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April 16th, 2009
04:53 PM ET

Should obese passengers pay for 2 seats on airplanes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Obese passengers might soon have to buy two tickets to fly on United Airlines. The company says "for the comfort and well-being" of all their customers, they have a new policy for passengers who:

Can't fit into a single seat
Can't properly buckle the seat belt using an extender
Can't put the seat's armrests down when seated

If there are extra seats available, the passenger will be moved next to an empty seat at no charge. But if the flight is full, they either have to buy an upgrade to business or first class where the seats are bigger or change to another flight and buy a second seat.

United says they decided to adopt the policy after getting more than 700 complaints last year from passengers who didn't have a comfortable flight because the person next to them quote "infringed on their seat."

Some wonder how the airline can enforce such measures fairly. The spokesman for the Obesity Action Coalition says the policy "perpetuates that negative stigma that's already associated with obesity" and that airline seats already "could use a few extra inches of room on all sides."

But United isn't the first to charge extra for overweight passengers... in fact, now they're on the same page as the other five biggest U.S. carriers. This is something that presumably could affect millions of people when you consider that about one-third of Americans are obese - that's double the rate from 30 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Should obese passengers have to pay for two seats when they fly?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Rebecca from South Carolina writes:
They should pay for the space they occupy. If a person is so large that he spills over beyond a single seat, he should not expect the non-obese person beside him to give up a part of the seat he has paid for. Occupying another person's seat is a kind of theft.

Jack from Lancaster, Ohio writes:
Jack, The real cost of flying should be based on weight anyway. For years, I thought those who trundled to the counter with a ton of bags were really pushing the limit. Eventually there were additional charges for extra baggage. We should fly by the pound.

Randy writes:
As an obese person, I agree with this policy. My doctor just told me to lose weight. This is a great incentive to lay off that extra portion. It is literally something I can live with.

James writes:
Twice as big = twice the fare. It's very fair.

Peter writes:
Sitting next to an over-sized passenger who overflows his or her seat space into the space you've paid for is wrong. Buying an airline ticket is like renting an apartment: You pay for the right to use that space and the services that come with it for a period of time, just as your neighbors have. When you rent an apartment, it doesn't matter if you have a family of eight and the neighbor is a single guy, you don't get to move into your neighbor's living room.

Stephanie writes:
It's a matter of physics and economics, not fat. If I have paid for a seat on an airline or bus, that square footage has been sold and is not available for the duration of travel – and I'm not obligated to share or donate.

McCarlson writes:
If I can fit me and my wife in just one seat, can we get 50% off?


Filed under: Airlines • Obesity
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. Liz

    I do not think this is fair at all, The airlines should make those seats fit more of the current "normal sizes" There are 64% of us considered "obese" and I will not fly that airline ever again if this is to be thier policy. I don't like sitting next to someone bad breath or who smell like a brewery either but I bet they won't quit selling drinks!
    Our airlines are all jerks and so are the airports maybe if 64% of us who are obese should be catered to by a new airline and then they can all take a flying leap out one of thier rather tiny windows too! that airline would be successful you can be sure. You can see the clothing designers are beginning to work with us,our money spends the same whether obese or thin.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  2. Andrig Miller

    I find it interesting that as a society we seem to be pushing everyone to "remove the stigma" from just about everything. Why? Being obese is a real public health problem, and having had my share of bad experiences sitting next to obese people, I think its actually quite fair what United Airlines, and the other airlines ask of those passengers.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Kristen, Arcata, CA

    As a small person often wedged between large passengers I wish SOME policy would be enforced. I mean, I lose my seat instead of them paying for two. And now we pay to check on luggage, yet I, ALONG with my luggage, weigh less and take up less space than obese passengers. Maybe all passengers should hop on the scale at the check-in counter WITH their luggage and carry-ons and we can pay by pound!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  4. j scott

    jack, if you fly with a 3 year old what do yo do? pay for the child.
    If you bring extra luggage what do you do? pay for the luggage.
    If yo order a drink on board with liquor? pay for the drink.
    Take 2 seats because your obese? pay for the seat.

    There's a reason why they limit the trips to the free buffet.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  5. Jeremy

    Well if they take up two seats then why not? THey take up more fuel, make it evewn more uncomfortable for the passengers around them. I say yes. This is a good policy.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Tom

    We but a "seat" on an airplane....we don't buy a 'flight'....if you
    need another seat for your wife or butt you need to buy another
    seat........fairly simple concept.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  7. Mike Vasey

    For my own comfort (I am a large person 6'4" – 400#) I pay for two seats as does the company I work for. I have had problems with United giving me two seats that the armrest does not move. What is the use of buying two seats and only being able to use one. I never received responses to e-mail inquiries about getting one of my tickets refunded. I have also flown on flights that are not full and still paid for both of the seats I use.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  8. Amos in OK

    Darn right. I am tired of being squished and mashed by some over-weight, obese, "it's not my fault I am fat" person sitting next to me.
    I was recently on an American flight from Dallas to Boston. The obese man gets on and cannot get into his seat due to the hand rests. He forces his rear into the seat shearing off the arm rest. He then holds it up in the air waving it around like a trophy bass. He was a full 12" out into the aisle the entire flight.

    Anyone not able to fit in one seat should buy two and use them.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  9. Lisa McClun

    Absolutely. If I have to pay for luggage – and extra for "overweight" luggage, then people who are obese need to pay extra as well.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  10. zaira

    An overweight person should not have to pay for another ticket in order to board a plane.If anything needs to be done is have them pay an extra fee, but not another ticket.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  11. Katie

    I paid for my seat, I should be able to use all of it. I would complain profusely if the person next to me did not fit into their seat and intruded into mine. That has actually happened to me before, and I was given a credit for my next flight since the person could not be moved. I spent the entire flight being squashed. I couldn't move or shift in my seat. I did not get the seat I paid for.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  12. Peggy

    United Airline's policy seems absolutely fair. The criterion is easy-if the armrest can't go down the overweight person is taking up two seats and should pay for two seats. I, for one, don't want to pay for someone to use half my seat. It's uncomfortable and unacceptable. I don't think it's discriminating against overweight people to expect that when you buy a seat you buy the whole seat-not the part the person beside you doesn't need.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  13. sam

    Having been stuck on a business flight in which a very large man literally took up 1/3 of My seat I'd have to say yes. That or I should have flown free.

    Up until that flight I wasn't sure but if someone needs two seats they should have to pay for them not squeeze the passenger next to them against his arm rest.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  14. Diana

    No American citizen should pay anything extra for anything until all of the illegals stop getting our hard earned dollars. Why should the illegals benefit from our working and paying taxes? Medical, education, mortgages, and on and on.....It's about time America took it's country back! How sad that our President is bankrupting us along the way. So many handouts for so many undeserving.....

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    We should charge obese passengers extra when we start charging parents with loud children extra, people with BO extra, the one lady on every flight who must talk non-stop to her seatmate extra and the jerk who "works" on the flight, tossing papers and computers and books across all available empty surfaces, even yours, extra.

    There are many problems with shoving a boatload of people into a flying sardine can. I'm not sure I understand how they can validate this charge and not charge for other issues.

    Personally, I'd pay double for a flight without children. Think that will happen soon?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  16. Ali

    Sure. If you're using two seats, then you pay for two seats. If you're using one seat, you pay for one seat. That seems fair to me.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  17. Jacquie

    What ever happened to treating people with dignity and kindness? Having been very heavy in my life ( I lost it all) and there is nothing more humilating than to have part of your body encroach into the other person's seat. It's emotional and physical torture for obese people. The solution is not the demonize obese people but to make the seats BIGGER. One thing that would help would be to take out the dang arm rest thing on the window and outside isle seat which would provide at least 2 inches of room on either side. The arm rest on the window side is practically useless since it is up against the wall of the airplane anyway. They could also offer bigger seats that obese people could pay for in advance. It would be so demeaning to be denied boarding for obesity, when some reasonable accommodations coupled with some dignity and kindness would work towards making sure that a thinner passenger's seat is all theirs and the obese passenger has a safe comfortable seat as well without making them feel like the dirt of the earth.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Sanford Sadja

    Yes – they should pay for an extra seat if there is not an empty seat aboard the same aircraft in the same Class.
    Let anyone who disagrees sit in the middle seat of three on a 4 hour flight, sandwiched in between two 300-lb passengers.
    Then fairness and understanding will become the judges.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  19. Eric

    If an obese person cannot be accommodated first by one of the aforementioned options, then they should have to purchase an extra seat. When I purchase a seat on a flight, I buy on the expectation that I will have the space allotted to an entire seat, not a fraction of one.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  20. Joe

    As a frequent flier I think they should. I paid just as much for my seat and I'd like to have access to all of it instead of having to hang halfway out into the aisle trying to stay out of their personal space. It's their own lifestyle choices that got them to this point so they should reap the seeds that they have sowed.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  21. a lorenz

    I think the obese should most certainly be charged for the extra space they take up. Afterall, there are limitations on luggage weight.. why should they get more room just because they aren't healthy!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  22. Daniel

    Yes they should.

