November 24th, 2008
02:42 PM ET

Should obese fliers get extra free seat?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/24/art.airplane.seats.a.gi.jpg caption="Should obese fliers get an extra free seat?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding a regulatory ruling that people who are "functionally disabled by obesity" have the right to occupy two airline seats on a flight for the price of one.

The ruling late last week said that airlines in Canada can no longer charge an obese passenger extra for an additional seat. The same goes for a disabled person who needs space for a wheelchair or who must be accompanied by an attendant.

This applies only to domestic flights within Canada.

Air Canada and several other Canadian airlines had appealed the original ruling by the Canadian Transportation Agency, but the court refused to hear it. Air Canada will lose an estimated 5.6 million dollars annually on the ruling.

U.S. airlines are not currently required to follow similar regulations. However, it's not unreasonable to expect that obese people in this country might try to make the same argument here at some point.

Here’s my question to you: Should obese people be entitled to an extra free seat when flying?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Leah from Toronto, Ontario writes:
If thin people got to pay less for taking up less space on planes, trains or buses, there would be public outrage at the discriminatory practice, so why is this acceptable? We pay extra for oversized baggage. Sorry, this isn't different. Space is space no matter what's taking it up.

A.T. writes:
Morbid obesity is considered a disability. To charge a morbidly obese person an extra fare because of their size is discrimination. Period. Not everyone is Brangelina you know. And for the insensitive jerks who have made snide comments about another's size, get over it. Let's see if it's that easy for you to put down that cigarette, or bottle of beer, or gambling or crack or whatever your vice is.

Mark from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma writes:
I think the airlines should make seats in their planes actually big enough for a normal size person to sit in them. You don't even have to be "obese" to be unable fit in one of those junior car seats the airlines claim is a regular coach seat.

Ann from South Carolina writes:
I'm hung up on that word “entitled” in your question. I think I am entitled to a seat without the overflow of an obese person sitting next to me. Are they entitled to two seats? No.

Jim from Reno, Nevada writes:
This makes me think of the smoke breaks that smokers used to get at work, with no comparable break offered to non-smokers. A free extra seat to an obese person is a seat not available for purchase by someone of normal size. There are other solutions. Airlines could install a few over-sized seats on all airplanes specifically for over-sized persons, just as movie theaters reserve some places for the non-ambulatory.

Buster from Poughkeepsie, New York writes:
Shame on you, Jack, for “hating on” fat people. We need to protect the civil rights of all individuals, especially the obese. Such talk about denying a gravitationally-enhanced person the right to spread out is clearly racist in nature and should be banned from the airwaves. Yes, free seats should be made available...when pigs fly.

Filed under: Airlines
soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. Andre R. Newcomb


    November 24, 2008 at 12:27 pm |
  2. shmikoenig

    Should obese people get two loafs of bread in the grocery for the price of one?

    Brooklyn NY

    November 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Jenna Wade

    Should obese people be entitled to an extra free seat when flying?

    First I think it is important that people understand the word Obese – it's for those that are 50 pounds or more over their ideal weight..

    I would much rather them get an extra seat than to have to share my seat with them..

    Since I fly quite a bit I can tell you that airplane seats have gotten smaller over the years and the leg room space has decreased as well.

    Maybe the airlines should remember that our society, IT'S CUSTOMERS, has expanded not decreased in size.. We could all use a bit more space.. It's not like the airlines is feeding us anymore.. It's not like the airlines are providing drinks to us anymore.. It's not like the airlines are letting us have a bag or two without paying for it anymore..

    I do not blame a woman with big hips any more than I blame a man with wide shoulders.. Neither should be embarassed by the airline folks when they arrive at the ticket counter.. People come in all shapes and sizes.. It's how God made us..

    So yes, I'm all for giving those who are larger people a bit more space – no one wants to sit in that middle seat of 3 anyways..

    No additional charge should be added to anyone.. Big or Small..

    Roseville CA

    November 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  4. Jason - Orlando

    Airlines give parents free seats for lap babies if seats are available at the time of departure. If there are empty seats on a plane, obese flyers can relocate to those seats so they can sit somewhat comfortably on a plane. Americans are getting bigger while the plane seats are not. I'd rather sit amongst 20 screaming babies on a plane than next to an obese flyer. I can drown out the noise of the babies with headphones but there is nothing I can do if I have someone's girth pushing me out of my own seat into a window or an aisle.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  5. C from Georgia


    Sorry – if you gotta fly and you can't fit in one seat, then buy another.

    What's next – restaurants will have to provide larger portions to those who are "large" because they need more calories to feel "full".

    Gives a whole new meaning to "Supersize that?"

    November 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  6. percy29

    No! Because the airline needs to use more power according to the weight they are trying to get off the ground. Big people weigh more. I think the airlines should not only require you to pay for the extra space they require, but should have weigh in charge by the pound. Oh by the way, I'm overweight myself.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  7. JD in NH

    Of course. Airline seating is created for the average person, but we're not all average. Charging a person for 2 seats penalizes them for something they cannot immediately change about themselves.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  8. odessa

    yes because they are paying customers too. .what difference does it makes to let obese fliers get extra free seat for flying..skinny people have to pay normal fare so let obese fliers get the same opportunity..stop discriminating about size only brains..

    November 24, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  9. Dennis Behrens

    I'd say it depends. If the airlines keep packing more and more people onto a plane, then yes, give the fat person an extra seat.–chances are they couldn't fit into one seat anyway–might as well make it comfortable for everyone else.

    If the airlines only made their seats as comfortable as European passenger trains or automotive manufacturers, then it wouldn't be a problem. But when two car seats out of a Geo Metro are wider than two airline seats, that's the problem. I think the only size person who can be comfortable in today's airline seats are a 4' 2" woman.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Marie Canada

    Airplane profits are according to the number of seats on each plane and the need to fill as many of them as possible on each and every flight.

    Most obesity is self inflicted and therefore should be self sustainable on issues like the number of seats required on any mode of transportation.

    Pay as you go and on the way you have to go is the motto.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm |

    No, but maybe there should be a certain amount of XL seats on every plane to accomodate overweight people – and not at the very back either!!

    Everyone is entitled to fly and be comfortable. With the price of tickets, this is a small concession the airlines should make.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  12. Bill from Medford, NJ

    Surely Americans are no strangers to the concept that everyone is entitled to equal public accomodation regardless of physical characteristics. Therefore, if the airline sells a ticket to a person and the person shows up needing two seats, what's the big deal with giving the traveller what he or she needs? All the seat arms fold down anyway,

    Of course, doing it the logical way could have good results for those of us who don't officially need two seats, but who have been suffering with those toddler-sized seats the airlines have wedged us into all along. Why don't they just standardize across the whole airplane and give everybody a decent-sized seat for the trip? The ones in first class that I have to walk past every time I board look like the minimum size a human being needs to get by with.

    For the airline that does it, it could make a signficant difference in their bottom line, and that would be a radical change. When's the last time there was a win-win situation in anything having to do with commercial air?

    November 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  13. Greg in Cabot AR

    Should obese people be entitled to an extra large meal free when ordering off the menu at a restaurant ?
    NO. So, if they are too big to fit in the seat, they are probably too big to fit through an emergency exit and they are too big to fly....they should take the bus and not risk my safety when I fly.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  14. Anj in CA

    That's a good way to kill the already-marginal airline industry. As someone who was squished for 5 hours on a flight as the person in the seat next to mine spilled over into mine (and whose back may never be the same as a result), I do believe that something needs to be done about seats that no longer fit our overall increase in size. The passenger can buy the extra seat or perhaps the airlines can reconfigure the seats to add enough room to accommodate most. But forcing the airlines to provide two seats for the price of one will be the end of the industry. I just think that's economic reality.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Engels Ferrer (Philadelphia)

    What kind of question is that? Are obese people concidered handicapped? I think that they should accommodate first class with larger seats for people that would prefer to fly comfortably, but I don't think that just because you're over weight you deserve better accommodations.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  16. Vince

    HECK NO.
    Here's a thought, why don't we give a break to those who keep doing the right things in life for a change like exercise, eat right ,pay thier mortgages and bills on time !!

    Lansing, Michigan

    November 24, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  17. Inri from Cambridge, MA

    This is real breaking news, Jack. I had no idea people could still afford to fly!

    November 24, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  18. David Gerstenfeld, Las Vegas

    If they do I want a reduced price since I'm thin & less fuel is used.
    Actually, I believe they should pay me for the parts of MY seat that are overlaped. It certainly makes flying more uncomfortable, if that's possible, when oversized people squeese into airline seats.
    David, Las Vegas

    November 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  19. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Unless it is an chronic medical condition, they should have to pay for their lack of will power rather than stick the rest of us with the bills, medical and otherwise.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  20. John

    No they should not. Being obese is a choice for the most part. It is their choice to be that big. If they get a free extra seat, then people with children get a free seat too.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  21. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    The last time I flew, I had a had time craming my 6 foot, 175 pounds into the seat provided. How about they provide a larger seat, period ?? (Maybe then I'll consider flying again.)

    November 24, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  22. RonniefromAbileneTexas

    No. In fact, they should be charged extra for excess baggage.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  23. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    No, they shouldn't get a free seat. If they do, then they have deprived someone of a seat on the plane. What the airlines need to do is probably put a row in where they have only two seats on each side of the aisle for both obese AND handicapped individuals. Most planes seats are so crammed together now it is just ridiculous. I'm tall, and don't have much leg room as it is.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  24. Steve Peach - Indiana

    Financially no, but as for comfort for their seat mates, absolutely yes!!! I fly about 3 – 4 times a year and for some reason I am ALWAYS sitting next to someone larger than me, and I am a big man myself. Watching the both of us work the free pop and peanuts on the flip down tray has to be extremely humorous to the flight attendants.

