Passenger Of Size Allegedly Has Picture Taken By Flight Attendant

We can in no way confirm that this is true, but the Telegraph is reporting that this photo was “reportedly” taken by an American Airlines flight attendant who wanted to illustrate to airline managers the difficulty of dealing with passengers who cannot fit into seats.

Southwest Airlines delicately calls these people “customers of size.”

The photo was apparently first posted to Flightglobal with the following backstory:

This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it’s a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines. The F/A took it to show her manager what was happening on the aircraft (757???) and why she was unhappy about it. Seems the guy paid for only one seat and the gate staff let him board.

Here is American Airlines’ statement about the photograph:

“At this time American Airlines is unable to confirm whether or not the image referred to was taken by a member of flight crew but will investigate the situation internally to determine if any of the airline’s strict policies were not correctly applied.

“American Airlines’ primary concern is for the safety and comfort of its passengers and crews and consequently passengers are advised to book two seats if they are concerned that they will require them. If a flight is not full, however, passengers’ needs would be accommodated without charge wherever possible.”

What do you make of this?

Obese air passenger in economy seat has picture taken [Telegraph]


Edit Your Comment

  1. aficionado says:

    I though that was a 757 when I saw it. Those are around 135 tons at take-off so the weight is not an issue. The primary concern is the ability for other passengers to exit within the mandated 90 second maximum in the event of an emergency.

  2. jurisenpai says:

    This is extremely dangerous for everyone on this flight – he needs to be secured in the seat in case of turbulence, to ensure that the flight attendants are able to use the aisle, and for his own comfort!

    The passenger needs two seats, and the airline needs to enforce their policy accordingly.

    • FilthyHarry says:

      I can’t believe the air marshal on board didn’t shoot this menace in the head!

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        A quarter-ton of dead passenger is no safer than a quarter-ton of live passenger, and it’s a whole lot harder to get off the plane (in one piece).

    • Julia789 says:

      The seating arrangement pictured might create danger if a fire broke out of if there was an accident on the runway. People could not get through the aisles if say, he was injured in his current position. It’s possible seating was rearranged prior to take off to give him double seats, the airline tries to do this when possible, they will switch someone to get two seats next to each other.

      I’d still like to see if the photo is genuine – he is also extremely tall – taller than anyone on the plane. Is it photoshopped, or just a really, really tall person who also happens to be obese?

      • Julia789 says:

        Oh someone else pointed out he looks tall because he’s sitting on the fixed position aisle seat armrest. Ouch!!! He could NOT have stayed there long, whether he liked it or not. If it is a real photo.

      • Winter White says:

        The passenger in question is at least partially standing since he has to avoid the armrest. Armrests on the aisle seats of most 757 aircraft cannot be lifted.

        This flight looks close to full, but he should not have been allowed to remain seated like that for the duration of the flight. I’d be interested to know what happened.

        • jurisenpai says:

          I read the thread on Flightglobal: other witnesses say the passenger of size was given two seats and the guy next to him was put on the next flight with upgrades as compensation. It still seems unfair and ridiculous, no matter what the compensation they gave to the displaced passenger.

          • Saites says:

            I don’t know; I think I’d give up my seat next to the fat guy for a free ride in first class. I guess it just depends on how delayed the flight became.

            • Skankingmike says:

              LOL, but honestly I’m no where near that size nor is my father inlaw but neither of us fit in those seats. Who the hell fits in those seats other than small woman and little boys.

              • Saites says:

                Heh, I’m actually kind of small and fit pretty well. I still prefer the emergency-exit row when I can get it, but the normal seats aren’t terrible to my legs.

              • kateblack says:

                I looked it up on Seat Guru , and the seat width on Southwest flights is 17″.

                The seat width of the molded seats on the NYC subway is 18″. I can tell you from regular observation that a huge percentage of the population, not only the obese, can’t fit (let alone get comfortable) in those seats. Even less so in winter, when everyone’s got coats on.

                Put two sheets of printer paper next to each other, or open a magazine. Not many people would be comfortable being confined to an area that wide for any length of time.

          • Rectilinear Propagation says:

            Did the other guy volunteer to take a later flight? Doesn’t seem like they can or should ask someone else to take a later flight when they didn’t do anything.

      • Bohemian says:

        I think he is stuck sitting on the armrests, making him sit up higher.

  3. TVarmy says:

    I hope she asked him for permission first. You can argue whether or not he did the right thing by not buying two seats, but I feel like it’s an invasion of his privacy if she just snapped a picture of him surreptitiously, only for the news and blogs like this one to circulate it.

    Still, this photo does illustrate how the situation is no good for him, and no good for the airline. The airline can’t safely seat him in a way that leaves the aisle clear, and he isn’t comfortable. The big question is how to solve it, and if things that punish him are discriminatory (as there is no consensus as to whether or not obesity is caused by personal choice), of if they’re not, thus making it unfair for the airline to need to pay to help him.

    • aficionado says:

      Is the interior of an airplane public domain?

      I thought about taking a picutre a couple weeks ago, but decided against it. We were waiting to leave DCA and one of the pilots had to use the restroom. Two of the flight attendants barricaded the forward galley so that when they opened the cockpit door, there were two people and 280 pounds of beverage cart blocking it.

      I personally found it hilarious and want to get a shot, but with the USA PATRIOT Act and the possibility of flight marshals, a felony just wasn’t worth the laughs if it was indeed against the law.

      • ohenry says:

        Public domain or not, I thought you had to be able to see the person’s face? Being that it was taken from the back I think it’d be hard to identify too many of the people on that plane.

    • jdmba says:

      Shot from the back (so is not ‘recognizable’). Additionally, he is in a public place and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place … no permission needed.

    • CrazyPiggy says:

      It is actually perfectly legal for one to take a photo of another person without their permission, as long as the media is not being used for profit. The reason to this is lawyers argue that if you are already out and in public, any photo (or video) taken of you is perfectly fine because you are already in plain sight.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      There is no expectation of privacy on an airplane. You don’t need permission to take someone’s picture.

  4. H3ion says:

    OK. Let’s get it over with.

    1. This gives a whole new meaning the “widebody.”
    2. The camera must have had a wide angle lens.

    Now that I’ve gotten the bile out of my system, this guy in one seat is a hazard not only to himself but to everyone around him. He can’ possibly be wearing a seat belt and in an emergency, he’s a time bomb. Two seats, minimum, for these “people of size.” Whether or not they’re charged for two seats is a different story. Some of the larger people are of that size due to medical issues not related to overeating. I’d view it as a safety issue and charge for one seat.

  5. CompyPaq says:

    I submitted it to Snopes. I wonder if it’s real.

  6. Tetrine says:

    The seat belts are not that big, they just aren’t … how did the flight attendants ensure he was secured for take off? How did they get the drink cart by? How did anyone get by? It seems more than just the gate agent failed here.

