A UCF student is using YouTube to slam Southwest Airlines for causing her to suffer “the most humiliating experience” she’s ever had in her adult life.
Athia Choudhury says her miserable experience was spawned after Southwest targeted her for her large size at the gate, forced her to buy two seats to sit in — when she insisted she only needed one — and then forced her to sell back her extra seat once on the plane when another passenger needed it.
Choudhury was outraged because she said that Southwest first insisted she needed two seats for her “safety and comfort” — even though they didn’t have a problem letting her fly in one seat on her first flight, and eventually let her fly with one seat on her way home.
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“They were just using the socially acceptable fat-hating norms to reinforce their institutionalized policies in order to maximize their profits and gains,” Choudhury said in her YouTube video, which has landed on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel and collected nearly 8,000 views.
Southwest apologized because its policy wasn’t properly implemented in this case and gave her a voucher, but in her video Choudhury said she’d never fly the airline again. Southwest also defends its policy on its website.
“We could no longer ignore complaints from customers who traveled without full access to their seat due to encroachment by a large seatmate whose body extended into the neighboring seat,” the airline website states. “These customers had uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) travel experiences, and it is our responsibility to seek resolution to prevent this problem.”
The airline points out that its controversial policy has been upheld in court and by the US DOT.
Read the transcript Choudhury posted of her video message on the next page below.