    Seriously, I do believe that people who take up 2 seats can be a flight hazzard should an emergency occur. This being said, thay should not be seated in an exit row, but rather on the bulk head row for the added leg room. If that isn't available, then they should be charged for 2 seats, or at least some sort of added fee for taking up an extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  25. Mike S.,New Orleans

    I'm sure this question will get a majority of "heck no' answers, because it has always been acceptable to degrade obese people. However, I would welcome a free seat for the obese flyers, as well as those who drowned themselves in cologne, and the lady with two sick babies screaming for the whole flight. As long as the free seats are on top of the plane, and not inside, I'm fine with it.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  26. Tom Ft Lauderdale

    I see no reason why they shoul'nt get a bail out too. Since we know longer follow the laws of free makets, immigration laws or democracy in general . What,s a little more socialism now!!

    November 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  27. Chad N., Fresno California

    No, obese people should not get a "free extra seat", I understand that they require more room due to thier size, but if it cost me $300.00 to take up a particular amount of space on a flight then it should cost $600.00 for someone else to take up twice the space. I mean really, can I have an extra seat for free because I want more room? Can I have that same extra seat for free if I have a fear of being too close to others? It is also a medical condition. Its hard to do but think of yourself as freight when you board an airplane, it costs more to ship large bulky items than it does to ship lighter smaller ones.

    Maybe I will purchase a fat suit to wear on my next flight so that I too can share in getting a free seat and have a bit more room. Of course I wouldnt do that if that extra seat wern't free.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  28. Jim/NC

    Probably so, but is it discrimination? I doubt the ACLU will come after the airlines on this one because they do not care about obesity. The ACLU is only interested in stamping out morals and christian values.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  29. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    With all due respect to obese people, I answer with a resounding, NO.
    Why should we "reward" people for being unhealthy solely to provide comfort while flying the friendly skies. This strikes me a decrimnatory policy for those who are of average weight. I think the best situation for all involved would be to have a few "extra-large" seats with more room and would be cost of the price of 1 and 1/2 the cost of a normal ticket.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  30. Dakota Don from Akra

    No, they should go on a diet. This country can no longer afford such indulgent lack of discipline. With everything else going on, it's easy to lose sight of the mind boggling cost rampant obesity will visit upon us all in the coming years.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  31. Cori from Colorado

    I know it's very uncomfortable sitting next to someone who intrudes on your space because they are large, making the whole flight practically unbearable. So I think the airline should accommodate these folks with larger seats somewhere on the plane, not by making them pay double, that's not fair.

    The same should go for parents flying with newborns/small infants. The screaming/crying is so unbearable, they should have space somewhere on the plane for mom/baby, or dad/baby....it's not fair for them, or us.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  32. Ed Reed

    Sure. Do you want to sit next to someone who is spilling out of their seat into yours?

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    November 24, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  33. John

    Jack: No the cost to the airlines would make everyones ticket prices go up. No, because traditionally it is one seat per ticket; therefore, diminishing any legal claims the weight challenged folks might have with the airlines.


    November 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  34. chuck

    Are you kidding me,the Airline tickets should be sold now by the weight of the passenger. Have a weight and price list available in every airline's office.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  35. Neatha from Kansas City

    My brother and his wife are obese, and I believe that they should pay for the extra seat and so do they. If you are taking up more than one seat, then you need to pay for that seat. If you want your baby to fly in a car seat, you have to pay for that seat. This is not discrimination, it is just fair.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  36. Jackie in Dallas

    Oh, boy, is this a loaded question! If you say yes, you are being discriminatory; if you say, you are being unfair to those who are not obese and the airlines.

    The true answer is that the size of seats in most planes outside of the Business Class and First Class sections have steadily shrunk in size even while the average weight of an American has gone up. I'm not obese, and even I feel claustrophobic in them! How about a special plan for those Business class seats in which most overweight people will fit that gives them to passengers for less than the price of two seats or Business class, but more than the price of an ordinary ticket.

    Of course, with the economy bust, who can afford to fly, anyway?

    November 24, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  37. Rusty

    No way, not a free seat. If they are that obese let them either use another form of transportation or BUY an extra ticket.

    Milwaukee, WI

    November 24, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  38. Troy

    Oxford, MS
    Where did you come up with this question Jack. As a 340 pounder myself, I say no. In these tough economic times no airline can afford to be giving away free seats. I've been on flights were I've gotten to move to areas with extra seats to give me more room. However this was because no one had paid for those seats and we were already in the air. On the flip side, don't charge me for two seats if I'm not taking up two seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  39. Larry in Florida

    I have a real good answer for this one Jack. Took me a second but I came up with one. NO! I understand that some people have a genetic problem and perhaps they should be the exception to the rule. Howerver, many of them are obese because they eat and eat and eat. Should be a Doctors call. Just like the handicapped. If they get a letter from their doctor saying it's a genitic problem they should get a free seat. If it's because they eat an entire bag of potato chips in 10 minutes then it's no free seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  40. Sherrol in Canada

    Absolutely not and ne pas!! Now let's move on.............

    November 24, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  41. Brad Mahoney

    I fly a lot for business. There is very seldom a flight without an open seat. The airlines would be losing nothing of consequence with this accommodation, so there is no real economic argument against requiring this. As to whether or not they should control their weight better, there are many people in this world who understand that it is far from being that simple unless you are lucky enough to have a perfect metabolism. As we get older, it gets harder. Charging more could be seen in the same light as charging someone more for having other health predispositions – like cancer.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  42. Jane (Minnesota)

    If the pricing of airline tickets is based per seat then yes they should pay for the second seat if they are using it. I do think that airline coash seats should be large than they are. Frankly though I don't know how it could be enforced unless people sit in test airline seats at check in. That probably would lead to law suits for emotional distress, etc – more costly than letting them have the extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  43. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Seats shouldn't be as narrow as they are in the first place!!! Even a medium sized adult (not overweight) feels like a cramped sardine–unable to cross their legs at all–and only 1-2 inches of clearance to keep from pressing against the arm rests. I don't care what they do with obese people-but I hope whatever it is–it gets a lot of air time–and forces the airline industry to design their aircraft systems for a miore comfortable passenger.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  44. jim Toronto

    I understand that there are some people who do have a genetic disorder that make them 'oversized'.... but, what about all those who just can't stop eating their way into a diabetic, heart attack? They think that it becomes 'their right' to get the extra room because they have allowed themselves to become 'abnormally big. I tell you as a paying customer, flying, at sky high prices, getting a seat next to someone who is' abnormally big, is not a very nice experience. Do I get a discount for my discomfort? No... All those who have had this experience, know what I'm talking about.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  45. Will from San Jose

    Absolutely not, obesity is preventable. I'm tall, something I can't change, and I don't get a free seat with extra leg room.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  46. Karen - Nashville

    Don't get the ball rolling, Jack. First, an extra seat. Then larger bathrooms, which means rebuilding them. Being "special" means preboarding. Next they'll want their luggage allowance raised because their clothes are bigger. And an extra meal.

    The best solution is for people to realize our collective eating and laziness is out of hand. Either get healthy or accept the consequences, like paying more or getting squashed.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  47. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    They only have one mind, the air lines should be prepaired for any size human being.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  48. Christine, Upstate NY

    All airline seating should be more comfortable for everyone. We used to accomodate smokers and nonsmokers by giving them their own sections in public places. Now that smokers have been completely disenfranchised, maybe we should have designated fat areas. Of course, we couldn't say "fat." It would be more like, "So, Mr. Smith, will you be sitting with the Flesh or the Bones?"

    November 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  49. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obese people have been flying for free. I've given up my seat to an obese person, I've had an obese person taking up half my seat while flying and I've seen flight attendants accompany an obese person with extra seat belt extensions. The flight attendant gave me a free drink of my choice for extending my courtesy and that was the only thing I got free. The airlines and the passengers have accomodated the obese for free long enough, it's time for them to pay for an extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  50. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: No, the seat should not be free......make bigger seats and charge them more...and if you happen to be skinny, make the seat smaller and charge "half-price."

    November 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  51. Ted O. (Canada)

    absolutely NOT! Why should a person whose weight is only 150, but whose luggage is over the limit pay an extra penalty per pound when a 350 lb women carries on 80 Lbs of luggage and pays no penalty?Her combined weight is 430, when mine is only 231. What is the airline going to do if 15 or 20 of these people try to get on the same flight? Society has to live by rules that the same for everyone

    November 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  52. Maxine

    No I do not think that they ought to give them free seats, however, the seats are very small, and even someone small, like me, has some difficulty maneuvering and getting comfortable. Finding ways to make the seats larger would make flying better for everyone including people with children, the obese, the taller than average person. As they are now, everyone is packed in tightly like sardines with little to no leg room. They should try to accommodate to their customers a little more rather than just getting as many people in one flight as possible.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  53. Ufuk

    No the definitely shouldn't everyone is responsible for his own body and if the cannot take care of themselves and are to lazy and convenient to eat healty and do some kind of sport, it is their own fault. it would be highly senseless to let the airlines suffer under other peoples weaknesses.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  54. Venia PA

    Only if they can prove via doctors orders that their condition is medical and not because they are being slobs!

