Told to buy 2 seats, Exeter woman sues Southwest, claims racial discrimination
The Associated Press
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006

Concord – An African-American woman claims Southwest Airlines unfairly subjected her to its policy requiring large passengers to buy two seats because of her race, a lawyer said yesterday at the start of her federal trial against the airline.

Thompson won't appeal after losing suit

Nadine Thompson of Exeter, president of a cosmetics company, sued Southwest in federal court for discrimination in 2004, saying the company doesn’t uniformly enforce its policy requiring obese passengers to buy two seats.

Thompson, who had flown on Southwest frequently, was on her way to a business conference in Chicago in June 2003 when she boarded her flight at Manchester Airport. Not long after she took a seat in the back of the plane, put the arm rest down and buckled her seat belt, an employee she saw at the check-in counter asked her to get off, Thompson’s lawyer, Neil Osborne, said in opening statements.

She was told at the plane’s loading bridge she needed to buy a second seat for “her comfort and safety,