    The spokesman for the Obesity Action Coalition says ... airline seats already “could use a few extra inches of room on all sides.”

    Increasing the size of airline seats will just drive up the cost of tickets for every passenger. If you need more room you pay to upgrade to business/first class. Don't make those of us who watch our weight pay for those who don't.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  23. Dougie

    Yes, given the costs that the obese put on society, and the escalation of costs there medical condition puts on everyone’s medical insurance then it seems that any way that the financial burden of allowing them to stay obese should be used to encourage them and their doctors to actively reduce there body mass to at least a manageable size.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  24. Todd

    Coatesville, PA

    We've all been on airplanes before, living through crying babies and other airline annoyances. This is a great step towards keeping passengers in planes comfortable. Plane tickets aren't cheap and no one wants to pay for an hour or more to be cramped and annoyed.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  25. Jessica Barone

    Of course they should have to pay for two seats if that is the amount of space that they require. Why should I subsidize them by either providing a portion of my seat, or helping to absorb the cost through the price of my airline ticket to provide them with a larger seat. Generally speaking, barring unusual medical circumstances, being obese is a self-inflicted handicap. The cost of making the decision to handicap yourself should be the cost of an extra airline ticket or wheelchair or whatever you need to accomodate your body.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  26. Duane Johnson

    Queen Creek, AZ

    Absolutely. As the spokesperson for the OAC pointed out, the seats are small to begin with. Why should I lose additional space because of someone else's obesity? Lose the weight or pay for the space you need – case closed.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  27. Bill

    There IS a limit to how much human you can squeeze into one of those chairs. Perhaps the person being infringed upon can be given a voucher or free drinks at least.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  28. Stephanie

    Yes, if you are sitting in 2 seats than you should have to pay for 2 seats. It's unfair to the person sitting next to an obese person because they are forced to be uncomfortable through no fault of their own. If you purchase 2 of anything, you have to pay for both of them. This is no different.

    Washington, DC

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  29. Kelley Godbold

    I certainly think it's a reasonable request. When purchasing an airline ticket, one is purchasing a reserved seat. If one cannot fit into the seat, it only makes sense that they should be required to purchase two seats if there are no empty seats available.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  30. Laura J. Irby

    I think the basic problem is that the airlines have not allowed a "normal size" seating space for passengers. If passengers are asked to pay extra for more space then this must be a temporary fee while the airlines refit their planes with reasonably sized seats.
    Fair is fair.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  31. Andy, Mahtomedi, MN

    Larry Turouske's comment is absolutely correct. Of course they should be charged more – they're taking up more space. They already do this with luggage. If it's too big to fit in the cabin, it has to go to the cargo hold and you get charged. While I'm not suggesting this fate for "big" people, the fact of the matter is that space is limited on an airplane. It's real estate. You need more property, you pay more. First class is no different...more space used, more costly ticket. Life's not fair. I paid for my 17" wide economy seat, and I do NOT want you touching me while we're on the plane.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  32. Sue Ventura

    YesI have been seated next to alarge person and my flight has been very unpleasant Try sitting in a 3 seat section when both are large!!!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  33. Tim Morroni

    This is an important question given the recent accusations by our DHS director that our veterans are good enough to be fodder for our enemies but we should treat them as terrorists when they return home. I also can certainly see why this issue should garner more press time than a tea party. Maybe the simple soultion would be to have Obama decide for all of us what a private airline company should be able to do with its planes and customer service policy. I think anyone who makes tea bag jokes should have to buy the extra seat for the obese passengers. Vanderbilts have money, let Cooper take his silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to spread the wealth around a little.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  34. Steve S./Eaton, OH.

    You know those fixtures that are used to allow/not allow certain sized carry-on luggage? Well, if you can't fit............................they must omit!
    No, having to buy two seats is a humiliating thing, however they could be asked to choose first-class where seats are larger if they cannot fit through a certain fixture.
    Seats are very small if you're not a child in second-class, but if you were only invited to fly first-class it wouldn't seem like quite a penalty.
    But, where do we stop this? If you're 7' tall should you have to pay extra? If you're tiny, should you get a refund?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  35. Bob

    Absolutely! Nothing is worse than being trapped in an airplane seat next to an obese person that can't fit into the seat with the arm rest down and then they "flow" over you for the duration of the flight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  36. Diane

    I think they should have to pay for an extra seat IF they infringe on other passengers.
    Carmel, IN

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  37. RIKAVA

    I think it is about time the airlines starts charging obese flyers extra seats. Extra weight on an airplane is critical it adds up to burning more fuel which in turn costs the aircarrier more money. Not to mention the extra wear and tear on the seats. If you are sending a package by air you are charged more for weight and size. So why should a flyer who's size is that of more then the average person, not pay more.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  38. Wendy from LA

    yes...if they take up 2 seats...they should pay for them...

    April 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  39. Bob (Illinois)

    Yes, if the adjacent armrest cannot be lowered. Why should I be forced to sit in half of my seat?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  40. Bonnie in Texas

    700 people complained about fat people? How many thousand complained about crappy service, late takeoffs and landings, lost luggage, disgusting food, poor customer service? Shouldn't they fix those first?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  41. Tess

    No, it's not okay to charge obese passengers extra. That's saying to me that discrimination is okay and it's NOT!!! Maybe the airlines can widen the seats a few extra inches. Can you imagine the humiliation that obese passengers will have to go through on top of what they're going through now? Please, don't preach to me about losing weight. It's not as easy as it sounds.

    Union City, CA

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  42. SDN

    Yes.

    When I pay for a seat on an airline – it's not with the qualification that I'm willing to give up 20% on each side to people that eat too much. I want 100% if what I've paid for – like any other commodity. Frankly, I've wondered why the question hadn't been resolved years ago. What rationale can there be for occupying space someone else has paid for?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  43. Rob

    Yes, have you ever had a 'big person' think they can squeeze into somewhere, when it reality they actually cannot. And you are on of the things they are trying to squeeze between?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  44. Mick

    Moving people on an airplane from place to place is somewhat like moving cargo. Passengers should be charged by the pound. Lighter weight people (e.g. kids, and slimmer people) pay less and bigger heavier people should pay more. This is true with luggage right now when you go over the allowable limit. Simply figure out the average weight of a passenger as use that to set standard prices. Then adjust the charge to individuals more or less depending on their weight deviation from that average.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  45. Bill in Dallas, TX

    I've ridden next to a fairly large person who was crossing my armrest border. It was to the point where I was sitting uncomfortably in a diagonal pose (imagine sitting on 5-inch thick wallet). It became unbearable and my bad back wasn't going to take anymore. So I sat comfortably back, straight up, but then his shoulder was next to my mouth. I could smell the stench from sweating armpits. My comfort zone was gone. I felt like paying less because of this man. They should pay more for an extra seat or buy an upgrade to business class. The airlines could build "over-sized seats" but then that will probably make ticket cost rise...not for the obese but for all passengers.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  46. K Karwowski

    Should obese passengers have to pay for two seats when they fly?

    Yes, yes, and yes. Very few people have true medical issues that affect their weight. Mostly, it's just plain overeating, unhealthy eating, and not moving enough (see "Biggest Loser").

    I'm sorry, but if you can't fit into an airline (or any other type) seat, then you either need to get to the gym or buy two seats.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  47. Randy

    As an obese person I agree with this policy. My doctor just told me to lose weight. This is a great incentive to lay off that extra portion. It is literally something I can live with.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  48. sajjad nasir

    no i do not think obese passengers need pay double. simply because a good percentage of americans are classified as obese and this will hurt the business of the struggling airline industries. I do think their should be some seating arrangements for obese people in the plains like xtra wide seats where they will pay a little extra put not double.

    sajjad from miami

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  49. sasha, Chicago

    Jack-
    The travelling public never really understood that the airlines really made their money from Cargo , not people.

    Unfortunately, now that Cargo is down, they need to keep paying those CEO salaries somehow- no matter what.

