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Forced Off The Flight

Forced Off The Flight

The issue of whether or not overweight or larger passengers should be required to purchase two seats when traveling on an airplane has been a controversial one since the policy was adopted.  Hollywood director, Kevin Smith, recently brought this issue back into the spotlight when he was ordered to deplane a flight he had already boarded on Southwest Airlines.  Directly after the incident Smith took to his Twitter page to express his outrage over the situation.

Many of his fans then began publicly criticizing the airline for their treatment of Smith which prompted the airline to issue a statement on their Twitter feed apologizing for the way they handled the situation with Smith.  But had this been an average non-famous plus-sized passenger, would they have felt the need to apologize?  Probably not.

Southwest is just one of many airlines that have adopted this policy of requiring larger passengers to purchase two tickets for a flight.  Southwest’s specific policy is that if the passenger can not lower the armrests on either side of his/her seat than they must purchase an extra seat so as not to make the person sitting next to them uncomfortable or unsafe in the event of an emergency.  In Smith’s case, he contends that he fit in his seat comfortably with his armrests down which makes one wonder if a passenger is being deemed "too big" for one seat based on the opinion of a flight attendant rather than official regulations.

Critics claim that this policy discriminates against people because of their weight while proponents seem to like the idea of keeping everyone comfortable even if the overweight passenger must pay extra to fly.  A recent article from the Los Angeles Times reports about the Smith fiasco and the controversial two-seat policy.  According to the article, Canada takes a more diplomatic stance as they have ruled that airlines must pay for a "clinically obese" person’s extra seat. 

What do you think of the two-seat policy many airlines have adopted for "obese" passengers?  Does it discriminate against larger passengers?

Do you think this policy would be more fair if the airline had to pay for the overweight passenger’s extra seat?

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  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    02.17.10  

    I say kudos to the airlines for taking a stand. If you are an extremely obese person and you cannot fit into your " space" then yeah, I think you should have to have 2 seats and you should have to pay for them. I know this is a touchy subject for some, but the reality is, if I am next to you and you are crowding over into my space that I paid for, it makes ME uncomfortable. I should not have to suffer the whole flight because of your size, regardless if it self inflicted obesity or because of a medical problem. It also puts all of the people on that plane at risk because it changes the weight of the plane. The airlines allow x amount of weight per passenger, per seat... My life and safety are more important . Quit crying discrimination and just pay for the extra seat. If you dont agree, then dont fly and use another mode of transportation

  • MadHatter By MadHatter
    02.17.10  

    sorry to be harsh but then i agree with this policy and i wish a lot of other airlines will adopt it. seriously i remember when i was on vacation to Hawaii, i had an obese person sit right next to me. he was practically SPILLING over to my lap/seat. i was least to say very sick the entire flight and upset. obese passengers don't feel uncomfortable because they fill up the seat and probably the seat next to them! think for the little and the skinny people for once! i also agree to stop crying discrimination. its not our fault they can't fit! if i paid the same amount as the other person, why is it they are more comfortable then me?

  • sassysami By sassysami
    02.17.10  

    I would like to say that If a person is obese that person does not change the weight of the plane, that is bullpuckey. Second, I think that Kevin Smith is not that big and if he can sit in a seat safely and comfortable and not crowding the person next to you I don't think that he should have to pay. Now if you can't be safe and comfortable than should pay. But I think the second seat that you buy should be not that much money.

  • mcgeegirl By mcgeegirl
    02.17.10  

    I agree with you. We flew to LA our youngest whom I held except for the landing/ take off could not have sat in her seat if she had to do to the really LARGE Rude person in the next seat. Now I am not saying this because she is my child But she did great, 2 times she got fussy Even other mom's on the flight said how well is did. But this Huge mean man was taking up MORE than two seats, I would have been really MAD if I was sitting next to him for 6 hours with him in hanging over into my space it was really gross for me. He was clean but sweating bad. if he would have touched me I would have lost it I'm not a traveler because of the tight spaces and sitting next to someone I don't know.

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard
    02.17.10  

    Ya gotta pay extra if yer bag is overweight, so the same should apply for people. The airlines base everything on weight and balance. If you get a couple obese people on one plane, and each one does not buy a second seat, that sure does change the weight of a full plane. Im not talking about someone who is 100 pounds overweight, Im talking about grossly obese people. It might not make much of a difference on a jumbo jet, but for a smaller plane it definately makes a difference. And a smaller plane can mean an express jet, a biplane, whatever.

  • basilandcatnip By basilandcatnip
    02.17.10  

    Grossly over weight should purchase 2 seats, not just for my comfort and safety, but their own. Seat dimensions have changed over the years. Not to mention the backs of the seats. I was at a conference recently and most all were complaining of backaches from the plane ride. I also have a concern about the distance between seats, while seated all the way back in my seat, arms down, buckle on, nothing under the seat in front of me, all magazines removed from the pouch, and all seats in upright postition, my knee caps were touching the seat in front of me the entire trip. Rather dangerous if turbulence or I needed to take the emergency position.

  • cleanliving By cleanliving
    02.17.10  

    I applaud the policy, as a person who has had to sit beside an overweight person who took up half of my seat, on a cross county flight, I understand the need for one. All airlines should have this policy, and I do not feel it necessary that the airline apologize for it. And they should not have done so. Especially since the individual paid for 2 seats on the prior flight, so he was aware of the policy. It is unfortunate that obesity is such a problem now, but it is. And no, airlines should not have to pay for the extra seat, come on people, take some responsibility for yourself ? the airline or anyone else for that matter did not make you obese. I paid for my seat I should not have to share it. If you need two seats you should have to pay for them like the rest of us.

  • mardel By mardel
    02.17.10  

    I fully agree with the policy. I feel they should pay for taking two seats in order to fit. If I fly I wouldn't want to be stuck next to someone who is so overweight that they have to share mine, too! I paid my highly priced seat as it is so I expect to be comfortable. Overweight people need to realize it's not discrimination but something that they should be aware and be more considerate for others as well!

  • voyager1 By voyager1
    02.18.10  

    I understand and agree with the policy. I just wish there was a more diplomatic/delicate way to handle the situation so as not to humiliate people.

  • MadHatter By MadHatter
    02.18.10  

    i dont think there is a polite way around the word "fat" or "obese" or "over the weight limit". it is what it is.

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