Kevin Smith - Director Smith Encounters New Airline Trouble
Filmmaker KEVIN SMITH has lashed out at Virgin America airline staff after he was banned from a flight because he arrived late at a boarding gate.
The Clerks director checked in for his flight at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on Monday morning (06Dec10), accompanied by his wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith and his pal Jason Mewes.
But they lost track of time and claim they failed to hear a public announcement calling the trio to the gate, arriving just eight minutes before the plane was due to take off.
The Virgin America representative, named as Manny, refused to hold the aircraft to allow them onboard - prompting Smith to blast the staffmember and the airline's customer service personnel for their lack of help.
In a rant on his website, Smith writes, "We pleaded with Manny (the unfriendly face of Virgin America JFK working the gate), pointing out the remaining time (there were still 8 minutes before scheduled departure), and pointing out that the jetway was still attached to the plane.
"As we tried to get Manny to realise our bags were under the plane and we'd been checked in for an hour, the jetway stayed in place. The plane wouldn't pull back from the gate for another 15 minutes."
Smith also cast doubt on whether their names were actually announced over the loudspeaker system.
He adds, "He (Manny) said he'd called for us over the p.a. system, but my wife's name is SCHWALBACH - you say a name THAT distinctive over a loudspeaker, at least two people in an airport are gonna turn their heads: me & Jen Schwalbach. Well, without calling anybody a liar, it's just REALLY hard to believe that p.a. call was actually made."
Smith encountered further problems when he requested their bags be removed from the plane - insisting his wife needed medication that had been stored in the check-in luggage.
Staff were unable to help with his request and could only place the party on another, later Virgin America flight.
But the director's angry missive soon caught the attention of Virgin America bosses - prompting them to offer him a full refund and three new tickets for his future travels.
Smith hit the headlines earlier this year (10), when he encountered flight trouble and was booted off a Southwest airlines plane because of his large size.