AirTran To Require Some Overweight Passengers To Buy Second Seat

Now that AirTran is a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, it looks like the carrier will be adopting Southwest’s controversial policy of requiring that “customers of size” purchase a second seat.

Until now, AirTran has had no specific policy regarding passengers whose size makes it difficult or uncomfortable for passengers in neighboring seats to fly comfortably, though gate agents would occasionally offer these passengers the option to purchase a second seat or upgrade to a slightly wider business class seat.

Reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

As of March 1, AirTran will require the purchase of more than one seat for a passenger who “in the carrier’s sole discretion, encroaches on an adjacent seat and/or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrest lowered,” according to the AirTran contract of carriage.

Like Southwest’s policy, if the flight does not oversell, the passenger can request a refund for the cost of the second seat.

AirTran adopts Southwest policy for large passengers []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rainicorn with baby bats says:

    Yesss no more fat leaking over into my seat!

    • Diabolos needs more socks says:

      I’d rather not sit next to Lavos, thankyouverymuch. I think it ate my carryon.

    • ace says:

      How about passengers that are of a reasonable weight for their size but are not under the 5’9” height these seats are designed for? I am 6′ tall and the last time I got on a plane the person in front of me thought it was completely cool to put the seat back on me when I had to sit sideways to fit in the seat to begin with. On the way back I got the fine viewing of a TSA agent harassing and molesting an elderly lady with a hip replacement. Ahh the joys of flying.

      • jeni1122 says:

        I can see your point, however that person that purchased the seat in front of you also purchased the right to recline their seat if they feel like it. I would recommend either purchasing an exit row seat that has extra leg room, business class if you can afford it, or United Plus seats which give you a little extra leg room.

        • HSVhockey says:

          No they didn’t. They purchased a seat on the plane. Not a recliner on the plane. By my rights as a citizen, I have a right not to be battered (tort), inadvertently or not, because of the actions of another person. My right to not have my legs crushed outweighs any “right” you think you have of reclining.

          • jiubreyn says:

            That’s an issue for the airlines, not the passengers. It would be considerate to not recline so far back that you’re smashing the knees of the person behind you, but as the person in that situation – you also have the right to ask them to move their seat up because of your height.

            • HSVhockey says:

              Yes, and as soon as I do so and they decline (and continue to REcline), I have proven intent. Which is why I always keep the recorder feature on my phone handy.

              • AustinTXProgrammer says:

                Ever get anyone thrown in jail? I seriously doubt the law enforcement community will follow that interpretation.

                • HSVhockey says:

                  You and the guy above you should learn how to read. Who said anything about sending somebody to jail. I said TORT Battery.

                  • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

                    I never said anything about jail, either. I asked why you’d be recording and what kind of “intent” you had signaled. You have oddly poor reading comprehension for someone who has been the “Teh Tort Law Skoolz for Internets Lawyering”.

                • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

                  But he’s a lawyer! He and Lionel Hutz are like besties, BFFs, or whatever fake Internet lawyers call their associates. And he has people thrown in jail all the time, I’m sure. For, you know, harassment and torts…which makes me think of torta, the Spanish word for cake. And I LOVE cake. So, I guess I wouldn’t mind being served a tort, as long as it came with a torta. Oh, and he’s RECORDING all of this so he can prove intent. Don’t upset the fake Internet lawyers.

              • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

                Bwahahahah. Intent to do what? Commit assault (telling you their going to recline) and battery (their actual reclining action) with their airplane seat? You’ve got to be joking. Maybe you shouldn’t fly. Ever. Or fly Biz or First if it’s really that much of a problem.

                Yay for being of average height! W00t!

              • Jaynor says:

                I generally completely block this with my knee (jam it under the tray table so the seat just wont recline.

                If someone manages to get the seat down I will politely ask them to raise it… if they wont I make their flight uncomfortable. I have never had to cough and sneeze so much (and darn if I didn’t miss covering my mouth) as in these situations.

          • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

            Yes, they did. They purchased the right to occupy that seat for that particular flight and all the capabilities that come with that seat, to include reclining. If the airline has decided that the seats in their planes should recline, then the passenger may do so at their leisure, regardless of the impact on you. Just as it’s not your fault that you’re tall, it’s not theirs either, and it is perfectly acceptable for them to recline. Is it a bit inconsiderate to recline if the person behind you is cramped already? Yeah, a bit. But it’s not wrong to do so.

            I’m sorry you’re tall, but your being tall shouldn’t impact my not being tall.

