Should overweight people be forced to buy TWO seats on an airplane?

United States
January 15, 2009 8:39pm CST
Do you think that overweight flyers should be forced by the airlines to purchase two seats rather than just one? Or do you think that airlines should start doing things to accomodate their overweight customers (like larger seats and longer seatbelts)? I'm overweight and honestly, my feelings are that if an airline wants me to fly on their airplane then they should make their seats to fit all sizes - not just big butts or stomaches but tall people too. If they make small seats and/or want me to pay for 2 seats, then I will not fly with them or anyone else for that matter. If there is a movie theater that I know has really small, uncomfortable seats .. and across town there is another movie theater that has the nice stadium seats with the moving armrest so that people can be more comfortable.. where do you think I'm going to spend my money? Same thing with airlines or anything else. If you want my money, then it needs to be of a benefit to me otherwise I'll take my money and business elsewhere. So what if I'm fat.. my money spends just like the next person and when the airlines start making people who: stink or insist on talking to me during the whole flight or those with noisy, bratty, loud children or those in front of me who feel the need to extend their seats so that I'm all crunched in mine or the person who sits next to me and wants to spread themselves out and take up every inch of space even if they are a normal sized person - pay extra for invading my personal space - THEN I will pay extra for being a little larger until then, I'll pass.
7 people like this
34 responses
@Rozie37 (15503)
• Turkmenistan
16 Jan 09
Girl, I totally like your style. You are for real. Although, I have never flown(I am afraid to fly and it shows), I am a big girl and I know exactly what you mean. I could see if there were only a few large sized people in America, but let's get real, we are everywhere and there is a lot of us. If they want to resist needed change and keeping up with the times, then they will lose the money. I do not patronize places that do not cater to my size. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, we did not have a choice, but people are starting to wake up and realize that we are not going to suddenly just blow off the planet and if they do not want their competition to win our loyalty, then they better accommodate us.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Jan 09
Ooops didn't mean to make it sound like I was "in" class at the time the plane crashed but I was a high school student at that time. It happened on an off school day.
@Rozie37 (15503)
• Turkmenistan
16 Jan 09
I was in High School in the late 80's too and I do not remember that particular incident. But I can certainly see why you would. That is a very sad story. We always here about these kind of tragedies on the news. But if they never hit home, they don't stick in your mind. I have not experience being a part of a tragic story on television. I imagine it to be quite eerie. I have been on television on several different occasions, but have yet to see myself on there. I will get caught up in something and then people will tell me that they saw me on t.v. The proudest was when I took part in "Hands Across America." The most embarrassing was when I was on "Cops." I would definitely like to hear that story one day. I have been one Mylot for two years and I do believe that my entire life story is on here. It has also been a great form of therapy for me. So don't be shy, share, hehe.
1 person likes this
@marina321 (4561)
16 Jan 09
No, I do not think they should be made to buy an extra seat... Reason being each time I have flown (in both economy and business class), there have been extra seats on the plane because someone didn't turn up for the flight or they under booked or there's always free seats in business and first class because not many can afford to fly in those sections... So, when the flight has taken off and is in air or even when the final boarding call has been done, you can ask the air hostess to find you a more comfortable seat. This is what the overweight person or person sitting next to them should do. When I was flying with my very young daughter, I was on two occassions offered a seat with more leg room or an aisle seat where the other passenger didn't turn up so my daughter could have a good rest or move about... Someone class also be moved to business or first class at the discretion of the hostess (of course these are rare once you've boarded but ya never know) I think that is the solution in my opinion and it is the sort of thing airlines should be doing as it could be a good case for discrimination on the airline's part making some people pay for two tickets
2 people like this
@Galena (9123)
17 Jan 09
if one person uses two seats, how can it possibly be discrimination to expect them to pay for two seats. or, as a slim person, should I be able to claim discrimination for NOT getting the seat next to me for free.
1 person likes this
@marina321 (4561)
17 Jan 09
The airline should be charging all people as standard... Like I said, there's often extra seats on the plane so the airline can make adjustments were required as they are after all providing a service, just my opinion There's all forms of discrimination too and yes, that is a discrimination against the over weight people..
