Passenger Only Gets Half Her Seat On Delta Flight

Julie found that only about half of her seat was available due to the size of the passenger next to her. The passenger was apologetic, but obviously couldn’t magically shrink her body mass and make more room. Julie asked if she could purchase a seat in first class but was told they were sold out, and there were no more seats available. “A flight attendant suggested that the only way to change my seat was to ‘find a cute boy or girl’ and sit on their lap.” Instead, she spent the flight half in her seat and half in the aisle. When she emailed a complaint to Delta and asked for a refund, they thanked her for her feedback.

Julie asked Christopher Elliott, ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler, for advice. His suggestion will sound familiar to Consumerist readers: escalate it! “You could have—and should have—appealed this to someone higher up.” When Julie took his advice, Delta apologized and gave her a $250 voucher.

As far as plus-sized passengers go,

Delta, and most of the other network airlines, tends to look the other way when someone unusually tall or wide boards their aircraft. At least one carrier, Southwest Airlines, doesn’t. It requires that plus-sized passengers buy an extra seat (but they get their money back if there are empty seats). I could find no policy regarding these above-average travelers on Delta’s Web site, which says to me that your seatmate wasn’t out of line in booking only one seat.

(Thanks to Jim!)

“Hey, where’s my airline seat?” [MSNBC]
(Illustration: Getty)

Comments

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  1. FLConsumer says:

    Time to start implementing $1/lb airline tickets! Being well underweight, I’d be thrilled!

  2. michaeldellario says:

    It’s funny how you can’t do anything about that except get to the seat first, and make sure the arm rest is down before you take a chance on who is sitting next to you.

    Being a frequent traveler, I have also found that flying united economy, business or first class (even for personal business) seems to yield disproportionately less problems such as this…

  3. hamsangwich says:

    ugh, these chubby people are taking over the world. I’m glad she was able to get a $250 voucher, but I have to imagine the torture of that plane ride was not worth $250.

  4. mantari says:

    Being in the same situation as her once, I can understand. They placed me next to a man who was so large, he oozed all into my seat. There wasn’t enough room for both of us.

    Luckily, he was flying with his young daughter who, somehow, had a far different seating arrangement. (Was he an employee flying standby?) I was able to swap with her, and everyone was happy.

    But I was NOT happy that American would allow such a situation to happen. As much as I want to say, “don’t tax the guy because he’s fat”, hey, the airlines need to step up. Either they need to charge these people for a second seat, or they need to give them that second seat for free. Just don’t charge a passenger for a seat that isn’t there.

  5. ThunderSaid says:

    Well, at least the attendant was sensitive to the possibility that Julie might want to find a cute girl instead of a cute boy on whose lap she might sit. Huzzah tolerance! (Fat people get no slack though. They’re evil, pure and simple.)

  6. MDSasquatch says:

    Fat I can deal with, it is the pungent perfume that sends me into a tailspin. Airlines ought to institute a NO PUNGE POLICY; if you smell, you should be encapsulated in a plastic bag for the convenience of the other passengers

  7. hamsangwich says:

    oh great, here comes all the personal stories of every other Consumerist poster that has ever sat next to Fatty McGee on a plane.

  8. kittenfoo says:

    i am a very small person: 5’1″ and 112 lbs. and even i find the standard coach seat to be unduly restrictive. how a normal sized adult can stand a cross country flight in coach is beyond me. i think the airlines need to be more realistic with their seating.

  9. new and troubling questions says:

    This is getting more and more common, on planes, trains, and buses. Is there any way they could outfit planes with a few extra-huge seats to accommodate these people (or is there a super-obvious reason that I’m missing for why this isn’t feasible)?

  10. BStu says:

    The attendant was unduly dismissive, which is a problem, but its also a problem that fat people are forced to choose between a significant charge and proper accommodation. That’s a situation which will never resolve itself and one made worse by tighter seats that aren’t very comfortable for normal size people. The impression people have is that this must be someone huge, but the reality is he could well be a size that would be surprisingly small. He, himself, may not have realized the potential problem when booking, so what do you do then? Airlines should have smart policies to treat all of their their passengers with respect. Not pile on fees, charges, and blame to people unpopular enough for them to get away with it.

  11. methoda says:

    I’ve been there too – caught in a middle seat actually. It was sort of funny, the plane was full, but we had an empty seat in the middle, just before the cabin door closed. Then big guy gets on the plane and squeezes down the aisle. The guy next to me and I both look at him, look at the empty seat, then at each other, and back at him… The big guy used took the window seat and half of my seat, as the smallest, I took the middle, and I was about 1/4 of the way into the aisle seat, the aisle seat guy took the rest. We had all the armrests up. I had a few good hours to think about this question.

    My conclusion was this: Either charge per pound which is fair to everyone, or the airline should give people who can’t fit into one seat the extra seat (for free) so that they can fly safetly. If you end up bumping a passenger there’s always someone who will take a voucher or who would move to first class. I think that charging the obese for an extra seat could be legally risky – I’d expect a challenge under the ADA… Giving them the seat treats the obese with some amount of dignity. They know they’re overweight, and they want to be squeezed into that seat about as much as we all want to be squeezed in next to them.

  12. basmith42 says:

    As a larger than average male and a frequent flyer (Gold Elite on Continental), I can definitely emphasize with the situation. I’ve got your average business traveler belly AND broad shoulders. My bottom fits in the seat just fine but my shoulder width spread outside of my allotted seat often. If you get two of me in the same row, its an uncomfortable flight for everyone.

    The problem really isn’t the size of the passengers. The problem is that the airlines have made seats narrower in order to squeeze more bodies on the flight and, therefore, make more money.

    Nobody would frequent a restaurant that had such narrow seating. Nobody would by a car that squeezed the passengers and driver together. Why do we accept it from the airline?

    Advice to avoid this next time? If you’re on a small commuter jet, get an “A” seat- its both a window and a aisle. If you’re on a wide body or plane that doesn’t offer a “1 and 2″ seating configuration, get a seat further back in the plane. Passengers tend to sit in the front. The back is most likely to be empty.

  13. mantari says:

    ^ They have a place to put luggage to see if it will fit properly into the carry-on bins. They should have a chair (with a wall on each side) that someone could use to see if they will fit properly into a seat. (Regardless of if the airline pays for the extra seat, or the individual, they should find out if someone will take beyond their own seat.)

  14. johnva says:

    @kittenfoo: I’m 6’1″ and my upper leg bones are longer than the space between seats if the person in front of me tries to put their seat back. In that case I literally cannot sit normally and must put my legs sideways or bend them towards my chest. Very uncomfortable. And it’s not like I’m ridiculously tall or anything. I can’t even image what flying is like for people who are 6’9″ or something.

  15. MRT says:

    Well, with the number of overweight people rising, there is only one solution. In addition to first, business and economy class, Airlines need to have an overweight class as well. More space for overweight people and cheaper than buying 2 seats.

  16. din says:

    @BStu: We’re supposed to feel bad for obese people who might have to purchase a second fare? It’s not that I’m (entirely) unsympathetic to the plight of the girthy, but it’s not my fault that they’re fat. Maybe we can charge the fatties 1.5 times as much, and I can pay half-fare since I’m only using half of my seat when I’m stuck next to jumbo.

  17. PinkBox says:

    @MDSasquatch: I hate that! I was on a cross country flight once – a red eye, mind you, and a lady decided she HAD to put perfume on in the TINY jet at 5am.

    The stench was very overpowering, and lingered for most of the flight. :(

  18. johnva says:

    @sotally tober: Money. The airlines want to cram as many people as possible onto one plane because it makes them more profitable to utilize their planes more fully and sell more tickets. And since a lot of their profit comes from first and business class seats, they have an incentive to actually make coach uncomfortable so that people who can afford it will want to upgrade. Having a few huge seats for fat people would cost the airline revenue even when no fat person was there.

  19. robotprom says:

    I flew from CDG to ATL next to an older lady who was quite large, and snored most of the flight. Her elbow and arm where in my area the entire flight. I wish I would have thought to ask for a refund.

  20. new and troubling questions says:

    @johnva: Haha, I forget sometimes, they don’t have any actual incentive to make people even a little comfortable on a flight, provided that they’re paying.

  21. llcooljabe says:

    I remember the hullaballoo Southwest caused when they made that policy change. A lot of people were upset. I suspect that the vast majority of people were quietly cheering to themselves–the silent majority.

  22. Chris Walters says:

    @johnva: Same problem here. The fact is, airline seats are too small for probably half the population.

  23. godawgs7 says:

    @BStu: smart policies, like charging the person who takes up 1.5 seats more? Why should the woman who paid full fare be punished w/ 1/2 a seat?

  24. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    @johnva: yep, I have the same problem. And now you can’t even get the exit row seats on most airlines unless you are a frequent flier.

  25. Asvetic says:

    It’s a matter of economics… most planes were built in the early 80’s, when the average size of a person was much smaller than today. According to this wiki entry: [en.wikipedia.org] The width of seats is about 17″, which if doubled would be a waist size of 34″. Considering that most Americans are overweight, this is a very constricting seat, and someone with a waist of 38″ would probably be “pouring over” the sides.

  26. Galls says:

    6’8″ here, not wide just tall. I should have the right to murder anyone who is under 6’2″ and sitting in bulkhead or the emergency isles.

    I hate it when I have to fly instead of taking amtrak.

  27. barfoo says:

    @sotally tober: And it would also raise ticket prices for everyone else. Bigger seats mean fewer seats, which means a higher price per seat. If one airline did as you suggest, and charged even marginally higher prices, a lot of customers would switch to other airlines. With Orbitz, Expedia, etc., airlines tickets are pretty much a commodity, at least on major routes. Most people flying from LA to NYC, just pick whatever’s cheapest; do you expect them to think, “hmm, well, that airline segregates obese people, so it’s worth the extra $50…”? I know I usually just go for whatever’s cheapest.

