Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Southwest Scuttles Plans to Charge Passengers by the Pound

An unfortunate mishap with a famous overweight director has caused Southwest Airlines to shelve plans to offer reduced prices to skinny passengers.

The proposal, now in the dustbin of bad ideas along with New Coke, John Edwards' decision to allow Rielle Hunter to produce videos about his campaign and Napoleon's invasion of Russia, would have charged an extremely low base fare for the first 125 pounds for women and 170 pounds for men. Every additional pound would have added fifty cents, or $5 for every 10 pounds, up to the cost of a second seat.

According to an individual involved in drafting the proposal, Southwest was hoping it would appeal to slender people -- who, in fact, cause less fuel consumption due to their lower weights.

They had also been in talks with Weight Watchers to create an incentive program for frequent fliers hoping to lose weight, with free Weight Watchers meals thrown in if they could show a minimum three pound weight loss from the prior flight.

However, the recent highly publicized ejection of Kevin Smith, director of Clerks, Chasing Amy and Zach and Miri Make a Porno, after being seated on the plane, has caused Southwest to discard the proposal. Smith, who admits he is overweight, buys two seats when he flies, however he opted to fly on an earlier flight in which only one seat was available. He was forced to leave the plane despite protesting that he was able to lower both armrests and that his purchase of a second seat was out of dislike of other people and not necessity.

Asked to comment, a former executive for a rival airline company to Southwest said that the proposal ignored reality. "Forcing people to step on the scale typically reserved for baggage then telling them they're 40 pounds overweight would not have gone over well with 99 percent of the population that lies about their weight," said the executive. "And can you imagine the scandal it would have caused with celebrities? Records on how much celebrities actually weigh would be leaked faster than confidential medical information at the UCLA hospital."

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