    I wonder- will there be any tea baggers out at the airports?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  50. Anna Jesse

    If you've ever flown with someone's thigh resting in your lap, you might be a bit sympathetic and welcome this new rule.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  51. Richard Emmert

    Yes, make them pay double, or even triple, until they can keep their fat thighs on their own seat. I'm tired of paying for a seat and having to share it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  52. Dee Smith

    I am sorry to say that I do feel overweight passengers should pay more. It is only fair to the other people they will be squishing on the flight. It's about comfort and it is just not comfortable having another person infringe on your personal space. Particularly when the person who fits in the seat paid the same fair as the person who does not fit, but they still slide into your seat. You are already in my seat, so pay for it. And with a second seat they won't have to have the embarassing moment of apologizing, when you are clearly on the other person. Pay for comfort.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  53. pedro

    what are they doing? They will lose money. passengers should not flight with united airline

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  54. The Ghost of Abe

    absolutely. didn't it ever occur to people that obese people are driving up the fuel prices on airplanes. The more weight a plane has to carry, the more fuel is burned. I am paying extra for an obese person to fly with me because inherantly the plane is heavier by their presence.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  55. Rebecca Langas

    I think an obese passenger has a privilege, not a right, to fly. However in the event of an emergency that passenger could potential ly to be an obstruction impeding my ability to exit the plane.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  56. Bill in ABQ

    Absolutely. The airlines have one thing to sell: seats. It's no different than any other product you buy. The price is PER EACH.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  57. Simon in Washington, DC

    Absolutely, yes. Anyone who has spent a flight being shoved out into the aisle or plastered against the window because of the oversized individual next to them knows this is the right approach. For true terror, though, imagine being in the window seat next to someone "infringing on your seat" and directly behind one of those "the universe revolves around me" people who still think it's okay to recline his seat in coach.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  58. Russel in LA

    YES!!! Too often I fly and have to sit next to someone "spilling" into my seat (w/ or w/o armrest down) to the point that I have to lean the other direction. Obesity brings other problems – heavy breathing and snoring, excessive sweating and too often poor hygiene. Why should someone else's poor health habits become my discomfort? In addition, checked baggage has weight limits or we are charged more, if weight limit is an issue, then logic has it that obese people should pay per pound of overage weight. No?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  59. Mark A.

    I am one of the skinny people out there who fly all the time. Invariably, I get stuck next to the huge person who needs a seatbelt extension or two. It is revolting to have someone next to you for two to five hours, sweating on you and rubbing against you.

    I am not sympathetic to the obese when it comes to my personal space. Many overweight people are medically unable to lose weight the traditional way, but many many more are, but chose to continue overeating and ignoring exercise.

    If you cannot fit in the seat, then buy another one. I did not pay full price for a ticket that only permits me to use half of it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  60. Paula in WI

    I think we have a lot of serious problems in this country that need our attention more.This concern should be at the bottom of everyone's list right now.Enough insults are being thrown around out there without adding more.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  61. FrequentFlyerGuy

    Hooray.

    This is completely fair. It is too bad that some people do not fit into a seat, but it is ridiculous that others should have to suffer because of it.

    If someone want to travel with their cello in the cabin (I have seen this done), they can't just put it in my seat they have to buy a seat.

    If someone's fatty love handles are extra wide posterior cannot fit into their seat without pooling over into mine then they should b e required to purchase a second seat or wait for a flight with empty seats.

    Flying is not a right, it is a privilege. If you are privilieged enough to take up two seats than you are privileged enough to purchase two seats,

    Why is this even a question?!?!?!?!?!??!?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  62. Lynne

    Jack– Sure they should pay more, I think everybody should be weighed before they go on the plane. If everyone is overweight, and the luggage is heavy from the big clothes, you risk the plane coming down!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  63. Andrew Voight

    Of course someone should pay for the price of 2 seats if they require the use of 2 seats. Common Sense, people.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  64. Brian

    Absolutely, the cost to airline is real to flight the extra pounds, the pain to the neighboring passengers is real. Obesity is not a crime, but sticking a guy between 2 fat ones makes the poor guy a victim, doesn't it. America should learn to see things from the victim's point of view... It may be more fair to ask why shouldn't they buy 2 seats if they can't fit in one. Why should the poor guy suffer for the obese guy's problems. Let me know when an overweight or obese lugguage is charged as one because it's unfair to charge double.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  65. Donna Harrison

    In a one-word answer to your question, yes.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  66. Jacqueline

    They should absolutely be charged. When your sitting in your seat not sure who is going to sit next to you all you do is hope that its someone of normal size. One time on a flight my arm got pinched with the arm rest because when the gentleman sat down he was too big and his size pushed the arm rest up by accident. The whole 5 hours I sat next to him he was half in my seat. The flight was full so I could not change and did not want to make a scene.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  67. Matt Cross

    We all know what will happen as soon as airlines are allowed to do this. A 'Normal' person will be defined as someone who is 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 88 lbs. Anyone over that size will have to pay extra.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  68. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    I am 6 ft, 230, and I fill up every inch of the seats on most airplanes. The obese made a choice to get that out of shape, and now they can start paying for it. Not for their sake, but others on the plane who have to suffer when they get seated next to a large person.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  69. BravesMan

    Do you fit into your seat? If not, and you need two seats, of course you have to pay for it. If you use two seats, you pay for two seats. If you take your obese self to Denny's and the Grand Slam doesn't fill you up, they don't give you a second one, you have to pay for it

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  70. Ledette

    Yes, if they spill over into another space, they should pay for two seats.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  71. Mikayla

    Of course obese people should pay for two seats! If I eat two hamburgers, I have to pay for two. If you take up two seats, pay for two. I think it is more than fair that United says if there are seats available then the obese person can have an extra seat free but if they're booked to capacity, the obese person must pay for a second seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  72. Allan

    Yes obese passengers should be forced to pay for a second seat. I take care of my body and wouldn't want to fringe upon another person. So when then should an overweight person be allowed to fringe upon my personal space. I am entitled to the most comfortable ride as possible when I purchase my ticket.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  73. Star Auburn Ohio

    after flying next to a woman bigger than me last time I flew I say not just yes but Hell yes. make them pay for their ticket by the pound or inches.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  74. Jeremy

    YES! This is only fair. Why should those of us who are not obese have to suffer? And maybe this will encourage people to work harder at losing weight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  75. michael

    Yes, you take up 2 spaces you weigh as much as 2 people you pay double. simple math

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  76. Katy

    Of course obese people should have to pay for two seats.

    Have you ever been seated in between two obese people on a plane? It's almost like being punished for flying.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  77. Joanne Ciccone

    If the obese person can't fit into one seat, but can fit into two seats, then they should have to buy tickets for both seats.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  78. Scott

    Definitely yes. As someone who travels all the time, there is no reason someone who can't fit in a seat has a right to intrude upon the seat I bought a ticket on. It is simple, need more than one seat room, buy two seats. Not discrimination at all, except the way it is right now where my rights are violated by someone else taking my room away.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  79. J Brock

    Charging obese passengers extra does seem harsh, until you are forced to share your seat for 8 hours. (Int'l flight) I really love my husband, but even so, I do not want to rub shoulders, arms, bellies, hips, thighs and calves with him for that long! J Brock, Austin, TX

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  80. vince m

    I have had this problem. I do not classify myself as obese, I can buckle the set belt with an extender easily, I can put the arm rests down. I am just a big guy, 6 foot 4 with a 50 inch chest.

    Lets just do the same things roller coaster parks do, if you are too tall or too wide, the you don't ride. Might as well go to the absurd and save the time.

    I have seen averaged size people that are uncomfortable in those seats. Who designed them anyways, they are suitable for little people, Thats it.

    Vince m
    Binghamton ny

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  81. Stephanie

    I'm heavy myself – and yes, we SHOULD have to pay more if we take up more room than the average person. Forcing other people to accomodate us at the expense of their comfort isn't fair or right.

    I don't kid myself – I'm heavy because I choose to be. Like smoking, drinking, or any other vice, there's a price attached. I can pay for the seats I actually use, or I can stay home.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  82. Max

    Jack ,Yes they should, they are the ones that put the weight on them self, so they should be charge for the excces weight the same way I have to pay for extra luggage.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  83. Joey, Nashville Tn

    Most definately. If you fill that much space you should pay for it. Though on that note, since I'm underweight, can I pay for just half a seat?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  84. Charles Miller

    Jack,

    The short answer is YES – they need to buy as many seats as they may need to accommodate their size. When I pay for a seat on an airplane, I don't expect that I'll need to give up part of it to the passenger next to me. If a person can't fit in one seat then they need to pay for a second seat – not take some portion of the one I paid for. Also, the number of obese people affected is grossly exaggerated. There are many people who are clinical defined as obese (a number not a size) who can still fit in a single seat on an airplane.

