there are not enough seats, we have to accommodate that customer of size.” This doesn’t feel right. Southwest has one of the most generous policies around passengers of size (it can be found here) and this passenger should have bought two seats unless the plane was not fully booked.

A Southwest spokesperson released this statement:

From a regulatory sense, there was not a denied boarding on the flight referenced as there was an error with one of the reservations. [Agents] followed established procedures for both the Customer of Size and reaccommodating these customers. [Southwest] compensated the Customer for interim expenses, offered three LUV vouchers as a gesture of goodwill and booked them for the following day when seats were available.” 


This is not the only time that there have been issues with passengers of size recently. One influencer wants everyone else to pay for her extra seat and another thinks aircraft aisles should be widened, and a third chided a woman for moving seats away from her because she felt embarrassed.

Anthony’s Take: There is no denying that airline seats are tight both in width and legroom. I’m tall and book premium seats to make sure I have legroom. If you’re unable to fit into a seat, then you should have to book and pay for two or a premium seat with more space. This woman should have never been bumped unless that other passenger had purchased two seats.

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1 comment

derek June 8, 2023 - 12:40 pm

I don’t blame the fat passenger too much. If she spilled over to my seat, I would blame her.


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