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Help - need advice on horrid flight experience

Help - need advice on horrid flight experience

Apr 2nd, 2008, 10:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,025
"Myownheroine was simply pointing out that the OP HAD a seat. It was the OPs choice not to utilize that seat."

She didn't have a seat. She had 2/3 a seat because 1/3 of her seat was taken over by a huge mass.

The OP said she talked to a flight attendant about getting a different seat, but there were none available.

But I do think there is little the OP can do now.

She ought to take the $300 certificate if it is still available. I'm surprised the airline offered that much as there really is little they can do in that situation.

I feel sorry for the large woman's husband (if she has one) as he probably has to push her around in a wheelbarrow.
dusty56438 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 11:35 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,832
Photos are always useful to resolve any dispute "after the fact."

Don't cell phones have to be turned off once the plane is started down the runway? So before takeoff you could discreetly take your picture without any confrontation.

5alive is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,881
"I feel sorry for the large woman's husband (if she has one) as he probably has to push her around in a wheelbarrow."

Given this comment, I'm guessing people also pity your spouse.
MikeT is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,653
Huh? CONFRONT the fat passenger? Just what should have been said to her? "Buy a second seat"? (There were no more seats. "Put the armrest down"? She couldn't. Or are you just suggesting that she vent at the fat woman by saying something like "You're too fat to fly!"?

We don't know the fat woman's situation, perhaps she was flying on a last-minute emergency and tried to buy two seats but there were no more seats.

An amusement park won't let you on a ride if you don't fit, because it is not safe. Northwest should have an obligation not to allow someone into one seat if they don't fit, it is not safe to fly with the armrest up. Report this to the FAA. Just another case where the airlines need to clean-up their lazy act and shape up. Squeezing fat people into a seat is putting their health in danger, blood clots could form on a 6 hour flight. If the airline is allowing these people to get onto the plane, they have an obligation to have a wide seat that the person can fit into. Someone at the gate was just not doing their job. They decided to let her on the plane and let the flight attendant have to deal with the problem. But the flight attendants are just pre-programmed to hurry up and get passengers ready for an on-time departure.
joesorce is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,481
There's not much to be done about this situation, it's over. Maybe the OP could have handled it differently and received some satisfaction. She didn't want to hurt the woman's feelings, that's understandable.

But, I'm sure the woman was aware of her size. The OP could have said, "I'm getting crushed here and I need your help, let's put the armrest down so I get my fair share of the seat."
If the woman didn't agree, it's time to call the attendant and repeat the request. Emphasizing "I need your help."
Be nice, be firm. If you donít get help; document.
L84SKY is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 611
It is a no win situation, having experienced it myself.

A couple of things I wonder about. I am sure an obese person is quite uncomfortable squeezing into one seat. I wonder why they just don't but the extra seat for their own comfort?

I am waiting for a lawsuit to arise from normal sized people. I think the person that has to sit next to soemone who is not only taking up half their seat, but casuing a safety hazard is being ignored and discriminated against. They are saying that the obese person has all the rights in the situration.

Hi L84SKY I don't know if you have ever been in this situation - I hope not. The person that was suffocating us could not put the armrest down, she was too large. She also could not put her tray down. They know they are crushing you, but not only is there nothing they can do, but I honestly don;t think many care as long as they are permitted to shoehorn into 1 seat they will continue to do so.

It's funny.....I used to sell cars. I have seen many many obese people come in. They would always say the same thing "Before you waste your time, first let me see if I can fit behing the wheel". I am assuming that people do know they are obese, and are aware of thier size, if they weren't they would not try on cars like shoes. I wish they would practice this at the airport.
Annabel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,190
<Northwest should have an obligation not to allow someone into one seat if they don't fit, it is not safe to fly with the armrest up. >

I don't think there is any safety issue with the armrest being up or down. If there was, then wouldn't it be a safety risk for a large person to use 2 seats as they would be required to put the middle armrest up?? If there was a real danger with their being up, then they wouldn't be moveable in the first place.

I agree that the airlines need to do something to resolve this problem, but there is a major dilemna involved. If they create a special section for large people, how many "normal sized" people will start complaining because they are still squished in tiny seats when fat people get the "comfy seats". Do you put a minimum size limit on the larger seats? What about the people who CAN squish into a regular seat but would be more comfortable in the large ones? What about the tall passengers, should they get to use the large seats?

Even without considering the cost and charge of the seats, this is not a simple problem to resolve.

L84sky - I think you've shown how someone could confront the situation without being rude, discourteous, or self-righteous.

Dusty - that comment was rude, tacky, and just plain uncalled for.
toedtoes is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 611
In my situation it was a safety hazard because we were completely blocked in. We both had to literally climb over this person who could not move or even scoot up in her seat. I am 5'10 and my husband is 6'4. We were squished into 1 and 1/2 seats and could not even get up to use the bathroom. The front of this womans body nearly touched the back of the other seat. She was annoyed that we had to climb over her too. If there was an emergency of any kind we would have been blocked into our seats.

I do not think that there should be special sized seats....if you are bigger than the seat, you have to buy another one.

JetBlue now offers seats with more legroom. rows 2-5 have as much room as an exit row - however there is a $15.00 per seat/per way charge. So since we want the extra legroom, we paid for it. I did not take the seats with regular room and expect the person in front of me to NOT put their seat back because we are taller than the average person and need the legroom. Airlines seats/space is limited. If you want or require that extra room then you have to pay for it. We always do, we don't want to, but after being barracaded into airline seats by a human cork was lesson enough for us.