    Charlie in
    Goodyear, AZ

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  85. jj

    The obesity of a passenger is neither the airline's responsibility nor that of average sized passengers. The extent to which obese passengers are responsible for their own eating habits may be debatable but in any case it's unreasonable to expect either the airline or the flying public in general to bear the cost.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  86. Barrett in No Prov, RI

    Why not just put bench seats at the back of the bus...er...I mean, plane, and make all the fat people sit there. This is a prejudice, pure and simple.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  87. Jay

    Yes, I am a person of slim build who flies frequently. When someone cannot fit into their own seat because of excessive weight and bleeds over into your seat, its horrifying. You don’t want to touch anyone you don’t know for 3-4 hrs, let alone touch someone whose fat roll is jabbing you in the side. If these people want or have to travel, they need to respect normal sized individual’s space. I would rather sit next to an obnoxious drunk who smells of curry on a transatlantic flight then sit next to some obese man shoving food in his face for 30 minutes and taking up half of my seat. Charge these people quadruple if you have to, just to keep them away from me.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  88. Stephanie Radakovich

    It's a matter of physics and economics, not fat. If I have paid for a seat on an airline or bus, that square footage has been sold and is not available for the duration of travel – and I'm not obligated to share or donate.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  89. Bill

    I think they should pay for an extra seat. I didn't pay for them to take up half my seat and squish me up against the window or smash me into the arm rest oppsite them. It's not my fault they are that big and I shouldn't have my personal space invaded because of their size. I think this rule has been a long time coming and I am glad they finally put it in place. I just wish it was in place a few years ago when I was stuck on a 6 hour flight sandwiched between two fat guys.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  90. Kelly

    Why are these airlines so special? Do you hear other transportation modes charge extra fee for being obese? e.g. taxicab, bus, train, ship, etc. Also, Darin made a great point; who gets to decide who should pay extra? What about the people who throw their elbows out as wide as possible? Doesn’t it cause some level of “discomfort” to neighboring passengers? Also, what about kids causing “vocal discomfort” to the whole plane? Should their parents pay for all the seats on the plane? Come on people, this is just ridiculous. These airline companies are just trying to make more excuses to have more profits, AT THE EXPENSE OF the customers who are keeping them in business in the first place!! What we need is more sympathy/consideration for fellow passengers. Not penalizing/discriminating against a group of people.

    One last point: I doubt these airlines will do ANYTHING if passengers complain about the quality of service or courtesy they receive from flight attendants. 700 complaints now doesn’t sound much, does it?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  91. Paula Garcia

    Good for United. If you occupy it, you pay for it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  92. Kareem

    Yes, obese passengers should pay for two seats...It's not a personal attack on obese people, but everyone has a right to be comfortable while flying, that's the bottom line.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  93. Patrick

    Absolutely. No question about it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  94. Leah J

    I absolutely think that if you are unable to fit into 1 seat, you should have to pay for the 2nd. It is unfair for someone to have to be seated uncomfortable in the seat THEY paid for!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  95. Randy

    As long as smokers are unfairly abused with extra taxes and having to resort to smoking outside, yes, overweight people should also be abused. Fat people have a negative stigma per the Obesity Action Coalition, too bad. Learn to eat right and they have the choice not to keep buying the large order of fries and there are plenty of health clubs they can go to loose the weight so they dont have to infringe on my space on an airplane ride. I never even thought to write to the airline to complain about being uncomfortable on a flight. In flying to Florida last year with a layover, 3 out of my 4 flights I had large seat mates, one who could not even buckle the seat belt, let alone lower the arm rest. Obese people put as great a strain on the health care system as smokers, so punish them all or none.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  96. Lee Colby

    Flying is based on weight, when one has additional baggage ie: suitcases, one pays extra. Based on this principle alone, the airlines are justified in requiring obese passengers to pay double especially since the obese person most likely weighs 3 times the average person.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  97. Linda,Sacramento, CA

    Yes. I was on a flight to Houston when an obese person boarded and was looking for his seat. What was alarming to me was the fact that because he was so big, he couldn't buckle the seat belt and he did not ask for an extension. God forbid if we had hit extreme turbulence, he was batted around, and was hurt. What do you think would've happened? He would've sued of course,(that is the american way after all) never mind that it would've been his fault for not asking for the extension. I was glad when we landed safe and sound.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  98. CC

    Absolutely – fat people should have to move or pay for 2 seats. I'm in shape. I fit into my seat and I don't enjoy one bit when I'm stuck squished next to an overweight person. It isn't my fault they can't fit in their seat, but it should be my basic unannounced right on a plane to sit comfortably without having to worry about the fat person next to me being able to keep their flab to themselves.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  99. Dave in NJ

    Ohmygod YES! I can't tell you how many times I've had to crush myself into my seat because of overweight passengers sitting next to me. While I am sensitive to the issue, overweight people need to realize the world is not "one size fits all". This should be yet another incentive for Americans getting into shape.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  100. Jamie Trinker

    Absolutely obese people should have to pay for a second seat! Notice how this dilemma is only facing US carriers. I would be willing to bet that international airline companies are not facing the same issue. Now, I'm off to Taco Bell!

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  101. Melinda

    If someone's body takes up more than one seat, then they should pay for more than one seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  102. Michael Marks

    I have no problem with obese airline passengers having to pay double. It's not the fault of the airline or the other passengers if someone is too fat to fit into an airplane seat. It is the fault of the person who allowed themselves to get too fat in the first place. I also think that obese people should pay higher health insurance premiums! ...Sorry Tubby

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  103. Jaba

    I absolutly agree that obese passengers should pay for two seats! It might seem unfair, but how is it fair that I should have to give up ANY of my seat, which I paid for, to the passenger next to me all because they are to large to fit into thier own seat! The way I see it is that i have paid for thier extra room for way to long, and now it it thier turn to pay for what they use up! I dont think this is any more "unfair" to pay for an extra seat, than it is when they clothes shop, they have a separate section and pay more for the larger sizes because it uses extra material! Same difference!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  104. Kwame

    If United or any other air carrier charges over weight passengers extra money, then they should be giving back money to the underweight passengers. It is based on the weight now, right?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  105. Jeff

    Definetly. If a person does not fit within the confines of a single seat then they are taking up some of the space that was paid for by the person in the next seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  106. Robert Downs

    I've had this problem happen to me and my sister about 5 years ago flying from Alaska to Florida to spend time together at Disney World. She was overweight at the time and it felt so imbarrassing for me and my sister when so guy next to her complained about it and had the airline attendant come over and address us. The man was moved to another seat but the flight attendant said something to us about buying an extra ticket next time. This made me furious! I am not for this at all and anytime I take a flight I will be glad to give my seat up to some scrony person so I can sit next to this 'obese' person. Some people have problems inside their bodies that make them bigger than other people, so who are we to tell them that they need to pay more because of a genetic defect....that is like telling someone with a handicap that they have to pay more to sit in an airplane. Tell me this isn't outright discrimination!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  107. Fred

    What would have happened in the flight that landed in the Hudson River had a few passenger that could not get out of their seats & possibly blocked the narrow aisles. G-D forbid what the out come would have been?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  108. Rebecca

    Dear Jack:
    I had a job which took me to Hong Kong every other month. Although I flew in business class, I still was next to an obese man who "spilled over into my space" for fourteen hours! It is extremely uncomfortable to sit next to an obese person and I do think they should pay for an extra seat or an upgrade. It is only fair.
    Rebecca

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  109. Francisco Rodriguez

    Hello,
    To be honest I was offended when I first heard of this about a year ago. Im not overweight but how could a company do something like this?
    I felt this way until one day I had to take a flight with a young lady who was "overweight". Part of her body rested on what was supposed to be my seat, therefore I had to litterally sit at an angle for about 2 1/2 hours!

    Let me tell you it was probably the worst flight Ive ever had the misfortune of being in. Needless to say I now agree with the airline companies. I do agree however with some of the complaints that airline seats are way too small, Im only 5'6 and my knees hit the back of the seat in front of me 😦

    Thanks
    Francisco Rodriguez

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  110. marie

    yes i do believe that they should have to pay for 2 seats as we are not the ones that put our selves into the position to be overweight and our comfort is wanted just as much as theirs and if they have a problem or are offended by the fact that they are being asked to buy to seats then maybe you should loose that weight and then you wont be in that position.

    Ontario Canada

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  111. Patrick

    Yes, most definitely. Weight is crucial to an airline. A plane can only carry so much weight so the more passengers it can carry the more effficient it will be, the more money it will make.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  112. Bill O'Reily

    I think obese, excuse me, FAT people should only pay for 2 airline tickets if they can't fit into one seat. When you're sitting in the middle of two extremely large people with their fat spilling over the armrests, it's incredibly appalling.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  113. Teresa

    Yes they should pay for two seats simply from a practical perspective. It isn't fair to other passengers to have less space and it isn't fair for the larger passengers to be confined to a too small of space so for everyone involved – it should be enforced. It isn't discrimination – just common sense.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  114. JoEllen from MO

    Oh yeah!
    Could ya also ask them to put extra space between seats in case we sit down next to someone who is 'too gay'?

    How about a nice screen up if I have to sit next to someone who is 'too ugly'?

    Oh, I don't want to sit next to any Repubs, Democrats, whites, blacks, religious types, B.O., bad breath or anyone who looks, talks or smells different than I do either – can we have seats that come with a little ejection button for either side of me?

