Did Southwest Airlines Refuse Boarding for a Dying Passenger?

It wasn’t that long ago that A&E had a reality show called Airline, which chronicled the employees of Southwest Airlines as their patience were constantly tested by annoying passengers and bizarre situations. In one of the episodes, a man — already seated on the plane — is asked to purchase an extra ticket because of his weight. He eventually does, and only then was he allowed to leave with the plane. This situation is quite embarrassing, not to mention the fact that it’s being broadcast to millions of viewers across the world.

On January 21st, Southwest Airlines required another man to purchase a second ticket due to his weight, only this time it wasn’t embarrassment he was afraid of, it was death. Richard Brown, a “dying Hep-C patient,” writes The Consumerist, “…went to board in Scottsdale for California, [and] the ticket agent refused to let Richard fly unless he bought another ticket, due to his weight.”

The extra weight was due to his illness, and he was headed to the University of San Francisco for treatment, yet the ticket agent wouldn’t let him board the plane while he “sat freezing wrapped in several blankets at the gate,” explains his daughter, Brandi, for the Consumerist. He was eventually let on the plane when another Southwest Airlines agent paid for the extra ticket herself.

I can’t find a word about this story in any of the major news outlets, but The Consumerist has the scoop, complete with a detailed outline of events by the daughter of the man, and scans of his ticket purchase confirmation. I wonder if anyone will pick up on the story and get some responses from Southwest?