Too Heavy to Fly?

Woman says Southwest Airlines employee told her and her mother they were "too fat to fly"

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 12:36 AM CDT
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A traveler says a Southwest Airlines employee told her during a layover at Dallas Love Field that she and her mother were

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

A traveler says a Southwest Airlines employee told her during a layover at Dallas Love Field that she and her mother were "too fat to fly."

A Southwest Airlines passenger who recently shed 120 pounds says she and her mother were humiliated at Dallas Love Field last month for their sizes.

Kenlie Tiggeman told WDSU-TV in New Orleans that she and her mother, Joan Charpentier, were pulled aside during a layover on Easter Sunday.

“I asked him what the weight restrictions were, and he said that he didn't know, just that we were too heavy to fly, too fat to fly,” she said.

Southwest’s "customers of size policy" states that passengers are required to buy a second seat if they can't fit between the armrests, which measure 17 inches across.

Tiggeman said about 100 people at the gate could hear their conversation with the gate agent, which included questions about their weight and what size clothing they wear.

“I know that I have a lot of weight to lose, but I am definitely not too fat to fly," she told WDSU. "I do it all the time, domestically and internationally, and I have never had anyone approach me and particularly, in the way that they did."

A supervisor eventually stepped in and allowed Tiggeman and her mother to board the plane without buying extra seats.

A spokesperson for Dallas-based Southwest declined an interview but said the airline would never tell a customer he or she is too heavy to fly.

Southwest has issued Tiggeman and Charpentier flight vouchers for future travel. Tiggeman said one of the airline's executives saw a blog post she wrote about the experience and wrote her a personal apology.

More: Woman, Mother Told They Were 'Too Fat To Fly'

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