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Jan 09
Could you tell me the maximum hip measurement for the airplane seats? That will be better then just saying that if you are overweight you will have to purchase two seats. Now if the airplane decides to make the seats smaller, then that would be unfair. So if an airplane starts to make its new chairs to accommodate those with a forty inch hip, then that would not be fair. I do think that if you are so grossly overweight that part of you spills into the next person, you should pay for two seats, but a far better alternative is to have extra wide seats. Now these would not just be for the grossly obese, but for the handicapped and people who have difficulty with locomotion. Now I would assume like the handicapped stickers people with strokes or in wheelchairs put on their cars, those who have a medical condition -and those who cannot lose weight by dieting alone, etc. have to get their doctor's signature that they need the extra wide seats and will have pay the same as the other passengers. However if your fatness is not due to a medical condition, you are there because you eat too much, then you have to pay a surcharge. And it should be based on width, not on weight.
• United States
17 Jan 09
I would have to look up the average size of an airline seat but from what I understand they are smaller than they should be because the airlines want to be able to put as many bodies into their airline at one time and the only way to do that is to make the seats as small as possible. With that said, if it's based on width.. I can see it now - people standing in the airport being measured by the airline attendants to be sure their hips are the right size. "Sorry madam but your butt is too big, get back in line and buy another seat".. or maybe they will just have a scale sitting next to the check in counter and make everyone who looks like they are a little too, what was the word... "grossly" overweight, get on the scale and weigh themselves in front of the airline clerk? I have my own ideas.. how about right next to the scale and the tape measure, they have a person standing there smelling everyone to make sure they do not have B.O. or maybe another person who stands in the airport to see which passengers are the most chatty and make them all sit in the back of the plane with other chatty people. Or those with children being forced to sit in the CHILDREN ONLY section of the airplane so as not to bother the other flyers. Yeah, sounds like a fair plan to me.
1 person likes this
@jtr115 (724)
• United States
19 Jan 09
Most Coach seats on airlines are about 17-18 inches wide, compared to 20 inches or more for First Class. I can fit (just barely) in a regular Coach seat, but I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for a wider seat. I know United has a new Economy Plus section, where passengers pay a higher price to get more legroom.
1 person likes this
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
16 Jan 09
I don't think overweight people should be forced to purchase more than anybody else. That is discrimination and I know some people cannot help to be overweight. I have a fear of flying and claustrophobia so they should make planes more comfortable anyway.
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
18 Jan 09
Discrimination means "unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice", according to Wordpress Dictionary. Being skinny is not 'normal' for some people so having that mind set would be a biased opinion. The skinny person is comfortable sitting in the seat where the fat person is not when they have to pay the same amount too. But as a skinny person, I wouldn't want to pay $1000 for a seat and let anyone have another one for free, just because I'm not fat either. Either way it's unfair.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Jan 09
It would be more customer service friendly and a better idea for the general business to accomidate all people. Though, I can somewhat understand the position of the company if someone is actually taking up two seats, and a person who bought the second seat was missing out. It would still be the problem of the airline, who caused the issue by not having adequate seating.
2 people like this
• Chile
16 Jan 09
I do agree with you, I think the airlines should start making the seats more spacious. I myself am very tall and I find it somewhat uncomfortable to take a plan journey with the minimal space they provide. Obviously though it has to be taken into account that there are limitations on what the airline, they simply canĀ“t accomodate everyone.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Jan 09
I have never flown before, nor have I ever been on a plane before so I couldnt give a wise answer on this as I dont know much on the issue of planes and flights and space and weight of it all. I have heard this issue come up before not only here on mylot, I dont think it is right that they can charge a person for 2 seats and if it is not a weight issue, then they should consider a resizing of the seating arrangements.
2 people like this
@j47lee (742)
• Canada
16 Jan 09
Well said.. its not people's fault that they are fat... and this is like discrimination on body sizes... i think if the airlines company does that they'll be having cases lined up.... instead of giving people who are fat hard time... they should try to accomodate them... because.. i know alot of people who are obese are very self conscious.. without people having to criticize them...