    Thanks! And have a nice flight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  115. JAD

    If I were obese I will say no, but I am not so I do say they should be charged more. Boy oh boy is this an unfair world?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  116. Harrison

    The new policy is more than fair! Obesity is a choice.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  117. Marie

    If a obsese person can pay extra for food that they are eating to get fat, then they can pay extra for their arifare. First and business class upgrade is unreasonable, because it rewards them for being over weight. They will get first class treatment at a lowerr rate and it is not fair to people that are not obese.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  118. John

    We wouldn't hesitate to re-locate an individual passenger with a serious upper respiratory infection, in fact we often request that they not travel when sick. I believe that it is time we begin treating obese passengers in a similar manner, simply because in this context they are capable of generating the same level of discomfort in other passengers. The passenger with a respiratory infection realizes that their condition is not entirely their fault, as should obese passengers but in both situations remedial action is required and justified.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  119. Lynn from Indiana

    Unbelievable. What happened to compassion? Is the last group of folks that we can as a society outwardly hate and discriminate aginst.
    Poor form by ALL airlines.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  120. Elaine

    If the complaint is about other passengers encroaching on your seat while flying there are many non-obese individuals who take up more space.
    The airline industry as a whole could do a much better job of treating passengers of all shapes, sizes, colours, genders and so on with respect by making seats an appropriate size. This is 2009 and people are not only larger but taller with longer legs however the airlines are not interested in passenger comfort just the bottom line.

    Ontario, Canada

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  121. Nick

    Of course Obese people should have to pay for 2 seats if they can't fit into one, it's not a matter of someone being biased against obese individuals, it's simply a matter of their mass takes up more than their alloted space. I am an obese man myself, and I flew last year. I had no problem getting into a coach seat, and I was over 350 pounds at the time!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  122. Nicolas

    I'm a flight attendant for a major Airline. Its nice this airline has adopted this policy. But ! Good luck enforcing it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  123. Nancy Newell

    Jack,
    If they don't want to pay for the room, maybe the airlines should charge by the pound! Maybe it would give people the incentive to loose weight or drive.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  124. James

    If airlines want to charge extra for someone who is over weight, then they should give a discount for anyone who is under weight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  125. James Daly

    from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While it is a very uncomfortable situation for the large passenger, something needs to be done. It is not fair to the passenger in the next seat who has to deal with the large passenger overflowing into that passenger's limited space. It is only getting worse as Americans get fatter, and the airlines push the seats closer and closer together. Tall passengers have a similar problem if the passenger in front wishes to recline the seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  126. June

    Of course obessed people should not have to pay for two tickets. It is discrimination and I don't feel any more uncomfortable sitting next to an obessed person than I would a Skinny person. Unbelieveable!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  127. J M Cormack

    It's a simple solution. Just start charging by the pound. They do it for bagage why not people. You only pay for what you use...

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  128. Craig

    Jack ~ I'm all for it, when the physical size of person next to me infringes on the seat that I paid for either move them or let them stay and charge them more - giving me the difference !

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  129. Paul Anthony

    Fat people must rent their space like everyone else, even if it's by the yard.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  130. Dane

    Yes they should... Weight is all part of the equation of flight. If your bag weighs too much you pay extra.. So why not charge passengers per pound? There seems to be much more potential for weight disparity between people than suitcases.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  131. Rich D

    Do Skinny people get to fly half fare?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  132. Kevin

    Yes! Obese passengers should have to buy an additional seat if they can not fit into their own seat. I have experienced sitting next to someone on a United flight last year that took up about 1/4 my own seat as well as theirs. I didn't have to pay 1/4 less for the ticket, even though I was forced to share my seat with someone that had their own!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  133. L.T

    No!
    If this is allowed we are going to have a third civil right movement in a America: one for the rights of obese people

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  134. Manuel

    Let try the term corpulent; and no they shouldn't have to they are people with emotions, let not treat them any differently than we would like to be treated ourselves.
    Manny

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  135. Corey

    This policy is very fair. I just had this problem on my flight this past monday...except I sat between to larger people and they had no problem with hogging the arm rest and beyond! It's not like it's problem they can't control! Obesity is a choice!!!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  136. CKHeart

    Yes! I am tired of having to deal with spill over from the person next to me. If they cant fit between the arm rests then pay for another seat! Or give me a discount for having to share mine!!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  137. Chimene Jackson

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have flown at least three times with obese flyers beside me who have either been on my lap during the flight, had me pass them their seatbelts, or have awaken me as their behinds stick in my face as they are attempting to go to the bathroom! It is about time this happens! Skinny people are suffering because of their weight!? I should think NOT!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  138. yuri fedotov

    It is perfectly fine for obese people to pay for two tickets. It is there own fault that they get obese, so why do we have to suffer?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  139. Dale

    Why bother. As it is, "modern" day air travel is about as comfortable as trekking across the back roads of a third world country in a decades old bus. Throw in a few squawking chickens and the experience would be indistinguishable. Widen the seats a bit for all of us, afford an inch or two more leg room, impose meaningful limitations on carry-on baggage and I'll blissfully ignore whomever plops down next to me.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  140. akacocolopez

    This is truly ridiculous. I would hope that if they continue with a policy such as this, they create other policies that protect passengers from loud soccer moms, self induging teenagers, arrogant men with roaming eyes, and whiny children. I thought segregation was supposed to be a thing of the past?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  141. Ashlee

    Jack,

    I believe that it is completely fair for airlines to charge people extra who infringe on others. I should not have to pay for a seat only to be infringed upon by an obese person. This is not discrimination its common sense. If you take up more space than one person, you should have to pay an extra fee.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  142. Paul Kriegler

    Yes. This is an excellent example of a usage based fee, something we should do more of.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  143. Toni

    Yes they should. I fly frequently and I am all too often inconvenienced by obese people knocking my seat around because they're uncomfortable. When behind me, they kick my seat. When next to me, they touch me and take the arm rests. When they fall asleep, they snore like grizzly bears. I truly think this is a good thing and may cause them to seek other means of travel or lose weight. Not a bad idea at all. Been a long time coming and more airlines should do this.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  144. JW, Greenville NC

    When I pay for a seat on a plane, I want to use it. Not share it with the person sitting next to me. I never had an obese "neighbor" offer to pay for taking the extra space.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  145. Rachel

    yes, obese flyers should be charged for two seats. I was on a long flight last year where a couple, each weighing in well over 300 pounds, maybe 400 pounds, couldn't fit in a single seat. Their strategy was to book middle seats, one behind the other... clearly in an effort to occupy the aisle and window seats as well. A wise flight attendant figured out their plan and changed their seats to be middle and window. They squeezed together (somehow!) for the 8 hours. the poor soul who got the aisle seat at least had some breathing room. If you are going to take up all that space, at least pay for it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  146. Suparna

    Well this one is a no brainer. What alternative do airline companies have? Allow regular people who have paid for one full seat to suffer? I certainly expect a full seat when I pay for one. The idea that I should be uncomfortable for someone who has been eating themselves to death is unacceptable.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  147. Rick H.

    Would obese passengers who have to purchase 2 tickets be entitled to 2 meals, thereby perpetuate their obesity?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  148. Darryll

    As an overweight person who has struggled with weight all my life, I have this as a personal policy of my own. It's sheer common sense and respect for my fellow passengers.

    Airline seats are by design on the small side, but that doesn't mean I have the right to make the person next to me uncomfortable, nor should I have to suffer in a cramped seat for hours on end.

    As an overweight person, it is not my right to be fat without repercussions. And obese people the world over need to start taking real personal responsibility for their weight, or government certainly will. It's inevitable.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  149. Jill

    yes of course! I deserve a comfortable flight as much as anyone and if you are that large then pay the consequences!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  150. arlene mason

    obese passengers should have to buy two tickets. There isn't enough room as it is for normal weight passengers. What about the rights of the rest of us!!! Is it always about the rights of them???

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  151. Vicki

    I've flown thin and I've flown fat. I was NEVER comfortable and anyone with broad shoulders is going to "impinge" on the "seat rights" of the person next to him/her.

    It's well-known that the airlines have consistently taken away more personal space from their passengers as they try to squeeze in more and more paying seats.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  152. Gary

    What's more important to me is a smell test. Flying any distance with a stinky neighbor is more annoying than an overweight person. Pass the smell test or compensate your fellow passengers. How about that?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  153. Sierra Morgan

    No, this is a stupid policy. My boyfriend is 6'5" is not obese, yet "infringes" on my seat. Most people just deal with it as the price to pay for a cheap seat. The airlines have converted themselves into the flying equivalent to the city bus.

    There is a reason that many of us frequent flyers call United Useless Airlines.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  154. Matt

    Jack, I'm 6'3" and I weigh 140lbs, I am a skinny guy. I could probably fit myself in 2/3'd of even an airline seat. So I think we should make heavier people pay for two seats and someone like me pay for 2/3ds a seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  155. Lori G

    I just flew from Denver to Florida on March 18th. All I can say is that it is a good thing that I cam only 4'11" tall & weigh only 100 lbs. The man next to me was HUGE! He raised the arm rest & took up at least 1/2 of my seat. I don't recall him giving me any money for taking up 1/2 of my seat! So if you are over a healthy width and part of you is going to spill into the seat next to you – have some consideration & buy 2 seats!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  156. Brian

    If they are charging me extra for my 30lbs bag when I check it, they should also be charging the obese more.

    After all, apart from causing me discomfort in an already cramped seat, designed by someone who thinks people's shoulders are as narrow as the minds of the executives that come up with these stupid rules, their weight requires the plane to burn more fuel.

