Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines is being celebrated by plus-size influencers and their followers for its generous “customers of size” seat policy.
According to Southwest’s “customer of size” and extra seat policy, “customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel to ensure the additional seat(s) is available”.
However, the policy also states that if a plus-size passenger prefers not to purchase the extra seat, they are allowed an extra seat/s for free at the discretion of airline staff.
The policy reads: “If you prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance, you have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing your seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. If it’s determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, you’ll be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.”
Additionally, those who have already purchased an extra seat on their flight can claim a refund.
Kimmy, a plus-sized influencer who goes by @kimmystyled on TikTok, shared how convenient it is to get an extra seat for free with her 76,000 followers.
“Southwest is the only airline that allows you a second seat at no extra cost even if the flight is FULLY BOOKED,” Kimmy wrote in the caption for her TikTok video.
In the clip, Kimmy approaches Southwest Airlines’ counter and tells the airline employee, “Hi, I’m hoping to use your customer of size policy today.”
The following clips then show Kimmy being processed and given an extra seat on her flight without any questions or fee.
Kimmy also shared some plus-size travel tips for the new ‘customer of size’ policy, stating: “You HAVE to use it at the departing gate when you start your journey. If you don’t use it going out, you can’t use it flying back.”
Kimmy also claimed she had made the request “a dozen times” without issue and has never been denied. She also said that ‘customers of size’ are allowed to pre-board.
The airline has gained a loyal following via its extra seat policy, especially among the plus-sized travelers. Domonique Pugh, a plus-sized traveler, told Fox26 Houston that Southwest is the only airline she takes when traveling.
“If I can’t get there with Southwest, I don’t travel. Because it takes away the anxiety for me. We [plus size travelers] face a lot of discrimination on flights. Nasty looks, people saying rude things. If we’re able to be comfortable, and we’re not putting anyone else out, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it [ the customer size policy].”
According to Southwest, its ‘customer of size’ policy has been in place for more than 30 years.