    November 24, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  55. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Obese people are entitled to an extra free seat only if thin people are entitled to a free seat. They're equally ridiculous.

    November 24, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  56. John in Arizona

    An obese passenger stretching out in two seats is far better than his overflowing into my cramped seat..

    November 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  57. Craig in Illinois

    Airlines should charge by the pound if that's the case, then everyone wil be treated fair.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  58. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    The last time I flew, they deliberately made someone else change seats to put an obese person beside me. I didn't like it at all. I weigh about 100 pounds and the other person was right up against me the whole trip (the arm rest had to be raised). I paid full fare, but only got about 1/2 of one seat.

    They should charge by weight, just like cargo. Period. Next question.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  59. bill, british colubia

    it's the only place in the world that you can stuff yourself full of food continuosly, think it's your god given right to do so and expect to get an extra seat for your troubles

    November 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  60. David, Tampa, Fl

    I've had to sit next to overweight people on planes before and scrunch to one side or the other to give them, and myself, a little breathing space. Airline seats are really too small for our population and bigger seats need to be installed period. That way I can scoot my slender frame over a bit and not mutter to myself about the diatary habits of people in this country.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  61. Ann from S.C.

    I'm hung up on that word entitled in your question. I think I am entitled to a seat without the overflow of an obese person sitting next to me. Are they entitled to two seats? No. Speaking as a short person who once weighed 250 lbs but has maintained 140 to 150 lbs for the last 50 years, those obese people can get their eating under control, regain their health, and occupy only one seat. They will find it isn't easy, but it is so worth it.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  62. Gretchen from Denver

    I like the idea of having a few oversized seats on every flight, perhaps two in a row instead of three. These seats could sell for 30% more than a regular size seat. These seats would not include any of the extras that come with a first class seat but would let overweight people fly in comfort as well as anyone who has to sit next to them.

    Meanwhile maybe our country can get a grip on healthcare that has more interest in people being healthy than it does in people needing pharmaceuticals.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  63. Maggie from peterborough

    If an obese person gets two seats for the price of one then the other passengers are contributing to that person's comfort. A seat on a plane represents income and has to be maintained to keep the airlines viable so everyone has to pay for the space they take up.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  64. rwhite

    Since almost all obesity is self created, they should have to pay for two seats. No special priveleges. A child over infant size must pay so why not a person the size of two people?

    Or they could charge by weight. I'm normal weight for 6 ft at 180 lbs. If I pay for a ticket that costs $360.00, then that's $2.00 a pound. Charge the 400 lb guy $800.00 for the two seats. I'd be fine with that.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  65. erico 33139

    Airlines should calculate the average price per ticket for a flight based on the total occupancy of the aircraft. If the aircraft is 50% full, then there should not be any increase for 'obese' individuals'. As the percent of capacity reaches the 100% mark, a proration based on a per pound total average of the passengers on the flight should be the increase for the 'obese' passenger. That is, if the overall weight average for the total passengers in the flight is 160 pounds, then that passenger over that weight total should pay for the increase in weight times a factor based on the total occupancy of the flight. Bottom line ? It would cost more to an airline to calculate averages than to just hit the poor 'obese' with a flat rate. Imagine the case were the flight is at 100% capacity and each of the passengers is over the weight limit with an average of 250 pounds each !! Does the flight take off ? The FAA has no restrictions on their rule book for passenger weight limits !!!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  66. Michael watching from Canada


    No, isn't America trying to motivate people to become healthier and fight obesity? As such, maybe the airlines should change their fee structure whereby they charge a basic fee plus a "weight" fee, which equates to a normal fee for people who are average weight, and penalizes those over the average weight!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  67. Ed, Gulf

    The focus is on the wrong criteria, Jack. What really should be the measure of fitness to fly is whether or not the person is able to fit
    through the door of the lavatory, and sit on THAT seat, of which there's
    only one. If you can't fit on that puppy, then its a no go.

    Jack, what ever happened to "Fly the FRIENDLY skies"?

    November 24, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  68. Jackie in Dallas

    Oh, boy, is this a loaded question! If you say yes, you are being discriminatory; if you say, you are being unfair to those who are not obese and the airlines.

    The true answer is that the size of seats in most planes outside of the Business Class and First Class sections have steadily shrunk in size even while the average weight of an American has gone up. I’m not obese, and even I feel claustrophobic in them! How about a special plan for those Business class seats in which most overweight people will fit that gives them to passengers for less than the price of two seats or Business class, but more than the price of an ordinary ticket.

    Of course, with the economy bust, who can afford to fly, anyway?

    November 24, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  69. John Illinois

    Yes Jack , but only for C.E.O.'s even if they are skinny!!!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  70. me46

    Excessive weight can be a disabling condition and under the American's with disabilities act obesity may be a protected class. All obesity is not caused by excessive consumption. Airline tickets are sold by the seat, not by the pound. If they were sold by the pound , adult tickets would cost more for adults than children. Once the seat is sold, the airline must accomodate the passenger.
    Las Vegas
    Human Rights Advocate

    November 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  71. Joe in DE

    No, they should be charged for 2 seats. They need an incentive to lose weoght.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  72. Allene --Leawood, Kansas

    Hey Jack, easy questions today. The answer is a big, resounding, obese, if you will, NO.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  73. kenneth sibbett

    should skinny people pay half price because they decrease the weight of the plane, therefore it uses less fuel.

    Kenneth Chadbourn N.C.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  74. Scott - Kansas

    Nope. I'm not going to soft-peddle the truth. It's their fault, they pay the consequences. I'm in great shape, because I care. I don't want to hear excuses, I've heard them all. If they want to pay for only one seat, they should fit themselves into one seat. Period.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  75. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Airlines should install a number of extra large seats to accommodate extra large people. Until they do, if a person is effectively sitting in two seats, they should pay for two seats. Otherwise, people sitting next to an extra large person get crowded out and are not able utilize the full seat they paid for.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  76. Dave in Saint Louis

    How obese are you talking Jack? I am a big guy sometimes need an extender on the seat belt for smaller planes but I never take up 2 seats. I fly 3 to 4 times a week and never any issues. What pretty soon the airlines are going to have the passengers step on the scale in front of everyone and charge them 15 dollars for every pound over 200? This is ridicules it appears this election has helped America get over one prejudice let’s not start another!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  77. Billy G in Las Vegas

    sorry but as a retired airline employee I know that the companies already have to provide a number of special services for obese passengers that are already an extra expense. giving them a free seat which removes another revenue passenger from a flight without compensation is just asking too much given their financial problems right now.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  78. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Jack, if a person takes up two seats, then a person should pay for two seats. I have flown on several trips where I have been jammed in by obese people in cramped quarters. I know it is not politically correct, but enough’s enough! If it is a medical condition, then maybe the airline can give a discount, but being stuck on an international flight with someone obese beside of you snoring in your ear for eight hours quickly removes any ‘politically correct’ bone in your body, that I guarantee.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  79. Bruce St Paul MN

    I think the size of airplane seats was originally designed by measuring "normal" people and subracting ten percent. Since the normal person is now obese, perhaps its time to adjust the standard, In fact, while they are at it, maybe the airline industry should start to focus on what their customers want and need, and realize that they are selling the flight, not the seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  80. Chloe Ballard


    If someone is obese enough to weigh as much as two people, they should pay for what two seats are worth. Let the responsibility lie with the party who is at issue!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  81. Beau (Nebraska)

    Jack, Hard question. No one wants to chastise anyone, but the airlines are in financial trouble, plus the other passengers have to be considered. It looks like a lose, lose situation to me. Perhaps just a very small increase, say $5.00. They certainly can't afford to lose customers.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  82. Ken

    Yes, because being obese is a genetic disposition and not something they can control.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  83. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course. One person, one price. Years ago I took my mother-in-law out to lunch. She was overweight at the time. The waitress treated her, sadly, with obvious contempt. I left a 3 cent tip. Where did she get off thinking this was ok. Airlines don't have that right either.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  84. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Why not charge everyone by the pound? After all, each pound requires a certain amount of fuel to move it from point A to point B. When you ship a package, that's how they charge. Why not for people? And of course the amount of space you are 'rented' is proportionate to what you pay.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  85. Jim


    This makes me think of the smoke breaks that smokers used to get at work, with no comparable break offered to non-smokers. A free extra seat to an obese person is a seat not available for purchase by someone of normal size. There are other solutions. Airlines could install a few over-sized seats on all airplanes specifically for over-sized persons, just as movie theaters reserve some places for the non-ambulatory.

    Reno, Nevada

    November 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  86. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    This is a difficult question. I don't think obese people should be given any accommodation that is not available to other flight passengers with physical concerns. What about the abnormally tall person, seats with more leg room. Those of us with arthritis, my legs cramp up terribly after 30 minutes in a coach seat. Along with others with physical difficulties.
    These special considerations if any, should apply to everyone.

    November 24, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  87. Mark in OKC

    I think the airlines should make seats in their planes actually big enough for a normal size person to sit in them. You don't even have to be "obese" to be unable fit in one of those junior car seats the airlines claim is a regular coach seat. Make the airlines adjust to us, not the other way around!

    November 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  88. ingrid, new york

    there are two perspectives here- the obese person is not the only one uncomfortable in the single seat, the non-obese person sitting next to them even more uncomfortable. so from this perspective i think they should have appropriate sized seats at no extra charge.

    the second perspective is that if having a larger seat makes the obese person more comfortable than me, as i am flying in my normal uncomfortable economy sized seat, why should i pay the same price as they do? so the answer is to make the obese person's seat as comfortable/uncomfortable as a regular seat, then charge them the same. Otherwise the need to be charged more...they charge more for a first class seat, no?