    Another problem: what if I (who am not overweight) decided that I’d like more room so I book an extra-large seat. Are they going to kick me out of it? Isn’t that discriminatory?

  28. sleze69 says:

    I would have demanded that the fat guy be reseated. That is why it is best to get on the plane as early as possible. Claim your space first so the morbidly obese can push you around.

  29. witeowl says:

    Wow. I have to admit that I’m impressed by the majority of responses here. Yes, overweight people have a significant share of the responsibility, but the airlines need to give a middle-of-the-road option so that people can purchase a larger seat without the cost (or horrid shame) that comes with buying two tickets.

    I don’t squawk when I have to pay a premium for plus-sized clothing. I would grouse if I was told I had to pay double for a pair of pants. Same thing for a seat.

  30. Asvetic says:

    @johnva: What airlines should do (but probably won’t), is redesign the cabin by sections and sell seats depending on your dimensions. Smaller, thinner seats in the front and wider, taller seats towards the back. Seats designed to accommodate the majority of sizes.

  31. command says:

    The exact same thing happened to me when I flew Delta. A guy that must have weighed over 300 sat next to me and couldn’t get the arm rest down. It should have been obvious to the flight attendant because he asked for a seat belt extension.

    I only got a crappy 100 dollar voucher that can only be used through an agent not online.

  32. mrmysterious says:

    I think that they should add bench seating and charge by the width of you butt!

  33. inelegy says:

    Look . . . since airliners are finite in size, space is a commodity. On smaller, ‘puddle jumper’ airlines, weight is also at a premium. If you’ve ever flown one between small islands in the Caribbean or South Pacific you’ve had to get on a scale when you check in.

    If I want to ship something large and/or heavy I pay more than I’d pay to ship a small package.

    I see no logical or sensible reason why airlines shouldn’t aggressively pursue charging people more money for a second seat if they cannot fit into the space provided by a single seat.

    If you take up more than the alloted space, you should pay more.

    Also, I have to wonder about the safety issues involved in having large people wedged into small, singe seats. Surely they are not going to be as able to extricate themselves in case of an emergency. You cannot have bulky carry-on bags in your lap during flight, why should you be allowed to have your ‘spare tire’ clogging up the path to an exit?

  34. Trick says:

    Looks like Delta’s stewardess was playing the ditzy “I’m just a dumb girl serving drinks” quite well. I wonder if she giggled as she told the lady to go find a boy to sit on?

    Is Delta still using DC-10’s to go along with their retro mile-high sky girls?

  35. GrandGouda says:

    I’ve also been in this situation once before. The “gentleman” next to me (in a window seat) was simply enormous. It was somewhat comical that his stomach pushed against the tray table latches as he forced himself into his seat and the tray tables fell in the aisle and middle seats as he made his way across. For the icing on the cake, he had absolutely horrible body odor.

    The flight was completely full and all other flights that evening were book due to bad weather forcing cancellations earlier in the day. My Delta flight attendant was much more helpful, telling me that she couldn’t do anything for takeoff and landing, but as soon as the “fasten seatbelt sign” was turned off, that I could come up to the first class galley and sit in the flight attendant’s jump seat. She also treated me to a few free drinks during the flight, and gave me Delta’s customer support number.

    She filled also out an incident report and filed it and told me to wait five business days before calling to complain, and gave me the incident report number to reference on the call. When I called Delta, they gave me 500 bonus skymiles and $50 in “Delta Dollars” in my account. All things considered, I felt that the flight attendant, and Delta customer service, handled the situation very well.

    I was also told that the reason Delta will not charge extra for obese passengers is that they are (basically) afraid of litigation from organizations such as the ACLU. You can’t discriminate against the obese, ya know.

  36. Shadowfire says:

    @inelegy: Two quick things…

    “If you take up more than the alloted space, you should pay more.”

    Alright. If you take up less than the alloted space, do you pay less? Be careful with that one.

    For the last paragraph, some of us fatties can move. Some of us can move faster than skinny folks. We’re not going to clog the emergency exits… FFS we’ll be trying to save our lives as much as you will be. ;)

  37. Buran says:

    @Asvetic: I’ve been on brand-new aircraft and the seating is no better. The age of the planes has nothing to do with it as even the newest ones are being fitted with seats designed far too long ago.

    That said, people shouldn’t be ripped off just because they’re “fat” — this is yet another example of discrimination in one of the last ways it’s still considered acceptable to discriminate against people, which I will continue to call total BS. Charge everyone a little more if that’s what it takes to fix the seat size problem. Split over 250+ people, it wouldn’t be much more per person.

    What I want to know is, why didn’t the airline reseat her in a different seat in the class she was already in? On every flight I’ve been on, for instance, they’ll say that if you don’t want to have the responsibility of sitting in an exit row, but are sitting in one, just ask and you’ll be reseated. So why not just request a reseating given that you can’t fit in the seat you reserved?

  38. dirty foreigner says:

    @Galls: ah, thank god at 6’2″ I’m eligible to complain! It’s bad enough when just sitting in the regular seats, let alone when the person in front puts their seat back.

  39. ManicPanic says:

    @witeowl: They do. Its called first class. And as far as paying a premium for plus sized clothing, if you go into just about any store in your mall, you will notice that the price for a XXS t-shirt is the same as the XXL t-shirt. Clearly the XXS t-shirt takes a lot less fabric. So I am not squaking that I subsidize larger sizes. The same goes for jeans–a 00 is the same price as a 20. So if I am one of the smaller sizes, then I have to pay for the additional fabric to go into a size 20. Fair? I think not.

  40. johnva says:

    @Asvetic: But that too has problems. One problem is that if the larger seats aren’t WAY more expensive, “normal” people would want to upgrade, too, to escape the sardine-can experience. So they would end up selling out first and that would defeat the purpose of having them in the first place. Worse, for the airline, some first-class passengers might downgrade to one of those large cheaper seats. The airline would then lost out on a lot of profit. The only real solutions I can see to this problem that work economically for the airlines would be a) for the government to regulate the number of seats so they can’t make them quite so small (maybe they could do it on the basis of safety, since it can’t be that safe to have morbidly obese people blocking the aisles and seating rows) or b) for the airlines to just force morbidly obese people to buy two seats. The latter seems like a much more likely solution. If the airlines are afraid of litigation (this seems like a stupid excuse, given that Southwest does this already) then they should send their lobbyists to Washington and get some new rules written clarifying the legality of charging the obese for more space.

  41. johnva says:

    @Buran: Why should everyone else pay more because some people are obese? I do agree that airline seats are too small for most people, not just the morbidly obese, but I don’t think normal people should pay more to accommodate everyone who’s fat. Where should they draw the line? Should the airlines have to make all the seats big enough to accommodate 500 pound people? 800 pounds? That gets really unreasonable for the airlines, and there ARE people who are that big.

    Look, it’s not “discrimination”. They aren’t charging people more to punish them or something. It’s really just a matter of fairness. They are charging them more for the space they use. Since space can only be sold in fixed-size blocks, unfortunately they are going to have to charge people who exceed the space in one seat for two.

  42. timmus says:

    I sure miss the days when the middle seat would be empty. I think the last time that happened was in 1991. Since then everything is a sardine can. That’s one reason I don’t fly anymore these days. I wonder how many other people avoid flying too, and how much revenue the airlines are losing from opportunity costs.

  43. DeltaPurser says:

    Many of you seem to forget that 99.9% of passengers buy their seast online or over the phone – NOT infront of an agent who can size them up and decide they need 2 seats… Unless it’s their first time flying, most passengers of size (as we like to call you/them) should KNOW they are too large to fit in one seat and should be responsible enough to buy a second seat… Needless to say, they don’t. I for one, like Soutwest’s policy; buy an extra seat. If it’s not full, you get the money back. Sounds reasonable enough to me…

    Whatever you do, quit blaming the airline for what the passenger should know to do himself.

  44. dirty foreigner says:

    @Buran: I don’t mean to sound like an ass, but for the most part people can do something about their weight, regular sized people shouldn’t have to pay more to accommodate them. I’m tall, and there’s nothing I could do about that, and I get screwed over by the size of the seats.

  45. forever_knight says:

    airlines should NOT made seats for fatties. that’s just band aiding the problem. treating the symptom and not the cause. plus it will raise the cost for everyone else, as the fat seats will result in lower profits for airlines. don’t socialize the cost of being fat by making me pay more for their issue.

    the cause = people are too fat. those people should have to PAY MORE if they can’t fit in the standard seat. then maybe they will think twice about eating so much if they have to pay for 2 seats. maybe not. but at least it puts the burden where it belongs.

    this isn’t discrimination. people that say otherwise are politically correct nazis.

  46. humphrmi says:

    @timmus: Or how about the days when the middle row didn’t exist, and the seats were wider (and had more pitch, for that matter.) And how about the days when UAL used to run half-full 747’s between Chicago and SFO and you could practically lie flat across the seats if you wanted to.

    Sadly, all gone, but on the other hand, so are the fares we paid back then.

  47. ElizabethD says:

    @ManicPanic:

    Clothes pricing is generally equal within size ranges — i.e., Misses sizes 2-20 all carry equal prices. But in most *good* quality clothing, the next size range, “Women’s” or “Plus” size clothing (14w-28w, or 1x-4x), does cost more than Petites or Misses. Check online catalogs and you’ll see. Lands End, Talbots, Eddie Bauer…

    Just wanted to point out this discrepancy with what you’re claiming.

