In Touch Weekly and People Magazine spoke to Ruby Gettinger, the obese star of Style Network reality show Ruby, to get her thoughts on the Kevin Smith “too fat to fly” debate. To be fair to Kevin, he was never too fat to fly. In an article on his blog, he details how a representative from Southwest airlines admitted to him that he was bumped because they needed the seat. He may have been singled out for his weight, but he met all the criteria to fit in his seat with both armrests down and the seatbelt buckled without an extender. When the media firestorm got too heated, Southwest issued a sort-of half assed apology and kept implying that Smith was too heavy to fly safely, which was not the case according to company criteria. The two women on either side of him told the stewardess that it was no problem and he was primarily asked to leave as the flight was overbooked. (Someone bought two seats, not Smith – he only did that one time in his life contrary to reports – and they had filled all the seats on the plane, having taken Smith on standby.)
Anyway, Ruby talked about her trouble flying and said that while she sometimes buys two seats she once bought just one when she was over 700 pounds. She says she felt bad for the guy next to her. Ruby now weighs around 350 pounds, having lost 400 pounds in the past two years.
“The first time I went on a plane I was close to 700 lbs. and I had no idea how small the seats were,” says Gettinger. “The man sitting next to me was not happy at all! I felt so bad!”
Gettinger, who stars on the Style Network’s Ruby, has lost nearly 400 lbs. since that flight, but flying still isn’t easy, she tells PEOPLE. “After that experience, I never flew without a friend to sit next to me, or I would buy two seats.”
She doesn’t know all the details of director Smith’s recent removal from a Southwest Airlines flight, but the Savannah, Georgia, resident says she can imagine.
“This kind of stuff should be taken care of in private before someone like me or Kevin enters a plane,” she says. “We need to remember that we may have different shells, but we are still the same on the inside.”
Ruby also told In Touch “I feel so sad for Kevin! I can only imagine what that must have felt like. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and deserve to be treated with respect. My personal opinion is this kind of stuff should be taken care of in private before someone like me or Kevin enters a plane.” Again, I feel for Kevin because while he’s a big guy he wasn’t technically too fat to fly and the airline was willing to admit that to him personally while they issued another statement that implied he was. He wrote on his blog “Now I’m gonna carry this Too Fat To Fly sh*t around like herpes for the rest of my life, and it was never even true.”
I was watching CNN when this story was all over the news, and they spoke to a passengers’ rights advocate who said that the issue is that the seats are too damn small. It’s true, you’re usually crammed in there like cattle. It’s time that airlines gave us more room on both the sides and in front rather than blaming larger people for the issue.
The third season of Ruby premiered on Sunday and I had the chance to watch it. While she does seem like a kind person I came away with a different impression of her than I had from interviews. She’s sweet and Southern but can be a little catty and was very territorial when she met the girlfriend of her male best friend, who is also her roommate. She’s fun, though, and she seems like the type of person you would love to hang out with. It’s hard enough to lose weight when you’re just overweight. I can’t imagine what she must go through every day.