    November 24, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  89. wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    well my grocery store says, it cost more for hamburger because of transportation cost, so id have to say yes, start charging by the pound..

    November 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  90. Andrew

    Absolutely yes. I travel for my work and fly over 250,000 miles a year. There is nothing worse than sitting for 16 hours in a seat that you can't use because the folds of the overweight person next to you are sharing (invading) your space.

    Either provide wider seats or charge these folks for the extra space they use. This idea that the overweight would be offended by the actual fact that they are overweight is ludicrous. Tall people know that they are tall, short people know that they are not tall, and overweight people know that they are big.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  91. Nick

    Airlines are charging me for a extra checked bag but want to give free seats to larger patrons? No, that doesn't sound fair to me.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  92. Tim Decker

    If you are not tall enough you can't go on the ride at an amusment park. If you are not thin enough you can't go on the air plane. It is that easy. Coach seats can accomodiate most people, including husky size people. All passengers have a right to be comfortable and pay to be comfortable, including those sitting next to an obsese individual. If comfort means that a very large person has to pay for two seats, so be it. If they don't like it they can drive or take a boat.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  93. Atlanta Charlie

    No, why should they? Should tall people also get special treatment because they need more leg space? We have become a "give it to me free" society! That includes the corporations! They all have their hands out.

    BTW, the airlines will be one of the next industries lining up with their hand out for "free" federal bail-out money.

    The real problem is that seating space in airlines has been downsized in recent years and the average American has been supersized. Everyone is uncomfortable!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  94. Brian - Trinidad

    No.Passengers should now have to pay on the same basis as freight:Size and weight. If it costs more to fly heavier passengers,they should have to pay more.Flying isn't a courtesy service,its a business.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  95. Tony in Michigan

    I'm 6' tall and 200 pounds, not obese by any measure, and I can't fit into normal airline seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  96. KarenB, Florida

    Perhaps the industry should consider seats that are expandable/adjustable in some way. Even a special section if
    possible. I doubt that very many obese people attempt to fly without a pretty good reason, some consideration for disabilities should be made available. charging more should not be one (are wheelchair handicapped charged more?)

    November 24, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  97. Dennis in Albuquerque

    Jack, after riding in coach several times with obese people, I would look forward to them having two seats and leave me room to ride comfortably. I could care less if they had to pay for the extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  98. Jeff from Sturgis, MI

    Obese people are judged negatively by their appearance virtually everywhere they go. Living with the embarassment they must feel by needing a second seat in the first place is price enough. Charging them extra would just be kicking a dog when it's down.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  99. Beverley, Fredricksburg Va


    I'm 5'2" and 130 lbs. Those seats are too small for me! The airlines need to take a row of seats out and put in bigger seats!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  100. John, Fort Collins, CO

    They already get free seats. They just lift up the armrests and compress the poor souls sitting next to them. Then as soon as the plane is off the runway, they drop their seat backs and spread into the row behind. The only time I can remember anyone actually buying an extra seat in consideration for an obesity problem was when the Denver Symphony put a bass fiddle in the window seat next to me. Which was fine, because it never got up to go to the restroom.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  101. jeff in Costa Rica

    Having just had a major heart attack and waiting to be healthy enough to fly the thought of having someone spilling over into my seat causes me stress I dont need right now. Yes give them an extra seat if they need it and there is one available. However I do think they should be charged for excess baggage.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  102. E CANADA / Johns Creek, GA

    No! Airlines should have certain seats for "obese' passengers. Those passengers should pay a higher cost for their seats. All that should be explain to customer when making reservation.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  103. David in Granville, Ohio

    If so how about relief for tall passengers that can do nothing about their height!

    I am 6 foot 3 inches and fly international coach regularly on business. I just do not have enough leg room in the standard coach seats and often end up with minor injuries after a long flight of 12 hours or more.

    How about reserving the emergency exit rows, that have the leg room needed, for people of 6 foot or more? It really upsets me to see these seats filled with pip squirts of approx. 5 foot that could easily fit into normal seats with no problems!

    November 24, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  104. Len of Colfax, WI

    No! Every pound of weight costs extra dollars in fuel. Some airlines are even charging for a first bag. It seems to me that individuals should be charged a “weight tax” on an amount some percentage above the normal weight for that individual.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  105. Helena, Clearwater, FL

    If they can't fit in one seat, they probably can't fit in the rest rooms. So, what next for airlines? Bigger rest rooms, bigger exit doors, heavier emergency exit slides? if a mother with a small child can't have a free seat, then no one else should. discrimination is a big word.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  106. Liz in Towson, MD

    Until skinny people get a seat discount, obese passengers shouldn't get anything, either. If anything, they should be charged extra–maybe an amount proportional to the airline's fee for overweight checked baggage.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  107. Carl Ball


    Some people want wider seats. Other people want more leg room. Why don't the airlines have a variet of seating options and let people pay for what they want?

    Carl from Pahrump

    November 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  108. Jay in Texas

    No, if they take up two seats, they should pay for both.
    Brownwood, Texas

    November 24, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  109. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Obese persons should not pay for an extra seat any more than an anorexic person would pay for half a seat. Come on, where does it end?

    Why do we label and wish to punish persons who are not like us? isn't that how this culture has acted for hundreds of years against American Indians, Blacks, children, women, gays, and still we cannot see the wrong in labeling and creating hypothetical norms. Life is about compassion, gratitude, and love, let's start acting like this, then we will discover what normal truly is.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  110. Cora

    No, Jack, they shouldn't be charged extra and I'll tell you why. All of the person is headed for the same destination and to charge extra on the basis of size/weight is discriminatory. Would you think tall people should be charged more or thin people should be charged less? I don't think so. As someone else said, far better for them to have enough room to accommodate their girth than have their girth spill over on me.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  111. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    I don't feel that "obese" folks should get a free extra seat. That, to me, is simply stupid logic. If you are obese, start eating right and start getting exercise to lose some weight and quit whining about poor me.

    I am 6'-4", 250 lb. and am in shape, not obese, and can barely fit into the mini seats that the airlines now use. I rarely fly because it is totally uncomfortable for for me on a trip more than a few hours long. Maybe airlines should realize that not all folks are 5'-6" and 150 lb.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  112. Brian from Canada

    Only if I get extra leg room.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  113. pete in hamilton ontario

    perhaps airlines should simply have a "pay by the pound" rule.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  114. dan in massachusetts

    What message will we send if obese people, for the price of ONE ticket, get two seats. I had better start making my fat suit soon, just in case.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  115. Richard Brooklyn, NY

    I don't know about the obese flying for free. But if I have to sit next to an obese person on a flight, not only should I be flying for free, but the airline should be picking up my visit to the chiropractor for knocking my body out of whack from leaning in one direction only for hours on end.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  116. Lynn, Boise, Idaho

    No, they shouldn't get a free seat. If they were to do that, they would have to reserve so many seats based on obese people. Then they would take the cost of those reserved seats and pass it on to the rest of us who are not obese. It's not only not fair to those of us who pay for and take up one seat. If anyone needs two seats, they should have to pay for two seats, regardless of their size.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  117. Jen

    No. They are uncomfortable. Well, so am I. I don't get an extra free seat. So neither do they.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  118. Rose in Az

    No way, I am very thin and barely take up a seat, should I get my seat for half price??

    November 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  119. Lisa, Ashford, Alabama

    Charge by the pound, then everyone is happy.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  120. Dan, Chantilly VA

    The only sensible price structure when it comes to airplanes would be to charge each person by the pound for the total weight of themselves plus their baggage. The cost to an airline to fly an object from one place to another is dependent almost entirely on the weight of the object so it seems silly that they judge their prices based on how many people you are and how many bags you have.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  121. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I don't see any problem with it. Everyone should be comfortable. They're paying for it. But then again, I can't afford to fly, so whatever.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  122. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    I'm tall and I would like more leg room and a window that I could actually look out of without breaking my neck. How about a sound proof section for screaming babies, or a clothing optional area for the sun lovers of the world. And I'm sure we would all like to see a closed off section for social-skills challenged passengers. The point is this, the airlines are no longer going to make any special concessions for their customers because they no longer feel the need to.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  123. Ken - Hudson Florida

    i feel that if they require an extra seat they should pay for it, just like the rest of us.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  124. Sarah

    They should get a free seat if they take no luggage – how much would it cost me to take an extra suitcase on? If airlines are forced to give obese people an extra seat free the additional cost will just be passed onto all customers instead of being paid by the individual. Basically everyone will soon be paying an additional 'fat' tax to suppliment the people who need a second seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  125. Nancy, Tennessee

    Obesity is becoming such an epidemic in the U. S. that the airlines may need to consider airfares at a rate of 2 seats per person. That's the good old American way. Let everyone pay more for their airfare so that the obese can have 2 seats. That's the way we do healthcare. If somone can't pay, the healthcare provider just goes up on everyone to make up the difference. Our society does not reward a person for paying their share. It rewards those who don't pay, with a free ride whether its airfare or healthcare.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  126. Doug - Dallas

    If the flight isn't full, why not? Otherwise, no. Having spent a significant amount of time on planes, there is nothing worse than sitting next to someone who really needs a seat and a half. There is barely room for three "normal" customers without having to share space with someone who needs more than one seat to sit in.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  127. B.I.G. (Brooklyn)

    Try being 6'-5" and 300 pounds. This is not an issue of free seats, but seats that could accommodate everyone. I mean, even Grey Hound has better seats than most airlines. Lucky for me, I own a jet. But am afraid I might have to sell it if stocks keep dropping.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  128. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    All restaurants must provide wheel chair access to the bathrooms. So there are grounds for the argument. However, what qualifies a person to be obese. For some it is an illness, and for some it's lack of self control. It should require a medical certificate and a government program like food stamps. I don't feel that the airlines should shoulder the burden.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  129. Lloyd from NYC

    At the risk of sounding insensitive - are you kidding? I have to pay extra to check a bag now, ostensibly because the weight of the luggage adds to fuel costs. I don't advocate charging passengers by weight, but one ticket-one seat is fair enough. And please, if you do give an obese person a free extra seat, how about giving someone who paid to check a suitcase the extra meal...

    November 24, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  130. Tom

    With more than half our population classifying as "obese" they should create class sections based on body width and/or height. (Social class division has to go the way of the dodo bird). They can use a body scanner to determine who sits where. Make an obese section where the seats are 1.5 times wider than normal. Make a tall section with extra legroom. And if you are morbidly obese, you just can't fly. Maybe they need some motivation to take better care of themselves.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  131. richard a. winkler

    They should get an extra seat and pay for it.

    November 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  132. Lindell

    If things hadn't gotten so crazy with the airlines (no lotion, charging extra for bags, etc..,), then I would say sure, why not? But because the airlines have made it so inconvenient for fliers my answer is no. Got to be fair to everybody here, Jack. That's like asking should people with no criminal history be allowed to bypass the security checkpoints at the airports. I think not.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  133. Frank from NYC

    N0, they should be charged more for using up more fuel. If you have to hop down the aisle sideways you shouldn't be allowed on a plane. Think of all the places that they could hide explosives that no one would want to check.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  134. Joe St Louis, MO


    November 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  135. Dennis North Carolina

    NO, we must not punish a person for their size or handicap. they have the same rights as every other person.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  136. Chryssa

    No way. In fact, I think they should start charging by the pound. If I carry an extra-heavy bag it costs more, so it's only fair that someone with an extra-heavy derriere pays a higher price.

    Boise, ID

    November 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  137. Dale

    No, they should not be given a free seat. If an extra seat is needed, then they should be charged. Most airlines, if not all, charge for extra luggage and the customer is charged for the additional weight. The same should apply here for someone who needs an extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  138. Mickie

    No! I am only 105 lbs. and yet I have to pay for one small bag when I fly, so why should obese people get a free seat - then I should get half price. I'm in the legal field and I once had a neighbor who wanted me to sue a horse riding company because they told her she was too fat to ride their horse. People who are fat need to face the fact that they are fat and they will be treated as fat. They may need help, but not a free ride.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  139. Mertis


    One more thing. While I know that fat people clearly are disgusting to many, many people, I think it is way over the top to compare them to the cost of checking luggage, or criminals being able to avoid security checks and board flights.

    Last I checked none of the criminals who took the lives of U.S. citizens on 9/11 were overweight American men or women.

    You all should be ashamed of yourselves. NO, that's ok. I'm ashamed for you!!!

    Mertis in Atlanta

    November 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  140. Ron from SF

    The reality is that flying Coach is like being Cattle, headed for slaughter. How many enjoy sharing arm rests with the guy sitting next to you–even if that guy isn't obese? Being shoe horned into a seat is one of many reasons that I gave up flying, years, ago.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  141. don in naples, florida


    November 24, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  142. susan, California

    First of all, not all obese people are lazy, self indulgent food hogs. Nor do they deserve nasty cracks from others. Having said that, I am a large woman who for many years routinely purchased two seats when travelling. The reason.....simple courtesy to my fellow travelers. I only need a few extra inches to be comfortable but those inches don't come from the seat of my neighbor because they are slender. Having the extra seat meant no embarrassment for me, no anger from my seatmate and an altogether more pleasant flight for everyone. Airplane seats hardly fit regular sized people anymore but extra inches does not automatically entitle one to have an extra seat at no charge.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  143. Jeffrey from LA, California

    No, an obese person should not be "entitled" to an extra free seat while flying. Just because a person is obese does not give them the right to something that skinny people dont get it. This country's motto is "All men are created equal" so if obese people get an extra free seat, everyone else is going to feel "entitled" to one too for their own reasons.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  144. Jeff in Massachusetts

    Why not? The airlines are restricted from selling that seat if they are forced to give it up to someone too large to fit in a single space. The problem is that airlines will counter by charging "by the pound," which will result in further turmoil for passengers during the check-in process.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  145. Gary

    When you buy an airline ticket it is to get the passenger from point A to point B. If they airline can't do it safley and comfortably then they should get out of the business.
    It's a mute point anyways, the airlines do what they want. It is an unregulated business.
    Treat us like Customers not Passengers.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  146. I. B., Rocky Mount, North Carolina

    I don't think it is fair for the airlines to discriminate against the disabled (obese) by charging extra for an additional seat. I also don't think it is fair for me to sit next to an XXXL person that takes up two and a half seats while I can only sit in half a seat. Can you imagine a flight from Raleigh to Los Angeles or Los Angeles to Seoul. Nightmare!!!!

    November 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  147. Jeff from Minnesota

    NO! Anyone else requiring an extra seat for whatever reason has to pay, why should people who do not fit in a single seat get a break?

    November 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  148. Kevin in Ma

    Let's see, No meals, no nuts, no movie, no drinks, keep me waiting for hours on the ground, barely allow me to bring a change of underware and a toothbrush, can't even bring my bottle of water and now because I am 6' 275 lbs charge me double. I'm bringing back the art of hitch hiking.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  149. Dianne, TX

    No. Obese people should not get a free seat. They should buy two seats. I have been that person on several occasions who has to sit all squenched up and still that person is in my seat. I cannot put my drink on the table because I cannot let it down. I hate the fact that a stranger is half in my seat touching the entire side of my body. They need to pay for 2 seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  150. Frann Altman in Los Angeles, CA

    Not unless the airlines are offering a buy one get one free and then I also get the option of bringing someone along or getting two seats to stretch out in.

    The days of free rides are gone. There are no free lunches. Unless you're on an expense account.

    But it would be nice if the airlines added some extra leg room. I think flying with my knees up in my neck is cutting off circulation. A free drink on the plan though, might help me feel my legs again.

    Frann in Los Angeles, CA

    November 24, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  151. Jay-San Antonio

    The problem is obesity is not functionally disabled. They can have surgery which essential for lack of a better term is corrective. So no airline companies should not have to give away the seat. Canada is crazy. They should pay. I am over-weight, i fit into one seat, but I have alternatives and no one should have to give me a free seat because I fail to use those alternatives.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  152. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    NO they should not! If they only want to pay for one seat, they should lose the weight. Giving them the extra seat is just rewarding them for self destructive behavior! If they lose the weight they will look better, feel better, and be healthier. I am not suggesting they be required to get skinny or anything, but lose enough to sit in a single seat comfortably, take a lot of the strain off their hearts, etc. I also don't think the gov't (medicaid/medicare) should cover self induced deseases such as cancer from smoking, et. al.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  153. Amos Ngola

    Well, I'm a lanky 6'5" 200lbs and people constantly tell me that I should fly first class if I don't like being helped in to my coach seat with a shoe-horn. Same concept for those who are obese I suppose: either buy the seat next to you or fly first class.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  154. Ben

    Should only get a half-seat for the price of one because I've managed to put the fork down everyone once and a while?

    November 24, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  155. Kim, Midland Michigan

    Have you flown in the cattle-car section of an airplane recently?

    No one is skinny enough anymore to enjoy a trip on an airplane, free of the experience of rubbing shoulders with the person to the left and/or right.

    But is that so bad? I found myself rubbing shoulders with a former Miami Dolphins NFL player who was wearing a Superbowl ring. We had a great discussion and his shoulder was mighty comfortable.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  156. Mike out West

    Jack, a very close friend of mine used to tip the scales at over 400 pounds. With diet, exercise, and the support of family and friends, he is in the high 200's. Never in all his years has he asked for anything extra because of his size. In fact, just the opposite. When he sees people using obesity as an excuse to go to the front of the line, or get an extra seat — HE complains.

    Personal responsibilty: we should all have some.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  157. Sherry Gardner N. Calif.

    NO-We have to pay for our tiny little children an extra seat. Let the obese pay for their own created health condition.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  158. Roland

    As long as it's not being paid for with bailout dollars, who cares? This is a business decision left to the airlines. If the airline giving the free seat has a healthy balance sheet, they can do what they want. Shut up and deal with it, or fly another airline. It's that simple.

    St. George, UT

    November 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  159. Robert in Galveston

    If they are charging for our bagage then "obese" people should pay for an extra seat if they can't fit in the one they purchase.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  160. Rita in Texas

    My answer as a frequent business traveller is an enthusiastic "BY ALL MEANS!" I get lucky and get upgraded sometimes, but the times that I am relagated to coach are not picnic with so called "average-sized" passengers. I've had a few times when I was forced to endure an arm and thigh-crushing ride with some who were not so "average". It's so bad that I felt I was owed money back on my fare and I'm sure that the other party involved was not comfortable either.

    I hope that U.S. domestic airlines will adopt the Canadian's policy. But unfortunately, with airlines now charging you for everything but an oxygen mask, I don't think it will happen.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  161. Precious Coker

    No. I sympathize with their plight but how do you determine when an extra free seat is necessary? I mean is it at the point of ticket purchase, check-in or boarding?

    November 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  162. Melissa

    When I lived in Poland during graduate school, I learned that I had to buy an extra tram ticket if I had a bag over a certain size. The idea was that I would be using up extra space where some other rider could have stood or sat. I think the same logic should apply to obese plane travellers. If you need two seats, then you should pay for two seats. Why should another passenger suffer because they are trapped next to thighs and elbows that don't fit in the seats?

    November 24, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  163. Jackie in Dallas

    I think that the consensus is that they shouldn't get a free seat. However, the caveat to that is that the airline needs to reconfigure their planes to be more flyer-friendly to all! When I see the wasted room in First Class, at the expense of those of us flying coach, I get mad. Redesign the seats to be more in touch with the reality of average heights and weights and you reduce the problems considerably. At 5 foot 1 inch, I don't even have room for my legs in most planes!

    And boy, are there a lot of really tacky people answering about what may not be within the obese person's control. You are assuming that lack of control, excessive eating, and no personal responsibility is responsible - and that isn't always true. Try being a little more compassionate about other people's problems because some day, you might find yourself on the wrong end of similar remarks!

    November 24, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  164. Liz

    make more accommodations for obese people.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  165. Leah from Toronto

    If thin people got to pay less for taking up less space on planes, trains or buses, there would be public outrage at the discriminatory practice – so why is this acceptable?? We pay extra for oversized baggage – sorry, this isn't different – space is space no matter what's taking it up.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  166. Denise

    Absolutely. As a physician, I can tell you that if you make it to age 18 without being overweight, you have a huge advantage in being able to control your weight as an adult, but not everyone is so lucky, thanks to unwise, or uncaring parents. No one should be penalized for that, any more than they should be penalized for having been abused as children.

    And why should anyone care what another passenger receives. I can't believe the level of prejudice against the obese, who already have to endure job discrimination, health problems, humiliation and heartache. We could all stand to be a little more compassionate in this arena. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
    Denise, from Madison, WI

    November 24, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  167. Mike, Vancouver

    Solve the problem, it's easy. We have big and tall stores or stores for the plus sizes. Why not have smaller flights that just carry the plus size individuals. It doesn't discriminate against anyone, rather it just provides a cleaner and less frustrating means of transporting good American people. Figure out a fair transport cost and you are away.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  168. Gigi in Alabama

    No, because the extra costs would be passed on to the other passengers.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  169. Matt from Oregon

    So what if you have two really skinny people that can fit in one seat? Do they only have to pay for one ticket?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  170. Scott


    November 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  171. Jeannine

    They should not be charged extra if obese or other health iissues i.e. wheelchair bound.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  172. Michael Smith

    Should skinny people be allowed to purchase half a seat?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  173. Jane

    If obese people get to occupy two seats for the price of one, tall people should be able to sit in first class for free. That's ridiculous.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  174. Doug

    Jack, How about a skinny person getting half price?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  175. Bob

    Can a really skinny person only pay 1/2 fare? 2 skinny people can occupy one seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  176. andel11

    NO and NO and NO again. If you want a extra seat, you have to pay for it like the rest of us.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  177. Pat Allen

    No we should not make one more accomodation in our society that is going to fall on the shoulders of everyone else. If there needs to be an adjustment raise the price of a ticket for everyone equal to the amount of two seats and then give those with a normal BMI a flier discount for the cost of one seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  178. Nichole

    Some people have medical conditions which causes obesity, and a lot of evidence points towards severe obesity being caused by genetic disorders. I think that it is a reasonable accommodation provided that they have a doctors note verifying their need for an extra seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  179. Nancy Beach


    How about making the seats bigger for everybody? Even those of us that are of average weight have a hard time in those tiny seats!!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  180. Torn Rose

    How long before someone "average sized" gets bumped off a full flight so someone obese can have extra room? I'm 6'2" 205, when do I get extra leg room?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  181. Gayle P

    I think that's ridiculous! That just encourages people that it's okay to be obese. I can see allowing a disabled person to have the extra seat for a wheelchair, etc., but not for being overweight!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  182. Ingrid

    Absolutely not, the rest of the passengers are going to end up paying for the "free" seats taken up by obese passengers. Handicapped people deserve it without a doubt, obese, I think not !!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  183. Doug in New Mexico

    I'm not sure that people want to be fat any more than people want to be crazy or have birth defects or other impairments. When you charge more it is a form of discrimination.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  184. Joe G

    If my one seat will be half price, then sure why not.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  185. Caitlin From New Jersey

    If obese people get a free seat for being overweight, then I should get an extra seat for being tall. It just doesn’t make sense – if we do this for obese people, then we would have to do it for everyone else. I can’t help being tall; obese people can help being overweight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  186. Sesco

    what will be next?? an extra meal that the rest of the passenger pay for.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  187. Jess

    No – they should not get a free seat. One seat cost X amount. If you need two – you should pay!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  188. Stephen Pace

    Absolutely not! I think it provides a healthy incentive for obese people to lose some weight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  189. Chelsea

    Tough issue. I could understand if it was a rare occurance because someone had a serious medical problem, but letting people who have trouble taking responsibility for their health continue to get more accomodations for their potentially dangerous condition will only cause them to contiue their unhealty lifestyle.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  190. Elliot

    No. The fact is that they are taking up two seats and so should pay for those two seats. After all the airlines should not have to pay for a person's own bad habits. Instead of letting them have it easy, people should encourage people with obesity to try improve their own habits and lose a few pounds.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  191. Bill Novatny

    A big fat NO. Body weight is totally within one's responsibility, plain and simple. Therefore, an individual listed as obese has chosen to be that way rather than exercise and control what goes in the mouth.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  192. Dorothy

    I think that they should not be entitled to a free seat. Instead, they should just book a flight in first or business class, since they are significantly bigger seats, or just simply pay for 2 seats. I think people will take advantage of the situation. Who doesnt like to have an extra seat?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  193. Matt

    This is absolutely ridiculous to think that because someone is obese they are entitled to an extra free seat. I am extremely claustrophobic and have trouble on crowded planes. I think I should get a free seat as well. Or better yet, I should get a free upgrade to first class so I don't feel as crowded. Give me a break!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  194. James from Halifax

    Sure, give them a seat for free, but add on an additional fuel surcharge for persons weighing over 300 lbs. It costs the airlines money to carry around that precious cargo y'know.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  195. Nella

    NO!!! They should pay for that extra seat. If they don't fit into a regular seat...Too bad. Lose some weight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  196. dan collins

    I'm so tired of hearing about the privileges that the obese are entitled to for their self-inflicted handicap. Is there no personal responsibility anymore? Just as it costs more in fuel to carry an extra bag, it costs more to carry the added weight of a fat person.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  197. Kastriot

    Absolutely not.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  198. Cheryl Thompson

    Well it's pretty clear to me NO... If a person is obese, it's not the airlines fault if they became obese. According to my doctor I'm obese and I'm 213 pounds and 5'4". The airline didn't put the food into my mouth, but at the same point I can fit into an airline seat. IF I were obese to the point I couldn't fit into one airline seat, I would then pay for 2 seats. Why are we punishing the airlines? It would be absurd!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  199. JD Dawson

    They already have a free seat. ALL of theirs and Part of mine.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  200. Melanie, Houston, Texas

    I have always felt that it was discrimination to charge obese individuals extra for an airline ticket. I hope that the US Supreme Court will appeal this policy for US airlines.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  201. Todd

    Why not? We reward corporations for being bloated and unhealthy, why not do the same for obese people.

    From now on, instead of paying $15 to take a bag on the plane I'll just wear a giant fanny pack around my waist under my clothes. I'll save $15 and get an extra seat!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  202. James in Denver

    No. We need to discourage obesity in this society not reward it with special deals and perks.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  203. Theodore Rozsa

    NO. If you take an extra seat, and cost the airlines extra to move you. You should pay extra.!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  204. Bob

    One person,one seat, one price

    November 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  205. Paul in Columbus, GA

    I believe that not only should and airline passenger have to pay for 2 seats if their physical size requires the space, I also believe that airlines should be able to charge fares on a per pound basis. As an added note, I weigh 200 lbs.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  206. Sandi - NC

    Jack, if the court is concerned about the peoples "comfort", then why shouldn't I get half price off my seat? I'm only 5'1", 110lbs, and I almost always end up sitting beside someone taking up my "space" on an airplane. Or better yet, don't let obese people occupy a seat next to me. The unfairness is actually against us "little people", not the overweight people.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  207. Diane in NJ

    NO! I'm overweight myself but this is not a disability...it's a mistake that I and only I am responsible for. That's bushwa!!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  208. Denny

    Friendly hello from Canada Jack:

    The majority of Canadians I know, think it is absolutely ridiculous to give away an extra airline seat to obese individuals. Most are definately in favour of any initiatve to acommodate the disabled or handicapped.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  209. Masten Brich

    Only if I get free extra leg-room. I'm 6' 4" and sometimes I feel crippled when I get off a long flight cooped up in economy class.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  210. Sam from New Jersey

    The airlines can avoid this problem by making the armrests in permanent down position.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  211. Phil

    East Lyme, CT

    No ... if size doesn't matter, then 2 yr old children who are still small enough to fit on parents laps should not be charged an airfare ... picture a convention of obese persons booking a single flight for free!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  212. Trevor Cryer

    Surely tall people who have no control at all over their "condition" should be given seats with extra leg room before obese people who most often have some control over their "condition" get a girth upgrade!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  213. Charles from Roswell, Georgia

    Well, airlines should charge ticket by weight just like cargo, then problem solved and be fair to everybody.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  214. Nick Philippakos

    I don't think anyone should get anything for free but let's be real, no coach seat is comfortable for any normal size person. I think it would be wise for airlines to consider expanding their seats so that there is no need for an additional seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  215. Deborah Moore

    Yes. I think that "obese" people should be entitled to an extra seat for free IF it is available. Like theaters and music halls, the amount of space given to one person in an airline seat has decreased over time. You have to be pretty darn fit to fit into a coach airline seat these days. IF the extra seat is not available, then the person in question would have a choice: wait for the next flight or take only one seat like the rest of us.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  216. Cyle in Dublin, CA

    no – i'm happy to crush the little man next to me

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  217. IVAN

    Yes if a person can't fit in one seat why not give him/her an extra seat. Some people gain weight because of medication come on now we are americans not cave men.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  218. Kieron, Dublin, Ireland

    Jack, I'm thin. Next time I'm flying across the Atlantic for a golfing holiday, what are the chances they'd let me jump in my golf bag and store myself away under the plane? My wife wouldn't mind because she could still sit upstairs, and besides, seven hours apart works wonders for a marriage!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  219. kate

    Absolutely not. The airlines are not government run agencies, and flying is NOT a right. If an airline is forced to offer a second free seat to an obese passenger, they are losing revenue from the potential paying customer who will be unable to fly. If you require 2 seats you must pay for 2 seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  220. Courtenay from Indiana

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. If a severely obese person sits next to me on an airplane, I sure would appreciate them having that free second seat. And I do feel for the humiliation that larger people go through when they have to take a flight and cannot afford that second seat. However, this decision doesn't seem fair to the airlines, or to the other passengers who will probably be made to pick up the tab. Perhaps the airlines should offer discounted second seats to obese people.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  221. Pat

    Oh just charge everyone by weight like on a salad bar. That's fair.


    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  222. Cindy in NH

    The answer is definitely NO! If someone is so big that they can't fit into one seat they should be required to purchase another one. I have been on flights where I could hardly move and was very uncomfortable because a grossly overweight person was in the seat next to mine and taking up at least a third of my area. Why should I pay the same price for my seat and have someone else using part of it and paying the same price as me. Being obese is normally a lifestyle choice.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  223. Ap

    Since the airlines are all charging fees now for luggage I think that next time I fly rather than actually pay the fee to check my extra bag, I will wear an extra large coat, shove my extra piece of luggage under it and my new "larger" shape will save me $175.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  224. D. Sangiovanni

    No. They have to give them advise on how to get to the gym.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  225. Kevin

    The size of airplane seats in coach is rediculous. Even the average size man cannot sit in one without having his shoulders touching the the shoulders of the person next to him. Don't tell me that the airlines will lose money with this new ruling in Canada. They have been making extra money this whole time by squeezing too many seats into the airplane, Thay have made it uncomfortable for average size people, not just obese people and those sitting next to them. People come in different sizes. There should be seats big enough for larger people to be reasonably comfortable.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  226. Mic

    If I only take up 3/4 of my seat should I get a rebate?

    I weight 115 lbs. If I'm allowed 40 lbs for my suitcase and it is over by 5 lbs. I'm nailed to pay up. Yet if the next guy in line is 200lbs and his suitcase is 40 lbs, he doesn't even though my load on the flight is 160lb versus his 240lb.

    So obese – more weight, more fuel, pay up. Obesity is an issue, a drain on health care and people need to get it in check.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  227. Glen - Bayonne, NJ

    It's difficult to create a hard-and-fast rule without fairly defining what constitutes obesity. If we left it up to the airlines, we could be in big trouble. For instance, what would stop airlines from trimming down seats to half their current width, then taking people who are currently considered normal sized and charging them extra because they are now considered obese by the airlines' standards? Also, what would stop them from charging people who are taller than average extra if they chopped down on leg room and had special seats at an extra fee for tall people? Ultimately, it seems to depend on who is setting the definitions.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  228. Jason

    No. Disability legislation regarding obesity was created so that fat people could have a chance to work, regardless of how much they ate and watched tv. Not to accommodate them in all circumstances.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  229. Sandi - NC

    Just a thought here..how about if you are charged per weight? That way us smaller people can bring four bags of luggage with us.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  230. David B

    The Canadian court's ruling has me wondering if it also requires that at least one on-board toilet would be resized to accomodate larger passengers, or those with wheelchairs. Without this 'accomodation' the ruling would appear meaningless.
    Or, the airlines could charge extra for use of the modified facility, or for any of them.
    Shhhh! I didn't say that – no use giving the airlines any more ideas.

    from Halifax, Nova Scotia

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  231. Bret Larson

    Yes, but tickets should be charged based on weight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  232. Matt from Oregon

    So what happens when that obese person goes to buy a car? Do they get an oversized SUV for the price of a sedan, just because they can't fit in the sedan? People should have to pay for what they use.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  233. Eoin, Dublin, Ireland

    no. What next, should they be allowed two seats on a train while the rest of us stand in vain.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  234. Randy

    Jack, You've got to be kidding! A free seat because your too big for one?! The airlines are burning more fuel to carry the extra weight so it certainly isn't fair to them especially since most of us are overweight in the first place.
    This should also apply, if passed, to other similar circumstances such as a vehicle paying for one parking space when it's too big or long for just one. What's fair for some should be fair for all.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  235. Lar

    Lemme tell you what's even more bizzare...I weigh 153 pounds and if I want to check in 2 bags, each about 24 pounds, I get charged for that, because of weight restrictions...and then the guy behind me, weighing 350 pounds does not check in any bags, but also gets an extra seat for free? Does anyone see the irony here?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  236. Kathleen from Michigan

    I don't think this is the right approach.
    How can they determine who gets the extra seat, how obese someone have to be to be considered? Are they going to put scales at airports or use tape measures to measure passengers backsides?? No matter what they do it will be discriminating, and this only puts obese people in a more embarrassing situation then just not being able to sit comfortably in a airplane seat.
    Why don't airlines take out certain sections of seating and add wider seats. How hard would that be???

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  237. tony, eugene, Oregon

    A compromise is a reasonable idea and consistent with the golden rule. If the obese person is willing to wait for a non-full flight where some seats will be empty they should be able to use them without extra charge. If the obese person does not want to wait for a non-full flight, they would cause the airline to lose money by taking two seats and they should have to pay to compensate the airline.

    When seats go empty anyway, the airline experiences no significant cost (except weight related fuel which is a small fraction of the ticket price) and so reasonable and compassionate behavior demands no extra seat cost unless another passenger is turned away.

    If weight related costs (fuel) are to be taken into account, women and children should fly at a fraction of the cost of a typical heavy male.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  238. Travis (Norman, OK)

    Only those who have a documented medical reason for obesity (pituitary/thyroid problems, etc.) should get an extra seat. If you're obese because you keep stuffing your face, pay up.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  239. annoyed mom

    Of course they should be charged more, especially now that the airlines have decided they should charge us for any checked luggage. I travel with my two small children, who weigh 30 and 45 pounds, respectively. I assume the reason the airlines feel justified in charging us for our luggage is that it costs them by weight to fly. So, why would it be reasonable for me to pay the same fee ticket fee for my 30 pound child, plus an extra fee for his 10 pound checked bag, as a 300 pound person would pay who presumably has heavier checked luggage? If they are going to charge us for luggage they should start charging everyone and everything by the pound. You pay for what you weigh. It's the only fair way. I don't blame people who are overweight, but it costs more to fly them, same as it costs them more fuel to drive their cars.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  240. Dan

    I'm 6'4", do I get free seat, too?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  241. Phil Smith

    No! They should be required to buy 2 seats if they din't fit in one. There should be a sample seat before they board to see if they fit. If they don't fit then they should be required to use 2 seats and pay for both of them. We have flown with obese people and have been caught on 3-4 hour flights with them taking half of one of our seats. Not fun and will never do this again. We should ahve demanded a rebate as we paid for a seat that we got no use out of.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  242. Jay from Cincinnati

    I am an obese person (500 pounds) I go out of my way to not fly if I can help it, but sometimes I have to. The answer is No, it is not the airlines responsibility. But, with obesity on the rise, and airline seats so small, may be try to place larger seats in coach and charge more money for these seats ( I know, they call this first class) but something in between. Or offer obese passengers an additional seat at a reduced rate if one is available. In other words, with obesity such an issue, try working with us, I think most of us are willing to pay the extra money as long as it is not outrageous.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  243. Garnet

    Weight is what uses fuel. Heavier passengers/luggage use more than lighter ones. I am over weight. I am responsible for my condition. It's time we all grow up and take responsiblity for ourselves and stop whining!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  244. justsane

    if my bag doesn't fit in the overhead bin, then i must check it and pay any fees associated with checked bags. if my checked bag is over the weight limit, then i must pay an additional charge. it is entirely reasonable to expect a passenger that cannot fit into a seat to pay an additional fee.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  245. Jonathan G.

    I’m a fairly slender guy myself. Does this mean that I will be forced to share my one seat with another slender human on my next cross-country flight?

    Denver, CO

    November 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  246. Joseph

    This is just another example of the obese being a burden on society. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of obese people have brought that condition on themselves and now they want special treatment by the other citizens who haven't abused themselves? How is that fair?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  247. Mark - Sherman Oaks, CA

    Yes. Many people are obese due to medical conditions, therefore (in my opinion) it should be considered a handicap. With that said, i don't think it would be appropriate to discriminate against those without conditions. Lets give em a break.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  248. Wendy Crews

    Yes, obese people should be allowed to sit in two seats for the price of one. My daughter was born with no metabolism, and we were unable to give her a lapband operation until she was 21 years of age. Most doctors won't perform these operations until the person has matured. She now weighs 115 lbs, and we quit traveling on Southwest airlines because of their policy of charging an obese person for two seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  249. mark and jim

    I beleave two thin people should be able to share one seat if they fit comfortably ,for the price of one.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  250. Franceen Ellis

    No. They should pay for the extra seat since tickets are sold for one person, one seat. I believe they should pay for the extra seat or join a gym and lose weight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  251. Vincent

    The whole premise of the argument for an extra seat is that obesity is a disability, but what is being overlooked here is the key question of personal responsibility.

    If it can be established and certified by a medical authority that the person is in fact obese through no fault of their own eg. a glandular disorder or an unwanted side-effect of an indispensable, perhaps life-saving treatment, then accommodation should be made for their condition.

    However if the obesity is a result of a lifestyle choice of the person, then the airlines should have no requirement to bankroll the bad behavior.

    So what I propose is a handicap permit for flyers issued by an authority on the good faith recommendation of a medical practitioner that allows those who truly deserve it to avail themselves of this facility.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  252. Reader

    No, I don't think obese passengers should get extra seats free. Obesity is often a result of life style choices, while being paralyzed and needing a wheelchair is not a choice. I don't think that comparison is valid at all. Surely, there are certain medical conditions that can contribute to a person's weight, but I think overeating and not exercising enough is more common than, say, thyroid malfunction. Giving privileges to obese people will just encourage them to continue to become more obese instead of trying to become healthy.

    And on the same note, if an obese person gets an extra seat free, shouldn't I get a 50% discount on my ticket is half of my seat is taken by a large person?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  253. Clark J.

    I'd also like to point out to those who are regaling that airplane seats don't fit "regular sized people" that airline seats haven't actually changed that much in size, but the size of the average American HAS, especially since the average American began introducing more artificial chemicals into their system. Think about that...

    November 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  254. nate

    Come up with a weight to height ratio, and if you are larger than you should be, you pay extra for the seat.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  255. Dylan

    if the obesity is the result of a medical condition – the answer is an absolute yes.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  256. Lou

    I should be given half my money back when a large person encroaches my seat!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  257. Scott

    I think people should have to stand on a scale with their luggage and pay for the total pounds (them+luggage) that the plane has to lift.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  258. Joe

    If I have to pay for extra baggage, they should have to pay for extra baggage even if there is nothing in their hands.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  259. terryt

    Swansea, IL

    No. Additional seats required by obesed passengers means that there will be fewer seats available for additional paying customers. Consequently, the price for all seats will be more. Why should others pay to subsidize those requiring additional seats.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  260. Chris

    Shouldn't they pay more and I pay less if they're in my bubble?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  261. Emiy

    After scanning the responses I am sad...What ever happened to human kindness. Of course people who are obese should lose weight, and they probably think about that every day of their lives. I think being overweight is "enough of a burden" in itself. Let them graciously have a little extra space and treat them with respect. The good will is more valuable than the space and the dollar. Just because a person is getting something seen as an advantage doesn't mean the rest of us are being cheated.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  262. Mike in Kansas

    No way. If you need two seats, pay for two seats. Some body has to pay for hauling the lard and it should not have to be the skinny guy.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  263. Rose Thacker

    No... if obese people are entitled to extra seating then why are thinner people having to pay for one seat. We all would like to spread out a bit more on airlines, but fair is fair. One ticket one seat. Larger people need to pay their own way.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  264. john sykes

    Absolutely NOT

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  265. jb

    im about 30 pounds underweight for men my size.. if they're charging the obese dudes, then i want a discount on mine.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  266. Daniel from Las Vegas

    Airlines should charge everyone by the pound, just like other freight handlers.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  267. Art Novak

    Fine. Give it to them.
    But they better give me more leg room for my 6'6" legs,

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  268. Robert

    Sure, as long as I get to pay 1/2 price.

    The airlines weigh our bags and make us pay extra, let's require everyone to weigh themselves at the ticket counter and pay by the pound. That way everyone is treated equally. Call it the airline 'fare tax'

    November 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  269. Dave

    No. Just make all the seats bigger (and spaced farther apart). Even average-sized people are crammed in today's airline seats.

    Flying is among the worst experiences of modern life. Right next to dealing with the phone company or DMV.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  270. Julie

    My immediate answer was "No," but after reading others' comments, I now see that there are a lot of gray areas and other factors to consider.
    Thank you, everyone.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  271. Carl in Atlanta

    A BIG NO !
    Why do people feel they are always entitled to something for free ?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  272. dillon

    Yes! the seats are designed to fit certain bodies,one should not be punished because your body does not fit a seat for someone who our culture constructs as "normal."

    November 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  273. Jennifer Lintelmann

    Yes, one fare is only fair. If the airlines want to charge for two seats, then smaller people should get a price break too, or may be we all need to weigh in like cargo and pay by the pound. Now wouldn't that be fun - a weighting line.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  274. Chris Gibson

    Don't kid yourselves, airlines are not going to absorb these costs, they are going to pass it on to everybody. Frankly I don't think I should have to pay extra for people who can not take care of themselves and their weight. I work hard to maintain my health and I don't think I should have to pay extra for those who don't.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  275. Kimber, ND

    Absolutely not, in fact any person who cannot fit into a seat (between the arm rests – with the armrests down) should be required to purchase an additional seat. It may not always be the fault of the obese person that they are obese – it could be a medical condition – but it is certainly not the fault of the other passengers. No matter the cause of a persons obesity other passengers should not be forced to share their seats with obese people – or the cost of extra seats. Since when is it a basic human right to fly on an airplane?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  276. Zane, Los Angeles CA

    After reading a few of these answers, I'm convinced some of your viewers, Jim, need to stop watching television, and pick up a book once in awhile. And maybe a sense of proper ethics, and compassion wouldn't hurt, either.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  277. Simon

    That's the way we do things in Canada. We respect individual rights and liberties: you have the right to be obese, the right to public health care, the right to get married (gay or straight) and so on...... And you know what, it's working well for us. It might not be perfect for every country, but life is good is Canada.


    November 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  278. Cheryl

    No, but to be fair, if the crowd the person next to them, they should have to pay half of that persons seat for the inconvenience. Also, maybe skinny people should only have to pay half fare since they don't take up as much room.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  279. Ahmed

    Jack – I am not fat but I am never comfortable on those tiny seats. Can I get a discount so that I can have some legroom (sideways, I guess).

    November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  280. Carson

    When I buy an airline ticket, I am paying for "1" seat on that airplane. If i take up "2" seats on an airplane, i should pay for "2" seats on that airplane. It is very simple.
    If they don't like it, then the obese person can drive. Oh, but it may take more gas to fuel an obese person's vehicle than it does a lighter person's vehicle. So they should probably get 1/2 priced gas.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  281. T

    Yeah! I mean, a seat is a seat. We have people here that we needing to travel to places and the flights are booked.. why? Because people are chosing to fly rather than walk! Gee Whiz

    November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  282. Kyle Pozza, TX

    Uhhhh...... No.
    If we need an extra seat, we'll pay for an extra seat. No charity. Why should a company have to bear the cost for someone else's condition/problem?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  283. Linda-Houston

    If I fly, my bag can be carried on for free and placed under the seat in front of me. IF I take my dog, I must PAY for him to fly in that same bag.
    So NO I do not think that the obese should get a free seat!

    November 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  284. Mike

    No. Not unless they can prove that it is a medical reason as to why they are obese. The ones that just eat and eat and eat deserve no special treatment whatsoever. They should be forced to get healthy.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  285. Danno

    How about driving? Then you could get out and walk, stretch your legs, maybe even excercise.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  286. Sorry

    No. Unless they can show me medical proof, its not a disability, its a lifestyle choice. Pay for your choices, just like you pay for your food and clothing, also consequences of your choice.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  287. Boulder Colorado

    No, an extra seat should not be given to an obese person.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  288. Pat Fleming

    Absolutely not. The combined weight of my checked bag and I is less than an obese person. Yet, I get charged extra for my checked bag. If weight is the issue, let the obese pay for the two seats they occupy.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  289. Me

    The problem is that so many people are absolutely sure that an obese person is obese simply from eating too much – therefore, they got themselves into this mess, let them pay the price. But there are many medical conditions that cause obesity, so maybe all of you saying obese people should not be entitled to another seat should check a medical guide once in a while.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  290. John Estane

    I'm 6 foot, 6 inches tall – and find it extremely uncomfortable to sit in coach seats. My doctor says my inability to move my legs in these seats may cause health problems. Will I get the right to have more leg room – or does the Canadian government favor fat people over tall people?

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  291. Hunter

    Brilliant idea. Then the rest of us can subsidize the extra seat when fares are raised to counter this change. They can't charge the fat person more because that would hurt their feelings, but they can spread the charge around to the rest of us who should feel blessed to have the self control to not be grossly overweight.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  292. David T.

    When I buy a plane ticket I am renting one (1) space on the airplane. I am freight. I agree that the spaces are getting smaller, but the fact remains, I am renting one space. I stay within the confines of the space I rent and get irritated when someone I don't know insists on sharing that space with me. (Unless it is my wife of course).

    November 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm |