'The bigger you are the higher the cost of a plane ticket' AIBU to think that this is ridiculous?

(385 Posts)
Poppet48 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:22:33

I have just heard the debate of should a plane ticket cost more for obese people.

I think that this is ridiculous, not only is it discriminating it is highly embarrassing to have to get weighed at the airport check in, Where have the human rights gone?

AIBU to feel this way?

I would love to hear what others think of this.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 25-Mar-13 16:40:20

Honeystepmummy - I'm surprised and pleased that your airline was allowed to refuse to let people on if they took more than one set. It seems like the obvious solution to the issue, and if this was universal policy then people above a certain weight would know that they either needed to book business class or pay for two seats.

I do feel that it's somewhat oversimplistic to label obesity as a lifestyle problem, but whatever the causes it certainly shouldn't be the problem of the innocent other person who potentially risks health issues by being crammed into less than one seat.

ophelia275 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:40:56

This isn't really any different to having a baggage allowance and having to pay more if you are over the limit. Do you think people should be allowed to take any weight of baggage they want without paying any excess? If not, why is this different for overweight people whose weight also consumes more fuel (the reason why excess baggage is charged).

GrowSomeCress Mon 25-Mar-13 16:42:26

I know people who have asked to move when they have been put next to somebody so overweight that they are spilling out of the seat, making it uncomfortable for the people next to them on long flights

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 16:42:28

Great post HoneyStepMummy smile

Given your knowledge of the industry, is there anything that could be done do you think, or is it just a "tough luck" thing if you do end up being squashed into your seat thanks to the passenger next to you?

HoneyStepMummy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:53:05

Best Rookie, as far as I know all or most of the carriers in the US have the same policy. Southwest airlines makes people who can't fit into one seat buy two seats even if there are lots of extra empty seats on the plane. Personally I don't agree with that. It was always really uncomfortable asking people to get off the plane, I hated that. I even saw passengers who were too large to sit in a first class seat.

The difference between a passenger of size and an overweight bag is huge (no pun intended). If your bag is overweight by a couple of pounds you can remove something from the bag and put it elsewhere. Let's say in your husband's bag, your handluggage, or throw something away. However a large passenger needs to occupy two seats, taking a second seat out of inventory.

When you make your travel plans you can check with the airline on their baggage policy and pack accordingly. If you are obsese you should also plan accordingly, and purchase two seats or a first class one.

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 16:56:37

Very good post honey.

I agree that the reason to pay for baggage is because of the handling issue etc.. Therefore no reason to pay more if you are obese and less if you are slim ad it won't affect the real cost.

I would also have a major issue with a system where you would have to be weight before boarding. It would a great way to humiliate people and to be sure that some people stop taking a plane tbh.
I can not remember paying a seat for a baby when taking a plane though. I have pay taxes and sometimes also for baggage but not for a seat.
All of which makes sense. Taxes are from the airport Andover airlines are happy to carry car seat, cot or pushchair free of charge. If we want to go down the routeof weighing passenger then surely we should also end all this freebies too?

And of course , this would mean more money for the airline but stil little comfort for the passengers.

MooMooSkit Mon 25-Mar-13 16:57:24

I think weighing people would be a bit humilating to be honest... Not sure how you could get round it. The idea of having "tester" seats like you have at theme parks to see if you fit into ride seats would be good but then how could you implement this without everyone watching to see if you fit in a seat?! It's a really hard situation but I do agree, I've had the experience of being on a four hour flight next to an obese person and they spilled over to my seat and I did feel annoyed that I'd paid for mine fair and square but wasn't getting all the room I paid for.

NewBlueShoes Mon 25-Mar-13 17:01:37

We saw two large Americans on a flight to Paris. They had decided to book three seats between the two of them which I thought was kind because, to put it kindly, they needed the space.
I did have to giggle though when they were brought three meals. wink

HoneyStepMummy Mon 25-Mar-13 17:01:41

SirChenjin, sorry just saw your post. If you are seated next to a large person bring it to the flight attendant's attention immediately. Be nice but firm! tell them that "I'm so sorry, this is very awkward, but the passenger next to me is so large that they are also accomodating my seat. I don't think I would be able to safely exit in an emergency, nor remove my seatbelt. I suffer from anxiety/DVT/scoliosis (take your pick!) and am very worried about how being pushed and cramped will affect my health. Is there any way you could move me to another seat please?"