2 people like this
• United States
16 Jan 09
amen to that I am a large person as well and I would no way pay for an extra seat to fit my big booty into and yes they should accomaodate persons with weight and height I think that heavy ppl are dicrimanated against often I did not get a job that I was qulified for just because of my weight but yet the person that was not qulified for the job got the job because she was much smaller then I but you know thats not her fault nor do I have ill feelings toward smaller ppl but I know I am big and I am confortable with that! but I must say I agree with you on that one
2 people like this
@urbandekay (18312)
16 Jan 09
If they are so fat they encroach upon the next seat area in any way then clearly yes they should, since if I were allocated that seat next to them, I would be more cramped and would not get the full value of what I paid for. all the best urban
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 09
Fair enough but what about if the person next to you was very dirty and smelled horribly - so badly that it engulfed the air you were breathing and you had to travel for hours next to them? What if that person wasn't so fat that they took up your seat too but what if they were just wide across the shoulders and therefore took over most of the arm-rest and made you feel cramped? Or how about if the person in front of you was so tall that they had to extend their seat as far back as they could so they would be comfortable but in return you were no longer comfortable? I could go on.. but should those people also be forced to buy a second seat because they are coming into your personal space and what you paid for therefore making you cramped or uncomfortable?
@urbandekay (18312)
16 Jan 09
Well, excessive perfume worn by some women reeks worse than BO in some cases but I don't think that is on a par with being cramped. Of course all have a duty not to make life uncomfortable for others. Someone with wide shoulder or very tall? Well, of course there are going to be grey areas and where do we draw the line? But someone so fat they encroach seems a clear case to me. If airlines make the seats bigger they carry less people per flight making the flight cost much more, so I do not wish to pay extra for my flight for your convenience. Therefore if seats are made bigger I want a substantial discount and those that are fat enough to need the extra seat size to pay more all the best urban
• United States
16 Jan 09
They are all clear cases and the line is being drawn with overweight people so what's to stop them from drawing the line at other cases as well?
@jtr115 (724)
• United States
19 Jan 09
That's one of the drawbacks of airlines trying to squeeze as many seats as possible onto their planes. I'm a fat person myself (although I'm dieting and have lost close to 30 pounds so far.) I've found I need a seat belt extension on some airlines, while other airlines' seat belts fit just fine. The only part of the seat which doesn't "fit" is the tray table, which basically rests on my stomach instead of unfolding all the way. Have you looked at the website seatguru.com? That gives the seat width and pitch for the planes used by all airlines. It also points out seats which have limited space, no recline, etc. If your city or a nearby one is served by Midwest Airlines, some of their planes' Coach seats are about as wide as other airlines' First Class seats.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jan 09
First I want to congratulate you on your weight loss - I know it's not easy and I'm glad you are having success at it. I hope you continue to have great results! Thank you also for the information, I appreciate it. How would you feel if they started to charge you for the seat belt extensions?
1 person likes this
@jtr115 (724)
• United States
21 Jan 09
I'd probably be ticked off, although I hope I'll no longer need them by the next time I fly. The seat belts on some planes fit me just fine now, so I'd probably try to limit myself to flights using those planes whenever possible.
1 person likes this
@soooobored (1187)
• United States
16 Jan 09
There are more and more people who are getting to a size that requires two airline seats, so I could imagine that over time airlines would change seat size to accommodate them. Really though, when I think about airline travel, I think about it in terms of the space I take up on the plane. They accommodate the standard size (in the most uncomfortable way imaginable! but still accommodate them), and its not a lot of people that are paying for the extra seat right now. So yes, I agree with the current standards, but who knows what changes the consumers will drive over time?
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 09
Thank you for your honest answer. I'm hoping this won't be an issue for me in the near future or the next time I fly (trying to lose weight!) but I would still be upset for those who are singled out and made to pay extra while others who infringe in other ways are free to do so and do not have to pay extra.
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
16 Jan 09
I only agree with this if very thin people get a reduction in their fares for the reduction in weight for the plane it self...I think there is a give and take here and where does one draw the line...