            • HSVhockey says:

              I hope you never sit in front of me, cause I’ll be serving the airlines with a subpoena for your name and then filing a suit against you for tort battery. You were told that you were making unwanted touching of my person through the use of your recliner “option” and if you continue to do so you are intentionally committing tort battery. I’d also sue the airlines for facilitation of the offense, but that isn’t as open and shut. If you don’t believe me, go audit a 1L Tort class at your local law school, or you know, just keep being a dick and hope you don’t run in to a person like me who is sick of this shit, and has the knowledge and ability to file the necessary motions and the free time to do it.

              • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

                Hahahaha. This is great. “Blah blah blah tort law. Whine whine whine battery. Bitch bitch bitch subpoena.” You’re essentially trolling yourself, first off. Second off, I would LOVE to see this happen. I hope I sit in front of some blowhard like you. Seriously, this is comedic gold.

                Me: “Hey, sorry to bug you, but do you mind if I recline a bit?”
                You: “No. I’m of André-the-Giant-sized proportions [Editor’s note: No, you’re not] and any movement of your seat will inflict undue pain and mental anguish upon me. Also, I’m recording this so I can sue you later. You have been warned! Warned, I say! And this is all totally legal and binding. I’m a lawyer…and I play one on the Interwebs so you know it’s true!”
                Me: “Ummm, oooookay. Well, I’m just gonna go ahead and recline my seat slowly so I can enjoy my flight.”
                You: “But you were WARNED!!!!111!!! I am totally going to pwn you in a court of law. I’ll be serving the airlines with a subpoena for your name and then filing a suit against you for tort battery. You were told that you were making unwanted touching of my person through the use of your recliner “option” and if you continue to do so you are intentionally committing tort battery. I’d also sue the airlines for facilitation of the offense!”
                Me: “Alrighty. Well, you do that, Mr. Law Man. In the meantime, though, I’m gonna enjoy the flight, m’kay? Okay.”

                You’re so pathetic.

          • BorkBorkBork says:

            Yes they did. If that was your space, the seats wouldn’t recline in the first place.

            And I never knew that my rights as an American citizen included un-crushed legs on an airline. Thanks for enlightening me.

          • Such an Interesting Monster says:

            Nah, I just keep knocking the seatback with my legs. If the inconsiderate a-hole in front of me complains I politely explain there’s nothing I can do about it as their seat is pressed against my knees. I then tell them if the seat weren’t reclined so far back the knocking would likely cease.

            Most of the time they get the hint and raise the seatback.

      • finbar says:

        I’m also tall and have had this issue as well. I’ve had some luck using my knees (sometimes in combination with my carry-on if the plane isn’t about to take off) to prevent the seat ahead of me from reclining. You sort of just wedge your knee’s right against the seat ahead of you as tightly as you can and try and prevent it from reclining. In my experience doing early on in the flight leads the person ahead of you to believe that their seat doesn’t recline properly and they give up (nobody’s ever turned around to see if I was the cause). Typically they won’t try to recline again for the remainder of the flight.

        I’ve also heard about a device you can by that does the same thing but I doubt something like that is TSA compliant.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        Hot babes want to make babies with you every day of the year–chalk it up as a win.

    • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

      As a person that once flew for 3 hours on a fully packed flight between the two said individuals, I have to agree

    • webdancer says:

      Good. I pay for a whole seat and I should not have to deal with someone else sitting in part of it (as has happened in the past).

    • poco says:

      Ditto. Halle-fricken-lugah!

  2. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Fatty hater thread… engage!

    • Jawaka says:

      Yeah… agree with it or disagree with it this post seems to have been made just to cause arguments here.

    • snarkymarcy says:

      Don’t forget a side dish of child hating!

      • Coffee says:

        Stupid fat kids >:(

      • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

        Hi! I’m here mainly for the child h8, being that I am not going to have any, & I feel like they get in the way more than they actually ‘enrich’ ones life. But don’t get it twisted, I like the kids, & they like me back. I just really find it convenient, when the time comes to hand them back over to whomever has the pleasure of raising the little punk(s).

      • El_Fez says:

        Can we work breast feeding into the mix somehow?

        • finbar says:

          I was thinking that to. Also since it’s Southwest we should throw in some same-sex kissing just for fun

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      Don’t you mean engorge?

    • Cat says:

      I really hate fat people. Especially that fat bastard in the mirror.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I’m not fat, I’m

  4. Cat says:

    If your baggage is overweight, you pay more.
    If you’re overweight, why should it be any different, especially if your mass is overflowing into the seat of the passenger next to you?

