The skies haven’t been too friendly to Kevin Smith this year.
The actor-director, who was famously kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too large in February, ran into trouble at the airport when trying to board a Virgin America flight to San Francisco. He then blogged about the experience, swearing at the time that he would never fly the airline again.
As he tells it, Smith, 40, his wife Jennifer Schwalbach, and their friend Jason Mewes, arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport in plenty of time, checked into their flight and waited in a departure lounge with a paid concierge, whose job is to serve as a liaison between travelers and the airlines, and to escort travelers to board their flights on time.
“Boarding started at 11:15, and we arrived at the gate at 11:35 – a full 10 minutes before scheduled departure,” Smith wrote in a blog post on Monday. “But as we reached the gate, we saw a man closing the door … We told him we were on the flight and he told us it was too late; the flight was closed. It was 11:36.”
Despite having first class seats, and a concierge service, the gate official reportedly told Smith and his party that there was nothing he could do – nor could he take their bags, which included medication Smith’s wife needed, off the flight.
“They didn t even TRY to call someone about getting the bags off,” Smith wrote. “And still, the plane sat right there at the jetway still attached. Our bags could’ve EASILY been removed in the time that the jet remained parked at the gate (or we could ve been permitted to board).”
In an update posted later, Smith explained that he waited until 10 minutes before departure to board the plane because, “when you fly first, you board first, sit down and then EVERYONE files past you,” he wrote.
“And when you’re the Too Fat To Fly guy on a plane? Well, everyone stares,” the post continued. “Then the whispering starts. A hundred people look right at you.”
While Smith ultimately missed his flight – and his child’s first basketball game at school because of the delay – he was rebooked on a later flight (sans first class seat).
And when he got home he received a nice surprise – a “lovely, apologetic email, full refund for flight, free tix offer – all before I’ve landed,” Smith wrote. “I appreciate the gesture/effort.”
A call to Virgin America was not immediately returned.