Overweight man barred from flight, misses uncle’s funeral

Okamoni Fa flies a lot, and says that despite weighing 400 pounds he’s never had to buy a second seat like some overweight passengers.

Until, that is, he really needed to get somewhere fast.

The San Jose man bought a last-minute ticket from Southwest Airlines to attend his uncle’s funeral, but when he arrived at the ticket counter the agent looked at him and told him he needed to buy a second seat. The problem was, the flight was fully booked, and apparently there were no alternative flights. That left Mr. Fa stranded and he missed the funeral.

There’s been a lot of debate about the policy of charging overweight passengers for a second seat. Southwest says that if a passenger can’t put down the armrests without encroaching on their neighbors’ space then they need to buy another seat. If the flight isn’t oversold, Southwest says they refund the extra charge.

In this case, Southwest has said they will refund Mr. Fa for the one seat he did buy, but wasn’t allowed to use.

That’s cold comfort for him. He wasn’t able to join his family in their time of mourning and must now be wondering what the ticket agent will say the next time he tries to board a plane.