    • Kate says:

      why is it OK to make seats too small for a large percentage of the US adult population?

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Why should I have to pay 20% more (reduced plane capacity would drive up individual ticket costs for sure) so that others can be comfortable?

        Do we need to have gradiated seat sizes and fairs? Then what do we do when I purchase a 14″ seat and wedge myself in, my shoulders completely encroaching the neighboring seat? Stick with more common sizes that will hold 80% and one larger size for the other 20%?

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        Because the airlines weren’t able to anticipate people eating themselves into an uncomfortable situation?

        If the weight is actually rooted in a health condition they can go the ADA route.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          The seats have shrunk. They made them smaller so they could cram more of them in the same space. So even average sized people have noticed a difference.

          • kayfox says:

            Actually, in most cases the coach class on the 707 has a seat pitch of 31-34 inches with an average around 33. The modern 737 has approximately 30-34 inch seat pitch depending on the airline, average alleged to be around 32 inches.

            But the seats in a 737 are actually 1 or 2 inches wider than the 707, depending on how new the 737 is.

    • nodaybuttoday says:

      If they are creating this extra fee for the comfort of their other customers, what about then screaming baby next to me? Or the 4 year old kicking my seat behind me? Why aren’t their parents being charged these fees?

      I was on a 6 hour flight to London a few years ago and the woman sat her child next to me in the middle seat and the kid was a brat the entire way to the UK. She even tore open a coffee creamer and splashed me, her mother didn’t even apologize. IMO kids under 9 shouldn’t be allowed on a transatlantic flights unless they are moving or someone is dying…

  5. samjung23 says:

    Southwest is an awful, money-grubbing company. Clearly, this is just a tactic to sell unsold seats. What is the criteria for determining if a person is of size? Maybe your dang seats are too small!

    • dakeypoo says:

      The seats are not too small. You’re too big.

    • Buckus says:

      Maybe if your muffin-topping out of your seat, you should be considerate and get a second one.

    • Cat says:

      “[insert company name here] is an awful, money-grubbing company.” Aren’t they all?

      But from my point of view, Southwest is just a bit less awful and money-grubbing than almost any other airline. Proof? Just try to get on any other airline with 2 checked bags without paying a “fee”.

      • nodaybuttoday says:

        Agreed. It’s also significantly cheaper for me to fly to Boston versus any other airline, especially US Air. Plus US Air will charge me for baggage and won’t serve me peanuts… thus far I have had good experiences with Southwest.

        Oh and didn’t they just buy out Air Tran? So this new policy makes sense… I just wonder who makes the call about these seats. Personally I am overweight, but can buckle my seatbelt fine and have no problem with the arm rest.

    • wetrat says:

      “Clearly, this is just a tactic to sell unsold seats.” Well, you “clearly” DNRTFA: “Like Southwest’s policy, if the flight does not oversell, the passenger can request a refund for the cost of the second seat.”

      Meaning, if the extra seat would have gone out unsold, the pax of size gets a refund.

  6. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    The only problem I have with this policy is lack of consistent enforcement. I take issue with the fact that a fat person could fly without being asked to purchase a second ticket on one flight, but be asked to purchase a second ticket on the next.

    • Cat says:

      All the options to make it “fair” would cause whining.

      Can you think of any way to set standards that are based on standard criteria that won’t cause complaints about embarrassment: Weigh in? Body size measurements? Stamping those that are found to be too big with a letter on their forehead?

      • chatterboxwriting says:

        Exactly. I’m overweight (although I’ve made a lot of changes and hope to not be overweight soon — I’m down 13 pounds so far), but I look “normal” if you look at me from the front. It’s when I turn to the side that you can see I am overweight. So I can sit in a chair/airplane seat normally and put the armrest down and not encroach on other passengers’ space, but someone else who is my weight and built differently may have the opposite experience. So if they say “anyone over X pounds needs to buy an extra seat,” it won’t exactly be fair based on body composition (like for someone muscular) and fat distribution.

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        I would think that if they cannot sit in a seat without their fat asses touching my seat, then they’re fine. They could publish the size of the seats on the website/ticket, and they can measure themselves in the privacy of their sad, responsibility-lacking homes.

      • MMD says:

        Yeah, but no effort to make things fair makes the whole thing way too arbitrary.

      • Wireless Joe says:

        “Can you think of any way to set standards that are based on standard criteria that won’t cause complaints about embarrassment…?”

