Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re immune to problems, even when it comes to traveling. Just ask director Kevin Smith and politician Mitt Romney, who each had themselves a rough weekend in the air—Romney dealt with passenger air rage while Smith dealt with, well, being a big guy.
Let’s begin with the former governor of my home state, Massachusetts. Romney was flying from Vancouver, where he was an honored guest at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, to Los Angeles. According to the Boston Globe, “Romney, 62, reportedly asked the passenger sitting in front of his wife to raise his seat [before] takeoff after the passenger had reclined his seat. The man allegedly became violent and took a swing at the former 2008 presidential hopeful.”
Romney was not injured, and the pilot returned to the gate, where the passenger was removed. The flight continued on to Los Angeles. Obviously Romney was in the right here—everyone knows you’re supposed to have your seat upright during takeoff and landing.
As for Smith, the director (Clerks, Jersey Girl) and actor is a big dude, as well as a fan and frequent patron of Southwest. Smith typically buys two seats when he travels, but on a recent flight he tried to fly standby, meaning one seat on an early flight instead of the two seats he’d purchased for later in the day. That’s when things got messy.
Smith was asked to leave the flight, despite already being seated with his baggage stowed and the arm rest down. Southwest put him on a later flight, issued him a $100 travel voucher, and, following some angry Tweets from Smith, apologized on its blog.
But to make matters more interesting, it seems Smith’s ejection may not have been appropriate. On its blog, Southwest rep Linda Rutherford wrote, “The Captain did not single Kevin out to be removed, but he did ask that the boarding be completed quickly. At that time, our Employees made the decision to remove Kevin after a quick judgment call that he might have needed more than one seat for his comfort and those seated next to him.” She also noted “we made a mistake in trying to board him as a standby passenger and then remov[ing] him.”
Readers, how do these experiences stack up against your worst travel tales? Share your stories below!