Trials & Litigation
Weight-Loss Blogger Sues Southwest Airlines over ‘Customers of Size’ Policy
Posted May 10, 2012 8:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A Louisiana blogger who writes about her weight loss struggle has filed a lawsuit asking Southwest Airlines to clarify its “customers of size” policy.
Southwest requires passengers to buy a second seat if they “encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat[s],” Legal Blog Watch reports. "The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width," the policy says.
Kenlie Tiggeman, who now weighs about 280 pounds, says Southwest personnel have twice asked her to buy a second seat, Houma Today reports. The first time, she says, was told she was “too fat to fly.” The second time, she says, she was told, “Well, look at you, obviously you need two seats.” Both times, the employees backed down.
Tiggeman says the airline is inconsistent, since she was allowed to fly at other times without incident. “I want them to make their policy clear,” she told Houma Today. “I have a right to take some of the guesswork out of it.”
Tiggeman filed the suit on April 20 in Lafourche Parish civil court. She is asking the airline to state the rules clearly and deal with obese people “without humiliation, discrimination or embarrassment.” Tiggeman says on her blog she filed the suit pro se, but Houma Today says she is seeking attorney fees. She wants a change in policy rather than damages.
A Southwest spokesperson told Houma Today that the airline trains its employees enforcing the policy “to approach the situation as discreetly as possible.” Any customer asked to buy a second seat will be reimbursed if the flight is not full.