    And if in that situation, I am sure they weigh more than my bag anyway.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  157. Duane Thomas

    This is totally obscene! Airline seats are not normal size for normal people to sit in! There should be no extra charge for an obese person to fly! Americans are getting bigger, airplane seats smaller and the tickets getting bigger! This is ridiculous! NO there shouldnt be an additional charge! Hold the airlines accountable for making us normal people that can't afford first class for creating a seat that is comfortable for all!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  158. heather

    Isn't the more pertinent question, 'Why are the seats so small'?

    I'm not obese but I find them uncomfortable on a large jet, downright claustrophobic on an Embrauer.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  159. Pam

    YES!!! We have to pay for luggage that's over 50 pounds. I think we should be charged according to weight. The more heavy you/your luggage is, the more the fuel cost. And why should I share my seat with someone who cannot fit in their own?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  160. Mary

    I think this policy is very fair both to the obese passengers and to the passengers who can fit into one seat. Also remember that treating obese passengers "like everyone else" has resulted in crashes when airplanes were overloaded and/or out of balance due to carrying too many obese passengers in the wrong configuration. Sometimes the problem *is* you, not "society"! It's patriotic to maintain a healthy size and weight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  161. Chuck D.

    Sure, lets charge obese people extra to fly on planes. We can also charge muslims, blacks, and jews more to fly also. The point? This is just another ugly form of discrimination. Next, the airlines are going to have extra large seats in the back of the plane for people they want to discriminate against.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  162. Roni from Colchester, CT

    You don't have to be obest not to be able to fit into airline coach seats . I am hardly obese but I find the seats truly uncomfortable. Onemust be 8 inches around and four feet tall to be comfortable in those seats. I think the airlines should make expand the coach seats and then everyone will be comfortable.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  163. Judi

    I travel 1K a year. While I understand the obesity is a medical problem. I also understand that if you can't fit into one seat and need two, then if only make sense that you should pay for two ! Maybe they should have a discount on the 2nd seat ? But let people who fit in their seat, seat without getting others problems imposed on them !

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  164. David Veale

    The answer is not to charge larger customers double, it's for airlines to acknowledge the reality that Americans are getting larger and put in wider seats. The fact is that a significant percentage of the population can't fit in a coach seat anymore. We can argue about the causes and cures of Americas expanding waistlines, but that is not the airline's concern. Their job is to provide a seat that the vast majority of the flying public can sit in comfortably - both the person in the seat, and the person sitting next to them.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  165. Jarrod Leda

    Absolutely. It infringes on my rights to have some obese sweaty guy literally halfway into my seat. Im skinny, but not that skinny. I dont pay to fly like a sardine. I understand that some folks have medical problems that keep them large, but with 33% of the nation obese maybe this will get the rest to eat a salad and hit the treadmill. I am charged more now as a smoker, and its ok, its a bad habit and it just may help me quit. Same for obesity.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  166. Chisom

    Jack, there is more to this than meets the eyes. Yes, we are blaming people for obesity, can we also blame the government for not providing safer streets for people to jog, and live healthy, Can we blame the government for promoting more unhealthy foods in the society? Can we blame the government for ignoring the benefit of Public Health while spending more money on Health Care?, If we put all these together, we could come up with a better solution that causing fat people to pay for 2 tickets,

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  167. Agnes

    Instead of piling passengers into such small seats, the airlines should put larger seats in their aircraft. Discriminating against large people, will not endear the airlines to it's customers.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  168. Tyler Caruso

    Seattle, WA

    Jack,

    Yes, I think it's fair that excessivley obese passengers should pay for the space they fill. I fly quite often, about 100,000 miles a year, and I have seen some pretty sad situations on some flights. It is not fair to the general passengers to be adversly impacted by having an oversized person infringing on their space when they are most likely both paying the same fare.

    If the airline industry was healthier, maybe they could look at offering some more spacious seats in coach to accomodate the obese for an additional charge, and if they aren't needed for that type of passenger, then they could offer them to the general customer for an additional charge as well.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  169. Brad in Kansas City

    We've all had that uncomortable flight sitting next to someone that took up more than just their own space. But, if it's about charging people that infringe on my comfortable flight, then chatty people should have to buy 2 or 3 seats; stinky people should have to buy 2 or 3 rows; and, people with noisy kids...should have to drive.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  170. Al

    It is rude and insensitive. However, at the same time, it isn't wrong. If I paid for a seat, and I can't have a comfortable flight because the person next to me is taking up the space that I paid for, then something needs to be done about it. If someone needs more then one seat, then he/she should pay for more than one seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  171. marleigh Reed

    I am not obese but I do not think that it is o.k. to make obese people buy two seats. It is already embarrassing enough when an person has to ask for an extender. Airplane seats are just as uncomfortable when you sit next to a skinny/non obese person. I don't think it is fair and I believe it does add a negative connotation of obese people.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  172. Peter

    Yes. We are paying for seats and if you take up more then one seat then you need to pay for the extra space. Either that or people should get a discount if the person next to them is spilling over on to their seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  173. Ken P

    From Monticello, Minnesota. If "seat infringement" is the issue, what about bodybuilder-types whose shoulders spill over? What about parents who will not control their children who then crawl over and "infringe" on other passengers? I am not obese myself, but I cannot imagine that it feels good to the large person who must travel by air. Why must the airlines to their discomfort?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  174. Elliott Root

    YES, required. I once took a flight to Amsterdam, on United, where the person sitting next to me was so fat he took up 1/2 of my seat (I'm not kidding). I told the flight attendant and she told me "tough luck, nothing I can do." I spent 7 hours standing up and made it a point to get in the flight crew's way as much as possible. Needless to say on an overnight flight, I was furious and exhausted.

    The Obese society talks about rights. I have rights too and you don't have the right to my seat.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  175. Gabriel Noguera

    Yes. I once flew between two obese passenger and I had to move to another seat because there was not enough space for me between the two of them (neither could put the seat’s armrests down when seated). What if the flight had been full?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  176. Linda Bernasconi

    I am a smoker and I enjoy a cocktail and I pay for these indulgences with increased taxes. Disregarding the small percentage where it is a medical issue, obese passengers should have to pay extra for their vices too.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  177. jesse cornell

    Do they take up more than one seat??? then they should have to pay for more than one seat!!! People can control their weight for the most part, and choose not to. that is obviously true, because 30 yrs ago we did not have this problem.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  178. rose

    Fly by Weight:
    Interesting discussion .How will the airlines handle the opposite situation. I travelled with my 3 years old which weights 30lbs.
    Under age 2 they fly free. Had to pay full rate. Was 5 kilos over due to
    diapers that I took with me . Was charged $100 dollars for the overweight. The person sitting next to me on the other side well over 300 lbs.
    My child is so small that she slipped thru the seat belt, but I had to pay for a full seat . This was a charter flight from toronto to mexico.

    Do we weigh in at time of ticket purchase.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  179. Sherri

    It's kind of a gotcha, isn't it. The airline created seats so small they are not that roomy for most people and then charge those who infringe upon their neighbors. Wouldn't it be better to correct the seating problem by providing some seats that are more ample?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  180. John, Fort Collins, CO

    It is great the airlines are finally making sure people can actually fit in the seat without squashing the person next to them. Another welcome change would be to permanently lock seatbacks in the upright position in the coach section. I've spent too many hours on flights feeling like a pressed ham when the person in front of me lowered their seatback under my chin to take a siesta.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  181. Anthony

    Yes. Not only would this make the obese passenger more comfortable, but also make sure that no one gets stuck smashed next to someone of a larger size. We all know how uncomfortable that would be.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  182. Mel

    Only if every passenger and their luggage get weighed as a unit at the check in! Some passengers definition of 'carry-on' has become obscene. I usually fly with a backpack as my only carry on, and I have seen other passengers bring 50lb cases that are too big to fit into the overhead compartment!

    If they are going to be charging for the amount of weight and space that an obese person uses, then they need to make it a standard policy that applies to all passengers and their luggage.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  183. davej

    If you can't fit into one seat then yes you should be charged more. Going further it is hardly fair for some little 90lb woman to pay the same fare as some 290lb guy even if they both do fit into the economy class seats.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  184. Rebecca

    I have long thought that "larger than seat" people should be put next to each other and each charged for 1.5 seats which is actually what they take up. The rest of us should not have to pay for a full seat and get only 2/3 of it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  185. Adam

    Maybe simple economics can do what years of warnings from doctors and the government haven't been able to do – solve America's weight problem. If being obese starts costing people money, maybe they'll be motivated to eat healthier and exercise, keeping their weight under control.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  186. Lisa

    Yes, a person who cannot fit into one seat should have to pay for a second one. The policy is not unfair, it's not prejudiced, and it's not "perpetuating a negative stigma." It is simply requiring a person to pay for what he or she is using.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  187. Mick O'Boaill

    Heavy people don't concern me. It's the perfume-laden women that make me gag! Hey, men who slap on the cologne should be strapped to the outside of the plane along with the perfumed females! Sorry, but you folks STINK!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  188. Amanda (Chicago, IL)

    While a majority of over-weight and obese individuals in this country may have been able to control their weight at one time or another in their lives, I believe there are many more individuals who now have an addiction to food – much like drugs or alcohol – that is now out of their control. Others have medical conditions that make it hard to control their weight, like hypothyroidism.