    • Julia789 says:

      For what its worth, you can hook multiple seat belt extenders together until it is long enough to latch. I saw someone ask for two seat belt extenders on a plane once.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved to the two vacant seats behind him, as per the airline policy of providing double seats at no charge if there is a vacancy. Assuming everyone had boarded and the seats were still vacant prior to takeoff.

    • freshyill says:

      That thing they use to demonstrate how to buckle your seatbelt (because it’s 1960 and nobody has ever used one before) is actually an extender. I was on a flight recently where a passenger used one. I remember he was a really big dude, but big in every direction, not nearly so wide as this guy seems to be.

  7. Julia789 says:

    Someone commented on another blog, they suspected his actual seats – two of them – were the vacant ones immediately behind him. They think he moved up to sit in the seat in front of him to chat with his friend, and would have moved back to his seats when he was done chatting. He does appear to be chatting with the guy next to him.

    There does appear to be a couple of vacant seats behind him. And when I’ve traveled with family and gotten stuck in different seats, we did go “visit” the other person in their row during layover or when the seatbelt sign was off.

    And if those two seats behind him remained vacant, I’m sure flight crew would have allowed him to move into them for comfort and safety, as per their policy of providing a double seat at no additional charge, if there is a vacancy available.

    Of course without more information it’s all just speculation. But at least wanted to throw that thought out, maybe the guy wasn’t sitting there during the flight but only stopped there for a moment to catch up with his traveling companion.

    • Julia789 says:

      That is, if it’s not photoshop. He does appear to, as well as being obese, a good foot + taller than everyone else on the plane. Someone could have faked (or exaggerated) a photo.

      • aficionado says:

        Or that extra height is from the fact that he is sitting on the arm rest.

      • Anathema777 says:

        Well, he seems a good foot taller because he’s sitting on the armrest. The ones that face the aisle are fixed in most planes — you can’t raise them.

        • Julia789 says:

          Ohhhhhhhhhh that’s why he looks so tall…. Ouch!!!! Sitting on the armrest would hurt like hell. He could not have physically stayed in the seat for long. He must have moved or been asked to moved to a different seating arrangement prior to take off.

    • Viciouspixie says:

      What you say makes sense, even short flights serve drinks at a minimum so I don’t think any lucid flight attendant would have allowed that man to sit there and block the aisle – they would never be able to get by with the cart, not to mention the safety violation..

      I’m actually curious how the guy even fit on the plane.. it looks like he would have to go down the aisle sideways and depending on the size of his tummy he probably should have been the first one to get on an off as to not clobber any of the other passengers.

      Maybe it is a photoshop pic.. it really does like he’s a giant.. obese aside.

    • CarbonFiberFootprint says:

      Guys that size do not just “moved up to sit in the seat in front of him to chat with his friend, and would have moved back to his seats when he was done chatting” as freely as you’d think. His heart works very hard on his behalf. He could just be smarter than the rest of us. Do you think he moved up intentionally for her to take the picture so that she could cry ‘safety’ and he would not have to pay for two seats next time? It would be documented under his customer profile for future reference…

    • jecowa says:

      Your theory sounds like the most reasonable one. That flight looks nearly full except for those two seats behind him. There could have been children or midgets sitting behind him, tho.

  8. Jalh says:

    holy smokes, that guy is huge !

  9. commenterofsize says:

    First, that guy is not even sitting in the seat at all. The aisle-facing armrest cannot be lifted. He looks extra-super-huge because he’s sitting astride the armrest. From activity farther up the aisle, it looks like the plane is still boarding. He’s probably doing this because he’s waiting until the last moment to squeeze into the seat.

    Southwest has a reasonable policy, which I don’t mind at all. I had a long string of flights in which I got the second seat refund, but the last few years I’ve managed to get full flights. OTOH, there’s an added benefit that because it’s necessary for the two seats to be adjoining, I get to preboard! I can literally show up just as boarding begins and go to the front of the line.

    You wouldn’t think fat people would be in favor of per-pound air pricing, but I am. Of course, I would expect a larger seat for my higher fare!

    The key problem is that all 100+ coach seats on any plane are exactly the same size. Perhaps the airlines should have a “120 lbs and under ” class, a “120-240 lbs” class, a “240-300” class, and “300+ class” with appropriately size seats.

    No one is more uncomfortable in such a circumstance as the fat people themselves. We’d like a reasonable solution as much as anyone. I don’t expect to get a bigger seat for the same fare just because I’m fat. I’m willing to pay more, but I expect more for that.

    • aficionado says:

      Airlines would never do a weight-based seating. It would cost them too much to accommodate all the different sizes. It is much cheaper to jam everyone into the same sized seat used in all their aircraft.

    • Winter White says:

      so…we should separate families on planes by their WEIGHT?

      I’m not sure how I feel about that. As the one who gets shoved in the dreaded middle seat all the time because I’m in the class you didn’t list (under 120lbs), I’ll be sure to ask for a refund next time whoever’s sitting next to me occupies half my seat. After all…if you get more because you pay more, I should pay less if I get less. Right?

      And yes, this happens. I fly twice a week and on at least one of those flights, there is at least one person who raises the armrest and spreads out into my seat.

      • kateblack says:

        So pull the armrest back down and tell them that you need it. Suffering in silence only builds resentment.

        If your seatmate gives you trouble with that, speak to a flight attendant and politely explain the problem and ask to be moved.

        • Winter White says:

          done that a dozen times. On a full commuter flight (to DC, on a regional jet) there is often no place to move TO. I often do demand the armrest back, but there have been cases where the armrest was little restraint for the person triple my size sitting next to me.

          I did once get compensated a fairly large sum from Northwest after a FA on a Northwest flight relocated me next to a “passenger of size” because I “didn’t need the room.” This was before the days of the consumerist, or it would have been on here, but I flew for free on northwest for about two years after that incident.

      • yevarechecha says:

        You have this problem, too? I’m 98 lbs. and I’m constantly getting squashed. Not just on planes, but everywhere.

        However, I’m all for a poundage system if it includes bags in the calculation. Give the larger people more room and stop charging me fees because my bag is 5 lbs. too heavy.

        • aficionado says:

          You’re 98 pounds and you require more than 50 pounds of luggage?

        • Winter White says:

          yes, though I prefer the term “squished” as it more accurately represents the noise I make when someone inevitably steps on, shoves, elbows, suffocates, or otherwise pops my personal space bubble on a daily basis.

        • kateblack says:

          It’s not just the problem of small people. The airlines have had planes designed with smaller seats and less legroom even as the average US citizen is getting wider and taller. They completely ignore the customer base in their designs. That leaves bigger people with fewer inches of their own to fill, and seatmates with fewer inches to scoot away.

          It’s a damnable situation. Big people are harmbed by an industry that refuses to acknowledge they exist, and everyone suffers from loss of personal space.

          • kateblack says:

            harmed. I don’t know how that b got in there.

          • aficionado says:

            Kate, let me introduce you to this concept known as profit margin.

            But seriously, you can’t really fault the airlines for this practice.

            “Airfares, when adjusted for inflation, have fallen 25 percent since 1991, and, according to Clifford Winston and Steven Morrison of the Brookings Institution, are 22 percent lower than they would have been had regulation continued (Morrison and Winston 2000).”

            “As prices have decreased, air travel has exploded. The total number of passengers that fly annually has more than doubled since 1978. “

            “The airlines have not found it easy to maintain profitability. The industry as a whole was profitable through most of the economic boom of the 1990s. As the national economy slowed in 2000, so did profitability for the legacy airlines. Consumers became more price-sensitive and gravitated toward the lower-cost carriers. High labor costs and the network hub business model hurt legacy airlines’ competitiveness. “

            “The Air Transport Association reports that the U.S. airline industry experienced net losses of $23.2 billion from 2001 through 2003,”


            Now its a .org site so take it with a grain of salt. But the point remains that tickets are at the price people are willing to pay. But at this price point, what you get is the service that the airlines can afford: smaller seats, less legroom, fuller flights, bag fees, markup for the better seats (exit row, bulkhead), etc.

      • Rayon Fog says:

        That’s odd. I fly about as frequently as you do, and I’ve never in 20 years had a passenger sitting next to me raise the armrest without asking first, and even that has only happened on a handful of occasions. Still, I agree – you are perfectly within your rights to inform the F/A and ask to either be moved or for the armrest to remain lowered.

      • That's Consumer007 to you says:

        “Excuse me…you’re in my seat. Excuse me, flight attendant? He’s in my seat, thank you.” If the airline isn’t handling it, make them handle it to both passenger’s satisfaction. The other commenter posted on here there should be a reservation card in the second seat they purchase.

    • Julia789 says:

      Doesn’t it look like he stopped there to chat with his friend, whose head is turned toward him, he appears to be showing him something and talking? Sometimes when I’ve flown with family or friends and been assigned seats far away, we “visit” during boarding or quite time during flight. Swap magazines, chat about where we’ll head when we land, then go back to our own seat. It’s possible that wasn’t even his seat and he just paused to chat with his friend. Or the two vacant seats behind him were his. He might not even be “sitting” but leaning back on the chair and armrest while he chats, which explains the leg in the aisle. To actually “sit” on the armrest would be painful – no matter what size a person.

      I still kind of wonder if it’s photoshop, and someone who works for the airline is exaggerating or playing a prank. He is a very big guy – bigger than most big guys.

    • texty says:

      Actually, you can raise the aisle arm rest. There is a latch underneath the armrest you slide forward to raise it….

  10. UGAdawg says:

    That looks very uncomfortable. I know for a fact that the arm rests on the seats in the aisle do not pop up. He’s got to be in that position for a temporary basis at best. Like someone said further down it looks like he’s conferring with his friend. Thank goodness he moved up and had a chat with the guy instead of yelling over the seats.

    • texty says:

      Actually, you can raise the aisle arm rest. There is a latch underneath the armrest you slide forward to raise it…. its not easily visible… but still a good travel tip when you are sitting across the aisle from someone.

  11. StanTheManDean says:

    Violation of the airlines work place policy

    1) FA taking the picture

    2) The gentleman obstructing the isle.

    Violation of the FAA (or equiv) regulations with regards to obstructing the isle and potentially impacting other passengers in the event of an emergency.

    The FA should be terminated and the passenger refused passage on any airline.

    • Winter White says:

      It’s fairly obvious that this picture was taken during boarding of the flight, and it appears that the gentleman in question actually intended to occupy the two seats directly to his rear, and has simply jumped forward a row to converse with his friend (he’s clearly talking to the person next to him).

      He’s sitting on top of an immovable armrest which, in addition to being incredibly uncomfortable to sit on, is likely unable to support his weight for a duration of a flight, so it’s fairly likely that this picture captured a brief moment in time and he didn’t actually travel like this.

      That said, it’s another discussion as to how rude it is to block the aisle while people are boarding a flight, and probably doesn’t deserve banning from passage on any airline, ever.

    • Charmander says:

      Do you know for sure what American Airline’s work place policy is? I’m not sure it would be against any workplace policy to document something that is a safety issue. But I don’t know.

      As far as firing the FA and banning the man from from any airline, I think that’s going a bit too far.

    • harrier666 says:

      Really really really hate to be this person, but I do know the FA that took it. They were off duty and not a direct employee of AA, traveling on their own time as a paying passenger. Person took the picture as a means to discuss safety issues and concerns with other FAs and the airline, and how to mitigate them. It is a tough issue for them. You see how people react on here when a kid refuses to remain belted in and gets kicked off? Imagine the position an underpaid FA is in when this situation arises. It can, and often does, get ugly fast. FAs are often in the unenviable position of deciding who gets to fly (with help from the captain) and are the ones that get keelhauled in the media regardless of what they decide.

  12. CherieBerry says:

    How tall is he? Looks like a giant.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      It also looks like he’s sitting on the armrest because the aisle armrest isn’t usually something that folds up. But yes he does look a lot taller than the average person on that flight as well.

  13. yevarechecha says:

    A commenter on the Flightglobal blog linked above claims to have knowledge of the situation and says the guy in the MIDDLE seat was booted? Given money and vouchers for a later flight? I can’t believe that. I hope it’s made up.

  14. SkokieMick says:

    This is clearly photoshopped. Notice the seatback magically has a disappearing top.

    • enomosiki says:

      That’s because the guy is leaning back on the chair, with his enormous weight actually pulling down the fabric of the seat.

      Optical illusion is fun.

    • El_Fez says:

      The seat is magicly dissappering because the weight of the fatso* is pushing the seat backwards, into the reclining position.

      *I can say this, because I too am overweight. Not nearly as bad as this walking land mass, but I need to hit the treadmill more and put the freaking Twinkies down.

  15. Tim says:

    This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels …

    Okay, no, but really. I highly doubt this is a real photo. Or if it is, I highly doubt that it is what it claims to be. Airlines usually say that you must be able to put both armrests down, or else buy a first class seat (or two seats as it were). Then you get into the issues of the seat belt (looks like he isn’t wearing it), the aisle, the seat in front of him … hell, can he even walk through the aisles?

    I call shenanigans.

  16. badgeman46 says:

    There is no way this picture is real. Lets assume the average male is 5 foot 9 feet or so tall. Now look at all the male heads. This guy’s head is appears to be two feet taller than all the other heads. In other words, he would have to be over 7 feet tall. This is all total B.S.

  17. Digitizer says:

    Unreal….sitting on the armrest??? No seatbelt???? Looks like one of those “photo taken on the WTC tower seconds before” entertainment attempts

  18. outlulz says:

    So it’s just heresay that this picture was taken by a flight attendant and not be a passenger? Shouldn’t there be proof before a story is run?

  19. enomosiki says:

    Perhaps the attendant wanted to make a point here. Plenty of managers don’t give a crap about situations when simply told a story; having photographic examples like this can, however, change things.

    The issue concerning privacy could have been avoided if the photo stayed internal in AA, but something like this is bound to get leaked out to the ‘Net due to the sheer obsurdity. In fact, no faces were shown, other than almost half of the poor passenger’s stuck next to that fat guy, and the rear profile of an overweight balding guy won’t really do much of anything in terms of identification.

    As to why the gate staff let this guy pass, who knows? Americans nowadays are too afraid to remark someone by their physical traits, and even the slightest deviations in treatment are baits for lawsuits by those who are too ignorant for their own good. Hell, I can already imagine it now, news articles with headlines along the lines of “Man Denied Flight Because Due To Weight” with the story focusing on how he was turned around at the boarding gate, which led to him missing the flight and causing “inconvenience”, resulting in a full FAA investigation and scandals against the airline. Lawyers will go nuts about how the guy was faced with loss of face and emotional disturbance.

    Suck it up, America.

    Now for the sarcasm; how the hell did this guy fit through the gate and detectors to begin with? And I wouldn’t want to sit where he was sitting, unless AA rips out that chair and replaces it with a new one, considering how the fat bastard is sitting on the armrest with his asscrack.

  20. magic8ball says:

    Mark Mangino, is that you?

  21. AngryK9 says:

    If it’s real, and was in fact taken by an attendant, it won’t be long before that guy sees it, recognizes himself, and files a complaint, and just about everyone that worked that flight will be in hot water.

    As for the aircraft, it could either be a Boeing 757 or an Airbus A320.

    • outlulz says:

      What expectation of privacy can you have in a public place? You can’t see his face, they aren’t using his picture to make a profit.

    • A42NT1 says:

      No way this is an A320. AA doesn’t fly them. 757 is more likely, or possibly a 737.

  22. hans says:

    People this obese should simply not be allowed to fly in an airplane, ever. I’m sure there are freight trains that can get them to their destination at a very nominal cost per ton.

    • drizzt380 says:

      Those mystical underwater freight trains to Europe. They are amazing.

      • slappysquirrel says:

        Silly person! Fat people don’t take vacations or travel for business!

      • treimel says:

        There are boats, too, you know. However, if there weren’t, guess what, he still doesn’t fit–no Europe for him.

        • korybing says:

          yeah, ’cause we all know you can get from New York to Paris in 7 hours by boat.

          • treimel says:

            Where did I say a boat and a plane were comparable in speed? WTF does that have to do with anything–he doesn’t fit on a plane, so it would take him longer.

            • korybing says:

              Because the number one reason people use airplanes is for speed. All other forms of transportation takes much longer than airplanes, which is why everybody complains about the airlines yet still uses them, while train travel remains low and cross-country car travel for a weekend vacation isn’t really heard of.

              While I certainly wouldn’t mind taking a week off to take a ship across the Atlantic, most people have jobs and don’t have the luxury of taking extra days off for travel when there is a faster option. Just saying “sorry you’re too fat, you can’t get on a plane” basically says “Sorry, you can’t travel anywhere at all unless you have a job with generous vacation days and even then you will spend the majority of your trip traveling.”

              “Sorry, you live in Chicago but your mom is in California and she only has days to live. I guess you better get on that train now and pray she can hang on for the 3 days it will take to get to her even though you could be there this evening if you were allowed to fly. But you’re not allowed to fly. Sorry mom!”

              I want obese people to lose weight too, but denying them an entire mode of transportation really isn’t the way to do that.

  23. Bohemian says:

    I am smaller than the average US female and I feel crammed into those seats like a sardine. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone 6 feet tall or in the 300 pound and up range. Or in this guy’s case 600 pound range?

    • kateblack says:

      Think 200lb range as a demarcation of what approximate bodies may be too big for those seats.

      Seat Guru has listings for the seat widths & pitch of aircraft used by most major airlines. Southwest’s are a stingy 17″ across.

      For perspective, the molded subway seats in NYC are 18″ wide. Those were originally designed for Japanese mass transit, where the average riders are considerably smaller than the average transit passenger in NYC. They’re also designed for short-term trips, yet are more spacious and comfortable than airline seats where someone may be trapped for hours.

      • Nogard13 says:

        I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m 5’11” and about 200 pounds, yet there might be someone who is 5’5″ and be 200 pounds and will be wider than me. Also, I am wide at the shoulders (probably from growing up swimming a lot) so, even when I weighed 175 pounds (as I did 5 years ago), I still found the seats to be narrow. My shoulders hit the people next to me and I feel cramped in those seats.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      Perceptions of what is enough space vary from person to person, even with people of the same dimensions. You see this in car preferences, too. There are people shorter than me and thinner than me who claim to “not fit” in a Miata, but I thought it was fine. Some people aren’t comfortable unless they have this bubble around them, others are okay with just fitting into a space.

      • treimel says:

        Perceptions?!? No, it’s a question of the physics of baryonic matter: this man will not fit in an airline seat regardless of how anybody “perceives” anything.

  24. humphrmi says:

    I swear I had this guy sitting next to me on a AA Dallas – Chicago flight once last year. In the middle seat, no less. FA did nothing. I’m a portly guy, but can still keep my body parts inside the lines. This guy took half the seat space from the Window and isle passengers and had no remorse. He should be banned from flying.

    • Geekmom says:

      Wonder if it was the same person who sat next to me flying from OKC to Dallas last year. He sat in the middle seat and took up a good portion of my seat and the other persons seat and was almost resting his arm on my leg. Couldn’t put my arm rest down.

  25. crichton007 says:

    It’s on the internet and made it onto so it HAS to be true!

  26. Ravenry says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    Consumerist and fellow readers, I am pretty sure I work with this guy, I recognized his backside (which is not that hard) from the picture and saw him at work (Hes in my building but I don’t know his name) Should I tell him he is the laughing stock of the internet? Or just let it be?

    • morganlh85 says:

      I don’t think I would want to know…it would just make me depressed…

    • slappysquirrel says:

      The thing is, I think I know that guy, I just know my version hasn’t taken a plane trip recently.

      I think lots of guys of that size look like that from the back.

    • mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

      It is unfortunate how many people look like this these days. But, hey, it is their personal choice! Who are they hurting? Other than, you know, everyone from row 16 back, the flight crew, and whoever the hell is the unfortunate schlub in 16E!

  27. Ishbar says:

    I don’t get it, this in no way is inappropriate-I would have done it too. It makes it inconvenient for passengers who need to use facilities, for carts to bring up supplies and food (not like the photographed person needs it) and most importantly (as mentioned by aficionado) the mandatory maximum evacuation time.

    Airliners should have explicit warning that customers who are large will HAVE to buy a second ticket and in some cases, perhaps have planes be assigned that have slightly more cabin space to accommodate. (I’m not saying a fat person airliner, just more space for everyone in general…hell, make them pay for first class.)

    This is a lifestyle choice and like many they come with consequences–aside from the obvious (death) he’ll have to make a sacrifice and pay the extra dough, maybe that will teach him to quit being so frugal with his weekly paychecks and head over to the grocer instead of the dollar menu.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      You seem to know an awful lot about this person, in order to know his dietary habits and personal history. Have you met him?

    • lemur says:

      Quick to accuse, are we? The fact of the matter is that some people are that size due to conditions beyond their control.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Agreed. To start, I know “chunky” people who eat well and exercise… and also suffer from diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism. These are not lifestyle choices.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      Hot diggity daffodil! You’ve sure got life figured out, dont’cha?

      Well, good for you.

  28. Sarcastichobbes says:

    for some reason I keep hearing the song “fat guy in a little coat” over and over again

  29. d says:

    Real or not – the guy’s BIGGER than the average bear. If he’s not on a window seat, how the hell is anyone else supposed to sit in the row?

    And let’s talk about how the plane is configured – 3 x 3 seats when it was designed for 2 x 2 seats? That’s why you have NO room to move, no overhead storage, and it takes forever to load/unload the plane…

    There’s extra columns of seats there folks! On most of the planes I’ve been on – they had jammed in 1 extra column – so essentially the extra column was sitting in the middle of what should have been a nice aisle…

    I’m sure that if the fools at the airlines could do it – they’d jam in yet another column of chairs…

    Flying sucks… Don’t do it. The airlines will eventually get the picture.

  30. BytheSea says:

    He looks like he’s sitting on the armrest, which makes him look taller and bigger. He might be able to cram into one seat if he settled down.

  31. KittensRCute! says:

    this guy should have bought two seats. if i was sitting near him i would have taken a pic to try to get a refund for the flight. its just mean to do that your fellow passengers, just get a second seat, or travel by other means.

    • Nogard13 says:

      I have seen airlines put a person in the second booked seat on a full/overbooked flight.

      I was flying from DC to Miami about a year ago and I was sitting in the aisle with a big dude sitting at the window. Right before they closed the doors (on a flight were every other seat was taken), another big dude walked in and tried to sit in that seat. The guy at the window said, “I purchased two seats so you must have the wrong seat number.” The guy showed him his ticket (he was a standby passenger) and they called the flight attendant. She said that because the flight was overbooked, they gave the empty seat to someone and that if the guy who paid for two seats had a problem with that, he should write a letter to the airline.

      Talk about a crock of $%#@! Not only that, but now I had to sit next to a 350+ pound man in a middle seat (he was leaning on me the whole flight).

      • korybing says:

        How does that even work? It wasn’t an “empty seat”, it was bought and paid for by guy who bought two seats! I hope he demanded a refund for half his ticket price, since it was taken away from him last minute like that.

        • Nogard13 says:

          I guess flight attendants look up and down the plane in overbooked flights to see if there are empty seats. If there are, then they call the front to have standby passengers allowed to board. This is what I imagine happened.

        • kateblack says:

          From what I’ve heard from people who are big enough to have to book two seats, this is common. The airline doesn’t honor their ownership/rental of the extra space they were forced to book.

          Know what else? Those individuals forced to buy two tickets do not get the same services for both of those tickets. No frequent flier miles on the second seat, although it would take twice the FF miles to purchase the extra ticket. They also do not receive the baggage allowance for the second seat.

          Forcing people to buy extra seats is unfair, but complicated. Not giving big people the protections and privileges which accompany those purchases when they’re made by smaller people is just outright discrimination.

  32. lesbiansayswhat says:

    Doesn’t matter who took it or when or where, it seems absolutely amazing that this was allowed. If I don’t put my seatbelt on or get my tray up or put my seat back before the attendant comes by I am told to correct it, NOW. I’m big, fortunately small enough to never have had problems on flights, and I don’t ever pass lifestyle judgement on people I don’t know based on weight but I don’t understand how he got past multiple sets of airline personnel and went through an entire flight sitting unsecured like that.

    Sidenote: As horrified as everyone else is, I’m sure that flight must have been hell on earth for him. Also, is it possible that he did indeed buy two seats only to be squished into one for an overbooked flight?

  33. HisShadowX says:

    This picture I believe shows the danger to everyone having a Fat Man or Woman who cannot sit in a seat and needing to buy two seats. It’s like a Liberal Family Courts Judge who defends a woman regardless of the facts unless her boyfriend does something to the child, you cannot defend this.

    No Liberal preaching, ‘tolerance” can defend this sad excuse of the company allowing this.

    If there was turbulence and this guy goes flying out of his seat, he would crush or cause great harm to whoever is front or behind him. This is the price of tolerance, to allow this and expect us to accept this as we should be tolerant to this man. There is a difference between being disrespectful and tolerant and this man clearly was not respectful to those on all sides of this man.

  34. HisShadowX says:

    This picture I believe shows the danger to everyone having a Fat Man or Woman who cannot sit in a seat and needing to buy two seats. It’s like a Liberal Family Courts Judge who defends a woman regardless of the facts unless her boyfriend does something to the child, you cannot defend this.

    No Liberal preaching, ‘tolerance” can defend this sad excuse of the company allowing this.

    If there was turbulence and this guy goes flying out of his seat, he would crush or cause great harm to whoever is front or behind him. This is the price of tolerance, to allow this and expect us to accept this as we should be tolerant to this man. There is a difference between being disrespectful and tolerant and this man clearly was not respectful to those on all sides of this man.

  35. EdnaLegume says:

    I just saw this same picture the other day on one of those goof sites… like wtf photos or something like that.

  36. sybann says:

    In an emergency, this man is far more of a liability than a loud toddler.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      Don’t get me started. My first flight was in 1996 from Kansas City to Memphis and there was an older child with Down’s Syndrome screaming like a banshee. No problem, I thought. Shit happens. If it happened today, they would probably have turned the plane around on the runway and thrown him and his parents off.

      Screaming children don’t endanger the crew and passengers but assuming the story behind this photo is true, this man does.

    • soundreasoning says:

      Do you really think eiter is going to matter? in most emergencies on an airplanes you’re dead regardless.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      True. You can use a loud toddler as a flotation device. Bam!

  37. ConsumerWolf says:

    What’s inappropriate is the risk this man is posing to everyone around him. I cannot believe the flight crew let the plane take off with this man on it. Neglecting the comfort of the individual next to him (hopefully not a stranger), god forbid an emergency occurred. This guy is obviously putting himself at severe risk for health problems. But he has NO RIGHT to endanger anyone else. I would walk off this flight if the crew allowed this. This is absolutely unacceptable and stupidly dangerous. You might as well plop down a piano in the cabin. In an emergency that incapacitated this individual that’s pretty much the obstacle passengers would be faced with.

    • mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

      I can’t believe the flight crew was ABLE to take off with this man on it…

    • Nogard13 says:

      I’m sure he was sitting in the seat when they took off. He was just uncomfortable and probably wanted more space around him. I try to do something similar when I fly because I don’t like my elbows bumping into other people, and I have an average build (5’11” 200 pounds).

      • ConsumerWolf says:

        The laws of physics dictate this that is impossible. Get a ruler. Measure how wide he is, and then measure how wide the seat is. He could not possibly be “in his seat” during the flight.

  38. millertime1211 says:

    Think he ordered the vegetarian meal?

  39. biggeorge says:

    Well, I am 6’2″ tall and 300+ pounds and I fit in the seat!
    My shoulders stick out in the aisle, but just a little.
    that guy would have to be over 7 foot tall and close to 500 lbs to stick out that much.

  40. aka_mich says:

    Ya, I definitely don’t think who took the picture should be the issue they’re focusing on. What they should be focusing on is why this was allowed to happen, investigate that if you’re going to investigate anything.

    Hell if this was taken by someone on the flight crew I would be trying to find them to give them a raise and a pat on the back, not a reprimand like it seems they’re going to do.

    • floraposte says:

      I think it’s first worth ascertaining what, exactly, was allowed to happen. As other posters have noted, it doesn’t look like this was the guy’s seat, it looks like he was just stopping there to talk to a friend.

      I think the picture taker/submitter had a bit of an agenda here and wasn’t going to be stopped by the facts of the situation.

  41. Tomorrowmorrowland says:

    Looking at the photo, it appears that the row directly behind him has two open seats together. Next, he is leaning toward the guy to his right, who is leaning toward the large man, as if they were friendly with each other. Finally, looking up the aisle, it is clearly blocked by another passenger.

    Do we really believe that AA allowed this man to compromise his safety and that of the rest of the passengers by seating him on top of an armrest in an aisle, or is it more likely that he is pausing there, in front of his actual seats, next to his friend, while waiting to get to the bathroom? I’d go with the latter, even considering the ramifications of this man in the bathroom.

    All we have to go on is a photo and a very unconvincing “absolute assurance” that this picture was posted by an AA employee who told a true story. The answers the photo suggests are much more realistic than the “flying on an armrest” assurance.

    Finally, if we are really going to blindly believe the absolute horseshit that is this story, we might as well believe that the two open seats behind him are not in use, and we should be railing against AA for not putting the man into those seats, both for his comfort and the safety of the rest of the passengers.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I bet you don’t believe in Santa either.

    • lesbiansayswhat says:

      Good point, those are some blind yet entirely possible assumptions especially since I find it incredible that he’d be allowed to sit like that an entire flight. Perhaps the F/A was annoyed that she had to deal with that but perhaps this was also only a temporary thing as you suggest. There’s nothing much we can determine as fact from this situation.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      Most sensible interpretation of the photo yet. Kudos.

    • LESSTHANKIND says:

      I don’t see another passenger “clearly blocking the aisle.” I do see someone standing up, and it looks like they are accessing the overhead baggage bin. And it seems more likely that the bathroom would be behind him, rather than in front of him.

      Regardless, this man is much wider than the aisle. What he paid for isn’t the issue. However, given the realities of our current society, perhaps it is time for airlines to refit one or two rows per plane with seats appropriate to the needs of customers of size, much like buses accommodate elderly and disabled people. Yes, it’s just one more cost that will be passed on to the rest of us. But it’s better than this.

  42. says:

    Wow, I hope the replaced the aisle arm rest.

  43. SamanthaSSJ says:

    It looks like the row behind him is empty (or maybe there is someone in the window seat). Perhaps he did pay for 2 seats and was actually sitting in the 2 seats behind him, but for some reason he temporarily moved to the aisle/armrest of the seat we see in him. People do that during a flight to talk to someone or to allow the person in the window seat to exit.
    The photo makes a statement, but we are very quick to condemn both the passenger and the airline.

  44. jenakle says:

    When are airlines going to install a bench seat or wider seats at the back to accommodate larger people? Really, if they pay the high price to fly, they should be attended to just like everyone else. Not everyone fits in a Prius people. There are enough things about flying that already make me uncomfortable enough…surely no one should have to rub up on a total stranger to get by in the aisle or be squashed against the window after having paid the same price he did.
    Airlines — Make a XXL row and make everyone happy!

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      Add legroom while you’re at it, airlines and everyone else. I’m 6′ 5″ and it hurts my knees to sit in your midget chairs with tiny aisles, as my hips end up below my knees and I have the seatback in front of me pushing on my knees.

      If you’re going to accommodate the morbidly obese then accommodate those of us over 5′ 10″.

      • hotdogsunrise says:

        Yeah! And for those of us who are short and small…. uh…. yeah!

        Just like JetBlue offers some seats with more leg room (for $25 extra, I think), there should be seats that are wider. It’s only fair (and safe) to everyone involved.

        • floraposte says:

          There are. They’re called “business class” and “first class.” It turns out that a lot of people who say they’d pay more won’t actually do it, though.

  45. Schildkrote says:

    Regardless of if the picture is real or not – which isn’t really the issue here at all, since I don’t think anyone has to suspend their disbelief to see something like this happening – I don’t have any sympathy for people like this. Either they pay for the two seats that they take up, they lose weight in order to fit into one seat like everybody else, or they don’t fly.

    I understand this may be a problem for the (very, very small) percentage of people who legitimately didn’t bring their situation on themselves, but I think the safety and comfort of the other passengers on the airplane is worth it. Accommodating this kind of gross excess, be it with an XXL row or providing two seats for the cost of one, is essentially supporting it. With obesity being one of the worst health problems facing Americans that’s probably not such a great idea.

  46. yungjerry703 says:

    I’m a big guy and this is why i haven’t flown in almost 10 years. I don’t want to be this guy. I fit in movie theater and stadium seats, not comfortably but i fit. my goal for next spring is actually code named “flying weight” lol long story.

  47. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If this is 1) a real, untouched photo and 2) where the guy was actually sitting and not someplace he moved to in order to talk to the other guy then this is the airline’s fault.

    Why was the flight attendant snapping a photo instead of telling the man he needed to move so he wasn’t blocking the aisle?

    • dolemite says:

      I think the only place that guy could move to that isn’t blocking the isles is outside the plane.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        There appear to be two empty seats behind him in the photo.

        If there was no room on the plane they would have told him to take a different flight instead.

        I’m not buying that this was taken by a pissed flight attendant. A flight attendant would have made him move or kicked him off before take off.

        Point is if this was a problem then it’s the airline’s fault for not taking care of it.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      The laws of physics dictate that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Where could he move such that he didn’t block the isle?

  48. newsbunny says:

    This man looks like he’s two feet taller than everyone around him.

  49. amendmentforone says:

    As there is no actual confirmation that the story and context attributed to the picture is true, I’m not sure what to believe. However, as other posters have pointed out, the two seats behind where the man presently is located are open. It is completely feasible that he not only sat in those seats, but that he paid for them. In addition, if you look to the front of the plane, you see another passenger up and about. It’s possible that he knows the man he appears to be talking to, and that he merely got up to talk to him for a moment when passengers were free to move about the cabin (although that never means to go find your buddy to chat). It looks as though he’s partially sitting on the handrest, and partially standing off the seat, so it doesn’t look like he’s fully seated. I have a slight suspicion someone just took this picture and posted it with the false statement regarding the stewardess having issues.

  50. Blueskylaw says:

    Undercover Air-Marshall?

  51. ryanasimov says:

    It’s a major safety hazard. The airlines have a weight/size limit for carryon luggage; apply the same rules for passengers. The first airline that took this admittedly non-PC step would be lambasted, but I bet other airlines would follow and public approval would win out in the end.

  52. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Am I supposed to be angry? This is a public place and I don’t care that it was the flight attendant. Its not a dirty thing. When you are huge you know it and need to get over that people are shocked by your shear magnatude.

    I agree with everyone else in that he was probably talking to the guy next to him and had the seats behind him. I do think that people who are obese need to stop biatching about paying for two seats. You try to cram in next to us and overlap into our seat that we paid for. If you don’t want to pay then lose weight. I am 6’4 and I don’t cry for accommodations for my height all day. People are fat because of choices in their lives and not because of someone else.

    And yes I have a gut and I know its my fault for a poor diet and not exercising enough. If I get as big as that guy then bet your sweet arse I will pay for two seats for my comfort and not to be a jerk to the other passengers.’

    Also the discount carriers have smaller seats so just go to the bigger airlines if you have a problem.

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      I’m reminded of this Jim Gaffigan bit:
      But really, we’re a country that loves food. I mean, think about it. Once a week on the news there’s a piece on American obesity. They always show a big guy walking, they’ll block out his face. But that guy knows it’s him.

      “Well that shirt looks familiar…oh, crap! Can’t wear that shirt again.”

      Poor guy gets to work: “Hey Bill! Saw your fat ass on the news!”

  53. SacraBos says:

    Okay, I call BS. The arms of the aisle seats generally do not life up, and you can see by the picture the arm has not been lifted up. For him to be sitting there, he would have the arm of the seat wedged pretty darn high and uncomfortable. Plus, there is no way he could have been belted in as required by FAA regulation.

    I suspect that he had another seat(s), but temporarily moved there to talk to his friend, which seems to looking at him at the time.

  54. Outrun1986 says:

    Ok, the obesity epidemic is not going to go away anytime soon whether you like it or not. People have to fly, sometimes its just not avoidable. If your mom is on the other side of the country and on her deathbed you are definitely going to want to fly to get there to be with her (this is just an example). The heavy person isn’t going to have enough time to lose weight just so they can fly in this situation, the airline needs to accomodate. Its about time the FAA or whatever organization is in charge of this sort of thing comes up with an official policy on how to deal with exceptionally large people on a flight and implement this policy across all airlines so that there is a uniform standard. Its not safe for the other passengers and is a big safety hazard for everyone on the flight.

    • ConsumerWolf says:

      You have a choice as to whether you allow yourself to become monstrously obese. Bad genes did not magically create mass out of thin air. Why should the airline change because people choose to be irresponsible with their health?

    • valthun says:

      there is a standard, if you can’t fit in a single seat, book two. If the flight is not full the airline will refund the second seat. Also if you need a belt extender don’t try getting into that exit row.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      “….the airline needs to accommodate.”

      Why? Flying is a privilege, not a Constitutionally-protected right. If you can’t afford to fly, is there a welfare program that will give you food stamp style points to use for miles? Is there a government program setting aside a certain number of seats for people who can’t afford to fly?

      Don’t make it sound like flying on an airplane is a god-given right. If you need to make it cross country for your mother on her deathbed, then don’t blame the airlines you can’t use their services to get there because of your weight. Use a bus, drive, go on a train, or buy 2 seats on an airplane.

  55. jannam says:

    As a person who doesn’t fit in one airline seat, I don’t mind paying for an extra seat. In fact, I prefer to have two seats. I just wish all airlines would make it as easy as Southwest does. When you checkin they give you the reserved seat card to place in your extra seat. They let you board first so you are guaranteed two seat together. And if there are empty seats on all legs of your trip, the refund the cost of the extra seat.

    I don’t feel the policy is unfair in anyway and it makes me more comfortable and those on the flight with me more comfortable.

    I have had other airlines get confused by me buying two seats. They really don’t seem to know what to do when a person has two boarding passes. I fly Southwest whenever possible.

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      So do they charge you extra to make sure the two seats are next to each other? lol Just checking, wouldn’t put it past them.

  56. admiral_stabbin says:

    Air travel is a form of mass transit (albeit an expensive one). Mass transit is designed with the needs of the masses in mind. That requires making assumptions in design of the vehicle to ensure it’s useful/comfortable for the average passenger. As the picture demonstrates, there is one person on the plane of that size. That makes him the exception, not the rule.

    I respect the novelty of the idea of a bench seat, but I see that as an unreasonable accommodation. That raises obesity to the level of a disability, and would cost the airlines some major money. Yes, they could charge more for those seats…until they were sued and forced to provide them for the same fare under the guise of equality.

    His comfort and safety needs could (and should) have been met with two seats.

  57. ultimateinfowarrior says:

    This is definitely an airline booking error….. you see…. they simply put this guy on the wrong plane… The Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter known as the “dreamlifter” or the C17 Globemaster III would have been good choices… (too bad Travelocity and Orbitz don’t list these as options yet) Personally…..I’d like to see this guy skydiving with one of those triple chutes they use for dropping tanks on the battlefield…. or imagine the other transportation methods that would be interesting for this dude… (Don’t try leaning out the side of the Trolley… it might tip) I wonder if there is a load limit for the asian rickshaws? Hello America… New business opportunity… Weird Al could be the spokesman/jingle writer for the new Fat Boys Airlines… complete with reinforced steel church pews to accommodate the most demanding customers…. How else we gonna get talent like Ralphie May to the shows? And with the larger capacity cargo planes comes the added lifting power to haul along the real man sized meals …. I’d call it… “Pie in the Sky”

  58. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    He’s sitting on an arm rest, blocking an aisle, & can’t get a seatbelt on in that position – so the plane would NOT have taken off. There are TWO empty seats behind him. I’m with others who think he’s temporarily perched there and will move before the plane pulls back from the gate.

    Either that or it’s in flight (everyone is sitting down- not accessing luggage) & he moved from his assigned seat(s) to chat with a buddy. Either way there is more to the story.

    • jaya9581 says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. Shame on whoever attached this story to this photo, because it’s so clearly untrue when you spend half a second thinking about it.

  59. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    I wish I only had to pay for my right butt-cheek when I fly.

  60. Acolyte says:

    After the fall of his empire at the hands of Daredevil, the once wealthy Kingpin has taken to flying commercial…………

  61. Hi says:


    • Hi says:

      Or a sign that says: You must be less than this wide to ride this ride? Personnaly I think making bigger seats for bigger people would fix the problem.

    • Lauchlin says:

      The seats are plenty big already, and it makes way more sense economically to have the maximum number of seats sized to fit the majority of people. If you can’t fit into the seat, get a second one. Big whoop.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      They do, it’s called first class. They could, of course, make all the seats wide enough to fit this gentleman. Then, instead of 6 across, they’d have four across (at most), so capacity would drop by 1/3, while fuel, aircraft leasing, and operations costs stay the same. Notice any problem with that math?

    • Mr. TheShack says:

      I can go swimming in an airline seat, and I’m 6’3″. I can set up a vacation suite for a weekend in 1st class. No excuse for not fitting in these.

    • Tabe says:

      They would have to basically double the width of the seats to accommodate the guy in the picture. I really don’t think it’s fair to the airlines to ask that they cut their plane capacities in half.

      This gentleman should have required to purchase two seats.

      The bigger issue is that the aisle is pretty much completely blocked.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      If only the world was that simple.

    • dieselbug says:

      You willing to pay EVEN MORE for your seat to subsidize fat a$$e$? Reduce the capacity and cost per seat will increase.

  62. PanCake BuTT says:

    Oh no ! Where is that fabulous shrink-ray we always hear about, or has it already been pointed at the airlines ? I feel for homie, and am happy he still goes about his life.

  63. qcgallus says:

    I flew down to St. Louis to spend Easter with my girlfriend at her college, and got placed next to a large man on my way home. He was far enough into my seat that it pushed me halfway out into the aisle–my entire left half was in the aisle. I was able to get my seatbelt on and everything, so I didn’t have any problems. For the record I’m 6’0″ and about 155, so you can imagine that he took up most of my seat.

    It annoyed me that I paid part of my $350-something round trip to have a seat like this, while other people were comfortably seated. I know it has probably been someone else who had that seat before on a flight I was on, and I never noticed. Now, I feel for them.

    The thing that embarrassed me was the flight attendant. While she made sure I was as comfortable as could be, she constantly asked me “are you sure you’re ok?” while I was seated there. I felt really bad for the large man next to me, because I felt it was offensive to him. Later she came by and asked me if I wanted any juice, water, coffee, etc. She never asked him if he wanted any. She probably would have if he had been my size.

    All in all, while I was upset at getting the shaft on seat assignment, I was more flabbergasted at the treatment of large people on planes, or at least this large man. But what do we do about it? There’s really no good answer. Make “fat-only” rows? What a humiliation. Make them pay for 2 seats? About the best answer, but that sucks for the person that needed to make that flight and now can’t (if it’s full up). Kick them off the flight? If you want to risk a PR fiasco

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      You shouldn’t feel bad for the fat person sitting next to you. Airlines have a policy that says if you will be infringing on someone else’s seat, you have to buy 2 seats. This person knowingly didn’t buy 2 seats, and therefore took up part of YOUR seat when he should have had 2 separate seats to avoid that situation. It may not have been his fault he was fat (medical conditions, blah blah) but it IS his fault that he didn’t have 2 seats bought and paid for.

      • floraposte says:

        Some airlines have that policy and some don’t. Very few policies that aren’t stipulated by regulation are uniform across all airlines.

  64. jimstoic says:

    It seems like it would be fair to charge by the pound. I weigh about 200 pounds myself, so I would most likely be on the high end of the price range. Once you do that, then you can provide bigger seats to bigger people because they pay more.

  65. Eticus says:

    seems to me going back 20 years this was not even an issue… come to think about it the seats were larger and more comfortable, free nuts, and drinks… and I could smoke…

    1 person per ticket, tell em how wide your load is so they can accommodate. Adjustable seating makes sense…

  66. kingdom2000 says:

    The simple reality is often people, especially managers, need something tangible to understand a point because their assumptions often get in the way.

    This is a sweet picture to illustrate that. People always talk about fat people (and yep I am fat, but not that large) and how “unfair” it is that sometimes they are required to buy two seats. This is a perfect illustration of why. There is nothing safe about what is happening here. The guy is clogging the lane, in an emergency people are going to have to literally climb over the seats to get out around him. Its iffy if he can even get out the emergency door. He should NEVER had got economy seats. If he didn’t want to pay the extra costs for larger seats and more space, then he shouldn’t be flying.

    Lets face it, if that plane crash landed and people got hurt because they couldn’t get out because of his fat a#$, they wouldn’t be suing him for being cheap, they would be suing the airline for letting him on the plane. The only people that can enforce and explain this policy is managers and the only way managers are going to understand is if you show them why because most probably don’t have real world experience (say actually having done flight attending) to back up their decisions.

    Consumerist slant on this issue actually annoys me because they are ignoring the safety side of things in favor of the PC slant. Shame on them for not pointing out both sides of this issue (sure they posted a quote, but the tag, title and first paragraph clearly illustrates where they fall on this).

  67. the_mike says:

    Am I the only one sitting here looking past the problem? Seems like whether he should be seated there or not is a moot point. He shouldn’t be 500 pounds in the first place. That is ridiculous.

    Seems like an american culture thing though doesn’t it? Too big to fit in one standard airline seat? No, don’t lose weight and get healthy. Just get more seats.


  68. verbatim613 says:

    If I have to pay for over-limit baggage, why shouldn’t a “passenger of size” have to pay for an over-limit stomach? Shoudn’t that “passenger of size” have to buy some “weight credits” (just like carbon credits) from me since I’m 5’10” and weigh 140lbs? Shouldn’t I get weight credits from the airline for keeping my weight down and saving airline fuel?

  69. polymergirl says:

    Obvious photoshop. Not a very good attempt either.

    1) Did the arm rest go up his butt crack?
    2) Top of seat is missing