Kevin Smith and Others Shamed into Losing Weight by an Airline
It's been almost a year to the day since director/actor Kevin Smith was involved in high-profile Twitter battle with Southwest Airlines, after being denied from a flight because of his weight. Since then, he has shed a significant number of pounds – and he's not the only flyer who has been inspired to lose weight after an embarassing moment on a plane.
When Smith was removed from the plane (after he was already seated), he ranted angrily at the airline: "So, @SouthwestAir, go f**k yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no "safety risk" (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?).."
Although @SouthwestAir responded directly (and publicly) to Smith during the frenzy, it appeared to be too late to placate the disgruntled star, who claims to this day that he has never been given an official explanation from the airline as to why he was taken off the flight from Oakland to Burbank.
So, @SouthwestAir, go f**k yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no "safety risk" (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was
"The @SouthwestAir Diet. How it works: you're publicly shamed into a slimmer figure. Crying the weight right off has never been easier!" he tweeted on February 13, 2010.
But after endless media coverage, plenty of late-night show jokes and wisecracks from Smith himself, there has been a silver lining to the debacle: major weight loss.
12 months after the disagreement, Smith spoke to Joy Behar and admitted that the embarrassment over the flight scenario proved to be a key role in his losing 65 pounds.
"I was in my seat, buckled up, my armrests were down, and they still pulled me off the plane. And because I look like I do, they were like, 'Well, fat people should buy two seats, shouldn't they? And the whole Thin World was like 'Yea they should!'.... and it wasn't even the case. They pulled me off the plane, even though I was fitting in it, for a reason that still, to this day they haven't made clear."
The admission from Smith begs the question – does "air travel shame" sometimes serve as a catalyst for heavier plane passengers to lose weight?
Former flight attendant Beth Blair attests to the power of strapping into airline seats, and how it can influence people to shape up.
"When I was a flight attendant I met a lady who instead of watching the scale, determined her weight loss success by her seat belt extension (she carried her own)," Blair says.
"She traveled frequently and was so embarrassed by her size, especially when on the plane. I was working the flight when she discovered she no longer need the extension (she started hitting the flight attendant call button out of excitement). It was quite an exciting moment."
Neshon Davis, a Cost Accounting Representative at Herbalife International, has also experienced in-flight humiliation and a subsequent weight loss.
"I discovered that I could not fit in the seat comfortably, and then I realized the seatbelt did not fit me; it simply would not go around my waist. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to cry, but I didn't want anyone to know. So I put my sweater over my lap and hoped no one would notice," she says.
"Upon my return home, feeling ashamed of my airplane experience I decided to do something about my weight."
She became involved with Herbalife products, went down in eight clothing sizes, and now even works for the weight loss supplement company.
Although not all air travelers have the same level of caché as Kevin Smith, in his recent television interview with Joy Behar he made it clear that being heavy on an airplane means being judged by those around you.
"Because I was heavier... you know, you're profiled," Smith stated.
"I was just a consumer that a company f-ed with."
And while the debate rages on regarding airline policies and etiquette with regard to overweight passengers, it certainly appears that Smith has made the most of the situation – and is able to laugh it off a little bit too.
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