April 16th, 2009
04:53 PM ET

Should obese passengers pay for 2 seats on airplanes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines • Obesity
newer posts »