places/travel The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions  

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Southwest Airlines has been in the media recently for allegedly booting former star of "The L Word" Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend off a flight for sharing a same-sex kiss. But did you know that Southwest has been crazily overreacting to things for years?

It's true. Most, if not all, of the stories you've heard about celebrities and us ordinary folk getting unnecessarily grounded from flights have been from Southwest Airlines. And these are the tales of discrimination we KNOW about. Who can say how many victims of Southwest's lunacy are out there right now, still huddled together in terminals, altering their clothing or frantically dieting hoping to one day board a flight?

I like to think there is one man sitting high atop an air flight control tower that watches people pass through the metal detectors and holds his thumb out to decide whether people are worthy enough to fly Southwest, gladiator style. Or maybe they only accept resumes from people with a history of mental illness.

Whatever the reason, here are 8 examples of Southwest deciding who and what's acceptable to fly, the only way they know how...rudely and dramatically. Enjoy!

Former "L Word" Star Kicked-off Flight for "Lesbian Behavior"

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Video: YouTube
Leisha Hailey was engaged in a public display of affection with her girlfriend when a flight attendant informed her that such behavior didn't fly with Southwest. "This is a family airline," The attendant is supposed to have said.

Hailey objected immediately to homosexuality being "anti-family," but once a disagreement started, they were asked to leave the plane. Hailey jumped on Twitter right after the incident calling for a boycott of Southwest Airlines for their homophobic behavior.

Southwest has maintained that their decision to confront the ladies was based on "excessive behavior" and not on gender, although they have not made clear what they consider to be "excessive." They also stated that banning from the lesbians from the air was done because "the conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground," enacting the airlines "ground now, ask questions later" policy.

Click here for the full news story.

Kevin Smith Deemed Too Fat to Fly

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Alright, we all know Silent Bob is a big guy, but is he really too big for THE SKY???

While he normally purchases two seats to account for his large frame and ensure his fellow fliers' comfort, Kevin Smith found there was only one seat available on his flight from Oakland to Burbank back in February of 2010. The airline must have thought it was fine, because they asked him to board and showed him to his singular seat. After he made himself comfortable, they then told him his weight was an inconvenience to other passengers, and may even pose a safety risk. He was then asked to leave after he was marched up and down the aisles while thinner passengers shouted "Fatty!" and pelted him with tiny packages of peanuts.

Needless to say, Smith was swelling with rage. He retaliated with a slew of twitter posts ("You [messed] with the wrong sedentary processed-foods eater!") and media rants, even making mention of it during his panel at San Diego Comic Con. Southwest has since given "heartfelt apologies," but maintains his ejection was for the "safety and comfort of all customers." Except fattys.

Read more about this story here.

Toddler Booted for Acting Like a Child

Toddler Booted for Acting Like... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: maessive/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0
I believe there's a law stating that every airplane flight must carry at least one screaming child. So why were Pamela Root and her son asked to leave their seats mid take-off?

Apparently the stewardesses had trouble hearing some of the preflight announcements, a safety risk because they had no f*cking idea what they were doing, causing the pilot to make good on his threats to "turn this plane around."

Mom and child were given a refund and a $300 travel voucher for their humiliation and inconvenience so they could be kicked off more Southwest flights in the f*ture. Their bags flew to their destination quietly and free of charge.

Grieving Sisters Denied Wine and Transportation for Being Sad

Grieving Sisters Denied Wine a... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: TREllisNet/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sisters Ricci Wheatley and Robin Opperman boarded a flight in Burbank, California in tears after learning that their father was about to die in Dallas. While contemplating what would be their last words to their dad, Ricci asked for a glass of wine for what would be a very nerve-wracking flight.

The flight attendant saw her swollen and bloodshot eyes, fresh from crying, and refused to serve her alcohol. What's worse, the attendant made light of the situation to her co worker, saying, "Oh yeah, we’re all nervous fliers, and we all need a drink." The sisters overheard themselves being made fun of and informed the snotty stewardesses that they didn't know a thing about their situation, and to please cease the judgements. They thought that would be the end of the torment until the plane stopped in Oakland, and the pair were escorted off the plane without an explanation.

The attendants were evidently on edge upon learning that their passengers had not only feelings but opinions as well, and had them kicked off the flight. The sisters flew to Dallas the next morning, just in time to say goodbye to their father. Southwest has yet to offer any compensation or admit any wrong doing.

More on this story here.

Billie Joe Armstrong's Pants Too Baggy for Southwest

Billie Joe Armstrong's Pants T... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: steve higgs/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0
While attempting to get to his seat on a Southwest plane, Green day front man Billie Joe Armstrong was stopped by an attendant who was concerned about the level of saggy-ness his trousers were exhibiting. Since he had already passed the inordinate levels of security required to board the flight, Armstrong shirked her remark with a "Don't you have better things to do than worry about than that?"

Apparently, she did not. After she issued a second warning, the 39-year-old singer was ejected from the plane, victim of another Southwest attendant playing Lord of the Air.

Why baggy pants should be a concern for anyone other than the fashion police, I don't know. Even uptight Southwest Airlines apologized and allowed Billie Joe to board the next available flight, pants sagged to his liking.

Southwest Boots Passenger Because of "Risque" Outfit

Southwest Boots Passenger Beca... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: myspomer/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0
I remember when I was in junior high, girls used to have to put their arms to their sides to see if their skirts reached their finger-tips. If the skirt wasn't long enough, you'd be sent home for a less s**tty outfit. I think my former principal is now working for Southwest Airlines, because something very similar happened to Kyla Ebbert when she was pulled from her seat for being "too exposed."

Kyla was wearing the outfit pictured to the left when a flight attendant asked her to step off the plane for a little lesson in modesty. Seriously? I've seen skimpier outfits in church.

The attendant then asked her to change her clothes or take a later flight, for what she was currently wearing was "too provocative" for the "family airline." She was finally allowed to board after she pulled up her top, pulled down her skirt, used a blanket to cover her legs, and returned to her seat in a humiliating fashion.

In true flip-flopping Southwest-style, the same outfit was complimented by a stewardess on her return flight home.

Southwest Overreacts to Political T-Shirt

Southwest Overreacts to Politi... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: Tobyotter/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
In 2005 Laurie Heasely boarded a flight from LAX to Reno wearing a political tee that featured George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Dick Cheney under the phrase "Meet the F*ckers" without any negative reactions. Traveling from Reno to Portland, she found herself stranded due to an ongoing hate-storm after a passenger mentioned to the flight crew that her T-shirt was offensive to right-wingers with no sense of humor.

Apparently all it takes is one person being offended by you to be banned from a flight.

Thanks to one cranky old gentleman, all minorities, women, children, and people wearing the color yellow were also asked to leave.

More on this story here.

Southwest Confuses Weight Discrimination

Southwest Confuses Weight Disc... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 8 Craziest Southwest Airlines Overreactions
Photo: Phillip Kalantzis Cope/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Kevin Smith caused a big stir at Southwest when he was not allowed to fly on his scheduled flight for being too large for one seat. The airline didn't want any more bad press in the fat community, so what does Southwest do when a similar situation arises? Discriminates against skinny people instead. Because they have to screw somebody over!

After she paid in full for her seat, stowed her bags and sat down, a 5'4", 110 pound woman was asked to leave immediately in favor of a larger passenger who needed two spaces to fly safely, even though the late-boarder had only paid for one seat. Is no passenger safe?!

As the holiday season approaches and flights are being booked all across the country, a puzzled nation looks to Southwest for clarity on preflight preparation: should we binge, or should we purge?