    And as someone else mentioned above, be careful when you advocate sliding price scales for clothing that uses varying amounts of cloth based on size. I doubt that clothiers are going to start discounting prices for sizes 0-4; why should it work the other way– i.e., additional charges for larger sizes? The pricing should be based on the average size, not the extremes.

  48. PlayWithSlurry says:

    There are no doubt organizations that would protest a Pigovian tax on the fat. But, I’ve never seen anything to indicate that the ACLU would go after airlines for something like this. With secret prisons, official torture and electronic eavesdropping on American citizens, their plate is rather full at the moment. No pun intended.

  49. ssaoi says:

    @Asvetic: Point well taken, but don’t forget we are three dimensional. You need to add several inches for that. Speaking as a 38″ person. There is still a little room left on each side.

    My biggest gripe is the filth of the plans. If you ever want to get a little freaked out. hit the seat next to you sometimes. You wouldn’t believe the dust cloud.

  50. IrisMR says:

    That’s so tricky. Fatties are entitled to the same rights as us, but then they squeeze us to near death and some even request to have “plus size” seats for the same price.

    What I think is simple. Being fat is a choice in 99% of the situations. If you choose being fat, you need to go with the consequences: pay for two seats and let US normal people breathe.

    There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a bus between a fat smelly greasy jackass who breathes heavily and a window. GOD, that trip was SO LONG!

    Good thing I know people who are fat and live with it by being courteous to people who are normal.

  51. Jon Parker says:

    @forever_knight: Calling anyone who disagrees with you names automatically means you’re a poopyhead.

  52. APFPilot says:

    @Asvetic: When the planes were designed has nothing to do with the seats in them. Seat designs are always changing. It is simply a matter of money, the airline makes more money if they have a narrower seat and can do a 3+3 layout instead of a 3+2.

  53. basket548 says:

    @Shadowfire:
    “‘If you take up more than the alloted space, you should pay more.’

    Alright. If you take up less than the alloted space, do you pay less? Be careful with that one.”

    Uh, nope? You paid a set price for set dimensions. If you go OVER that, you should have to pay more. If you go UNDER that, hey, good for you. They don’t give me a partial refund if I don’t eat all my dinner at a restaurant, but I sure as hell have to pay more for dessert.

  54. lihtox says:

    One solution: airlines need to leave a couple of seats empty for “emergencies”: obese people, people who can’t sit in the exit row, broken seats, etc. If someone pukes on your seat, you should be able to sit somewhere else. Leave the back row empty for in-flight reseating, and then the contributor could have been put back there.

  55. I’m not old enough to know this first hand, but I’ve heard wild tales of days when air travel was considered a luxury. People would wear their best clothes to get on a flight, and pilots were looked up to like heroes.

    Now it is cram em in and give em crap to eat, and charge em extra for everything.

  56. inelegy says:

    IRISMR — You’re right, fatties are entitled to the same rights, but not *extra* rights due to their extra size. You get X amount of space on a plane for Y amount of dollars, but you do not get X+ amount of space for only Y amount of dollars.

    The person sitting next to a fat person is entitled to his or her space.

  57. Steel_Pelican says:

    @witeowl: “I would grouse if I was told I had to pay double….for a seat”

    The woman in the OP had to do just that. She paid full price for half a seat. And her aisle-mate got an extra 1/2-seat for free. Where’s the fairness there?

    @Buran: There’s no discrimination here- people who use more than 1 seat (even if it’s 1.00015 seats) should pay for the extra space. Whether they use that space for their bags, their ass, or just for personal space, they have to pay for it. If your baggage takes up more space than the airline allows, they charge you to accommodate it- does this discriminate against the overpacking traveller?

    Truthfully, if there’s any discrimination here, it’s against the average-sized passenger. The average-sized passenger pays for a full seat, but often gets less, while the plus-sized passenger pays for a full seat, but often gets more. Imagine this in a restaurant, where black patrons pay for a 12oz steak, and only get a 10oz, while white patrons who pay for a 12oz steak get 14oz.

  58. TheOtherJen says:

    I had a horrible experience where not one, but TWO very large people sitting next to me (who were really smart too because they brought FULL SIZED PILLOWS WITH THEM which literally made my window seat like a cave) and I kid you not the guy’s leg was on top of mine and there was no way to sit without some part of his body touching mine. Disgusting. I am not a thin person but if you are over 300 lbs you should just be required to buy an extra seat or something. Or planes should have a ‘big boy’ class or something for large/tall people.

  59. lihtox says:

    Another thought: morbidly obese people are handicapped, in a way. As such, they should be treated sympathetically, but at the same time should expect to make accommodations.

    And for the “it’s what they deserve” crowd: if you see a jock on crutches because they broke their leg, do you refuse to open a door for them because it’s their fault for having played sports? Should the airlines charge extra to people in wheelchairs because their osteoporosis is the result of a poor diet? The same sympathy is due the morbidly obese.

  60. Syrenia says:

    Having someone else occupy part of your seat has got to be unsafe in the event of an emergency. I also thought that the armrest had to be down for takeoff and landing. (Key word there is “thought”.)

    I wonder if airline passengers should start putting pressure on the FAA rather than on the airlines who have no interest in doing anything about it.

  61. inelegy says:

    For simplicity’s sake, can we create a derogatory for fat people on planes?

    I vote for calling them “Hurleys”. Example: “Jesus! Did you see the size of that Hurley in 14B? I’m glad I’m not in 14A.”

  62. neithernor says:

    @DeltaPurser: So what are they going to do, say “Size X or above, you must purchase two seats?”

    There’s a difference between “plus sized” and big enough to require 2 seats. I am technically plus-sized, but I have never had trouble getting an armrest down, nor have I ever had someone complain I was taking up part of his or her seat. Am I uncomfortable on planes? No more than the rest of the world, I think.

    I’d rather require that stinky people purchase two seats, because I have sat next to far more extremely odorous people on planes. Seriously, America, consider a shower.

  63. neithernor says:

    @Steel_Pelican: So why don’t people who take two huge, rolling carry-ons which together occupy an entire overhead bin have to pay more?

  64. winstonthorne says:

    @Galls: HERE HERE! I’m 6’5″ myself, and I stand behind that proposal 100%. I took a Delta flight from SLC to Newark back in August ’07, and I was RIGHT BEHIND the exit-row seat, which was occupied by a tiny girl (couldn’t have been more than 16 years old, weighed 90lbs soaking wet). Those four hours were some of the most frustrating of my life.

  65. econobiker says:

    Passengers should pay by combined weight of passenger and luggage. After all the airlines noodled it about in the press how much more people weigh today with fuel costs so high. So there should be a minumum combined weight of passenger and luggage and if exceeded then you have to pay a penalty.

    And if a larger person forced me into half a seat I would make sure that I utilized tissues hocking up some and stuffed the tissues between us on my seat. Let that person be as uncomfortable as I am.

  66. ManicPanic says:

    @ElizabethD: That doesn’t solve the problem that a size 0 who takes a fraction of the fabric of the size 20 is still paying the same price. And at Lands End, the sizes do go up to an 18 before you move into plus-size. So, the smaller sizes still subsidize the larger. Same thing with shirts.

  67. FLConsumer says:

    @Shadowfire: I *DO* believe us skinnies should be charged less! It takes less fuel to move my scrawny 130lb ass across the country than the 300+lb’ers.

    and of course it’s possible to get the larger people on the plane to move. Just yell “FREE BUFFET AT THE TERMINAL!”

  68. howie_in_az says:

    Shouldn’t she only be getting half a refund?

  69. GothamGal says:

    I can’t believe how rude and obnoxious it is for this overweight person to think that a normal sized person who sits fine in their seat must be discomforted for an entire flight. Then, sit with someone’s fat rolls sweating all over you? The woman who wrote this was very nice – too nice. I would not tolerate this behavior, it is utterly disgusting. Oh and I’m not some skinny minny either. I’m 5’4″ and a normal weight for a woman, and I have no problem fitting my fat ass into a seat.

    Flying is becoming such an awful experience with overweight rude people, people who smell and crying children. I actually pay for business class to avoid all this awfulness and it’s worth it.

  70. Anonymous says:

    I agree that obese people need to take more responsibility for themselves. I think you should be able to charge more if they need more space. I’m sick of overweight people, who the majority of, did it to themselves, playing the sympathy card. It’s as if we are all supposed to feel bad for them. Don’t mention it… or you’re discriminating. C’mon… take some responsability for yourself!

  71. Javert says:

    @Buran: So we should all be punished? No, this is not about discrimination, it is about math. You should be charged for the space you take up. If you take up 1.5 seats, then sorry, you are charged. Plus, considering the extra fuel they use it would be unfair. What about the rights of the person who now has to suffer because of the airlines unwillingness to charge the person for 2 seats (since they are using 2 seats)? Your plan would result in fewer seats on a plane and a cost increase much greater than you seem to believe. Also, you are making an assumption that everyone will fly once. But if I fly frequently AND am not taking up 1.5+ seats then I am paying quite a bit more which is totally unfair to place the burden of cost upon myself rather than the larger party.

    And your point about requesting another seat was rather naive. As to the exit row, for every one person who does not want the responsibility there are 10 more who want the extra leg room. You see this as analogous to a full plane and the attendant asking for someone to switch into a seat with no room. No one is going to agree this plan. To say that this is an awful analogy implies that there is a way that they could be compared which they cannot unless you are trying to create two situations which are completely different.

  72. Benny Gesserit says:

    @johnva: Someone your size and confguration was on my flight back from C*ba a few years ago.

