Would you do this?

Travel Forums General Talk Would you do this?

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1. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 694 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Came across this curious article:

Flyer charges obese row mate

What do you think is this a good idea or is it setting a bad precedence?

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Mar-2019, at 16:50 by Teoni ]

2. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 774 posts) 6w 1 Star this if you like it!

I do think the airlines should sort out some guidelines for when a person is too large for a standard seat. When booking there should be some maximum waistline (or another measurement) above which a person would be required to sit in certain areas (or buy a 'premium economy' slightly wider seat) or pay for 2 seats. However I wouldn't think for one moment of taking someones money in return for my discomfort...

I'm surprised the writer of the article didn't refer to woman-spreading (In addition to 'manspreading'), although it doesn't really apply to planes. When a womans handbag is so large that when placed on her knee it encroaches on the next seat (usually after begrudgingly moving it from the seat beside her) but that's normally on a train or bus.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Mar-2019, at 18:27 by Andrew Mack ]

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 951 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

It's the hip size that matters and also the shoulder width.
A very tall man with wide shoulders will also impinge on an adjoining space. (and will also be very uncomfortable)
Women usually have smaller waists so a waist measurement wouldn't be adequate.
If you can fit in the seat belt without an extender you shouldn't have to pay extra.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Mar-2019, at 18:53 by greatgrandmaR ]

4. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 645 posts) 6w 1 Star this if you like it!

>I do think the airlines should sort out some guidelines for when a person is too large for a standard seat.

So do I. Absolutely.

It's not just hips and shoulders which are relevant.

I'm tiny (height & width) and always choose a window seat. I've only had real problems once (so far) when I spent a seriously uncomfortable flight to the US next to a woman whose stomach was so large it touched the seat in front of her (she couldn't fully pull down her tray table). She squeezed into the middle seat and spent the journey elbowing my side (inadvertently, I assume) and squishing my legs (ditto). I spent the journey making myself as small as possible against the side of the plane and even found it difficult to put my tray-table fully down in order to eat. Quite why her smaller husband didn't take the middle seat is beyond me, but perhaps it was more important for him to be comfortable? :-/

I didn't say anything, though I did resist her elbow-pushing. To be honest, I rather felt for the woman because she must have been aware of what was happening. She didn't use an extender and only used the belt on take-off and landing: it went under her stomach and must have been very uncomfortable indeed. For that reason I wouldn't use extenders as a gauge.

I wouldn't dream of seeking financial compensation but surely must be possible to work out a height/weight ratio which indicates whether someone can comfortably fit into a standard seat.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Mar-2019, at 06:35 by leics2 ]

5. Posted by road to roam (Respected Member 142 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Quoting The Headline

Would you do this?

Nearly extort a passenger or allow myself to be put in a shame-spiral to the tune of several hundred dollars?

This almost sounds like a story from The Onion...

Leave it up to carriers to figure out ALL the options in these matters, for there are several. Incorporate ALL of them and enforce them. I believe any passenger can purchase extra room if it's available and at least some carriers in the US allow check-in agents to suggest to the passenger purchasing extra room if it's available. Of course, many agents feel extremely uncomfortable suggesting this to anyone, as you can imagine, but that is how some carriers prefer to deal with this touchy subject. Hardly a good solution, but that may be the extent of it for years to come.

I think if there was a "safe" across-the-board solution for all carriers to make more money off large passengers, they'd be using that solution. I sense a series of potential PR nightmares as the reason why this isn't a thing yet, and likely never really will be. A slippery slope, indeed.

As for our passengers in question: Passenger A is lacking in common decency and Passenger B could use a bit of dignity. To suggest monetary compensation from the person next to you because they ruined your moment is just cheap and tasteless - totally different than simply voicing your concern to either the crew or the passenger.

Passenger B should have "charged" a similar price for being humiliated, calling the whole deal equal.

A person invading your space on a flight in this manner is a very minor inconvenience, IMO. I never fully expect a comfortable, positively memorable experience when I fly and I seldom get one. Those golden days of air travel departed long ago.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Mar-2019, at 07:59 by road to roam ]

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1477 posts) 6w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

many agents feel extremely uncomfortable suggesting this to anyone, as you can imagine, but that is how some carriers prefer to deal with this touchy subject. Hardly a good solution, but that may be the extent of it for years to come.

I don't see why it is such a treading-on-eggshells matter. This large person is responsible for their weight, and responsible for putting their neighbours in discomfort because they knew they wouldn't fit in a normal seat without overspilling at the time when they booked. It’s antisocial behaviour.

I'd welcome airlines putting in the Ts-and-Cs the maximum dimensions that'll fit in a standard seat, just as they do with baggage, and requiring oversize pax to buy a larger seat.

7. Posted by road to roam (Respected Member 142 posts) 6w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

I don't see why it is such a treading-on-eggshells matter. This large person is responsible for their weight, and responsible for putting their neighbours in discomfort because they knew they wouldn't fit in a normal seat without overspilling at the time when they booked. It’s antisocial behaviour.

Neither do I myself, but I know people who've either worked for airlines or still do who feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable putting someone on the spot like that or they simply don't really care and just let it slide - at least that is what I've learned working in the industry myself for several decades. Perhaps you and I would fit into the minority of ticket counter agents?

Basically, the carrier is heading the ball to the employee, which is crap. Like I said, it's not the best solution to leave it up to the employee. The message the employee gets is this is not a big deal, due to the lack of guidelines, and most seem to respond to the matter in-kind, whatever their reason my be.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Mar-2019, at 09:33 by road to roam ]

8. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 774 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

Basically, the carrier is heading the ball to the employee, which is crap. Like I said, it's not the best solution to leave it up to the employee. The message the employee gets is this is not a big deal, due to the lack of guidelines, and most seem to respond to the matter in-kind, whatever their reason my be.

If left to themselves I'm sure this situation won't change but although I don't know what the deal is, I suspect that there must be certain rules about what 'A Seat' actually is area-wise, and one day someone will take an airline to court over it.
The airline will undoubtedly try to settle out-of-court and would then claim that they're only working to the non-existent rules from the FAA/CAA/whereverAA.
If it does happen in the USA and a judge says the FAA need to set up some rules for it then other AAs will follow.
Lets hope an ambitious American attorney has to use an economy seat some time and gets a seriously obese person next to them causing problems, as it's probably the only way this will change.

9. Posted by road to roam (Respected Member 142 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andrew Mack

Lets hope an ambitious American attorney has to use an economy seat some time and gets a seriously obese person next to them

I suspect that happens many times a day here!

10. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 774 posts) 5w 2 Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

Quoting Andrew Mack

Lets hope an ambitious American attorney has to use an economy seat some time and gets a seriously obese person next to them

I suspect that happens many times a day here!

As we're talking about attorneys I think they usually travel 1st class and don't have that problem...