        Shrink the size of the door onto the plane to be a little wider than a seat in coach, and play “Operation”. If you touch two sides of the door as you enter, you pay for two seats. Doesn’t matter if you’re muscular and broad shouldered or overweight and broad hipped, you’re too wide for one seat and need another.

        • George4478 says:

          “Okay, coming on board now…..just a little further….a little further….” BZZZZZZZZZZTTTT “Dammit!”

          “That’ll be $400, sir”

      • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

        Have a coach seat with fixed armrests in a secluded area of the concourse, if the person can’t fit then they buy two tickets. Also, if the gate agent has already allowed the person on to the plane, they shouldn’t be charged extra. The decision on whether or not someone is charged for another seat should not take in to account how loudly their neighbor complains.

      • Jaynor says:

        I’d like to pay for square feet of space – and have a horizontal bed-chambery thing… like a coffin but with a light and a fan. I’d sleep peacefully and unreclined-upon every flight…. and I’d be wililng to pay proportionately more to accomidate my 6’3″ frame.

    • maxhobbs says:

      No different than speeders, you can get away with it but don’t complain when you get caught!

      When you are this fat you pretty much know when you “spill” in to the other seat, you should be happy if you get away with it at all.

      Go be fat somewhere else and all that.

      • MMD says:

        But there is no definition for how fat “this fat” is, and no system in place for protecting people from abuse. If there are no standards and the carrier has sole discretion to make a decision, what’s to prevent a disgruntled flight crew from using this to punish people for unrelated perceived slights? (“This sort of big dude bumped me when he got on the plane…I’ll show him!”)

  7. HSVhockey says:

    I fly air-tran a lot. I wonder how this will affect me. I am not fat, I wear a size 33-34 in jeans, but my suit jackets are size 50-52, so I probably do encroach. But I am all for the fat asses having to buy a second seat.

    • LanMan04 says:

      And large people who encroach, like yourself…right? It’s not the fat that’s the issue, it’s the encroachment.

      • HSVhockey says:

        Yeah but I don’t sweat and smell bad when just sitting there, and I’m ridiculously good looking, so they should be happy that I would encroach on their seat. /goawaybatin

        • Tyanna says:

          I have sat beside people who are of “normal” weight who both sweat and smell horrid on planes.

          I’m not sure making them buy an extra seat would help though. They’d still smell.

          Maybe we could put all the smelly and sweaty people in between the fat people, and make them all be uncomfortable together…..

    • blogger X says:

      Came to view the “fat-asses need to lose weight” comments.

      Leaving satisfied.


    • StarfishDiva says:

      We should let Mr. Meyer of “You could stand to “loose” a few pounds” infamy decide which fatties have to pay extra for seating. Southwest/Airtran could stand to make billions.

    • MMD says:

      So your encroachment is ok but others’ encroachment is not. Got it.

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    I’m not fat, I’m

  9. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Here is my problem with this whole thing…

    They say that this applies to someone who, “encroaches on an adjacent seat and/or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrest lowered

    So this overweight person who needs a 2nd seat can fit with the armrests lowered but the issue is if they crowd the person next to them?

    Average weight people encroach on the person next to them! It’s the nature of a shared arm rest seating!

    • aloria says:

      Honestly, if they made dudes who insist on sitting with their legs spread apart so that they take up half my space* pay extra, I would be all for that.

      *I’m not talking about dudes who are so tall that they physically have no other option but to turn their legs to the side. I am talking about short-average height dudes who act like if their knees are less than three feet apart, the flesh on either thigh will melt off.

    • FigNinja says:

      A lot of guys don’t fit in a coach seat in the shoulders. I’ve sat next to plenty of normal weight men who would be able to put the arm rest down with plenty of room to spare that still encroach on my seat a little.

      • coldfire409 says:

        I’m overweight myself and I have no problem sitting on an airplane with the armrests lowered. In fact the last time I flew I was in a seat with immovable armrests and fit with no problem.

  10. samjung23 says:

    Wow, there are some immature people on this board! For a consumer watchdog site, you aren’t too bright either.

  11. aloria says:

    I am on the small side, but I’m of the opinion that the problem is more that their seats are too darned small than people are too big. I feel claustrophobic in coach even with another tiny person sitting next to me just because the seats are so small and the rows so close together.

    Of course, there are people out there who are just so big that even first-class sized seats wouldn’t keep them from encroaching on their neighbor’s space, but I don’t think those people are the norm when it comes to the typical “too big to fit in coach” body size.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      This is true to a certain point. As a tall person, I experience problems on various airlines. Some are worse than others. However, some people are just fat. They ooze out of their seat and into the personal space of others.