    He spent the entire 5 hour flight with his knees wedged into the back of his seat tray and his feet dangling a few inches off the floor. (Luckily it was a late-evening, no-meal flight because I have no idea how he’d have managed.)

    There have been few times I’ve been glad to be only 5’6″ but that was one of them. I’m surprised he was able to walk when we landed.

  73. @sotally tober: They already do. It’s First/Business class.

  74. Steel_Pelican says:

    @neithernor: Because an airline employee wasn’t doing their job to make sure that people meet the carryon restrictions.

    @lihtox: This isn’t about sympathy, it’s about getting what you paid for- a full seat. I’m sympathetic to the misfortunes and disabilities of my fellow passengers, but I refuse to pay for those misfortunes and disabilities, and when I pay full price for 3/4 of a seat, I’m paying for someone else’s disability.

  75. @Asvetic: That’s bad math. 17″ doubled is 34, but that assumes a one dimensional ass. For seat width calculations, you have to figure in at least two: ass width and waist thickness from front to back. I have a 38″ waist and can fit, comfortably, in a 17″ seat. But man, the 19 and 21″ seats are a lot ore comfortable. 6’2″ is a PITA on a plane, though.

  76. SacraBos says:

    @sotally tober: Yes, they call those seats “First Class”.

    Also, since airlines are more than happy to charge you an extra $75 if your bag is over the weight limit, or tell you your bag can’t go carry-on if it doesn’t fit in the space provided – why shouldn’t they charge someone extra if they are unable to fit into the provided seat?

    What if two huge people are assigned seats together? Do they both get bonus sky miles and vouchers for them for inconveniencing each other?

  77. erratapage says:

    My worse flight experience was with a gangly, skinny teenage boy who kept elbowing me in the ribs whenever he needed to do something with his computer, his mp3 player, cell phone, or food.

    The problem was only solved when I switched seats with my husband who was shaped differently enough that the excessive elbow movement missed him completely.

    People are all different sizes and shapes. It’s easy to blame excessive weight, but really… I’ve been next to larger people who don’t have problems with the seat. I think it’s about shape, not size.

  78. rolla says:

    delta sucks…i try to avoid them. The planes i have flown on with them in the past didnt even have monitors to watch TV. How 1990!

  79. KJones says:

    This happened to me once, but being asked to sit next to a bloated person on the bus isn’t the same thing. The bus company took a passenger off the bus (he going to the next town, 40 miles away) and paid for a taxi fare while I got a comfortable seat for the 300 mile trip, leaving two seats to Two-Ton Tom.

    As a paying passenger, the thin person is under no obligation to allow the overweight one to lift the separating armrest. If the overweight person can’t fit between the centre and aisle armrests, it’s not the thin person’s problem. If you’re forced to sit next to someone so porcine, insist (politely) with the stewardesses that the armrest be kept down.

    When airlines book, they should be under an obligation to practice the “sell two, refund one” policy to anyone who is overweight. If an overweight customer buys the ticket by phone or internet and does not tell the travel agent, the overweight person should be the first one bumped off the flight.

    There is discrimination against overweight people, but expecting thin people to be inconvenienced by overweight people’s size is like an overweight person expecting a size 4 to fit. It’s unrealistic and silly.

  80. johnva says:

    @Jim (The Canuck One): I can usually barely fit as long as people don’t lean back in front of me. When they do, it sucks. As long as I get there first, people can’t lean back because their seat won’t move. If I don’t, it’s not nice. Some people will be considerate if you ask them politely not to lean back, but most don’t care.

    I don’t even consider myself all that tall. The space between seats IS a problem with lots of airlines because they don’t fit a large number of normal people. Obesity is a different problem because it’s often more of a side-to-side problem. Thus, it can be remedied with the purchase of an additional seat. Being tall can’t be, since it’s the configuration of the cabin that is the problem.

    On really long flights I usually get up every couple of hours to walk around and get a little more blood flowing to my legs (I get an aisle seat if I can when I’m flying alone so that I don’t inconvenience other passengers so much by doing this). Big planes like 747’s usually have some open areas near the stairs where you can stand up out of the way, and this helps a lot.

  81. This is Heaven:
    [peterthink.blogs.com]
    This is how it should be. Or close. They could add those satellite TV/game devices you get on JetBlue, Virgin and America West. But this, as a coach seat, is how it should be.

    And really, viewed as a strategist, what if there were two models of airtravel. At present, there are two profitable models, and a mass of bad models.
    Model 1: Low Cost at all costs. Typical: Southwest in the US, Ryan Air in Europe
    Model 2: Nice experience. Examples: Midwest and JetBlue (before they started leaving customers on the runway).

    If you are morbidly obese, you can opt for two seats on Model 1 or one seat on model 2 at a higher price.

    If you were slick, you might run your fleet into two models (United and TED, Delta and Song, are you listening). But you have to commit, hard, to your model.

    If you are booking through an online booking service, the brand connotes the value: cost effective or amenity friendly. Would you pay $30-50 more for a two inch wider seat?

    If it were important to you, Mais Bien Sur.

  82. bukz68 says:

    Message to fat people:

    You’re overweight? I couldn’t care less. You balk at the idea of having to buy a second seat because your of love handles? Fine with me. But if you spill over into the area that I paid for I reserve the right to remove you from my space by any means necessary.

    No one has the right to discriminate based on your weight but you also don’t have the right to usurp the space or services I paid for. You don’t mind being plus sized? Fine. But you should make accomodations for yourself that won’t punish others for your own problems.

    If you don’t have any qualms inconveniencing me by spilling into my seat, I don’t have a problem inconveniencing you by stuffing you back into yours.

    However, I will agree that it would be prudent for airlines to set aside a few seats (back row of the cabin) that are made to fit larger patrons.

  83. snoop-blog says:

    one more reason i like southwest.

  84. Rusted says:

    @Asvetic:No, most Americans are not overweight. I’ll bet there are significant portions of large people on the other six continents as well.

  85. siskamariesophie says:

    Ugh, I sympathize with the woman in the story. I seem to attract the larger travelers among us as seat buddies. In fact, when I am already sitting down and my neighbor double-checks their seat number and sees me sitting there, they usually have this gleeful smile on their face. I’m usually not that bothered by the fleshy passenger stealing half my seat, but more by the fact that the airlines try to overcharge me when my luggage is 1lb overweight.

  86. LeJerk says:

    @MDSasquatch: Haha I’m imagining someone old lady in one of those dry cleaning bags.

  87. johnva says:

    @Rusted: Actually, according to the CDC, 66.3% of adults over age 20 are overweight or obese. That being said, being a bit overweight or even into the obese range probably isn’t usually a problem for airline seating. The people that are spilling out of their seat are probably mainly just the morbidly obese.

  88. brokeincollege says:

    Um problem is I’m quite normal-sized…maybe a little big but not morbidly obese (size 36 waist, 6 foot even) and even I have trouble sitting in a standard economy class for 6-7 hours at a time. If you looked at me, you’ll see that I’m not that big, but I hate flying precisely because of economy class. It’s a problem with the seats being too small for more than 50% of the population. They need to increase pitch by at least 10% and increase width by at least 15-20%, especially for international flights. United’s seat pitch and width is 31″ and 17″ respectively; try sitting in that for the duration of a Chicago to Hong Kong flight.

  89. neithernor says:

    @erratapage: exactly! That’s why building larger seats isn’t necessarily “enabling” the overweight — it would mean EVERYONE has more space, including the tall people who have commented on this post (and whose inability to fit into a seat doesn’t have any moral stigma attached to it).

  90. johnva says:

    @neithernor: Problem is, the changes required to accommodate taller people are different from the changes required to accommodate the morbidly obese. Taller people need more seat pitch, and obese people need more width (as well as sometimes seat pitch too if their gut sticks out that far). It’s not just about moral stigma.

  91. THINK_before_posting says:

    Sorry if this was covered already as I only made it half way through but…

    This is EXACTLY why I like JetBlue. I am 5’11” and 350lbs. I have flown AA, Delta and a few others. Sometimes I sorta fit, sometimes I need a freaking shoe horn to get in and out.

    Recently I started using JetBlue. Seats are wider as in VERY comfortable. Leg room is bigger, as in several inches. I was never able to stretch my legs while seated before on other carriers. The TV in the seats and such are just an added bonus.

    I am all for saving money but I refuse to make myself and people around me miserable just to save a few bucks. Until the other carriers decide, like JetBlue, to start thinking of the customer and not just the bottom line… I have my carrier. Otherwise, I will happily just drive.

  92. cef21 says:

    @johnva: Here are two solutions if they do lean back on you. First, aim your A/C at the top of their head. Second, get a glass of water and, while pretending to sneeze, flick some onto their head.

  93. bbbici says:

    @Rusted:

    Uh, no. US and Canada are by far the fattest nations on earth. 2/3 of their populace is overweight, with half of this being obese.

    Perhaps rather than a fat section on a plane, it would make more sense to have a small thin section, where the seats are less expensive.

    People respond better to rewards than punishments. Reward people for being thin.

  94. Buran says:

    @din: And what about those who are not at fault for how they look? It’s easy to dismiss it as “you eat too much” but there a lot of people out there who can’t do anything about it and have sought medical help to no avail … so why should people who have done nothing wrong be discriminated against?

  95. ecwis says:

    @johnva: I have an absurdly tall friend and he always flies first class. Problem solved.

  96. ManicPanic says:

    The fact of the matter is that plane seats are small. There are a few groups that I feel bad for: at 5’6″ I am not NEARLY as tall as some of you and I have a problem when people put their seats back. So I have sympathy. Anyone with broad shoulders, you have my sympathy as well because its just the way you were built. You can’t help it and I don’t expect you to sit hunched in your seat. It is okay and I will try and give you a little extra shoulder room and not put my seat back and break the kneecaps of anyone taller than me.

    My dad was on a flight once where a woman needed not one, but TWO seat belt extenders. You know the things they demonstrate with? TWO OF THEM!

  97. Buran says:

    @Javert: I don’t feel I was being unreasonable at all. The smallness of the seats has been a problem for a long time. Yes, wider seats mean fewer people on the plane. So you raise the price a bit to make up for it, like I said. Make the plane’s replacement a little longer to fit an extra row or three in. The difference can be made up in pricing differences and designing planes differently in the future. And yes, “I can’t fit in this seat” is a perfectly valid reason to be moved. With flight crew permission you can move out of your assigned seat. I know people who have done it. It’s just that the exit row reason is the best known due to the announcement.

    @cef21: Or just realize that you’re a selfish jerk if you punish someone for using a feature of the seat that they paid for!

    @bukz68: I wouldn’t go assaulting other passengers. That’s a good way to find yourself on the wrong end of an airport police/TSA squad when the plane lands, and maybe a lawsuit too.

  98. johnva says:

    @ecwis: Yeah, I think this is worth it on a long international flight or something. It’s hard to justify the cost on my much more frequent short domestic flights. I don’t intrude on anyone else’s space, but I’m uncomfortable. Also, where I live almost all the planes are those small regional jets. Those don’t even *have* a first class that offers more space.

  99. MercuryPDX says:

    Know how they have those metal frames to check if your carry on is the right size? Picture that, but for customer asses.

    “I’m sorry sir, your ass is too big and you must purchase a second seat”.

  100. jonnyobrien says:

    At 6’5 and 260 lbs I don’t fit into the fatty class, but I’m not Tom Brady thin either. I fit just fine into the seat as long as the donkey in front of me doesn’t recline the seat. But, Murphy’s Law applies and people recline the seat into my small seat pitch and if you ask them to stop killing my knees they yell at you for bothering them or not allowing them to use the space ‘they paid for.’

    I had one of the ‘I paid for it’ people in front of me on my last LAX to JFK flight. The lady just kept pushing her seat into my legs. The lady complained to the flight attendant that I was kneeing her in the back and complained. The nice employee looked at me, looked at her and cheerfully said, “Sir, if it would make you more comfortable, there is one last seat in First Class, you can have it if you’d like to stretch out.” Needless to say I accepted as the lady in front of me started yelling that I was getting special treatment for making her flight uncomfortable.

    The flight attendant simply told her with the biggest sh*t eating grin that she was making her flight more comfortable by removing the offending party.

    Needless to say, the CEO of American got a glowing letter from me praising the flight attendant and asking for a raise for her.

    I have a 36 inch waist and 52 inch chest, do I have to buy another seat because my shoulders don’t fit in a standard seat? I’m not overflowing the seat next to me, in fact, I’m quite fine with the armrest. So do we pack the plane like a game Tetris for people like me? Or do I get lumped in with the fatties?

  101. ecwis says:

    @johnva: Ouch, those regional jets are bad. I’m flying on one this Sunday. :- If you are a frequent flyer it might be worth it trying to get Elite status, usually by just staying loyal to one airline. If not, most airlines have upgrades that you can buy (subject to availability). Purchasing a guaranteed First Class ticket is usually a lot more expensive.

    United seems to have the best system for upgrades if you have no Elite status. I’ve been upgraded several times with them. They cost $65 per 500-miles.

    So if your flight is 980 miles you need to use two, totaling $110. I find it easier to justify the upgrade if I find a really cheap fare. :-)

  102. dieselbug says:

    I have seen it too many times where overweight couples book onto flights and don’t sit in adjacent seats so they manage to make more than one other passenger suffer because of their size. When booking together, you should travel together, period end of story. This might make fatties think about the impact they have on others when they have to suffer it themselves!
    My wife had to suffer a 12 hour flight having the choice of being pressed up against a fattie or leaning out into the aisle and suffered back pain as a result of the seating position she was forced into.
    I’m not exactly petite (5’11”, 200 lbs) and I have no trouble sitting in a seat in any size plane, from a 14 seater on up. But I do make a point of not infringing on anyone’s personal space when sitting next to someone.
    Anytime I have been booked in a seat adjacent to someone who has to raise the armrest because they’re too big, or someone who has to use a lap-belt extension then I just get reseated. Being a frequent flyer does have its privileges :)
    For those apologists who claim abuse or discrimination – get a freaking life! I don’t want/need to subsidize your eating habits by having to pay more for a seat on a plane because they have to cut out a row/column of seats to make room for bigger people. Seat sizes have not changed over the years – people are just fatter. Lose the weight and give us all a break!

  103. ecwis says:

    @jonnyobrien: If I were the one seated in front of you, I would’ve tried to find your mother before talking to the flight attendant. In case you didn’t know, the seats are designed to be reclined. If you can’t fit into a sit like that, request an exit row. They have more leg room and the seat in front of you doesn’t recline. You could also purchase a first class ticket, or upgrade.

  104. ecwis says:

    @ecwis: seat*, not sit

  105. banmojo says:

    @FLConsumer: this has been the obvious solution for years now. simply charge passengers based on their reported weight. if at time of boarding they’ve gone up/down in weight, they’d get either a rate increase/decrease. This way kids would fly for much more reasonable rates, and fat disgusting slobs would pay their appropriate ‘tax’ for fatting up our beautiful world. This really is the only fair way to charge for ticket fare. You should ask me about my policy regarding 1st class (it’s called ‘first class’ so I take that to mean that rude people, arrogant people, dickheaded people shouldn’t be allowed to buy tickets for 1st class, because clearly they AREN’T 1st class people in the 1st place :^) I’m serious.

  106. roderashe says:

    @BStu: Wrote: “We’re supposed to feel bad for obese people who might have to purchase a second fare? It’s not that I’m (entirely) unsympathetic to the plight of the girthy, but it’s not my fault that they’re fat. Maybe we can charge the fatties 1.5 times as much, and I can pay half-fare since I’m only using half of my seat when I’m stuck next to jumbo.”

    Hi! My name is Jumbo. No, it’s not your fault I’m fat but maybe the airlines should charge anit-humans like you 1.5 times more for being an idiot who ignorantly classifies people of different physical appearance than yours. That sounds ‘fare’. Ha! Get it?! ‘Fare’. HA!

  107. fishiftstick says:

    Exactly how is this to be enforced?

    Tickets are e-tickets, and many passengers check in at e-counters. Weight doesn’t necessarily equal width: it could also be height or muscle. If it is fat, how is it distributed?

    What about non-obese people with wide frames?

    What about people who are fat because of illness? Wouldn’t charging them more violate the Americans with Disabilities Act?

    It’s easy to criticize fat people. Successful and lasting weight loss is not so easy. Only 5% of people who diet lose weight and keep it off.

    The fact is that airline seats are unrealistically small, especially for long flights. People have died because airlines pack passengers like sardines.

  108. jonnyobrien says:

    @ecwis

    What does Mother O’Brien have to do with me on a business trip? Last time I checked Mother O’Brien wasn’t required to come with me on business trips.

    I was sitting in my seat, occupying my space when a giant head of hair came crashing into my space. So if my knees are in your back, how about not reclining the seat? The seat moves, my knees are sort of attached to me.

    Seems to me that you now are advocating a fat tax, a tall tax, a wide tax and a bring-your-mother-to-work tax now. First it’s the fatties, now it’s the tallies, then the momma’s boys, where does it end?

    Oh, and I did upgrade, I went to first class as ‘punishment’

  109. snoop-blog says:

    i think southwest has the best policy. it’s only courteous, to require individuals who take up more than on seat, to pay for more than one seat. apparently, the policy works condidering the company is doing well.

    would you overweight people really feel comfortable patronizing a company that caters to you? i would think that would be more embarrasing or even worse.

  110. camille_javal says:

    The commercial airlines have been shrinking the fucking seats. Up until about 7 years ago, I was 80 lbs heavier – I had no “spillover” problems, because of my shape (I don’t gain weight in my middle), but my hips were squeezed in between the armrests so tight I could barely move (and the armrest would slip up when I stood).

    Now, I am a size 4, and regularly described by other people as “tiny.” And yet, on certain commercial airlines (I’m looking at you, fucking US Airways), when I sit in the seats…my hips are squeezed, and the armrest often flips up when I stand. The fuck?

    I like the classes-of-airlines idea someone gave above – the legacy airlines are trying too much to compete with lower-priced carriers, and it’s not working for their image at all.

  111. thebigbluecheez says:

    @MRT: steerage

  112. fuzzycuffs says:

    Fat people have no feelings!

    Actually, I hate Delta. My last flight with Delta, I sat next to this couple. I had the window seat while they had the center and aisle seat… for 3 people! They had a 1-2 year old child with them that decided to fly on the mother’s lap, who of course was sitting next to me.

    The child would cry the entire flight. Part of me hated that, but the other part of me realized that children do this and there wasn’t much I could do about it. So I put the headphones in and turned up the music.

    But what totally disgusted me was that instead of going to the restroom to change said child, the mother decided to change the diaper right there in her lap next to me. *barf*

    But hey, at least she wasn’t fat.

  113. UpsetPanda says:

    I’ve sat next to fat people, smelly people, loud people, extremely talkative people…I’d rather fat people have to pay for two seats if that is what it takes for the to be more comfortable. I can’t imagine being large and fitting yourself into a normal seat can possibly be comfortable, and it is unfair to lift the armrest and have another half a seat just because you think you can. Just as if stranger next to me were to do the same. The weight is just an added variable to the discomfort.

  114. Android8675 says:

    thin people suck.

  115. Buran says:

    @johnva: Because the airlines think “average size” is what it was in the 1960s. Time to update.

  116. marike says:

    I was sandwiched between my husband (175lbs) and a stranger (400lbs) on a small Continental flight from Houston to Tampa last summer. While we sat on the tarmac, I was forced to sit on my husband’s lap and the flight attendants just smiled at me as they walked through the aisle. No one said a word to me about seat belts because I had a seat belt on – I was SHARING my husband’s seatbelt with him. Thankfully, there were a ton of open seats on the plane in the back, so my husband and I were able to move once the plane door shut. I felt bad for the large man next to me, who clearly was uncomfortable and embarassed. I wrote to Continental about the situation (I wasn’t seeking compensation of any sort) and my reply was that as long as the passenger can use the seatbelt extender, they do not have to purchase an extra seat.

    The man next to me had 2 seat belt extenders. :/

  117. typetive says:

    @jonnyobrien: “I have a 36 inch waist and 52 inch chest, do I have to buy another seat because my shoulders don’t fit in a standard seat? I’m not overflowing the seat next to me, in fact, I’m quite fine with the armrest. So do we pack the plane like a game Tetris for people like me?”

    This is a brilliant solution!

    Each passenger must enter their dimensions and then the airline makes the “puzzle” of seat assignments available online as a game! (With little tetris-like bricks.)

    No one knows where there’ll be sitting until they get to the airport for boarding, but are assured the most comfortable configuration possible.

  118. johnva says:

    @Buran: No they don’t. They just don’t care if their customers are uncomfortable now because they make more money if we are. If the discomfort of airline travel were actually cutting into their bottom line, they might make changes. But it’s not.

  119. trujunglist says:

    I’d just like to say, for the record, that you should NOT allow your 3’8″ child to recline the seat, because I am 6’4″ and have feelings (but none in my legs), you insensitive bastards! Also, changing your kids’ diaper on the seat during take off and then leaving it there for the entire 4 hour flight is UNACCEPTABLE. Please, if you must change your child on the seat, deposit the diaper in the bathroom immediately.

    P.S. You and your family are the types of New Yorkers that are known throughout the world for their obnoxious douchery, and the flight attendant thinks so too according to her knowing wink and sympathetic shoulder shrug. There, I said it.

  120. SeraSera says:

    I should have taken this advice on my delayed-for-four-hours, post-Thanksgiving flight from O’Hare to Reagan. This man was big AND tall, took up half my seat (thank god I was in the aisle, the girl on the window looked miserable), and blared his DVD player at full volume.

    But… how, exactly, does one broach the subject with a flight attendant? “Are there any other open seats?”

  121. Justin42 says:

    I totally agree the airlines have to be more realistic about who is flying with them, and a lot of it is height– I’m also 6’1, with a lot of my height in my legs, and flying is absolute misery for me most of the time. I always get behind the person who insists on pushing their seat back all the way the second they’re allowed to, and no matter what I say or plead or ask they usually just blow me off, fall asleep, and have a lovely flight while I have to do all sorts of contortions just to not have my knees throb the whole way. It was especially bad on a flight back from the UK about 10 years ago; I think the guy in front of me had been travelling for days or whatever– he reclined immediately and was in a coma for 10+ hours. The flight was full so I couldn’t really move.

    I haven’t flown in about 2 years and plan to keep it that way as long as I can. It’s just not worth the hassle.

  122. Raziya says:

    @banmojo: So you obvoisly can’t ride in first class according to your own policy, since you’re being elitist and arrogant right now. :|

  123. bbbici says:

    This is what happens when pigs are finally able to fly.

  124. Benstein says:

    They should make fatties sit together so they keep each other uncomfortable. That way they will volunteer to buy the extra seat.

  125. witeowl says:

    @inelegy: Ha! I don’t like that prejudice against the overweight is the last acceptable form of discrimination. But, I do like that one.

    @Quite a few others: Just to reiterate, I’m not saying I, as a plus-sized person, shouldn’t pay more; I’m saying I shouldn’t have to pay double. Replace the three seats in a few rows with two, larger seats per row, and I’ll pay a reasonable premium.

    Honestly, I am as uncomfortable squeezing (successfully, mind you) into a regular seat as you are sitting right next to me and watching my discomfort.

    I’d love to be able to call and request “Hurley” seating.

  126. johnva says:

    @witeowl: Airline tickets are sold by the seat. The reason you have to pay double is because if they sell you 1.5 seats or whatever then the rest of that space is useless to them. The seats are an indivisible unit, and the airline could sell two seats for two full ticket prices if someone wasn’t taking up more than one seat.

    Let’s do a thought experiment, and say that the airlines did what you are saying and added some bigger seats in a few rows, and made them cost 1.5 times as much. Do you know what would happen? Non-fat people would really want to buy them, because they would be like first-class space for a price not much more than economy. Some first class passengers would wonder why they are paying so much more if the fat people can get a seat that’s just as big for only 1.5 times economy. Would you restrict these seats to fat people? If so, how would that be fair to everyone else who also wants a bigger seat for a cheap price? Even buying two economy seats you are typically getting a great deal with comparison to first class. What you are asking for is like first class, but with fat people being exempt from paying for first class.

    The reason this isn’t done is that it simply isn’t compatible with the business model of most airlines. Unless that changes, I predict your options will remain either buying two economy-class seats or buyign a first-class seat.

  127. UpsetPanda says:

    But… how, exactly, does one broach the subject with a flight attendant? “Are there any other open seats?”

    @SeraSera: I wonder, would it be better if I called a flight attendant over and slipped him or her a note with “Are there any other seats open?” written on it? It’s the most subtle way of requesting a new seat, I think.

  128. APFPilot says:

    @banmojo: That doesn’t work though. The increased costs to the airline to fly someone who weighs more is only a little fuel burn. There aren’t kids tickets because it costs just as much to fly them as it does others.

  129. XTC46 says:

    @sotally tober: the obvious reason is money. The more people on a plane, the better as far as profits go.

    The problem I have with weight restrictions is weight doesn’t equal fat. Body builders are all over weight, professional body builders would be considered morbidly obese if you went just by hight and weight. So you could charge more for them since they wouldn’t take up way more room (well some of the huge ones would but not most)

    Girls wearing strong perfume (or guys with cologne) fat people who breath really loudly with every move, etc all bug me, people who talk obnoxiously loud or with really irritating voices also bug me, every one of them make my plane trips uncomfortable. Bsically everyone has flaws, and we cant fix them all so we need to deal. I think its a matter of personal responsibility. I am a big guy 6’3 and close to 300 lbs. My knees touch the seat in front of me in coach, and while I dont overflow into the seat next to me, I do take up all of my seat. So when I fly, I fly first lcass or economy + on united since it has more legroom. It’s more expensive, but I am bigger and it would be rude of me to bother other people becasue of my size.

  130. jonnyobrien says:

    @UPSETPANDA: I think that would be the fastest way to meet the FBI and State Police at your destination or an ‘alternate’ airport.

    As a passenger who isn’t living in constant fear of anything, I still wouldn’t be a fan of seeing a note passed to the flight crew.

    Note to flight crew? That’s a beating.

  131. jimconsumer says:

    I once boarded a flight on standby, so I did not have an assigned seat. I, and the other standby passengers, were told to pick any available seat. When I got on the plane, there were two seats left and the air conditioning was not working. The packed plane was hot as a sauna and it had already pushed back from the gate – we were escorted onto the tarmac – so the other passengers were all seated and buckled (and sweating their asses off).

    I was going to take the first seat I came across, but then I noticed a good looking woman in the very back, frantically waving at me. I smiled and trekked all the way back there to sit with her, at which point I noticed the whale who had followed me onto the plane. You see, I’m short and thin and the man behind me had to be at least 400lbs. He was walking sideways through the aisle, he was so big. The cutie was quite happy to have avoided that disaster and I had a wonderful flight and plenty of stimulating conversation.

    So, if this is how it works out every time, I say, bring on the fatties!

  132. Melsky says:

    Between my fear of having to sit next to someone who takes up half my seat and my fear that I will be forced to sit captive in a plane that is delayed for hours, I have not flown in a long time.

  133. cwlodarczyk says:

    @fishiftstick:
    Wow – the first sensible comment in this entire conversation.

    I’ll be the first to say that I am a bit overweight, but I’m not what you would call obese. Still, I’m 6’4″ and 300lbs and I’m built like a linebacker.

    Tell ya what, to those of you who are “lucky” enough to be smaller who wish to complain about my larger size that I have no control over, I’ll saw off one of my arms to make a bit more from for you.

    Then I’m going to beat you to a pulp with it for being such a moron.

    I think it’s a fair compromise!

  134. sventurata says:

    @ManicPanic: No kidding. The cost and effort put into making separate sizes is a major inefficiency. Why they don’t just make clothes in one size is beyond me. Geez.

    As for the rest, it’s called *public* transportation for a reason. You have the option of chartering a private jet… oh, yeah, except you don’t. So if equipment updates are required to accommodate bigger person, you’re probably gonna have to suck it up and pay a small subsidy, just like you did for disabilities, etc…

  135. sventurata says:

    @xtc46: I would pay premium fare to avoid people with annoying voices yakking away on their mobiles… on any form of public transit. Being squished in silence is a welcome alternative!

  136. @siskamariesophie: That’s funny. I always atract the weirdest person to walk down the aisle. Big smelly lubovitcher – check. 400 lb woman with cheap cologne – check. Vegan activist – check. Alkie – check. But I’d rather sit next to any of these creeps that I’ve sat next to than fly United.

