Friday, April 13, 2012

Southwest "Persons of Size"

In this week's episode of Mighty Men of Mouse, I let the boys know about my experience flying with fat guy seating on Southwest.  Although I didn't need the extra seat, I thought it was a great way to upgrade without going first class out of Boston.  I mentioned the Fat Guy FAQ on Southwest's website and thought I would share some of my favorite morsels.
How do I qualify for and request a refund of the additional seat purchase?
As long as the flight does not oversell (have more confirmed Customers waiting to board than seats on the aircraft), we will refund the cost of the additional seat after travel. A Refund Advice Slip, a guide for conveniently requesting refunds (via telephone or letter), is provided to the Customer of size at checkin. If it appears a flight will oversell, the option to purchase an extra seat and travel on a less full flight is available.
This is extremely important.  There is no where else from Southwest that you would find this information.  None of the agents, counter or gate, mentioned this at all.  I love this policy because it makes getting an extra seat a pretty good hedge against a less-than-full flight. 
Can a large Customer sit with a family member or a small person who doesn't take a full seat?

No. Open seating cannot guarantee that two people will be able to sit together. In addition, we must treat the smaller person (despite willingness or personal relationship) as a valued Customer who deserves the use of a full seat. Most importantly, we have to consider the safety aspect of the family member whose movement (especially in the event of an emergency) could be compromised if encroached on by a large seatmate.
This one is a little perplexing to me.  Feels a little obstinate, but whatever.  This last one is my favorite because it is them trying to walk the finest of lines:

Overall, the experience was great and made the air bus feel much more comfortable.  If you have a little extra scratch in your budget and a longer flight, this is a great way to splurge even if you aren't a great, big fat person.

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