Lord knows I love a good celebrity fight, but it would have taken a lot to convince me that Southwest Airlines would wear boxing gloves in such a situation. The corporate social media darling was attacked this weekend by a not-so-silent Kevin Smith after an incident on a Southwest plane.
As stated on Smith’s blog and in the Southwest public response, Smith had purchased two tickets to accommodate his heftier-than-average stature. But when he decided to hop on an earlier flight that only had one available seat, he was asked to leave the place for taking up more space than one seat allotted. Southwest claimed he was asked to leave for “safety reasons.”
In true John Mayer fashion, Smith took to his Twitter account and personal blog to lash out at the airlines stating, “I know I’m fat. The point of all this? I’m not too fat for Southwest Air, yet someone deemed me so. *sigh*”
He then went on to share his version of the lackluster Southwest apology—which received only 1 ½ stars out of five by Southwest blog readers—and concluded with this:
“Southwest, I appreciate you refunding my airfare. But if you’re not gonna admit I wasn’t Too Fat To Fly, then I’ll cover it. But, folks? Tomorrow? Let’s Tweet about other stuff, shall we? This is starting to taste mediciney and fruitless.”
It’s tough to choose sides when both seem to be somewhat wrong. On one hand, Southwest handled the situation poorly without compassion for the person—had it been a non-celeb, I would have felt the same. But here they knew they were dealing with a loud-mouth celebrity and they tried to sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, Smith threw a tantrum all over cyberspace (although, it’s hard for me to blame him). While I certainly would have been upset had I been in his shoes, he was well aware that he required additional seating, which he had purchased on his original flight. Flying standby shouldn’t have been an exception.
The important lesson to learn from this is that the Internet has essentially given a loudspeaker microphone to all consumers. While this incident received far more mainstream coverage because a celebrity was involved, consumer-service businesses have all the more reason to up their customer service game.
What do you think? In battle Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines, who won?