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Southwest to Accommodate Plus Sized Passengers New Policy

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TikTok influencers in the plus-size community are commending Southwest Airlines for its “customer of size” policy, a measure that allows passengers exceeding the armrest boundaries to request an additional seat at no extra charge, even if it results in the reassignment of other ticketed passengers.

In a video shared at the end of October, travel influencer Caroline, who identifies as a size 20, expressed gratitude for the policy, stating, “If you’re fat, you know the anxiety of flying, and this alleviates it a lot.” She recounted having a comfortable flight, feeling empowered to occupy the space she required.

Under the Texas-based airline’s policy, passengers can initially purchase one seat and then discuss their seating needs with a Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. If it’s deemed necessary, an extra seat will be provided free of charge. The airline suggests proactive seat purchases in advance to facilitate planning and recommends contacting them for a refund of the additional seating cost after travel.

Southwest emphasizes the option to purchase extra seats beforehand, indicating that this helps them accommodate passengers without unplanned reassignments, ensuring everyone on board has access to safe and comfortable seating.

Kimmy, a self-described “fat solo traveler,” went viral on TikTok in October by demonstrating how to utilize the customer of size policy. She praised Southwest as the only airline offering a second seat at no additional cost, even on fully booked flights. Kimmy explained her straightforward process at the airline booth, allowing her to preboard, secure a seatbelt extender, and comfortably enjoy her flight with the extra space.

Jae’lynn Chaney, a plus-sized travel expert, lauded Southwest’s policy, especially for accommodating individuals in the “super fat” category. Chaney, who previously advocated for better accommodations for larger passengers, expressed happiness at the inclusive measures taken by Southwest. She hopes more airlines adopt similar “customer-of-size” policies, emphasizing the financial accessibility it provides in addition to physical comfort.

However, not everyone supports the policy. One TikTok user shared her negative experience, claiming she and her teenage daughter and friend were kicked off a Southwest flight in June due to overbooking. The passenger voiced frustration over having to spend the night without accommodations in Baltimore and attributed the situation to an oversized person not purchasing a second ticket. Southwest Airlines’ response, as mentioned in the video, highlighted their commitment to accommodating customers of size, even if it means not charging for extra seats in such instances.