    I'm not sure that charging people double is the answer to the problem with another passengers' space being encroached on. Being a healthy weight, I still feel like the seats are not as spacious as one may like them too. I also notice that people who are even slightly over-weight encroach on my space. However, they may fit within the criteria listed above.

    If they start enforcing rules such as double-charging obese individuals, I wonder what they will do to the parent who has a child who screams the entire flight. I find that more annoying, but I don't think we should be not allowing children on flights. What will be next if these rules continue to be enforced, discriminating against people?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  189. John

    Having to buy a second seat is embarrassing and degrading, but it is also an incentive, however cruel it may be, to lose the obviously dangerous amount of weight. My rule is that if you are protruding into what is supposed to be my area, then it follows that you should have to pay extra.

    Atlanta, Georgia.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  190. Lisa in Illinois

    I quit smoking 2 1/2 years ago and put on some weight myself. I don't really want to say how much (!!) but I believe according to actuary charts I am probably technically "obese" – however I can sit in an airline seat with the arm rests down and don't need a seatbelt extender. While I agree wth the comment that airline seats could use extra room (personally I'd settle for LEG ROOM!!) – regardless the person next to me should not have to put up the arm rests and overlap into my seat. I bought a ticket and I am entitled to the entire thing – so yes, if they cannot fit in a seat, they should buy two.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  191. Kenneth from Texas

    I think the people opposed to this are either obese or not very frequent flyers, however, would it be difficult for the airlines to remove a row of coach seats and replace them with "heavy friendly' type seats that could be requested for a FEW dollars more by larger people? At 700 complaints last year, I'd say the math suggests a single row would suffice. They could always sell those seats to regular customers if they didn't fill them with obese people by takeoff.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  192. Tizza Chace

    I don't think obese people should be charged for 2 seats.
    I think the airlines should charge each person per pound, including luggage. I, as a 140# person could fly with more luggage. Why should I get charged the same as a 300# person with a 50# bag?
    Tizza, Guadalajara, Mexico

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  193. Frank F

    Yes, if you can't fit in one seat, you should have to pay for another seat. Besides the obvious reason of taking up more space, aircraft fuel usage is related to the weight they carry. It is more expensive for an aircraft to carry an obese person, then to carry a regular size person. Why not charge by the pound for tickets? That would take care of a lot of issues including a 3 year old having to pay the same as an adult.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  194. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    No. The obese are handicapped. Provisions should be made for obese air travel, like and obese section or seats, without inconveniencing other passengers that also purchase tickets.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  195. Mike S., New Orleans

    No Jack, this is just another excuse for the airlines to make an extra buck – and continue to treat it's customers with contempt. The seats are too small for half the populace, not just obese people. Who hasn't been on a flight where you were elbowed by the tall, skinny guy? I'd rather see increased fees for people who fly with sick babies screaming with fever, or the women who pour a gallon of perfume on before the flight so it can mix with the other gallons of perfume.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  196. James

    Assuming that if the obese person has to pay for 2 seats that they will also get to bring on twice the carry on luggage? And will be served 2 meals if a meal is included in the flight? Two full price tickets is not fair to charge if the person isn't getting all the perks that go along with the full price of a second ticket. Otherwise, it should not be full price and should be discounted in some way...

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  197. Rochelle

    If we are going to start charging extra because people are uncomfortable then we need to charge for people who have poor hygiene.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  198. Audrey

    This is the best news I have heard all day. As a slimmer person, I don't appreciate when someone infringes on my space just because they are bigger. I paid for my space, I don't intend to share.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  199. Jon from Tempe

    When an overweight student goes to a public state university do they make him or her pay double tuition since they use the space of 2 seats in the classroom? When an overweight person goes to the DMV to get a driver liscense do they charge double the liscense fee because they took up too much space in line and some people had to wait outside in the cold? This is rediculous. People need to have a better understanding of obesity. I used to weigh over 400 pounds and I finally had surgery to lose the weight. I was not overweight because I wanted to be or because I was trying to spite people. My metabolism is different than thin people. What happenned to empathy in this country?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  200. Dan

    Oh boy. This one is a loaded can of worms. If it came down to fuel I would say they already charge for extra baggage such as duffel bags and suit cases. Body weight. Extra baggage? Seats too small? You answer this one. It sounds a little to huge for me to get involved in. I’m a pretty stoutly guy so I drive, therefore no offense or pun meant to others 

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  201. Jeff

    Yes, definately. I have been several times in that situation where the person next to me was so large that they hung over into my seat space. I am not talking of slightly obese by definittion...I am talking about the 300 lbs plus types. It really can make for an unpleasant flight which may be quite long in duration. In some cases I would want a refund on what I paid for my seat so I can expect that the airline should charge them. From Grand Rapids, MI

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  202. Brooke

    I didn't realize there was an American Obesity Association. Do the leaders lose their positions if they go on a diet? Isn't that discrimination as well?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  203. Michael

    Absolutely!! If you have ever been stuck sitting next to an obese person you would also agree. It has happened to me on multiple flight's, and it's unfair that the obese person pay's the same fare to occupy a good portion of my space.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  204. Debbie Vaught

    YES, they SHOULD pay for two seats if they can't properly fit into one. This is not about being mean or discriminating against obese people. It is about being fair. I've paid for my seat and should not have to give up the space i've paid for because the person next to me can't fit into their space.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  205. Barbara Lord

    Should people with body odor and/or bad breath be required to purchase two seats? I would prefer to sit next to an obese person then somebody reeking, including having on too much perfume.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  206. Ron

    Absolutely, why shouldn't they. They weigh luggage and charge for it if it is over a certain weight. If you can't fit in one seat, I shouldn't have to share a portion of mine with you. The fuel estimates are made based on cargo and passenger weights. It costs us all in flight costs.
    125,000+ mile per year flier.
    Santa Rosa, CA

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  207. KRShaikh

    The answer is yes...Its a matter of paying for convenience if you are equal to the size of two you better pay for it because you know what you have been traveling at the expense of others convenience.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  208. george in Florida

    Yes, they should. And snorers should be ejected from the plane at high altitude, while their at it.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  209. Justin

    If you taking up two seats then you should buy another ticket, simple as that, how is it hurting someone feelings? if you fat and don't want to pay the money loss weight, it will be better for you and the health care system.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  210. Ann

    Ofcourse, obese passengers should pay for two seats on airplanes. The seating on the aircraft is very tight & should not punish other passengers due to obesity, nor the airlines to say they need to make bigger seats & make ticketing prices higher in economy. Buy business or first class tickets. I'm sure we all can do better when challenged with having to & not blame others for our obesity. There is another solution.....just don't fly.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  211. Carlos

    Yes they should, at least on flights longer than two hours. I once had to fly sitting next to an obese guy from Honolulu to San francisco. Needless to say it was the most miserable flight of my life, I would have chosen waterboarding anytime. It was not a picnic for him either as I was so upset I kept elbowing him the entire flight.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  212. Jason

    YES, I think that would be a brilliant idea because the heavier they are the more gas is needed! That WILL lead to MORE carbon dioxide production and increase global warming. It is a true fact, google it and you'll be surprised!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  213. Dan

    Obese people should be required to have as many seats as is necessary for them not to impinge on the comfort of others. How the airline charges is up to the airline. I've been seated next to obese people and it is not a pleasant experience. Even if an extender works, they are still causing the person next to them discomfort, and that is not right.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  214. Michael

    Jack, absolutely they should have to purchase two tickets; the American creed for many has long been "let me say and do what I want, so long as it doesn't affect anyone else." Well, when I'm sitting on an airplane next to a person who is interfering in my space due to their size; I feel that my private space is being encroached upon and I am affected. It's only right as a matter of respect to the surrounding passengers that they not be crowded by a neighboring passenger solely because of their size. The stigma in this nation is not about obese people, it is obese people and in cramped quarters their freedom affects mine.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  215. Hudson

    This is absolutely fair!!! If you're taking up two seats you pay for them! This type of thing has been going on with other airlines for Years.

    To say that it elevates the negative stigma associated with obesity is absolutely absurd! Obesity is negative, it is a problem, and most obese people realize this. It is unfortunate, but alot of truths are, unfortunately.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  216. Julie

    Yes. Unless they can show medical proof that they have a chronic obese problem, then they should. They should not get rewarded for eating excessively. Regular weight people have to struggle in those horrible, small seats and they do not have the option of getting a second seat for free.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  217. wolf wengler

    Sure, obese passengers should buy a second seat and pay double, and if I travel with my two small children who can fit into one seat, then I should only pay half.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  218. Joe in La Quinta, CA

    The airlines have it all wrong. . .To be politically correct, they need to do is RAISE the STANDARD RATES and offer "Light Weight Energy Savings Discounts!"

