Is Greed Behind the Airlines?
Marty McLaughlin, left, and Andrea Kysar, second from left, were told
they were too big to board a Southwest Airlines flight. They took a long bus
ride home with Kysar's husband and daughter. (ABCNEWS.com)
N E W Y O R K, July
- A New Mexico family was left
behind in Indianapolis when Southwest Airlines' employees decided some members
were too big to board the plane.
Airline's Size Policy Sparks
Marty McLaughlin and his sister
Andrea Kysar said they knew about Southwest's policy requiring some large
customers to buy two tickets, but they say they were told it wouldn't be a
problem for them.
Kysar said she called a customer service
representative at Southwest weeks before the flight. She gave the woman she
spoke with information about her height, weight and those she would be traveling
with, Kysar said.
"She said, 'well, as long as you're not inconveniencing or
putting out anyone other than your own family, I don't see a problem,'" said
Kysar on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
Kysar took a Southwest flight, with her
husband, brother and daughter, from their home in New Mexico to Indianapolis for
a family memorial last week. On the way back, however, they were told they would
have to purchase additional tickets because of their size. McLaughlin and Kysar,
who took a 30-hour bus ride back to Albuquerque, have indicated they plan a
lawsuit against the airline for alleged discrimination.
Customer of Size
Southwest Airlines issued a statement Thursday, saying the airline
regrets any inconsistency in the application of its Customer of Size policy. The
policy requires the purchase of two tickets if the customer tends to spill over
into their neighbor's seat. Southwest spokesperson Beth Harbin said the family
should have been required to buy extra tickets before they left New
"We should have required the purchase of
the extra seats on the original flight as well," Harbin said. "I think the agent
was trying to work from her heart and work with them noting the circumstances
but really, it's the consistency of the policy that's the key here." The
siblings, who traveled to Indianapolis for their recently deceased mother's
memorial, say airline employees informed them they couldn't get on the plane
just as they were about to board.
"I would never dream in all my life of
bringing anybody anywhere, even right across New York in a cab, if I didn't
intend to bring them back home," McLaughlin said.
The airline gave the siblings a refund
for the tickets they didn't use for the return flight.
came under fire last month for charging overweight passengers for two tickets if
they spill over into their neighbor's seat. Other airlines have similar policies
and Southwest's Customer of Size policy has been in place since 1980.
Story and photo courtesy
back to MAM