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Kevin Smith & His Not So 'Silent Bob' Tweets About Southwest Airlines

Since the viral rant of "United Airlines Breaks Guitars" hit the airwaves last year, no other airline has caught as much negative press in Twitterville. That was prior to the boarding of a plane by the heavy-weight director Kevin Smith of "Clerks" and "Dogma" fame. With his frenzied condemnation of Southwest Airlines this past weekend, once again it shows how an airline brand can be demonized with a few simple tweets (well maybe not "a few," because as a result of this controversial director's girth, he has tweeted close to a hundred times in the last 24 hours).

Southwest, known for its economy pricing, ease of check-in and surviving the economic down-turn better than most other airlines might have rethought its customer service techniques during its recent short hop from Oakland to Burbank.

Being "too wide to fly" is a delicate matter that many airlines grapple with, much to the embarrassment of some of its weight-challenged passengers. Seat-belt extenders and charging for two seats instead of one are just a few of the methods to address the issue.  But perhaps Captain Leysath should have taken a few extra classes in diplomacy before he had his flight attendant deem the famed director a "safety risk."



To which Smith tweeted back in indignation



And then similar to the infamous Dave Carroll's "United Airlines Breaks Guitars" model of criticizing a well-known brand, Smith has announced his decision to mount a Twitter campaign to expose the shortcomings daily on Twitterville's tarmac for all to see.



Jay & Silent BobJay & Silent Bob

Southwest, in turn trying to mitigate damages offered Smith a "heartfelt apology" on its Nuts about Southwest blog, with an entry titled "Not So Silent Bob,"in reference to the mute character Smith has made popular in several of his movies.



Obviously the $100 voucher was too little too late to abate further outrage from Mr. Smith, but from the airlines' perspective their policy is such that "if a timely exit from the aircraft (is required) in the event of an emergency, (the airline) might be compromised if they allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement." (The airlines full policy on "Customer of Size" can be found here).

Some find it a little coincidental that this incident has been blown out of proportion right around the time that Smith is releasing his new movie "Cop Out" starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Might this be a publicity stunt at the expense of the airlines? Smith has already shown what some have called his 'unhealthy' addiction to Twitter in the past. Last Fall, @ThatKevinSmith on September 7th announced that he would tweet for 24 consecutive hours, in an attempt to draw attention to his latest book,"Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith."
 
According to the press release issued at the time, Smith noted:  “This is not news at all. In fact, it’s kinda stupid. But I wanna see if I can do it. I’ve been training for this my whole life, simply by being a lazy fat-ass who’d rather stare at a screen than better himself with a brisk constitutional. Someone asked what my training regiment is gonna be, and I told them I’ve already stockpiled lots of Count Chocula.”

So while his new movie hits theaters soon, Smith's next career move is to secure a few guest spots on a couple of talk shows, the likes of Jon Stewart. Once that gig is booked, he will challenge Southwest to bring a row of seats on to the TV show for him to prove he can fit into them.

So...next move is your Southwest Airlines!


If United Airlines is any case study to follow, my suggestion is that the Southwest crew move swiftly to counter the attacks made against them. Otherwise, taking off from the Twitterville tarmac runway in the future might not be flying with as many passengers...at least  not those that are packing the lbs.

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Ron Callari
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Comments
Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

To Fat to Fly and extra cheese with my whopper.

I say this, as a frequent flyer I am tired of being squeezed to death by people that are just to fat to fit in the seat. And what if their were an emergency that required an evacuation? Take a situation where the plane crashed and were on fire, what would be the chance that I could get or squeeze out? You know what, I applaud Southwest and any airline that has the courage to stand up for passage safety and comfort. BRAVO I say!

Screw the fatties. I have rights and am entitled to comfort as well and need not to be subjected to hours of total discomfort and unless you've been in that position before you have no idea how uncomfortable it is; it sucks.

If it's such a big deal maybe there's a opportunity here for someone like Sir Richard Branson to start up a new airline catering to the physically overwhelmed and name it honkers or moo moos and the cart can roll down the isle with Whoppers and Donuts; it would be heaven in the skies! But please, speare me the bleeding hearts, I don't need to be stuck sitting next to these people and subjected to their poor life choices. After all, did anybody give me a choice when I booked my seat? Was there a non-fatty option when booking? NO!

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Really?

Isn't this the same guy who told a story on talk shows about being so fat he broke the toilet in his own comic book store?

This is a total publicity stunt. He's a jerk and Southwest is correct. Period!

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Southwest should be more diplomatic

They could have offered him a seat in 1st class as those are larger. They also could have offered a first class upgrade on the next flight out. I am all for safety, but you have to handle it discreetly in the right way.

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Re: Southwest should be more diplomatic

Anonymous, you're just as clueless as Mr. Smith. Southwest Airlines is a regional service that is essentially an aerial bus line: There are no seating classes. You either fit in the standard seats, or you don't. Sorry for being so undiplomatic about my assessment of you!

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Way Fat

The SW crew also offered to throw water on him until they could drag him back into the ocean.

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Way Too Porked

I've seen people like this have to back into the toilet because they couldn't walk in and turn around. They are also a major safety hazard should an emergency evacuation be required. Not to mention having to sit in an adjacent seat to one of these behemoths! They wreak of Big Macs and their sweaty folds drape over the armrest and onto your body. And when the doze off all control is lost and their blubber spills into and over every unused space.

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Just Throwing It Out There...

Kevin Smith will be the first to tell you that he's a "press whore."

Feb 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Lol @ haters

What a buncha whiners. If you don't like where you are sitting you can always trade seats. I've done that before when I was seated by a smoker who smelled like an ashtray. If he fit in his seat with the armrests down as the policy states then they violated their own policies. End of story.

Feb 16, 2010
by Anonymous

On the captain's head

First of all, as far as this being a publicity stunt, Kevin said it himself; this is the one movie where he doesn't need any more publicity. It's a Bruce Willis movie, he's not going to have a box office problem.

Second, he already had an extra seat for purely his and Jenn's comfort, so their decision to wait until the entire plane was boarded and then deboard him in front of 'an audience' shows just how SWA botched this. If they'd done it more discreetly, and not waited until they were completely ready to leave the gate, he wouldn't have been so pissed. In his shoes, I'd have been vocally pissed myself.

As for the 'anti-fatties' folks, grow up. For one thing, the smaller commuter planes are so narrow a 150lb person is cramped in them. Suggesting that the problem with cramped seating in airplanes is entirely on the head of the overweight population is pretty stupid. They are also in the middle of a big study on whether insufficient leg room on planes is leading frequent travelers to have more circulatory issues (i.e. aneurysm). The average weight keeps increasing in the US, and the level of activity has actually not decreased significantly in the last 40 years. An upside down 'nutritional pyramid', and a plethora of high-carb inexpensive food is the primary cause. But until it's dealt with, and people have the knowledge and food budget to eat better, you can't just ship all the 'big people' off to an island somewhere.

Feb 16, 2010
by Anonymous

Strictly Publicity Stunt

Smith, you need to get a life! You're now obviously just trying to get publicity from this. If you don't like the policy, go on a diet.