  137. @banmojo: Who wants kids to fly? If you’re going to charge heavies extra, you should charge extra for kids, ages 4-12. They bounce. They squeal. The kick the seat in front of them. They are a PiTA to all. NO Airline should ever charge LESS for children. Have mercy on the rest of us.

  138. ManicPanic says:

    @Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: I’m not saying don’t make all the sizes but BUT a size 20 is substantially larger than a 6-10 which I believe is the size of the average american. So if I choose to eat responsibly and work out to maintain a healthy body weight, why should I have to pay for the person who thinks McDonalds and “4th meals” are a healthy lifestyle?

  139. @johnva: John,
    The solution is for two models of airlines. One, like Southwest. Lean and mean. One, like Midwest, with big comfy chairs and a price premium. Since these are both profitable airlines (and united, Delta, US Air and AA are generally not), clearly, there are models that work, and models that don’t.

    Again, the solution for people who can’t fit in a 17″ by 30″ seat is simple: Buy 2 seats, garnering over 36″ in width on the lean and mean airline. Or, fly the comfy chair/price premium airline and get 21″ of width, and a wide arm rest between them and the next customer. At 21″ of width, you’re talking a 50″ waistline capacity, at least.

  140. mavrc says:

    I don’t fly very much. I’m a fat guy. On the rare occasions when I do fly, I buy two tickets. If I’m gonna take up 1 1/2 seats then I should pay for 1 1/2 seats, and since the airline can’t really sell 1/2 of a seat I can understand why I would need to buy two. Can’t say as I’m really thrilled with paying double what everyone else pays, but I can’t think of anything that would be fair other than that option.

    Personally, I’d find it far more embarrassing to try and squeeze some poor bastard in next to me than it would be to check in with two tickets.

  141. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I actually experienced the same thing while riding Amtrak this summer (Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Albany.) I was placed next to a very nice lady who unfortunately occupied both her seat and half of mine. No fault of her own (I told her not to get upset.) When I pointed out to the woman doing the seating assignments that I couldn’t sit at my assigned seat, and asked to be seated somewhere else, she just turned to me and said “That’s not my problem” and walked away. I pointed to two empty seats that were right in front of the aisle I was assigned and asked if I could sit there, and she simply said no. So I sat DOWN on the floor , in the middle of the aisle and refused to budge. She just walked away. Eventually, another worker happened by, and the woman who was sitting across from me (who had witnessed the entire thing) stopped him and said “I hope you aren’t going to make this woman sit on the floor for the entire trip.” He immediately understood the problem and told me to sit in the empty seats I had originally pointed out to the woman doing the seating assignments. When the seat-assigner happened back and saw me in the seat she had said I couldn’t sit in, she started to yell at me, but I just pointed to the gentleman who was at the other end of the car and said “Take it up with him – he said I could sit here.” Apparently he was a supervisor or something because she had no desire to “take it up with him.”

  142. UpsetPanda says:

    @jonnyobrien: Why though? I mean, I’m asking for a different seat, and it isn’t a veiled attempt at asking for everyone’s valuables.

  143. vorare says:

    The problem with buying an extra seat, FWIW, is that airlines routinely overbook flights. I have a relatively large sibling that sometimes buys a second seat for himself, and on more than one occasion he’s had the airline try to wedge someone into the “unfilled” seat next to him that he paid for. That puts him in the position of choosing between being (a) the fat jerk that spills into his neighbors seat, or (b) the mean jerk that wouldn’t let someone get on the plane despite a technically empty seat.

    Funnily enough, he says Southwest has been the worst in this regard.

  144. forgottenpassword says:

    COOL! My tip got used! (I’m Jim O)

    On a flight from KC to Minn. I got stuck in a seat between two fat people on a smaller plane (had only one aisle going up the middle of the plane & 3 seats on each side). I had to basically pull in my shoulders & arms (& put them in my lap) because both of the fatties’ elbows, arms, fatrolls spilled over the armrests. Thank god it was less than a two hour flight! Had no problem on the later 8+ hour minneapolis to gatwick (england) flight on KLM airlines. There were a bunch of open seats everywhere & no fatties sitting next to me (this was in 2002 I think).

    btw…. I ddint even know that the armrests move on flights.

    Note: Just want to say that I am just slightly overweight, but have a small bodyframe so I have no problems fitting easily into an airline seat.

  145. TechnoDestructo says:

    I got shoehorned in between two morbidly obese women on a flight from Fairbanks, AK, to Anchorage.

    Once was enough. And if that had been longer than a 45 minute flight, once would have been too much. It isn’t happening again.

    @fishiftstick:

    When I weighed 250 pounds, I fit into one airline seat. They are not unrealistically small. The only thing unrealistic here is gigantically fat people who think they’ll fit in one coach seat, or that other people should have to share their seats with them.

    All you have to do to comply with the ADA is “reasonable accommodation.” If there is no reasonable accommodation to be made, you don’t have to do squat.

    You might make a case for sticking a fat person next to an otherwise empty seat being reasonable. Maybe for moving them into an empty business or first class seat, even. But if there are no empty seats, and you can’t avoid a fat person spilling into another paying customer’s seat, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to kick them off the flight.

    And asking ME to take up the slack for some other passenger is NOT reasonable accommodation. If I’m faced with the prospect of a long flight with someone else spilling into my seat, I’ll make a fucking stink about it. I’ll get kicked off the flight. It isn’t happening again.

  146. jonnyobrien says:

    @UPSETPANDA; It’s not WHAT you’re asking, it’s HOW you’re asking. In the era of out of control flight attendants post 9/11, you’re passing a note to a member of the flight crew.

    Then again,. what do I know, some posters are looking for Mother O’Brien to scold her because I can’t fit in the space behind their seat with it reclined.

  147. johnva says:

    @jonnyobrien: I think it’s pretty paranoid to assume ill intention just because someone passed a note to a member of the flight crew. Maybe THEY had suspicions about someone else and didn’t want to alert the person. Or maybe they just want to avoid embarrassment for themselves or their seat mates. Seriously, I think that the flight crew can handle it themselves without your help if the note contains a threat or whatever.

  148. forgottenpassword says:

    How about making the really obese people sit together & allow them to have an empty seat between them while charging them for 1 & a half seats? That way two fatties could share (the cost & the space) of one extra seat. They’d get their extra space & only have to pay for half of the extra seat instead of a full extra seat. Make it in the last rows & make fatties board first. Of course this would mean splitting up traveling groups or pairs of people, but for the sake of comfort…. I dont see anything wrong with this. A friend & I had to take two different seats way far apart from each other because of a seating screwup, but I didnt mind.

  149. kellyd says:

    @jonnyobrien: I think the Mommy comment was basically saying you were born big. That has advantages to you plenty of times–personal security on the playground, an advantage of height and broad shoulders in daily life. When I sit next to a fat person who oozes over onto me, I feel sorry for them and make the best of it. Meanwhile, I’ve sat next to large-framed jerks who make no attempt to lessen my discomfort–taking both armrests, etc.

    I recently flew with a small dog in a carrier under the seat in front of me. This was on United. The carrier counted as my carry-on and I had less leg room. I still had to pay an extra $150 round-trip to have less leg room and fewer bags. It was my choice, though, to fly with the dog. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up.

    My best friend is quite large and miserable on flights. She can’t afford two seats or First Class. She’s clean and pleasant and very considerate–kinda folds her arms in front of her on her lap because she feels bad about the seat-mate being crowded. (She has a glandular issue–she doesn’t do fourth meal.)

    I think a compromise would be in order: a small extra fee to those who are too large, assessed and paid at check-in or at the gate. Maybe you could require, as with pets, that the large person notify the airline in advance that they’re going to need more room and know they will have to pay say 75 bucks more each way. The airline could keep one or two seats open for this purpose (or other things like someone puking on the seat, etc.) and these extra fees would help offset their loss of sales for those extra seats.

    Another option would be to have the flight crew address the situation. Just like they re-shuffle if yo don’t want to be in the exit row, they should do that when size issues crop up. There’s a whale in 12C, but a mother and small child in two seats elsewhere on the plane: move the two people from next to the fat person and put the mom and kid next to the fat person. The kid’s not going to need the whole seat and we all make sacrifices of comfort when traveling.

  150. edrebber says:

    The over weight passenger had no right to occupy the OPs seat. That’s stealing. The OP should have been given a full seat and the overweight passenger should have been the one hanging over into the aisle.

  151. synergy says:

    I wouldn’t fault someone for being tall. It’s not something you can do something about, or at least not something you’d want to do e.g. breaking your legs off. On the other hand, most obese people can lose weight. And before I get comments, I said most. But even a lot of those who say they can’t, just don’t.

  152. Scaramanga says:

    Most airlines require large individuals that cannot fit comfortably in a single seat to purchase two seats. It, in fact, happens very frequently, and is a source of complaint from the obese individual (and may end up on Consumerist as another article).

  153. Oracle989 says:

    @johnva: On a flight I had from Dallas a few months back, a retired NFL lineman was in a seat on the little commuter plane. Now this guy, as you might imagine, is BIG. His knees are up to his chin, the ass in front of him is relining, and hes spilling into the aisles. THEN the flight attendent has the nerve to come to the guy and ask him to put up his seat, and when he says he can’t due to his size, she cops an attitude with him. I swear to god, that pissed me off.

  154. lent says:

    Let’s look at what the Federal Government has to say on this topic of airline seats:

    [edocket.access.gpo.gov]
    [Code of Federal Regulations]
    [Title 14, Volume 1]
    [Revised as of January 1, 2001]
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
    [CITE: 14CFR25.785]

    [Page 409-411]
    TITLE 14–AERONAUTICS AND SPACE

    CHAPTER I–FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

    PART 25–AIRWORTHINESS STANDARDS: TRANSPORT CATEGORY AIRPLANES–Table of Contents

    Subpart D–Design and Construction

    Sec. 25.785 Seats, berths, safety belts, and harnesses.

