Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Airlines Are Getting Serious About Flying Obese Customers Of Size

I have no fear of flying. I do have a fear of the claustrophobic nature of flying.

When I get onboard and find my seat I sit there hoping that I end up having the row to myself. That has happened only once. My next wish is that I have the window seat, someone has the aisle seat, with the middle seat empty.

If all the seats are taken it is my next hope that it is a small kid sitting next to me, next hope a small teenager, next a small female, next a small male.

I have only been stuck next to a full sized male once. This felt very crowded.

My greatest flying fear is to be in my seat and see an obese person making their way down the aisle, with me sitting there hoping this person is not going to sit next to me. This has never happened and I've only been on one plane where there was a hugely plus-sized person on board, with the plus-sizedness coming from both height and girth.

The various airlines have been getting a bit tougher with their policies regarding hugely overweight people getting onboard, with Southwest Airlines leading the way.

With Southwest you either fit in the 17 inches between the armrests or you buy a second seat.

United is now urging passengers who require extra seating to book that extra seat prior to getting to the airport, where you may be refused plane entry at the gate if you have not purchased an extra seat.

I wonder how many obese people are actually flying? Like I previously said, I have only seen one really big person on a plane.

It seems sort of unfair to the non-obese that a person weighing 150 pounds pays the same as a person weighing 500 pounds.

If you check in your luggage and it weighs even slightly over the allotted weight, you pay extra.

It takes a lot more airplane fuel to lift 500 pounds off the ground than 150 pounds.

Maybe some planes should be retrofitted with special seats for the obese, like two in a row, rather than three. The obese person then books their flight on these special retrofitted planes and pays a surcharge.

That seems fair.

An obese person has spent a lot of money on food to add all that extra girth. It really does not seem fair that the non-obese should basically subsidize the lifestyle of the obese by paying the same for an airplane ticket.

And how is it fair for a person who is well within that 17 inches between armrests to be placed next to a person who spreads outside that perimeter? It clearly is not fair.

I am almost 100% certain I will be flying soon. Hopefully without a "customer of size" as the airlines like to refer to the obese, sitting next to me.