Southwest-Kevin Smith incident highlights lingering issue for airline industry

In its standard approach, Southwest Airlines took to its blog and Twitter to respond to the incident involving director Kevin Smith getting kicked off a flight.

In its standard approach, Southwest Airlines took to its blog and Twitter to respond to the incident involving director Kevin Smith getting kicked off a flight.

Smith was kicked off a flight this past weekend when the airline determined that he would not fit comfortably in the seat, a decision in line with its 25-year-old policy, according to Christi Day's blog post.

The post ran shortly after Smith expressed anger to his 1.5 million-plus Twitter followers. The team apologized via the blog and its own tweets. (Southwest declined to comment directly to PRWeek at this time.)

What's interesting, and perhaps unique in this instance, is that Southwest's individual PR execs, vs. anonymous spokespeople, provided updates and responses.

The incident may not be as much of an issue for Southwest as it is for the industry at large. It spotlights all airlines' less-than-perfect seating policies for overweight customers that risk offending a substantial segment of the American public.

On the flip side, it could do wonders for Smith's Cop Out.

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