What's Your Opinion On This One?


Curiosity
#1
[URLhttp://tinyurl.com/8qwzj[/URL]

Was this "racial"? How can size be racial?

A couple of years ago the FAA put out a notice to passengers across this country that if they were over a certain pound limit physically, or were of a size larger than the regulation seat, they would have to purchase first class (seats larger and more spacious) or pay for two seats for comfort and safety. There was some discussion about provision of larger seat belts as well.

Quote:

Told to buy 2 seats, Exeter woman sues Southwest, claims racial discrimination
By KATHY MCCORMACK
The Associated Press
2 hours, 20 minutes ago

Concord – An African-American woman claims Southwest Airlines unfairly subjected her to its policy requiring large passengers to buy two seats because of her race, a lawyer said yesterday at the start of her federal trial against the airline.

Nadine Thompson of Exeter, president of a cosmetics company, sued Southwest in federal court for discrimination in 2004, saying the company doesn’t uniformly enforce its policy requiring obese passengers to buy two seats.

Thompson, who had flown on Southwest frequently, was on her way to a business conference in Chicago in June 2003 when she boarded her flight at Manchester Airport. Not long after she took a seat in the back of the plane, put the arm rest down and buckled her seat belt, an employee she saw at the check-in counter asked her to get off, Thompson’s lawyer, Neil Osborne, said in opening statements.


Nadine Thompson, president, CEO and co-founder of Warm Spirit Inc. beauty and wellness company in Exeter, is suing Southwest Airlines. (DAVID LANE)
She was told at the plane’s loading bridge she needed to buy a second seat for “her comfort and safety,” Osborne said, even though no one was sitting next to her. At the time, the 5-foot-8-inch Thompson weighed between 300 and 330 pounds, according to court records.

When Thompson asked for an explanation, she didn’t get one. “It was never made clear to her that she was too big to fit in her seat,” Osborne told the six-person jury.

She refused to leave and decided to return to her seat. An employee told her that if she left, Southwest would give her a refund, Osborne said. She declined, but she became increasingly agitated and decided to leave — only to be met outside the plane by a few Southwest employees and two Rockingham County Sheriff’s deputies. At that point, she started yelling at the group, at times using profanity.

“Did you ask me to purchase another ticket because I’m too fat to sit in the seat? Did you ask me to purchase another ticket because I’m a black woman?” Thompson said, according to court records.

Thompson, who got a refund, said she was humiliated and suffered emotional distress. “Southwest just asked me to get off the plane either because I’m too fat or too black or just a woman,” she said to people as she was being led to the ticket counter, according to court records.

Thompson is not challenging the passenger seat policy itself, Osborne said.

“This is not a case about weight discrimination,” he said. “This suit is about the inappropriate application of a policy in a discriminatory manner.”

Garry Lane, a Southwest lawyer, said the airline’s “customer of size” policy, introduced in 2002 in response to “squished customer” complaints and safety concerns about evacuations, wasn’t written clearly at the time. Employees made some mistakes in explaining it, but did not act out of racial bias, he said.

The policy specifically didn’t require Thompson to buy a second seat after she was allowed to board, but employees mistakenly had told her that she had to, Lane said.

“It has to be handled discreetly,” Lane said of the passenger-seat issue. “It’s part of the company’s policy.”

The employees who spoke to Thompson made sure the loading bridge was clear of other customers before they asked her to come out, he said. Also, they had noticed her when she boarded the plane, but found it difficult to judge if she needed to buy another seat without seeing her sit down, he said.

The policy states that a customer of size is someone who can’t sit in a seat without having the armrest raised and is sitting on part of the seat next to him. Lane said the Southwest employees will testify that they saw the armrest up most of the time and that Thompson was sitting on part of the adjacent seat.

Lane said none of the workers ever shouted at Thompson, used profanity or touched her. The deputies, who handle security at the airport, did not handcuff her and helped her make flight arrangements to Chicago via another airline, he said.

Thompson was expected to testify today.

 
DasFX
#2
Just another example of someone playing the race card when things don't get their way; it is sad and pathetic.
 
MMMike
#3
Quote:

Thompson is not challenging the passenger seat policy itself, Osborne said.

“This is not a case about weight discrimination,” he said. “This suit is about the inappropriate application of a policy in a discriminatory manner.”

I have no reason to question her motivations on this one. Its not the rule, but the application of that rule.
 
Curiosity
#4
Thing that sticks in my mind is....

The fact there are so many lawsuits being heard over what is perceived to be "racial"....when in fact there are other concerns to be met.

If there is overt racial abuse, it should be stopped, but people are beginning to turn against these lawsuits - many frivolous - when the "race card" is played. It has become a popular form of making money these days for some and the claim of racial bias is being made suspect itself from overuse.

