Founder of LibsOfTikTok Criticizes Passenger’s Weight On Southwest Flight

Founder of LibsOfTikTok Criticizes Passenger’s Weight On Southwest Flight


By Stephen M. Lepore For Dailymail.Com

05:19 01 Apr 2024, updated 07:30 01 Apr 2024

  • Raichik slammed the man for not even taking advantage of Southwest’s controversial policy allowing overweight people to purchase extra seats 
  • ‘I’m sitting on a flight squished into the corner because this massive obese guy is taking up half my seat,’ she wrote on X Sunday
  • She was offered a $150 voucher for her trouble but refused to ever fly Southwest again because of her ‘terrible’ experience 



LibsOfTikTok founder Chaya Raichik called out Southwest Airlines for allowing a man she called a ‘massive obese guy’ to violate their rules and take up half of her seat on a flight Sunday afternoon.

Southwest has been slammed in the past for what critics have called a ‘ridiculous’ policy that gives overweight passengers free seats to accommodate their size

However, Raichik – a viral sensation on social media, particularly with conservatives – pointed out that the offender had only purchased one seat and was breaking the company rules by encroaching into her space.

‘I’m sitting on a flight squished into the corner because this massive obese guy is taking up half my seat,’ she wrote on X Sunday.

‘I paid for a full seat, not 1/2 a seat. He is violating @SouthwestAir’s own policies,’ Raichik continued.

LibsOfTikTok founder Chaya Raichik called out Southwest Airlines for allowing a man she called a ‘massive obese guy’ to violate their rules and take up half of her seat on a flight Sunday afternoon
Raichik – a viral sensation on social media, particularly with conservatives – pointed out that the offender had only purchased one seat and was breaking the company rules by encroaching into her space
‘I¿m sitting on a flight squished into the corner because this massive obese guy is taking up half my seat,’ she wrote on X Sunday

She posted multiple photos showing a man’s leg edging into Raichik’s seat on the flight. 

‘This isn’t normal or fair. If you don’t fit in 1 seat you need to buy two seats,’ she continued, before asking the company’s X account what they could do about it.

She went on with more photos and claims that the problems with her seatmate were not just limited to his weight but also his eating and disregard for littering the small amount of space she already had. 

‘Dude was also stuffing cheeseburgers and fries down his throat and threw his trash on the floor,’ Raichik wrote. ‘Disgusting fat slob.’

She posted again after the company’s account had reached out to her via direct message, attempting to make peace.

‘While we cannot press the ”rewind button” and go back to fix what happened, it is our hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to enjoy a more favorable experience,’ they wrote, before offering a $150 voucher for a future flight.

Raichik was unmoved by the offer and said that she’d had an overall poor experience with the airline.

‘Worthless because I’m never flying @SouthwestAir again. And even if I would- that’s not nearly enough compensation for this. I’ve only flown Southwest like 3x in my life as a last resort. Never again.’

She went on with more photos and claims that the problems with her seatmate were not just limited to his weight
Raichik posted again after the company’s account had reached out to her via direct message, attempting to make peace
Raichik was unmoved by the offer and said that she’d had an overall poor experience with the airline

She wrapped up by adding more thoughts regarding her terrible time flying with Southwest.

‘The reason I hope never to fly Southwest again isn’t specifically because of this incident,’ Raichik said. ‘It’s because I think it’s a terrible airline.’ 

‘Like I said, only ever flown it a handful of times- all under extreme circumstances. In this case- option was a normal airline with a long stopover or direct with Southwest. I’m starting to lean towards flying a normal airline even if it has a stopover over flying Southwest if a scenario like this comes up again.’ 

DailyMail.com has reached out to a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines for comment.

The airline has instituted a ‘Customer of Size’ policy, which allows overweight passengers whose body takes up more than one seat on the plane to get ‘the needed number of seats’ for free.

The policy states that customers who ‘encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s)’ may purchase however many extra seats they need, which will then be refunded at check-in. 

The change has provoked mixed feedback among customers.

While some body-positive customers have praised the policy for allowing those with obesity to travel more easily, critics say it’s ‘pandering’ to very overweight people – and gives them an unfair advantage.

Southwest says in its policy that customers qualify for free extra seats if any part of their body extends past the seat’s armrest. Weight and BMI are not taken into account
Kimmy Garris from Nashville, who describes herself as a ‘fat solo traveler’, posted a video showing how she hacked her way to free extra seats prior to Southwest’s new policy
She notes that the carrier is ‘the only airline that allows you a second seat at no extra cost even if the flight is FULLY booked’
Jae’lynn Chaney, a plus size travel influencer with about 135,000 followers on TikTok, has frequently advocated for free or larger seats on planes

On social media, many have pointed out that free space is not available to customers who are very tall and need extra legroom, those traveling with medical equipment or are wheelchair users.

These groups have to pay – often hundreds of dollars –  for additional space.

Some have also pointed out that the new rule is likely to worsen the airline’s already hectic boarding process. 

Passengers are unable to book seats ahead of time, which often results in a scramble for window and aisle seats when customers make it to the plane.

Southwest’s policy states that customers qualify for the free ticket if any part of their body extends past the seat’s armrest. ‘The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats,’ it reads. ‘If you’re unable to lower both armrests and/or encroach upon any portion of a seat next to you, you need a second seat.’

‘Our policy does not focus on weight.’

The airline does not ask for customers’ weight or body mass index (BMI), which determines if you are overweight or obese, according to medical guidelines.

Kimmy Garris, a TikToker from Nashville who calls herself a ‘fat solo traveler,’ posted a video of herself asking about the airline’s policy for obese passengers in October. 

In the clip, which has more than 900,000 views, the customer service agent gives her an extra ticket for the seat next to her.

Raichik said she was done with the airline, having had a ‘terrible’ experience even before this case

She is then seen boarding the plane and putting her extra ticket on the seat next to her so no one can sit there.

In the overlaid caption, Ms Garris states that this policy ‘should be the industry norm.’

Jae’lynn Chaney, a size 6XL travel influencer with about 135,000 followers on TikTok, has frequently advocated for free or larger seats on planes. 

In an October video, which reached nearly 73,000 views, text on the screen read: ‘Hot take: every airline should have a customer of size policy like Southwest Airlines.’

‘If more airlines adopted policies like Southwest Airlines’ customer-of-size policy, offering free or reimbursed additional seats for plus size passengers who need more space, air travel would be far more accessible and accommodating to people of size,’ the caption read. 

Ms Chaney also called upon the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this year with a petition asking airlines to scrap their ‘discriminatory’ policies and give obese passengers free seats.

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