Plus-size travelers are drawing new attention to Southwest Airlines’ “customer size” policy on TikTok

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Recent social media posts have drawn new attention to Southwest Airlines’ “customer volume” policy.



CNN

Southwest Airlines’ long-standing “customer volume” policy is generating new chatter, thanks to viral TikTok videos and… Media coverage Surrounding efforts to push other airlines to offer seating policies for passengers who do not fit comfortably in today’s cramped airline seats.

Politicswhich Southwest says has been around for more than 30 years, allows travelers to purchase additional seats before traveling and refund the cost of those additional seats after travel is completed.

Southwest encourages passengers to purchase additional seats in advance to help the airline plan the number of seats occupied and “to ensure that we can accommodate all customers on the flight for which they have purchased a ticket and avoid requiring customers to give up their seats for an unplanned stay.” “, says the policy.

Passengers can also speak with a customer service agent at the departure gate without purchasing more space in advance to obtain free additional seats.

TikTok video posted by user @KimmystyledWhich shows a passenger asking to use the policy at the departure gate, and has been viewed nearly a million times since it was published in October. Southwest’s policy is unusual among U.S. airlines.

“This should be the industry standard,” the post says. “Aviation is a public means of transport and should be made more comfortable and accessible for all people including obese and disabled people.” CNN tried to reach out @Kimmystyled But I did not receive any response immediately.

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Many commenters expressed their support and thanked the poster for spreading the policy while others questioned the free seat. “I think you should get a seat for a lower fee, but I’m 6’7 and I’m paying for extra legroom,” one wrote.

Jacob Ard

Jae’lynn Chaney wants all U.S. airlines to “prioritize the comfort and well-being of all passengers.”

Jaylen Chaney He agrees that the industry needs to be more inclusive of plus-size travelers. Chaney, a plus-size travel expert and content creator based in Vancouver, Washington, I started a petition In April, he called for a federal mandate requiring all airlines to have a “comprehensive customer volume policy that prioritizes the comfort and well-being of all passengers.”

The petition received about 3,000 new signatures this week, as recent TikTok videos related to Southwest’s policy received more attention, Chaney told CNN Travel. About 40,000 signatures had been collected as of midday on Friday.

Chaney said she has heard countless stories of people who “stopped traveling because they were afraid of how they would be treated because of their size.”

“I would still like to see policies like Southwest Airlines’ customer volume policy implemented across the board,” Chaney said, adding that she has been speaking to teams of U.S. lawmakers to push for legislation that would require airlines to have customer volume policies.

While some airlines list their policies on their websites, Alaska Airlines is the only other U.S. airline to make an offer, she said. Customer volume policy Which approaches from the southwest. Alaska requires the purchase of additional refund-eligible seats after travel if all of a passenger’s flights depart with an open seat.

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Chaney would like to see something like this Canada “One person, one fare” The requirement, which government documents say applies to passengers who “suffer functional impairment due to obesity,” has been passed in the United States.

At a minimum, it wants every airline to be required to post its customer size policy on its website. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they all need to offer free second seats, but we need to at least have the information to navigate between different airlines,” said Chaney, who with her partner organizes trips and resorts tailored to accommodate people. In larger bodies and those with mobility challenges.

Chaney said there were mixed reactions to her invitation.

“I think there’s a societal perception that fat people don’t deserve to travel,” Chaney said.

“The travel industry, you know, was very exclusive and not inclusive of us, and it was an area where we didn’t feel comfortable, and now I’m really trying to change that.”

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