Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I mean, they already place a "heavy" tag on checked bags...

Apparently, Delta, Continental, Southwest, JetBlue and a handful of others are already doing this, but I didn't know...

United Airlines will begin charging obese passengers for two seats if they get bumped from a full flight due to not being able to fit into one seat.

This is absolutely and interesting bit of news. After all, take it from a seasoned traveler: this is an issue. But don't take my word for it... according to a United spokesperson: "Last year we had 700 complaints from passengers who had to share their seats." Meaning you're enjoying your window seat when suddenly your thigh is being used as a supplemental cushion by some large person.

Yes, I know... airline seats are small. But no smaller than seats in a stadium. And most airplane seats I've encountered are bigger than those on public buses/subways. So let's not blame seat size.

So, how will the determination be made? You can tell United has lawyers, put it that way:

Under the new policy, obese passengers -- defined as unable to lower the arm rest and buckle a seat belt with one extension belt -- will still be reaccommodated, at no extra charge, to two empty seats if there is space available.

If, however, the airplane is full, they will be bumped from the flight and may have to purchase a second ticket, at the same price as the original fare.

That sounds pretty legally solid.

I can feel for folks who have thyroid conditions, but let's face it: those folks are the minority. America has become fat. Dangerously so. And as someone who goes to the gym five days a week - and is active every day - I'm glad to see that there is some resistance to accommodating people's unhealthy habits in these sites of situations.

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