• United States
16 Jan 09
I could be wrong but the reason for them charging more seems to stem from the space issue and not so much the weight issue. In the past a seat was a seat. No matter how much you weighed, you paid the same as the next person. I do not think I should have to pay more and I do not think you should pay less. We should all pay the same. If they are going to single out the overweight community as having to pay extra because we take up more room and therefore make other passengers uncomfortable or intrude on their space - then like I wrote in my OP.. then the same needs to be applied to those who invade my space on the place with their "issues".
@TheCatLady (4695)
• Israel
22 Jan 09
I think the issue should be can they sell that seat to another person? If there is even one empty seat on the plane than the larger person, or the person who needs two seats for whatever reason should not have to pay for two seats as it would be empty and not sold anyway. If the plane is 100% full, and one person needs two seats for whatever reason, and this means the airline can't sell that seat to someone who wants to buy it, then the person who needs two seats should pay the child fare for the second seat. The airline would be loosing money by not being able to sell the seat. This is only if there is a buyer for that very last seat on the plane and no one misses the flight. But how often is the plane full? Frequently someone or several people miss their flight and there is an empty seat somewhere. If the airplane is flying with empty seats then a large or small person can have two seats and pay for one.
1 person likes this
@jessi0887 (2794)
• United States
16 Jan 09
I am not overweight. I am average. I still think its ridiculous though. Its offensive as well. Or they going to make a pregnant woman pay extra because she has a extra couple of pounds or another passenger at that? I just think they are being ridiculous about their flight fares. I am glad i dont' travel that much and by plane at that.
1 person likes this
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
16 Jan 09
Hi heavens, I think your right, overweight people spend money teh same way skinny folk do, But i believe from a companies point of view, if they shove a bunch of skinny seats togetehr, they can pile more people in there and make more money. after all .. i'm pretty sure that's the only thing any corperation or large company is interested in. best way to make more more more money. its sad.
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
16 Jan 09
Well, I have read that 60% of North Americans are now overweight or obese. Suppose a lot of people who fly need two seats to accomodate themselves. If the airlines give the second seat free of charge there will be fewer passengers, therefore the price of a ticket will go up. Then fewer people will be able to afford a ticket and the price will go up some more. I agree with you that your money is as good as anybody elses but the seats right now are so uncomfortable already, so if a person would get two seats for the price of one I would be upset because that person would have an advantage. A friend of mine flew to Europe with a charter airline and since he is very tall he requested an aisle seat well in advance. When the flight was about to leave he was asked to move to another seat in the middle of a bank of four seats. Why? because a very large person needed the aisle seat. I did not think that was fair.
@octavian (200)
• Romania
16 Jan 09
Hello HeavenUnawere! I came across this subject in a TV-show called LOST. I am sure you heard of it. Hugo, in order to fly must pay for two seats. This is indeed a very offensive thing. I hope they will come out with a solution.
1 person likes this
@ulalume (714)
• United States
16 Jan 09
The issue is the extent of overweightedness. It is not so much a weight issue as a spatial one. Airlines seek to give comfort to all passengers. I am not overweight and I would be bothered by someone who is overweight sitting next to me and taking up my space. Not because I dislike overweight people, heck I've flown with them on occasion; but because if I am sitting in a plane for hours on end, I want to be as comfortable as possible (if that is possible at all in those crammed seats). There are definitly two sides (understandable sides, at that) to this controversy. I see where your coming from and if I was in your shoes I would not want to buy an additional seat just because I am overweight. Theres no fighting it though, really. If you need to fly anywhere, your kind of forced to pay up. I suppose a good way to start solving this problem would be for flights that don't have the maximum capacity filled, allow people to move around and sit where they wish.
1 person likes this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
16 Jan 09
This is a tough issue. I too need to lose some weight, but luckily I don't need two seats yet. Recently this issue came up on the new show Ruby, which portrays a woman who is going thru her own personal weight loss journey. She wanted a friend to sit next to her, but unfortunately she was too large and took up part of her friend's seat so the airline made them move, so she had to sit alone. In this day and age there are many people overweight now. Its not uncommon these days. So I really think the airline should adjust the seats. Even as an average size person those seats are rather cramped. And talk about cramped - what about those onboard restrooms? Unfortunately much of the world is a plus size now. But, the airlines need to get with the current time and start adjusting their planes to fit the current world.
1 person likes this