Overly large people on planes

Old Jul 13th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Overly large people on planes

Since I am on a rampage re: air travel (my last two flights have been...ahem...not of the highest quality experiences), I have a question, as this happened to a frequent business-traveling friend of mine who was unfortunately not upgraded for this particular flight:

What's your stance on obese and/or huge people paying for two seats? Is this a civil-rights question or justified?
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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Justified? By me - hell, YES! Try a bus ride next to a highly overweight person. On the plane you can't stand up and move away.

Civil right? Where is MY civil right to have a normal flight without being squeezed?
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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My sister is large enough that some of the more narrow plane seats are snug for her, though she doesn't need a seatbelt extender. A very rude lady in her office made the comment to her that whatever you put in that seat next to you, whether it is your child, your pet in a crate, OR PART OF YOUR LARGE BUTT that doesn't fit in your one seat, you should pay for two seats! It hurt my sister's feelings, but I guess the lady has a point. I think plane seats should just plain be bigger so everybody can be comfortable.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 05:03 PM
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I flew on AirTran for the first time recently and was very impressed with their $35 'first class' upgrade availability. I think that is a humane and profitable solution without penalizing someone who is already self conscious. Other airlines' pricing structures of $X for 1 seat, $2X for 2 seats, or $$$ for first class seats seem almost punitive.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 05:10 PM
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I have some overweight relatives and am sensitive to their plight, but let's face it- the airlines try to utilize as much space as possible, and unless you are up front, comfort is not their concern(despite new friendlier advertising). With 60% of the U.S. population "off the scales", kids too, something will have to change. Larger people know the seats only accomodate so much, and can either use the extenders or risk having to buy the extra seat(I saw the Airline episode with the two guys who went through the "test"). I say if their girth obstructs fellow seatmates from fully using their seats, then yes, they require more space somehow. I have sat next to offensive people with odor problems, snorers and yakkers, but I count on at least being able to have some armrest use and not having my space infringed upon.
 
Old Jul 13th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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What about the big guys who take part of your space even if they don;t really need it? I have found that large women are usually aware of the problem and try to take as little room as possible.

But I've been seated next to a couple of relatively big men (who did not need to overflow their seats) who seem to think they automatically get both armrests, half of your floor space and can;t keep their thighs to themselves. I've actually said someting once or twice - and just get a blank stare in return. Is this a male thing? Or were thee guys just extra inconsiderate?
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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ny traveler,
I rad a study once that said that men (regardless of size) take the shared arm rest at least 75% of the time. In my experience this has been true!
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 05:56 PM
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Yes nytraveler and welltraveledbrit, ...that happens occasionally to me. I am glad someone brought up the armrest wrestling that goes on ...what a pain in the arm and elsewhere ;-)
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 06:03 PM
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I am overweight, but never needed the extender. I am uncomfortable in the seats on the airlines, but cannot afford another seat or 1st Class. I try to be polite and not move around too much or cramp the other people next to me. I feel that if my rear end can fit into the seat and I can buckle the seatbelt, I'm entitled to be there, just like anyone else.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 06:17 PM
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Any who cannot fit into one seat should be required to buy two.

Coming from San Francisco to Boston once, I had the aisle seat and another lady had the window seat. Just before take-off, we thought the middle seat might remain empty.

To our utter dismay, a very, very huge woman came along and pointed to the middle seat. Once there, she threw up both arm rests and proceeded to spill, considerably, into our seats. We were literally pushed aside and stuck there. The physical contact was nearly unbearable (think hot and sweaty on that side). Eventually, the window lady and myself, who spent most of the flight hanging out in the rear of the plane, returned to our seats for landing, shoving a magazine between ourselves and the middle passenger.

This was the most miserable flight I've ever taken.

Those seats are small enough for regular sized people!
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 06:30 PM
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djkbooks, I would not have had the same unpleasant experience because I would have moved to the middle seat and let the latecomer have the aisle seat with more room. Chalk it up to a random act of kindness and good karma.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Nice try.

Actually, I offered to switch. (Lady in window seat and I agreed waiting for the restroom that we'd "take turns" for at least breathing room.) She declined...I'm guessing it was more comfortable for her to be able to spread out in both directions. Even better when we left our seats for much of the flight, so she could have all three seats to herself. Window seat lady and I did not find it "kind" or considerate that lady in middle virtually shoved us out of our seat.

"Karma"? You must be kidding.

You had to be there...
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 07:19 PM
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I am not happy causing an overweight or obese person discomfort, but I feel I have a right to the personal space that I paid for. Several years ago I was in the middle seat with two large men on either side of me. The men were trying to stay within their space but couldn't. Now matter how they tried, our arms and legs were touching and I was being squished by strangers. (Maybe I am more sensitive to this because I am a woman.) I went to the attendants and told them the problem. They found a very slim young person who traded seats with me. I resented that the airline made such narrow seats that caused me and the men embarassment. It is inappropriate to assume that it is ok for strangers to spend hours unavoidingly touching.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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At least you tried to make things better which is good karma.
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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Heartburn3, you are quite right. If your rear end can fit into the seat, nobody minds. But I think they are referring to the ones who really CAN'T fit into the seats, but think they can...and overflow.
I don't want to share my seat. Flying on a long flight is cramped enough without having to share. I want all of my seat ( and maybe even one arm rest, at least for half the time!).
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Old Jul 13th, 2004, 09:30 PM
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Airline seats are way too small for the average person. If I fit in one of those seats I should have to pay 1/2 the price of a seat.
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Old Jul 14th, 2004, 01:00 AM
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Just an FYI--I brought this subject up a couple of years ago and my thread was deleted in less than 24 hours.

You bring up a very valid point! I was smashed into a window seat once and the woman who was in the aisle seat was so large she was spilling into my seat. I was lucky, the flight wasn't full so the flight attendant helped me find another seat just before takeoff.

Don't get me wrong--large people have rights, and I have no idea what caused this woman to be in that kind of condition. But as a paying customer, I think I have some rights, too....which does not include having to pay hundreds of dollars for an uncomfortable 4-5 hours smashed up against a window.
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Old Jul 14th, 2004, 04:57 AM
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It would probably be more helpful if you had stated the real "issue" in this by calling them what they are: FAT...skirting around it with "nicey" words doesn't help any.
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Old Jul 14th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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Also, what about safety? If you are in the window seat and the "Overly Large" (OL) person is in the middle or aisle, and you have to get up out of your seat quickly and they can't - does this impact your safety on a flight?

Once on a SW flight there was an OL person in the exit aisle (bulkhead). I watched the flight attendant ask them if they were able to work the door in case of an emergency - the person said they were. They asked again, same answer. I wondered.
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Old Jul 14th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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As I was reading this last night, the very thought of safety crossed my mind as well. What if there is (God forbid), some emergency and you can't get out of your seat quickly because of some huge person blocking your exit?

Aside from the inconvenience, this to me is a serious issue.
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