I don't like talking about things that are playing out in the courts, but once they are over, I figure it's fair game.
If you've picked up a paper lately, or read your news online, you've likely heard about the woman who brought suit against Southwest Airlines claiming racial discrimination. Southwest responded that while the situation may not have been handled as well as it might have been, the employees involved were merely trying to follow a company policy, and that race was not a factor.
What's the situation? Southwest's "Person of Size" policy. The policy requires anyone who cannot sit in the seat, with the arm rests in the down position, to purchase a second seat. If the flight is not sold out, and the purchased seat would have gone vacant, the price is refunded to the passenger.
After hearing the evidence, the jury agreed that there was no racial discrimination, and ruled in favor of Southwest.
Setting aside the issue of race, since the jury ruled that was not a factor in the policy, I'm trying to decide how I feel about the "Person of Size" policy.
As a flight attendant, I have certainly heard complaints from people in seats that were encroached by the passenger in an adjacent seat. It is difficult to be sensitive in handling the matter and balance all competing interests graciously.
As a passenger traveling on a pass, I have been the person put in that seat, and have been squashed to the point of having virtually no room. Since I'm traveling for free, I guess I really shouldn't complain.
How are the rights of individuals (in purchasing the right to be transported from Point A to Point B) balanced? Does this policy discriminate against people of size?