Annabel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Annabel - what happens if those seats with the extra legroom are all filled up? Will you not get on the plane? What happens if your flight (where you have the extra legroom seats paid for) is cancelled and you are put on another plane where those seats aren't available and the plane is full? Will you agree to stay behind until a plane with those seats available comes along? How long would you be willing to wait? Or would you decide that you will take a regular seat even though it's too cramped and continue on your trip?

In the OPs situation, this was a case where there had been a cancelled flight and that caused her flight to be overbooked. If that hadn't had happened, she most likely would have been moved to another seat. Unfortunately, there was NO OTHER seat to move her to. The other woman was in the same situation - there was no second seat for her to have bought, etc. Therefore, she was stuck where she was.
toedtoes is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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We have been in that situation where we did not have our choice of seats and we were uncomfortable. The only difference is that WE were uncomfortable, but we did not take up anyone else's seat, space or make anyone else uncomfortable.

An obese person stuffed into one seat is the equivelent of 2 people squeezing into one. If that is not permitted why is 1 person the size of 2 permitted?

The point of this post is why do other poeple have to suffer with another person taking up half their seat and offering $100? What's that??
Annabel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Yes it is a safety issue. Haven't you ever seen the FA's come around and tell everyone to put their armrest down for takeoff?
clarkgriswold is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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The point of the responses has been that by not speaking up honestly about the problem, the OP did not provide the airline an opportunity to DO SOMETHING about the problem before the flight.

Instead, the OP "suffered in silence" for 6 hours, left the plane, left the airport, and then started complaining to the airline and refusing to pay for the flight.

Under these circumstances, it is not reasonable to expect the airline to refund her money. She was lucky to get an offer for $300 (more than half her cost according to her posts).
toedtoes is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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JMHO, but the real source of the problem is the airlines. There should be strict guidelines regarding the size of a person (not the weight). It should not be up to us to "complain, write letters or make calls" or the FA's to make decisions. It is the airlines. The truth of the matter is the airlines have turned a blind eye to the size situation, and has absolutely no comment other than "it's discrimitory".It is not discrimnation if it is a safety violation - which it is. Honestly it is discrimination to us as full fared paying customers. Unfortunately something horrible has to happen before things change. It is size discrimination at theme parks when a seat is outside the ride for people to see if they fit?? That is out in the open for all to see. If a large size person cannot get the seat belt buckled or the lap bar down on a roller coaster, they have to get off the ride....why??? SAFETY!
If you cannot FIT in one seat (regardless of weight), you must buy 2 or you cannot get on the plane.
Annabel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Dmlove - what does first class have to do with anything?

Perhaps you should read the post to which I was responding before asking a sarcastic question. Here is what myownheroine had to say:

If you wanted to be sure you'd have a comfortable ride, you could have ponied up for first-class yourself.

Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 3,978
In all my years of flying (mostly Delta and USAir) I've never seen an FA require an armrest be lowered for takeoff of landing. Just tray tables and seatbacks.
Brian_in_Charlotte is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:55 PM
Posts: n/a
An obese person stuffed into one seat is the equivelent of 2 people squeezing into one. If that is not permitted why is 1 person the size of 2 permitted?

In fact, why not just leave the armrests up altogether and sell 3 seats to 4 people. Think how much more the airlines could make LOL!
Apr 3rd, 2008, 01:19 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,750
"if you wanted to be sure you'd have a comfortable ride, you could have ponied up for first-class yourself."
Let them eat cake! Ha!
sylvia3 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 03:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 44
Thanks to those of you who posted with the good advice/encouragement.
You are right in that I should not respond to the bashers. I am not committing "fraud" (still don't understand that one) and I am not a chronic complainer.

Thanks to some people's suggestions on here, I added some good info to the letter to NorthWest.

Funny- I've been on 100s of flights and never knew the armrest had to be lowered at take-off and landing. I guess on all my flights it has automatically been down. I noticed the FA said to lower armrests at landing time and I laughed to myself b/c it was impossible to lower the armrest. At the end of the flight I mentioned it to the FA and he did say the airline requires all armrests to be down as a safety issue at take-off and landing.

I don't want this post to cause arguments or to poke fun at those who are obese. They could have a metabolic disorder and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
I was simply seeking advice after coming home from a trip overly exhausted.
One thing I was most annoyed with was the awful manager I had to deal with when I landed at MSP and the airline should not have people like that in a managerial position.

I will post NorthWest's response when I receive it since I know some on here really care. And I appreciate that.
I do see this as a growing problem for the airlines as our nation continues to grow bigger..
I have to go to Argentina in 2 weeks and I paid more for Business class- just to be safe!
alexa35 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Perhaps this could open up a whole new class of seating. First Class, Business Class, Coach, and Hefty. Hefty just has larger seats and not any of the perks of Business or First. They also get no snacks or soda as they are already to big to begin with. It is a similar experience sitting next to someone who has had to much to drink, someone who talks constantly, or a baby crying on a 6 hour flight.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 868
since you went there, why not a soundproof section for parents with small children or one for people with too much perfume, gas or b.o., or for those who can't stop talking about themselves or the sleepers that lean on you, list goes on and on.
kauai_aka is offline  

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