Three hundred pound Matthew Harper was boarding a Southwest flight from Chicago to Denver when an attendant told him that the flight had been booked. Harper was also asked if he knew of the airline’s “customer of size” policy, which requires customers to fit within the seventeen inches allowed per seat.
Harper stated that he knew of the policy and that there was an extra seat between him and his brother. After thirty minutes, he was finally able to board the plane.
“I felt like a criminal.” Harper said, “When I got back on the plane, only thing I could do was put my head down.”
Two other men, larger than Harper, were never questioned. He found offense and confusion in being singled out.
Harper is a regular flyer on Southwest, working on various electrical projects around the country. The 300-pound man said that even before he had lost weight, his size was never questioned.
“I just want to explain what I can and can’t do,” said the attendant, according to Harper, “I can yank you off this plane right now.’”
The issue of weight has become increasingly important, especially since Somoa decided to charge for tickets by weight and not seat, which is rich coming from an airline that shares its name with a Girl Scout cookie.
Harper filed a complaint with Southwest and was offered $100 in compensation for his insult. He refused to accept and hired an attorney to discuss negotiations with Southwest.