Although I have met some passenger agents and ticket counter folk who should be fired for their discourtesy to people who cannot speak English and for their size too. Dunno ...I guess it's a high stress job - especially with searches going on.
 
Jay
#5
Who is the racist in this story?
 
missile
#6
I wouldn't want to be in the adjoining seat to her, and it has nothing to do with race..on the other side,if we did crash,she'd make a great safety cushion.
 
farasha1118
#7
has anyone seen the new movie called CRASH,,it's all about racist,,,in our modern world,,,
 
Ten Packs
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by DasFX

Just another example of someone playing the race card when things don't get their way; it is sad and pathetic.


What he said.... right on.
 
zoofer
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by missile

I wouldn't want to be in the adjoining seat to her, and it has nothing to do with race..on the other side,if we did crash,she'd make a great safety cushion.

Unless she comes flying the other way. Actually airplane seats are becoming a smidge larger in recognition of the general population expanding in size. The "racist" charge is still very effective despite it's frivolous use in trivial cases.
All passengers should go through a **** measuring machine similar to the baggage xray scanners.
 
Curiosity
#10
Missile

You are assuming you would fall on her....not the other way around.

300 pounds could squish a good man.
 
Jo Canadian
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

Who is the racist in this story?

Good question. Who is the real racist here? The one trying to use the Race excuse? Or the airlines, who according to thier accuser is saying that all Black People must be Obese?

The race card is more useful when it's a Legitimate racial issue.
 
Sassylassie
#12
I would of found the entire event very humiliating. On the other side of the coin, what about those of us who don't need an entire seat, my feet don't even reach the floor of the air craft. If they are going to charge a larger person for an extra seat why can't I get a re-bate for my small stature. I usually end up setting beside someone who lifts the arm rest and takes the extra space I don't use.
 
#juan
#13
Wednesday's Child

Hi

I shortened the URL in your topic header. The long URL causes terrific side scroll. Those of us with Mozilla Firefox would really think it would be great if you checked out http://tinyurl.com
 
Curiosity
#14
Thankx Juan

I saw you had done the deed for another poster...and realized mine was way too long as well.

I haven't mastered the TinyURL thing even after you tried to teach it to us years ago....

Will keep trying....

This is awful but too bad there aren't "Tiny Urls" for derrieres and aircraft flying.... :P
 
I think not
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Sassylassie

I would of found the entire event very humiliating. On the other side of the coin, what about those of us who don't need an entire seat, my feet don't even reach the floor of the air craft. If they are going to charge a larger person for an extra seat why can't I get a re-bate for my small stature. I usually end up setting beside someone who lifts the arm rest and takes the extra space I don't use.

Dido
 
Curiosity
#16
Sassy

One of my sisters is a little squirt....she is always getting crowded out..... She has started carrying a small open box of Kleenex (or any other brand)....onto an aircraft with her..... she uses some while people are waiting to board so they think she probably has some kind of awful cold or virus...hehe... it has worked to her advantage quite a few times and she is alone on either side when flights are light.
 
TenPenny
#17
This woman obviously never watched "Airline" on A&E....if you did, you'd assume that on every single Southwest flight, there's at least one drunk moron, one single mother with a kid who missed the announcement, and one obese person who doesn't want to pay extra.
 
Curiosity
#18
Update on this case

[quote]
Passenger said encounter with Southwest left her feeling agitated and scared
By KATHY MCCORMACK
The Associated Press
10 hours, 13 minutes ago

Concord – Because of a security equipment breakdown at the airport, Nadine Thompson missed her Southwest Airlines flight to a Chicago business conference. A customer service worker found another way for her to get there, but she needed to board quickly.

She noticed another employee at the desk was looking at her, it seemed to her with contempt, but that person didn’t address her. She hurried to her gate at Manchester Airport, Thompson testified in federal court yesterday.

When she got on the plane, Thompson noticed that most of the seats were taken. She took an aisle seat in the back, buckling her seatbelt and putting down the armrest. An employee, a man, came on the plane and asked her to meet him on the jetway. She did so, thinking that either Southwest had a better flight for her or there was some emergency involving her family. Instead, she testified, she was told she needed to buy a second seat for her comfort and safety.


Nadine Thompson, president, CEO and co-founder of Warm Spirit Inc. beauty and wellness company in Exeter, is suing Southwest Airlines. (DAVID LANE)
That’s when Thompson, a successful cosmetics company CEO from Exeter who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Southwest, started to feel uncomfortable.

She said she asked the man several times to explain why she needed to buy the second seat; he kept saying it was for her comfort and safety. She told the worker she was going to return to her seat and do nothing unless he could give her a reason to buy a second one.

As she headed back in, she recalled hearing about a Southwest policy applying to obese passengers. “I thought, ‘There’s no way they could be talking about me,’” Thompson testified about the June 2003 incident. A frequent flier on Southwest, she had never been approached about buying a second seat.

Thompson, who according to court records is 5-foot-8 and weighed between 300 and 330 pounds at the time, was approached by the worker again. He said, “‘If you get off the flight right now, I’ll refund you your ticket,’” she testified.

“I was kind of startled,” she said. “‘Why are you harassing me like this?’” The man didn’t say anything and walked off the plane, she said.

By now, Thompson said, she was feeling agitated and scared. “It was clear to me that this wasn’t over. Something else was going to happen.”

She felt that she shouldn’t stay on the plane and that Southwest didn’t want her there. “God’s telling me to go home. Something’s wrong here,” she recalled.

When she walked off, she saw the man and several other Southwest workers, along with two armed sheriff’s deputies, right outside the plane. They were talking about her.

“What have I done?” she asked. One of the workers said she had been told to buy the extra ticket. A deputy said that the sheriff’s department, which handles security for the airport, is called by airlines to assist with removing passengers from planes.

When Thompson kept demanding an explanation, asking if she was being targeted because she’s black, a woman or fat, another worker started telling her to keep her voice down, she testified. This worker behaved like a bully, very confrontational and aggressive, Thompson said, and she decided to stand up to him, admitting that she used profanity.

She asked the workers for their names; the one she had been arguing with said they didn’t have to give names. “I said, ‘Only racist cowards don’t give me their names,’” Thompson testified. “‘You might as well have a sheet over your head.’”

Eventually, she went back to the Southwest counter and was given a refund. The deputies were with her; she eventually started to weep and one assisted her, helping her get on a United Airlines flight. She was charged for one seat.

Thompson said she later called Southwest’s corporate office in Texas. A customer service representative apologized for what happened, said the employees didn’t follow procedures and offered her $350 in gift certificates.

The incident left her humiliated, Thompson said, and she has been seeing a psychologist to deal with her feelings.

On cross-examination, Garry Lane, a lawyer representing Southwest, recalled a deposition from Thompson saying she didn’t pay much attention to the male co-worker as she was getting her new flight arrangements. When asked why she didn’t describe his look of contempt at the time, Thompson said she wasn’t asked about it.

Southwest’s policy states that a “customer of size” is someone who can’t sit in a seat without having the armrest raised and is sitting on part of the adjacent seat. In his opening statement, Lane said Southwest employees will testify that they saw the armrest up most of the time and that Thompson was sitting on part of the vacant seat next to her.

Thompson, who said she doesn’t consider herself a customer of size, isn’t challenging the policy in court; rather, she claims, it allows any random employee to operate “in a discriminatory way about that policy,” she testified.

Lane asked her if it’s possible that the employees made an honest misjudgment of her size that day. Thompson said no.

“So, it had to be racism?” Lane asked.

“Yes,” Thompson said. [/quote
 
Doryman
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Jay

Who is the racist in this story?


Cripes, that's annoying. I hate the way people use the race card in every. situation. possible. lately. "Racism" is fast becoming the "Witchcraft" of the late 20th century! We've been so conditioned to be afraid of being racist or seeming racists, that modern-day Cotton Mather's can simply call "Racist" and we'll all fold. And any allegation of racism, no matter how ludicrous, will follow a person (or company) forever, and taint everything they do with doubt and suspicion. Accusing someone of racism is a serious act, and it bothers me when I see it used in such a petty way.

And it's obviously a way for her to get pity or money, probably both. I have the feeling that if an employee straight-out told her she needed to buy a new seat because she was fat, she be filing a lawsuit because she was harassed because of her weight. People like this need to be told by those with common sense to smarten up and stop complaining.


And how does a 330 pound person not consider themselves a "person of size"? That's pretty damn sizable!
 
TenPenny
#20
Yup, 5ft8, 330 lbs, but she doesn't consider herself a person of size. If I was that size, and I was asked to buy a second seat, sure enough, the first thing I'd think of is racism.
 
manda
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Sassylassie

I would of found the entire event very humiliating. On the other side of the coin, what about those of us who don't need an entire seat, my feet don't even reach the floor of the air craft. If they are going to charge a larger person for an extra seat why can't I get a re-bate for my small stature. I usually end up setting beside someone who lifts the arm rest and takes the extra space I don't use.

Hey I'm with you...When I flew to Vancouver a couple of years ago...my son and I should have only had to pay for a total of one seat
 
Sassylassie
#22
Manda, I use to live in Victoria and I had to travel several times a year to Halifax, yikes what a long day that was. I hate flying but it is something I have done a great deal of. It terrifies me, there is nothing worse than being on a flight with a chatty seat hogger and the guy in front of you who puts his seat all the way back because he's to big for the seat. I feel like a hot dog. I like the tissue idea. I must admit the complainants height and weight put her over the Body Mass Index I am 5 two and I weigh in at 43 kg.
 

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