Famously too-fat-to-fly guy Kevin Smith had more plane trouble recently, and after sopping up his gravy tears with some leftover biscuits, he sat his tubby ass down in an orthopedic swing and hammered out an angry blog. Long story short, he checked in an hour before his flight and even used a concierge service, but when he showed up to his gate at JFK, Virgin America employee “Manny” wouldn’t let him board. Smith complained that the plane was still attached to the jetway and that his wife needed medication that was in the plane’s baggage hold, but to no avail. This just in: people who work at airports are A-holes.
Manny wouldn’t give me his last name; he said he didn’t have to. I said it was unfair, as he had my name (and home address!); he insisted two more times that he didn’t have to furnish me with his last name (Erwin did, however). The pair then looked to book us on the next flight out – which had no first class available.
It didn’t matter: at that point, I knew I’d never spend another dime on anything Virgin-related ever again.
Was it Manny Shyamalan? He’s probably still pissed no one liked Last Airbender.
[Update] Unlike Southworst, @VirginAtlantic seems to care: lovely, apologetic email, full refund for flight, free tix offer – all before I’ve landed. I appreciate the gesture/effort.
As for why he only showed up to the gate eight minutes early, Smith explained that being the world’s most famous air complainer has its downside:
And the next three flights I took, it was the same. Even worse: when you fly first, you board first, sit down… and then EVERYONE files past you. And when you’re the Too Fat To Fly guy on a plane? Well, everyone stares. Then the whispering starts. A hundred people look right at you – when you’re not on a stage. It kinda blows.
But Affleck told me that when he flies, he uses a concierge service: a company that works with the airport and each airlines. Their job is to get you to the plane on time, but not when boarding begins; that way, you don’t have to play the Elephant Man for passengers passing you en route to their seats.
Essentially, you board last. The entire service is designed to get you to the plane door shortly before the door closes.
So that’s why I got to the door ten minutes before the flight: because I was told to by a professional who’s been working JFK for years. It didn’t matter; The gate agents made up their minds to lose Virgin some business. [KevinSmith]
I like to rip on Kevin Smith for being fat, but really, it’s a shame that the combination of illogically-regulated air travel, apathetic customer service, and Twitter have turned us all into an unholy combination of Grandpa Simpson and a Japanese teen. “I haven’t experienced such contumelious behavior since the battle of Antietam! I shall now fire off an indignant Tweet on my Hello Kitty webcam. You will rue the day, sirs.”