Man Kicked Off Flight For Weight Gears Up For Legal Battle With Southwest Airlines

Nathan Francis

A man kicked off a flight for his weight is ready to take his beef with Southwest Airlines to court.

Matthew Harper was set to take a flight from Chicago to Denver on Sunday but was abruptly told to leave the plane. Harper said it was because of his weight.

"I'm 34 years old, and I've never been humiliated like this in my life. I mean, when I got back on the plane, only thing I could do was put my head down," Harper said.

The 340-pound man said he was kicked off the flight for his weight, made to leave in front of other passengers waiting to board, and told that the flight was overbooked. An official with Southwester then asked Harper if he knew about the airline's "customer of size" policy that encourages overweight passengers to buy an additional seat for their flight.

Harper said he did know about the policy but thought it would be all right because there was an unoccupied seat between him and his brother. The airline officials eventually relented and let him back on the flight but not before 30-minute delay and the embarrassment of being marched out before all the other passengers.

Southwest Airlines isn't alone in asking larger customers to pay more for air travel. Samoa Air announced recently that it will start charging passengers by the kilogram --- a total weight that includes their baggage.

The company noted:

"We at Samoa Air are keeping airfares fair, by charging our passengers only for what they weigh. You are the master of your Air'fair', you decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost. No more exorbitant excess baggage fees, or being charged for baggage you may not carry. Your weight plus your baggage items, is what you pay for. Simple."

Matthew Harper isn't too pleased with Southwest's policy or his treatment on the flight to Denver. The man kicked off the flight for his weight is trying to fight back and has filed a complaint with the airline. Harper said he also plans to hire an attorney for a possible legal battle.