Kevin Smith, a director and actor who played roles such as Silent Bob in Clerks is not a happy man. Late for his Virgin America flight out of New York earlier today he arrived at the gate only ten minutes prior to departure and was greeted by a closed door and a stern gate agent – neither of which were going to let him get on the aircraft.
Despite his first class ticket, his calm reasoning and his wife’s medication onboard in a checked bag, the gate agent wouldn’t budge, and the flight left without him. In an online post on his personal site, he now swears that he’ll never fly Virgin America again – or work with any other Virgin product – though in an update, he now says that VX has offered a full refund and additional free tickets.
While we at Gadling Labs surely do sympathize with Mr. Smith, we can’t really blame the airline for their behavior. Passengers are required to be onboard well-prior to departure for security and cabin checks, and opening the boarding door (or moving around checked luggage for that matter) can severely delay a flight and adversely affect hundreds of innocent passengers. That’s why they start boarding 30 minutes prior to departure.
For a rude gate agent, there is no excuse. But flip the situation around and one might understand why the employees were so stern. Virgin America flies dozens of flights out of New York each week, and most of those flights have a few passengers who don’t make it on time. And among those passengers, you can bet that a fair share of them are full of spite. Dealing with five Kevin Smith’s every day five days a week can probably turn even the nicest of people stone cold within a month.
For what it’s worth, we think that Mr. Smith was treated more than fairly, especially considering he was rebooked on the next flight, filed his complaint in the air on Virgin America’s free wireless and received an apology before he even touched the ground – all for something that was really his fault.
Perhaps, however, since his kerfuffle with Southwest earlier this year earned him so much media attention, he’s just trying to stoke the fire and earn it bit more. Don’t be surprised if Kevin Smith cologne hits the shelves in a store near you tomorrow.