Friday, March 8, 2024

Southwest Airlines: No fees...but maybe, no seat either?


Here's another one of those stupid ads that uses the "real people being flummoxed by ridiculous rules/questions/policies etc." meme that we've seen a hundred times already, pounding the "we're better because we don't have this stuff" message into our brains over and over again- a message we GET ten seconds in but for some reason are subjected to for a full minute Because We Dumb.

Setting aside the fact that nobody with two functioning brain cells would believe for one moment that these are Real People Not Wannabee Actors following a script, let's talk about Southwest Airlines' "No Hidden Fees" claim for a moment, shall we?

It's true that Southwest Airlines won't charge you for an ice cube.  Neither will any other airline, but whatever.  It's also true that Southwest Airlines won't charge you for trying to sit wherever you want on the plane.  That's not because Southwest Airlines is "nice," it's because Southwest Airlines is CHEAP and leaves the fighting over seats to you and your fellow passengers.  Like walking down an aisle trying to find an empty seat is superior to just going to the one you know is waiting for you.  Please.  

But I wonder why we don't see one of these "actors" being told that they are so fat that they are spilling into someone else's seat, and need to buy another seat rather than commit second degree assault on a fellow passenger.  Because Southwest Airlines has a "Passenger of Size" policy in which a (let's use the current preferred terminology) "Person in a Larger Body" may be given a free extra seat (or even TWO  free extra seats) if they are too big to fit in one.  They can either request this seat in advance, or pay for an extra seat(s) and then get a refund after the flight.  

Why don't you mention this in the ad, Southwest Airlines?  Is it because this policy has actually lead you to BOOT PEOPLE OFF YOUR FLIGHTS in order to make room for- um- "People in Larger Bodies?"  Like the family mentioned in the story linked below?  

Personally, when I rent a seat on a plane I only expect two things, and neither is a free ice cube:  I expect every inch of the space I rent, and I expect to have that seat ready for me and only me when I arrive at the airport.  Southwest Airlines guarantees neither.  And I can tell you right now- a free ice cube isn't going to cut it as compensation when I'm sitting at the gate waiting for another flight because Southwest Airlines has a policy which favors someone who had to ask for two seatbelt extenders.  

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