    (a) A seat (or berth for a nonambulant person) must be provided for each occupant who has reached his or her second birthday.

    =======
    Reading this we could say:
    a seat which is broken, or occupied by something or someone else, is not a seat :-)
    Therefore the aircraft is no longer airworthy. :-)

    Obviously the intent of the regulation is the aircraft must have a place to sit for every passenger.
    Standees, people rolling around on the floor or people sailing through the air are pretty clearly a hazard to all others on the plane.

    I guess the key here is that there must be a seat for each passenger, no matter what size the passenger.

    Or on another tack, if the passenger’s assigned seat was occupied by a seat-belted piece of carry on luggage, the seat-belt would be undone and the bag would be moved or the seat could not be used.

    What difference is it that the obstruction happens to be part of another person? If the obstruction was a detached artificial limb, that would have to be moved as well for the seat to be used.

    Since the total number of seats on the plane has been reduced by one, the procedures for overbooking would then come into play.
    ======

    Much more frightening is that apparently the law has not kept up with American weights as further down we see…(only 170 pounds!)

    […Same title…]
    (f) Each seat or berth, and its supporting structure, and each safety belt or harness and its anchorage must be designed for an occupant weight of 170 pounds, considering the maximum load factors, inertia forces, and reactions among the occupant, seat, safety belt, and harness for each relevant flight and ground load condition (including the emergency landing conditions prescribed in Sec. 25.561).

    […]
    ======
    And come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that some carrier’s seats do not provide “a firm handhold”
    […Even further down in the same title…]
    (j) If the seat backs do not provide a firm handhold, there must be
    a handgrip or rail along each aisle to enable persons to steady
    themselves while using the aisles in moderately rough air.
    ======
    Food for thought…

  155. adam_h says:

    I’m all for overweight people paying a premium. It’s bad enough on public transit when they squish all over you, but at least I have the option of standing up and getting away. I’ve been fortunate not to have encountered this problem while flying, but if it does happen, I’m locking myself in the bathroom and not coming out. That has to be more comfortable than being squished!

  156. Atomike says:

    Obese people should have equal rights – they should be allowed to fit in the seat they bought. That’s equality. Asking for any more space is not equal rights, but special treatment.
    If you eat the donut, live with it.

  157. edrebber says:

    @Atomike: The overweight person ccupying the OPs seat is theft.

  158. ecwis says:

    @jonnyobrien: No, I’m not advocating any tax. If you can’t fit in your seat without kicking the seat in front of you then perhaps your seat is not appropriate for you. I just don’t think it’s right to take it out on the person in front of you. They have a right to recline their seat. They also have a right to not be kicked by other passengers.

    I’m not saying that their is a lot of leg room in coach seats, but that’s what you get for the cheap price. You always have the option of first class, and you often have the option of exit row or Economy Plus if you’re flying United.

  159. Samby says:

    @ManicPanic:
    that’s not really true. Having owned and run a retail store for a few years, my suppliers disabused me of this notion. The bulk of the cost of most garments is in developing the pattern and sewing it. The cost of the fabric was not really the issue.
    The reason that the next size range required higher prices is because it required a whole new pattern be produced. (usually for a more limited clientele) Generally, one pattern is created in a medium size, and then extrapolated to the other sizes in the range. Once you get in to plus sizes, the proportions are different and require a different size. Granted, the suppliers did say that by the time you moved to a 3x, the fabric costs did make a difference, but that’s a long way from a 20.

  160. nrwfos says:

    I am a very short adult of 58 yrs. I am always uncomfortable in planes. I’m not skinny, but I don’t overflow either. There just isn’t a comfortable seat I’ve found yet. As a rule of thumb I rarely fly since I have DVT which is aggravated by flying and being in cramped quarters for any long period of time. On occasion, I do have to fly and I always dread it. The seats are too high, too narrow, and not ergonomically correct for my body type.
    It’s painful. I really wish that something could be done to alleviate this problem. As for overweight people, if we are worrying about too heavy luggage on board, I think we should be worried about overweight people as well. It’s a safety issue. I don’t know the answer.

  161. Atomike says:

    @Edrebber: I don’t disagree with you. Read what I said, then read it again. Then feel silly.

  162. antisocial says:

    What would they do if two overweight people ended up next to each other, or three in a row? And would that compromise flight safety, or make the plane fly in circles?…

  163. anns says:

    This isn’t a matter of weight discrimination. You get what you pay for, and if a 20″ wide seat costs $100, then any ADDITIONAL space over 20″ costs you extra, whether it’s your elbow, your stomach, or your Louis Vuitton bag taking up the space. It’s just a matter of airlines being able to state clearly that they’re selling you a set amount of space, not the right to board the plane.

    When I go to a restaurant and I’m still hungry after the entree, I don’t get a free desert because I haven’t eaten in two days. If you want more than what you bought, you pay up.

  164. Dashrashi says:

    @IrisMR: I certainly do agree that what you think is simple. I’m a bit amazed, though, that you know 99% of fat people, and their situations.

  165. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    I’m larger sized and I make sure when I fly that I’m sitting with my husband (who is tall and lanky) and my daughter, who is nine. They always have extra space and most of the time, my kid is snuggling up with me anyway.

    I never want to make someone’s flight less than pleasant due to my weight issues. I wish more people just tried to be considerate on both sides over it.

  166. monkeyboy13 says:

    The clothing metaphor doesn’t really hold weight. (pardon the pun) The cost of an item of clothing is almost completely seperate from the amount of material. Labor costs more than the material, and the majority of clothing costs is transportation, advertising, staffing, etc.

    The reason PLUS specific merchandise is more expensive, is because the market of people over size 18-20 is significantly smaller than the rest, so the retailler makes up the cost of devoting sections of the store to its sole sale and marketing.

    As to the airlines, when you buy a seat, you are buying space on the plane to sit. If you cannot fit into one space, it is not unreasonable to buy more space. The arm rest is really the border of your space, if it cannot be put down, you are to big for the space.

    It may be embarassing to have to buy two spots, but I dont see it being less embarassing than the person sitting next to you calling the flight attendant to move their seat because of your girth. Why should the other person get less space than they paid for because you need more?

    Height is a separate issue, since you cannot just buy another seat for more leg room, and is purely biological with out behavioral factors. The airlines should prioritize aisle seats and front rows for people based on height.

    Unfortunately, this will all come down to the staff of each terminal and airplane to make proper on the spot decisions to satisfy the people involved. If the airline sells two seats, and one of the passengers is going to take up two full seats, someone will not be able to fly.

    The airline should charge the man for the extra seat, and find someone on the flight willing to give up their seat in exchange for compensation like any other overbooked flight. If he is unwilling to buy the extra seat, he should be bumped to a later, less empty flight, and give his seat to someone on standby.

    The airlines should come up with a policy of how these situations are to be handled, just as southwest did, or risk underpaid employees offending customers by saying the wrong thing to them and getting a consumerist article saying “XXX airline said I was too fat to fly” and we have to repeat this entire discussion.

  167. the_wiggle says:

    @MDSasquatch: god yes. ziploc those reeking folks who insist on drenching themselves in scent where-ever they are: work, planes, buses.
    literally nauseating & migraine inducing :#

  168. the_wiggle says:

    @cwlodarczyk: amen to that. the level of virulent demonizing hatred towards anyone larger than average is disgusting & twisted.

  169. Vegconsumer says:

    I am not a very large person (a bit over 5 feet tall and of average build) and I can say that the last time I flew (2003) I felt the seats couldn’t be described as “roomy” by any stretch.

    I really don’t have any solutions for this. The things is, large people…are people. They ARE human beings. I would certainly be very upset (and yes, I’d complain) if I didn’t get to use all of the meager seat I paid for.

    We should remember that we are dealing with humans and not mindless robots. I would much rather be next to a very large person than someone with overpowering perfume (as mentioned above)

  170. kleematt says:

    just threatened that you’ll file a complaint with the FAA and you’ll get some action fast. I had that happened to me once and it worked like a charm.

  171. Jager says:

    I was recently on a flight into Washington Reagan. The plane stood on its tail and accelerated just before landing missing a plane SITTING ON THE RUNWAY but less than 40′. When I asked Delta if this was reported to the FAA they said not their problem. When I advised them that this was distressing they advised it was a ROUTINE risk of flying. I never was able to even get a call when I asked for a Manager. I got the circle of email and gave up. I have over 100000 FF miles with Delta and fly monthly. This has never been ROUTINE and it scared the passengers greatly. Even the pilot was shaken. But guess its just routing for Delta Airlines.

  172. RemainCalm says:

    It’s very simple. I paid for the use on one entire seat, which is the space between the armrests and between the gaps of the seat cushions. No other passenger may use the space I paid for, regardless of their size. It’s not personal, it’s not discriminatory, and I’m not interested in criticizing big people. It is the airline’s responsibility to ensure it does not defraud me by allowing other passengers to use the space I paid to use.

  173. Ninascat1 says:

    What’s wrong with some of you people? Being fat is not always a choice. I had 2 gastric bypass surgeries. I almost died both times from losing to much weight and becoming so malnourished that I couldn’t even walk. The planes need to realize that the seats need to be made wider or they need to offer 2 seats to the obese passenger. Thin people don’t understand because they have never had to go through what us heavy people go thru on a daily basis. If you can’t say something nice, please just keep it to yourself. Or at least figure out how you can say it without offending anyone. SHEESH!!!!!