Southwest Airlines just cannot seem to get it right. First they kick Kevin Smith off a flight for supposedly being too large, and now they bump a standby passenger off a plane because someone else is too large.
Here’s what happened: a “regular sized” standby passenger got the okay to board a flight from Vegas to Sacramento. After she was seated, an obese 14-year-old shows up late at the gate. As his seat was next to the standby’s seat, the standby was told to get off the plane.
Furthermore, the airline staff had a go at her for expressing her outrage.
Thing is, though, the standby passenger was right, and Southwest was wrong. That’s how standby process works, and Southwest would do well to study it more carefully: if you have a standby position on a flight, and you get the go-ahead to board, you are no longer a standby passenger. The seat is yours. This is because a ticketed passenger failed to show up at the gate in time to board the aircraft.
The teen should have had to wait for the next flight unless another passenger was willing to volunteer to get bumped or get switched to an empty seat.
In their haste to avoid embarrassment (for the teen and themselves), the Southwest staff screwed the situation up even more than it already was.
What would the staff had done if the standby passenger hadn’t been a standby passenger? (This is a trick question, of course, since, once seated, she wasn’t a standby passenger)
The comments on the Neatorama story are quite mean: the decision to bump the standby passenger was not made by the kid, after all