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  219. Bernadette

    I beleive that there should not be discrimination, which is what it is.
    Also, noone is perfect, and since when did these airlines set themselves up to play God, with peoples lives? Many people may have thyroid conditions or other conditions, do not hold it against them.Let those who have no skeletons in their closet cast the first stone.What a really dissappointment, to have such so called professionsl have such attitudes.Professionals are not this way.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  220. RiftRaftWilliamTaft

    There should be a negative stigma associated with obesity. I know not everyone has the same metabolism and some people are predisposed to being heavier but there is no excuse for being so morbidly overweight that you cannot fit into a single seat. People in this country need to stop making excuses justifying their poor life choices and instead start making the changes they need to live longer, healthier lives. If airlines are engaging in price discrimination to nudge people in the right direction I'm all for it!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  221. george sodemann

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!
    If the airlines can charge extra for baggage that is over a certain weight limit, then why not charge for overweight passengers? After all, weight is weight isn't it? In addition, I truly believe that it is unfair that a average weight person has to have their space infringed upon by an overweight neighboring passenger.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  222. Peter Giacobbi, Jr., Ph.D.

    Obesity is a public health concern that is costing individuals, communities, insurance companies, and the government millions if not billions of dollars annually. Individuals who are obese are at increased risk for insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, accelerated atherosclerotic processes, and obstructive sleep apnea. Since obesity is behavioral in nature and largely results from a sustained imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure, I do not think it is unreasonable for airlines to charge more under certain circumstances. At the very least we should have a national dialog about issues surrounding diet and exercise because these behaviors cost money and impact the quality of life for many Americans.

    Peter Giacobbi, Jr., Ph.D.
    Tucson, Arizona

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  223. Matt D

    If I can't get out of my window seat to go to the bathroom cause my neighbor has me pinned in, it should be considered unlawful imprisonment.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  224. Nick

    Hi Jack,
    This is ridiculous. Sure, obesity is a problem in the states. But this isn't going to help the situation. I expect the ticket sales for US Airlines to drop drastically

    April 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  225. Michael, Atlanta, GA

    Absolutely. This isn't just a comfort issue for the adjacent passengers, but it is also a safety issue.

    If obese people do not wish to pay extra for traveling by air, then they may opt for other modes of transportation. Airlines should be run like a business. If they are losing business because of complaints from other passengers, then they need to do whatever may be necessary to stay financially sustainable. For those who feel discriminated, keep in mind that there are vices for having other body types–short, bulimic, or tall.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  226. yetunde

    Jack,
    if they,the fat people going to be problematic to other passenger, pls let them take the bus.No question ask.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  227. Billy

    Obese passengers should absolutely pay additional costs related to their condition. This will serve as a wake up call to those affected passengers about their obesity. Ironic is the amount of money they cost everyone else for their health care costs.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  228. Brad

    Yes, absolutely. When you pay as much as you do for an airline seat, you are in effect renting a piece of realestate. That someone who cannot fit into that space should be able to get more space, by spilling over into another seat, for a rate no greater than a normal passenger is both wrong and high uncomfortable for those around them. Addtionally, in my experience, the larger the person, the higher the body odor factor, so there is that to consider as well.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  229. al

    Yes, it it high time that America takes this problem as something very serious!!

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  230. Bettina

    OMG.
    Yes. If you take up the resources of two people because you eat enough for two people, but obviously don't do the physical work of two people, then you should pay for the space that you use. To continue to support obesity by making the seats bigger would only hurt society. Lets all be responsible for once and stop telling people it's ok to be so fat that you blob into the person next to you because you can't fit in the chair. We have to pay if our luggage is too heavy. Perhaps passengers should pay per pound for their tickets.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  231. JC

    The airlines discriminate against obese - Their proposal is gluttonous - Obese people are stll just one individual - Designate a couple rows in each section called something like SEAT+ - Each seat is 1-1/2xs size - And, the cost should be 1-1/2xs the clss rte – Everyone wins - And they aren't charged double for being overweight - Or cause discomfort which may seem inconsiderate to those squeezed in beside them -

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  232. Malibu Bill Hague

    "Two seats"??? I've been on flights where full figure passengers have needed THREE seats to accommodate the spillage. Another wake up call that we're eating to much and exercising to little.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  233. Ian Hughes

    I believe that they should pay for additional seat(s) regardless if there are open seats on the plane. If you can not fit into your seat and are taking up part, or all, of another seat you should be required to pay for it. I believe that the airline is attempting to make extra money, not satisfy the comfort of their customers, if they are only requiring them to pay "if there are no empty seats on the plane."

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  234. Henry

    If they take up TWO seats, why would they NOT have to pay for them?

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  235. Gary of Spokane

    Most definately, if they can't fit their body in one seat "like the rest of us" then they should pay the extra. I would rather they not fly at all, it makes others suffer due to their obesity.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  236. Vincent

    If the airlines didn't pack us all in like sardines, this wouldn't even be an issue. I'm a lean athletic person of medium stature, and even I feel sqeezed into the seats on coach class. They have been continuously and gradually shrinking in size over the years because the airlines are trying to squeeze as many people on a plane as possible to maximize their profits. The fat people are the first to feel this obviously, so the focus is on them right now. Pretty soon normal people will have to pay extra and only midgets will be allowed to pay for one seat!

    My suggestion. GET REAL Airlines! Give us room to breath in these seats!

    April 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  237. Benjamin in D.C.

    Airline seats are too small for anyone over 6'2 anyway. Are you going to charge people for not shaving a few inches off their height? Let's keep in mind that airlines think with their wallet, first: "How many seats can we cram into one plane?" Furthermore, "How uncomfortable can we make the seats so that they encourage first class tickets, without being outright intolerable or illegal?" The tall as well as the wide get screwed.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  238. Howard

    When you buy a seat on an airplane you are, in effect, buying real estate, square footage. If you can't fit into the space that you paid for, then you have to pay to buy more space. It is patently unfair to take part of someone else's seat space that they paid for because you don't fit in the seat you bought. If you can't fit, you should be obligated to buy the space you require by either buying a second coach seat or a larger business class seat. This is not discrimination. It is common sense.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  239. Talitha

    Absolutely not. The airlines should make wider seats. Even smaller people are cramped in them.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  240. Peter of NY

    Yes, they should be charged extra. If people can not smoke on an airplane because the second hand smoke can violate other passengers rights. What about second hand fat? Should an obese person get an extra sandwich at a deli for the same price that a skinny person pays for one sandwich?

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  241. Judy

    I would like to see the airlines add 2-3 rows of plus sized seating in the economy section then the airlines can charge a higher fee for those seats (maybe 1/3 or 1/2 more) It is not discrimination, heavy people should not be able to infringe upon their neighbor's space. The regular sized person bought the whole space and should be entitled to every inch of it.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  242. fred, Amsterdam

    It is rather unfortunate for obese people but they must pay extra. they will not only inconvinient me on my plane but may cost the airline more because they will most likely extra food, drink extra water so all these should be taken into consideration.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  243. Patricia

    Yes ... as long as the airlines are required to offer decent seats to their customers. Most airplanes have seats designed by an evil anorexic engineer and are so narrow and small that even Olive Oyl is unconfortable.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  244. bob

    I don't care how much they pay as long as they aren't seated next to me.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  245. David

    Yes they should be required to buy two tickets. From a purely business standpoint, the main factor for capacity and profit is based on WEIGHT!! It is all about the plane's weight limit. If you seat for two, you pay for two period. I don't want to hear a bunch of fatty advocates whine and scream either.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  246. Sandra

    No, I don't think I should pay double. This world is not all skinny people and I feel the airlines should have so many seats on each flight to accomondate full figure people. I was 50 years old berfore I ever took a flight, and when I booked that flight, I did not know that it would be the worst thing I would ever incounter. I have been on 2 flights and I will never fly again. I understand how a skinny person would feel being seated next to a large person,but at the c ost of an airline ticket, having to buy two tickets, will just turn away a lot of passengers. It would be more proffitable to make a few change to accomondate everyone.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  247. Todd

    I find it very interesting that in today's society, we are perfecty willing to tell people who are genetically predispositioned to be obese that they should do everything in their power to fight their genetic tendencies. However, we go out of our way to accomodate those who have a genetic predisposition to be gay. Is there really a difference or does the latter group just have more political clout and better marketing?

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  248. Dan

    It really is a matter of physics - two objects cannot occupy the same space. I fly a lot, 2-3 weeks every month. A very large woman sat next to me recently on a completely full flight, and she literally cascaded into my aisle seat. Her size had now become my problem. I didn't realize it at the time, but I leaned out into the aisle just about the whole flight in order to give her more room. I also didn't realize that this was going to give me a backache for three days! I will never willingly do this again, as I will insist that I be given the amount of space within the parameters of the seat I paid for, or I will demand compensation from the airline. Hats off to United for the stance they are taking.

    April 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm |