A relative of mine has just returned from a trip to the US, and their outbound flight was one and a half hours late departing (VS from Gatwick) due to problems getting a family of 3 extremely overweight passengers seated. There were 3 of them and they were each allocated 2 seats (with the arm rests raised), and this caused major problems for the people who had already prebooked those seats.
I know that in some parts of the world, passengers who require an extra seat are required to pay for this and was wondering if this happens in the UK, or are the people concerned simply given priority over passengers who have already booked their seats?
The to rub salt into the wound, there was a 2 hour wait for immigration in the US, but not for the family who caused the delay as they were whisked straight to the front on a passenger buggy and didn't have to wait a minute.
Imagine you've booked a trip way in advance, and gone through the process of selecting your favourite seat on the aircraft. Then a (doubtfully well meaning) cabin attendant comes around, huffin' puffin' fatso in tow, asking you to move so that lard arse can get your seat.
Me, personally, I'd said "sure, if you upgrade me to Club". If that was denied, and disobeying an order by a crew member is unlawful, I'd ask to be involuntary denied boarding, collect the EUR 600 compensation as demanded by the EU and catch the next flight. If that was also denied, well, then I'd leave the aircraft and call the nearest tabloid newspaper and vent my guts. That usually result in a grovelling apology from the airline, and an offer of a free return ticket, if I promise to keep trap shut on the subject.
Not my problem some fat fcuker can't control their diet, and I won't be the one suffering from their poor choices.
I've always thought there should be an overwing exit mockup in the jetbridge with a sign, "You must be able to pass through this opening to board the aircraft."
PS I detest the PC word "obese", and much prefer "fatso", "fat fcuker", "lard arse" or other far more derogatory terms. They choose to become fat (in 99% of cases); I choose to ridicule them.
Last edited by SMT Member; 24th Nov 2012 at 08:27.
SMT, while I sympathise with your view it is neither the FAs nor the airlines fault, on the day. They are simply trying to accommodate all the fare paying passengers.
However what I think airlines must do is to include something in their conditions of carriage. Something along the lines of ...
1. The fare you have purchased is for accommodation in one (1) seat in your chosen class of service. (Insert here a clear description of the minimum seat size in each cabin).
2. If you are unable to fit in our seat, or if you require additional space for any reason, you must purchase a second seat at the applicable tariff and you must advise us at time of booking that you require adjacent seats. (or, for Cryanair types: you must arrive at the gate sufficiently in advance to secure two adjacent seats. We recommend that you purchase our rip-off advance boarding product. A charge for each seat will apply ). Otherwise we cannot guarantee that adjacent seats will be available. Should you fail to secure adjacent seats we will not accommodate you on our flight.
Having something like this will shift the responsibility back onto the individual traveller, where it should be. Airlines could include a "if our flight is not full, well give you a refund clause" but the passenger should pay up front.
Last edited by ExXB; 24th Nov 2012 at 14:57.
From memory about 10 years ago one large airline in the US began a policy of upfront charging the very obese for the extra seat they needed with a refund if the plane was less than full. Cue huge protests in the US media and said airline backed down.
The USA is too far gone with a pandemic of obesity for an airline to try this again.
SMT - It was with WN in mind that I suggested the 'refund' clause. But that is up to them, if they want to offer it. You could have a flight with less than a 50% load, and it seems a little OTT to charge for two seats when everyone else could have three seats to themselves FOC.
Exxb, all very reasonable, but why should the airline carry the extra 70Kgs, or whatever, FOC, even if there are plenty of empty seats. Every extra Kg carries a cost penalty.
The only solution is the one you suggest of conditions for obese people which MUST then be enforced at the check-in desk or gate. The critical dimension for that purpose is not actually weight, it's the width of the body, in a sitting posture, at any level (ie hip, shoulders etc must all fit in the space). It's a very easy dimension to define and check, and of course the maximum allowed is the width between the armrests (inside dimension) of the seat the passenger wishes to buy. There would be the option of buying two seats, or upgrading to a wider seat, for those who fail the test.
As a second condition, I would have no objection whatsoever to a rule which states that anyone with a BMI of > nnn must be seated where he or she will be at the back of the queue to disembark in an emergency. I can see no reason whatsoever why the lives of other people should be at risk because of the inability of the obese to move quickly, or indeed to squeeeeze themselves though the fairly ample exits. Seats for people with a BMI of >nnn should be marked as such on on-line booking charts, and a fattie who books elsewhere must be stopped at the gate, relocated to such a seat if available and refused boarding - and a refund - if not.
BMI is not a perfect measure, as we know, some very fit people have high BMI scores. But it's a start, and such people can always demonstrate their fitness to self-evacuate. (Oh Lord, here we go down another avenue....)
I always now book an aisle seat, as near an exit as possible, if I can to reduce the risk of being trapped by a tu......grossly obese person.
On a Singapore Airlines flight a couple of years back, I saw a passenger in the departure hall and fervently hoped that he wasn't going to be between me and any exit I might need as he was absolutely enormous (horizontally, not vertically).
He was seated on the rear row of seats at the back end, spreading over two complete seats and into the third. Apart from the normal belt, he had two child belts attached together.
The people I felt sorry for on this 13 hour flight were those sat on the row in front of him, as they couldn't recline their seats at all - his gut was pressing against them! He didn't leave his seats for the whole flight, and trying to access a toilet would have been a joke.
I was hoping that he would have had to pay for the extra seating, and/or the passengers in front got a refund - I didn't find out, but was grateful that I was sitting further away.
The "obese seats" will, for any given aircraft type and configuration, be those seats which are the furthest from the emergency exits, in other words halfway between any two exits.
There would be one row designated as such at each such halfway point; thus in an A320, for example there would be 2 "obese rows" totalling 12 seats. This number could be increased by designating the next rows forward or back, but only if they are not filled already with normal people.
People who can only squeeeze through a Type 1 exit would be permitted to use any designated "obese seat row" where the next exit, either fore or aft, is a proper, wide door (Type 1?). Again using the A320, this would be each of the two designated "obese rows".
If the superfattie were to disregard instructions, try to use an overwing exit and get stuck, it wouldn't matter because he or she would be at the back of the line in any event. The cabin attendant, if there, must make sure he or she exits before the superfattie, first having advised him or her politely to proceed to the front or rear door as appropriate. (That's advise politely, not proceed politely, which hopefully the superfattie would do, but it's not obligatory.)
The critical dimension for that purpose is not actually weight, it's the width of the body, in a sitting posture, at any level (ie hip, shoulders etc must all fit in the space). It's a very easy dimension to define and check, and of course the maximum allowed is the width between the armrests (inside dimension) of the seat the passenger wishes to buy.
In that case I would suggest that the vast majority of the male population would have to buy two seats.
Do the maths for a 16" wide seat and you will be amazed at what the max chest size would be.
Yes, well, you have a point; shoulders are, on a normal person, wider than the hips. So we would have to add an inch or two each side, the exact amount depending on the exact width of the seat at that point, plus 50% of the gap between it and the next seat, on each side. Dimensions for the middle seat in a row of three would apply to the two other seats in the row.
The underlying principle is that no passenger should encroach on another passenger's space on each side, or stick out to be clobbered (unintentionally, ho, ho, ho) by the trolley.
So by most peoples definition I should pay for 2 seats. I am 6' 1" and 230 lbs so using the bmi method I am just obese! But I do fit in a normal seat, I can move fast when needed and I am a pilot! I do like you tolerance and understanding of peoples problems especially as your all so perfect!!