      We PAID for that personal space. It’s not free.

      Those of us that aren’t fat have a hard enough time fitting in airline seats without extra nonsense.

      • aloria says:

        There are more ways for a person to get in your personal space on a plane than just being too fat, including super tall people who have to sit with their legs angled to the side and or with really broad shoulders. Why aren’t those people being made to pay for an extra seat as well? They’re just as invasive into the space I paid for, sometimes even more so. Heck, I’d like “floppy sleepers” who pass out and end up with their head on your shoulder and guys who sit with their legs spread wide to pay extra, too.

        My point is, if planes were not designed to shove as many people as possible like cattle into coach, there would be a lot less “invading the space I paid for” situations. I’m by most definitions quite small– 5’3″, 25″ waist, narrow shoulders– but I still think seats are just way too goddamned small.

  12. Max Headroom says:

    What has to encroach? Waist? Shoulders? I rubbed shoulders on my flight last night to ATL, but I don’t have fat to go over the armrest.

  13. Beefsteak says:

    Good. Maybe it will help these fat bastards take a look at themselves in the mirror and realize their morning dozen at DD’s is affecting more than just their cholesterol. I have been seated next to these people before and the odor alone is enough to make me sick. Especially when you’re stuck there for 3-4 hours. If you want to be 450lbs., pay the extra jack brother!

    • HSVhockey says:

      “But what about the 1% of the overweight people who are fat because they have a legitimate medical condition?” – There took care of that for your repliers.

      • atthec44 says:

        I have a legitimate medical condition called near-sightedness. It caused me to have to purchase contact lenses and eyeglasses until I paid for Lasik.

      • pop top says:

        Regardless of the reason someone is fat, that doesn’t give people the right to be rude, insulting and childish.

        • HSVhockey says:

          Sure nobody has the right to do those things, and you [people in general] don’t have to sit there and listen to it, and I’m not going to sit here on a privately owned website and say that not allowing me to say such things is against the first amendment. Now having said all that, people need to toughen the hell up (and lose some weight, me included).

  14. KingaBoBinga says:

    I’ve had to sit next to an ‘of size’ woman on an international flight. She was basically sitting halfway into my seat. I couldn’t sleep, sit comfortably, or even have anywhere to put my elbow. It was unfair to me to be squished for a 12 hours flight like this and have to pay the same amount. If I had been the same size as the woman how would we even have both fit!?
    I think this is only fair ( for people who are quite obviously not fitting into the seat )

  15. costanza007 says:

    I am a normal sized person, but I have been on some international flights where I would gladly buy a second seat if it meant I could spread out a little. The problem is the second seat won’t be next to you, plus they will fill it with a standby passenger anyway, even if it’s next to a huge person.

    • Jevia says:

      International flights are the worst in coach. I swear the seats are even smaller there than on domestic flights.

  16. prag2 says:

    Airfares ought to be based on total “shipping weight” of a passenger and his/her baggage.

  17. EccentricJeff says:

    Another airline charging an extra baggage fee!!!

  18. The_IT_Crone says:

    Fantastic. My last flight one of them took up HALF of my seat. Fortunately the flight attendant took pity on me and did some shuffling to let me sit elsewhere.

    • philside92 says:

      this happened to me on my last flight, except there was no where to be shuffled to. so i spent my flight squashed against the bulkhead. since i have a bad back, i was out of sorts for a few days. customer service told me to get bent.

      bent enough i’ll never fly delta again.

      if this happens again there is no way i am going to let the plane take off with me as a passenger.

  19. BelleSade says:

    I love this and wish all airlines would do so.

  20. Costner says:

    When I’m flying I don’t care how much someone next to me weighs… I just care how wide they are. Seriously… if they are 6’7″ and weigh 280 they probably won’t encroach on my seat at all. But if they are 5’2″ and 280 chances are there will be some overflow.

    Why should I have to suffer from someone’s rolls overflowing onto my seat? I have witnessed people that couldn’t come close to lowering the arm rests and people who take at least 25% of the seat next to them. It just seems to make sense that they should either have to upgrade to business class for the wider seat, or they should pay for an extra seat. Not only would they be much more comfortable, but they won’t encroach upon others either.

    Yea I know a second seat will be costly…. but twinkies and Snickers bars are expensive too and that doesn’t stop them! /zing /s /obligatory fatty joke

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I hate being in the middle ground where a reasonable person would not ask me to buy a 2nd seat, but someday I might be confronted with an unreasonable flight attendent. And then I’ll have to deal with the embarassment and sudden cash crunch of having to buy another seat at last-minute prices.

    • rpm773 says:

      Without spending too much time to think the pros and cons through, if the airline forced a person of size to buy a second ticket at the gate, I think it would be fair of the airline to allow that person to purchase the second seat at the same price that was paid for the first seat.

      If a seat is even available 10 minutes before take off, we’re talking about revenue that the airline wouldn’t otherwise see for the seat. So what difference does it make to them?

  22. Kaniac says:

    Why not just have a little cage/box like they do for carry-ons? Can you squeeze yourself into this box? No? Try the next (2-seat) box.

    That would avoid lots of measurement issues (do you go with BMI? Weight? Circumference of waist? Shoulders?). It also would take the awkwardness out of it for the flight attendants. And the line of people waiting to try to contort themselves into little box-cages would be hi-larious!!

    • Cat says:

      Hilarity ensues as the fire company, with the jaws of life, has to extract people who try too hard to squeeze it all in that tiny box.

      “Can you squeeze yourself into this box?”
      (That’s what she said!)

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Build the box with a release mechanism to expand the sides. Alarm it so noone tampers with it to try to fit when they wouldn’t.

  23. dolemite says:

    Ok, so 90 lb supermodels can squeeze into the same seat and pay 1/2 fare?

  24. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    If seats get bigger as you upgrade from Coach to Business to First Class, wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy a seat in First Class than to have to buy two Coach seats?

    • mauispiderweb says:

      Probably, since their Business Class upgrades start at $49.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Probably not, especially since I assume most people buying coach would opt for the “discount” or “deep-discount” travel classes.

      AMR is ridiculously expensive in this regard.

      Then, there’s the fact that many modern airline companies have one-class cabins.

    • SugarMag says:

      in my experience, for my portly boss, I have found it cheaper to do two coach vs business class or first class. I find that amusing really,more room = cheaper.

      Ive done if for cross country flights – it is way too small a space regardless of size (plus I have restless legs, tight spaces makes it even worse)

  25. FreeMarketFan says:

    Let’s be like the amusement park.

    Can you sit in the seat? Nope – you need the double size then fatty.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Some rides have a couple larger seats built in for larger rides. An airplane that had 1 row with 2 seats instead of every single row with 3 seats would probably solve a ton of problems for example. If there was one larger person then they could be placed in the special row so that they don’t make the person next to them uncomfortable. This would probably solve most of the problems unless you have a flight of unusually large sized people, but experience says there is usually 1-2 people per flight that can’t fit at the most, and the slightly larger seats would solve this problem. Irrelevant but you don’t pay extra to use these seats on rides. You might have to wait longer if there are a lot of other bigger people. The seats on some amusement rides are really small too, but since you are only on it for a few min it shouldn’t matter as long as you can fit.

      Ironically when I go to the theme park I see some of the fattest people I have ever seen in my life and much larger crowds of them then I have seen anywhere else, why they go there is beyond me. I would think that the humiliation of getting rejected from a ride would prevent them from going.

      Theme park admission should be based on what you can ride and what you can’t as well, a lot of fat people can’t ride a lot of rides due to safety limitations, but they pay the same ticket price as everyone else. If you can’t ride all the rides because of some type of physical limitation especially if its a park with not so many ride choices then you should definitely be getting a discount on admission since the limitations set by the ride manufacturers are for your safety and are enforced.

  26. May contain snark says:

    Do they plan to apply this to tall people? I’m 6’4 and cannot wedge myself behind an airline seat. I usually have to sit somewhat sideways with my legs somewhat in another person’s legroom. Would Southwest require me to by another seat just for me to put my legs? I’m genuinely curious.

  27. MMD says:

    In any other kind of story a policy with no published standards of enforcement, people would have a blast bashing the company. (BoA is now charging the $5 monthly debit card fee to…some customers but not all! How do you know if it’s you? Wait until the charge hits your account!)

    But since this story has to do with weight, any sense of objectivity or fairness goes out the window. Stay classy, Consumerists!

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Yeah. Cuz some people’s bank accounts make it so there’s no room for my money.

  28. jbandsma says:

    I hope they’ll have better logic than Southwest who sold a second seat to an overweight passenger. It would have worked better if the second seat wasn’t in a different section of the plane.

    • wetrat says:


      Southwest does not have assigned seating… so it is impossible to sell someone a seat in a different part of the plane… and they let pax “of size” pre-board so they can find 2 seats together.

      Troll better next time.

  29. vnlindstrom says:

    I’d totally be fine with a weight-based fare system. That makes sense to me. The system Southwest uses makes no sense to me.

    I’m sure, though, that it does a much better job of keeping fat people off their planes, because they’re worried about “will they won’t they,” than just saying it’s going to cost this much up front.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      The reason they don’t do this is they are probably getting into discrimination issues if they required a per pound rate per passenger. Most people are overweight because its their own fault and they eat too much, however very few people have a real medical disability that causes them to gain weight and it would be unfair to tax these people by the pound if they cannot control their weight.

  30. Riroon13 says:

    …and still nothing for that 6’7 guy that had his kneecap in my ribcage for an entire flight from New Orleans to Philly.

  31. gaya2081 says:

    I was getting to the point where I was afraid I was going to have to buy 2 seats (at 5’8″ 255 lbs). I was always able to pull the armest down, but it wouldn’t always stay ALL the way down, and I almost needed a seat belt extender. I’ve lost over 60 lbs and can easily fit in a seat again, and I have about 40-50 pounds left to lose.

    However, what has always bothered me is the people who sit spread out. I at least hunched over, squeezed to the side…did whatever I could to make sure I was NOT encroaching on the person next to me. Now that I am thinner it is VERY annoying where the person next to me is larger and doesn’t seem to consider the people that have to sit to either side of them….that bothers me the most.It is obvious when the person is trying to not take up my space and obvious when they don’t care.

  32. Kuri says:

    Well, I was planning to go visit my uncle in Japan sometime. I know who I won’t be flying on.

    If I can fit into the seat of my family’s car just fine, there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to fit in a seat on a plane.

    • Cat says:

      Since neither SW or Airtran fly to Japan, I am betting it won’t be either of them.

      • Kuri says:

        That tells me they only do in country flights then.

        All I know is this will likely get them sued.

        • Cat says:

          Airtran flies a few international flights – Mexico and Caribbean, I believe, and they’ll soon be flying the SW banner.

          As for getting sued, this is not illegal.

  33. Matthew PK says:

    As I recall there was a story about a year ago about a at guy who wanted to buy two seats but the airline wouldn’t allow two seats to be held by the same person.

    So what this really boils down to is this: They want fat people to be forced to buy an extra seat, but the airline can still oversell the flight and force you to give up the seat you’ve bought.

  34. Atherton says:

    How about combined passenger and luggage weight? It doesn’t matter to the plane if you’re a person or cargo, weight is weight. Let’s combine the two.

    Let’s say 250 lbs as a random example number. At 200 lbs of person, you get up to 50lbs of free checked/carry on luggage. 100lb person gets 150lbs of luggage free. 250lbs person gets no free luggage.

    You may say “Atherton. what about people who go over/under?”. Every pound that you and luggage combined go under the weight limit, you get a dollar off your ticket. Every pound over, you get charged a dollar more.

  35. May contain snark says:

    I’m 6’4 and I can not wedge myself into an airline seat. Apart from cutting off my legs Saw-style, I don’t see any way to fix this. I’m 160lbs and if I lost anymore weight, my family would probably send me to a clinic somewhere. So I will always be the person who encroaches on someone else’s legroom. Unless an airline will allow me to buy 2 seats and sit sideways (which last time I inquired, was a safety violation); people are just going to have to blame my parents for crating a mutant.

    • Kate says:

      So it’s OK to make someone pay extra if the reason is publically assumed to be their fault but not if it isn’t?

      • finbar says:

        Yes. I can’t diet away my height.

        • Kate says:

          So this is really all about punishing people that you foolishly assume have control over their problems be made to suffer further, regardless of reality. Should we make you pay double so people who aren’t jerks don’t have to sit next to you?

          • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

            It’s a good assumption when it’s true the overwhelming majority of the time.

            If you follow that line of logic, you should never blame anybody for anything, nor hold anyone accountable for their actions in any situation because it “Just may not be their fault!”

  36. LuzioFantazmic says:


    Airline passengers should have to pay by the pound anyway.

  37. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    I blame the OP. (Overweight Passengers)

  38. May contain snark says:

    Why not make seats of varying shapes and sizes and let the flight attendants play tetris with us?

  39. thrillho says:

    Anorexics should only have to pay for half a seat then. And midgets should be able to double up. Babies? Stack them like firewood. I never realized how inefficient airlines really were.

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      It’s very true. It’s unfortunate that people have to pay more or suffer for others political correctness. They should gave a graduated seating arrangement from front to back, so those who need more room can pay a slightly higher cost without having to spring for full blown first class.

  40. dush says:

    If you can’t fit between the arm rests then you need to pay for more than one seat.

  41. philside92 says:

    the last time i flew i was squashed against the bulkhead. it was a full flight, so no shuffling could be done, since no one else wanted half of their seat taken up. furthermore i have a bad back and spent the next couple days out of sorts because of the flight.

    when i filed a complaint with customer service they pretty much told me to get bent. they offered me 5k frequent flyer miles…for an airline i will never fly again.

    the lesson i learned from this is to not be a passenger in this situation again. i should have gotten off the plane and forced them to make it good then and there instead of trying to work it out with them later.

  42. Outrun1986 says:

    Unfortunately the only way to say this is to have a policy for it, at least they have a policy to deal with it as the situation emerges with each passenger. Hopefully they do not go making slightly fat people buy extra tickets willy nilly just to make more money. There are some people, a lot of people in my area who are massively fat and there is no way they are fitting into a single airline seat. In fact I would say that some people I have seen here could probably take up 2 seats easily with no room for the person who was supposed to sit next to them in the first place. Everyone must be seated in order for a plane to fly so this is definitely a problem.

    But if they are going to do this I think they should definitely have a test seat where you buy the tickets, or where you board the plane, if you can’t fit then you should have to buy an extra ticket. The passenger should not have to make this decision after boarding the actual plane. Just like at the theme park they have test seats to see if you can fit in the ride this should be the same way.

    The best thing to do in my opinion is to make one row or 2 seats per plane instead of each row of 3 seats. Assuming this plane is 3 seats per row. Cutting out the one seat would allow more room in one row. Providing this only happens to 1-2 passengers per flight which I assume would be the norm then this would allow the couple people to move to the bigger seats and not encroach on the other person’s space which should at least take care of the majority of situations. The only problem would be if you had a plane that was somehow full of more than a couple very overweight people, which is probably not all that unusual these days.

    Some rides at theme parks have 1-2 larger seats on the rides so bigger people can ride so that is where I got the idea from.

  43. HumanSnatcher says:

    As a “person of size” myself, you whiners can kiss my back side, honestly. I’m pretty hefty, yes, but I don’t spill over nor do I need a seatbelt extention. I always take an aisle seat and always at the VERY tail end of the plane where no one, even tiny whiners want to sit. Heck even if there is someone to my left, I never even use the armrest

    • peanutbutterjelly says:

      If you aren’t spilling over the seat divider/can put the armrest down then you won’t pay extra. I don’t mind if people armrest hogs, but recently started flying to Texas to visit my husband while he’s stationed in SA and there are a lot of people who honestly cannot fit in the seat. One young woman came onto my SW flight after everyone had boarded and took the middle seat. I was in the aisle and she CLEARLY could not fit in the seat. We could not put the armrest down and her body took up 1/4 of my seat. I’m not a super skinny person so I had to sit with my body partially in the aisle and her body pressed up against mine. It was super uncomfortable for both of us. I couldn’t even put the tray table down because her thigh was in my seat. I had to ask the flight attendant to change seats mid flight (I found an open middle seat further back). You have to be really overweight to spread into the next person’s seat. If someone is going to put their body 1/4 into my seat, I expect to be reimbursed for 1/4 of my fare.

  44. Mike Zeidler says:

    As a “person of size” I agree with this policy, but only, ONLY if it’s enforced on the initial leg of a trip. Southwest always seems to enforce it on the return leg, effectively extorting you for a return home while you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    Of course I only travel with my wife, so I make her sit in the middle so I’m not encroaching on anyone but her. :)

  45. newmie says:

    I have seen some people who could not fit into 2 seats. That said, it only seems fair, since I pay for the use of the entire seat, not just what is left after a tubby spills over.

  46. Jimmy37 says:

    It’s about time. I’m sick and tired of flying next to an overly large person intruding into my space. If they want to be large, let them pay for it.

  47. GOInsanity says:

    So what are they going to do if the person is large enough to ooze into another seat, but the person beside them is ok with it? My husband is a large man (6’4″ and 330 lb, but most people are shocked to hear that he is over 300, so he carries his weight well) and I’m small (5’4″ and 120 lb). Will they make us buy 3 seats if we plan to raise the armrest between us and share our 2 seats?