I would usually put the displaced person in first class if it was available. I understand it can't be much fun being so large you need to seats either.

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 17:08:08

Thanks Honey smile

As far as an industry-wide approach goes, is there anything they could do better/differently to address the issue?

God that sounds very formal doesn't it! blush I'm just curious really.

pedrohedges Mon 25-Mar-13 17:08:22

I'm tiny and was sat next to a larger person on a flight to Turkey. It was unbearable. Through no fault of his own, he basically took over two seats and hurt my arm in the process. I felt awful for him and i could tell he was mortified.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Mar-13 17:08:45

You know, I agree with a lot of what is being said here.
I'm skinny, and I don't want people 'spilling on to my seat'.
But what are overweight people supposed to do? Never go on holiday unless they have to pay double price on the plane?
I do think that airlines can make seats slightly larger than normal, for everybody's comfort.

MrsHoarder Mon 25-Mar-13 17:12:07

If you just do it on weight it does punish tall people. I probably weigh 30-50% more that most of the "normal" people on this thread. I'm also an easy size 12, just struggle finding trousers that are long enough.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 25-Mar-13 17:19:36

ha ha SirChenjin! I get a lot of flack for being a bit posh, I actually talk like that! Lol

The problem isn't with the airlines. The problem is with people getting bigger and bigger. I do understand that some people are overeaters, and that some people are large due to an illness. For a person not to fit into one seat they have to be really big. We live in a world of excess...excess eating, excess baggage...

Because I'm skinny I always get big people sitting next to me on buses and planes with open seating. I agree, it's not fair. When I get a big person sitting next to me I stick a pillow down my side between us. I would rather be crushed by a pillow than some stranger's sweaty thigh.

I really don't know what could be done industry wide to resolve this ever growing (again no pun!) problem.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:31:38

What are overweight people meant to do? Err - lose weight perhaps. I had to sit seperately from my partner last year (not big problem, only a 2 hour flight). I saw him coming down the aisle as did everyone else and we were all praying he didnt sit next to you.....

He did of course sit next to me. He squashed himself into the seat and made a joke that it was a good thing I was skinny as there was more room for him.... I suspect underneath it all he was embarassed but it wasnt funny - at all!!

And he was huge and sweaty and my DH couldnt stop laughing.....

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 17:41:51

But what are overweight people supposed to do? Never go on holiday unless they have to pay double price on the plane?

If they're taking more than one seat then yes.

I do think that airlines can make seats slightly larger than normal, for everybody's comfort.

No they can't. Not without increasing the price for everyone just because a minority are too fat to sit in one seat.

manicinsomniac Mon 25-Mar-13 17:44:21

I don't think there is a morally fair way of doing this. I presume the issue is weight not size (ie a 5'3" obese individual costs the airline less in fuel than a 6'7" normal weight individual). To penalise somebody for their gender, height or weight seems unfair as at least 2 of those things (in some cases all three) are out of the individual's control.

As somebody who is barely over 5' tall and weighs 6 stone I would LOVE a 'pay what you weigh' system wink That doesn't make it right though. Unless maybe you could have a sliding ticket price based on weight that included children (eg 1-2 stone, 3-4 stone, 5-6 stone, 7-8 stone, adult) Then smaller adults could remain in the upper 2 child price brackets (much like buying kids shoes and clothes!) but overweight adults wouldn't be penalised or humiliated as they'd just belong in the 'adult' bracket.

I do have a hideous memory of my sister aged about 17 trying to persuade the man at an airport check in desk that he should overlook her excess baggage charge by saying 'the man you just let through weighs twice as much as I do and you didn't charge him for his excess flesh'. I actually wanted to disappear into the ground!

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 17:45:37

I imagine that very few obese people are physically unable to lose weight with the right support/treatment. It's not healthy to be so large and I don't understand why society feels the need to make out that it is OK and make allowances for it. (The health aspect equally applies to extremely skinny people but that's irrelevant here)

Obviously there are exceptions to this but they are a minority.

drjohnsonscat Mon 25-Mar-13 17:50:35

I hate this kind of thing. Just a way of making people feel better about themselves at someone else's expense.

How about people just accept that people are different and you might sit next to a fat person but enjoy their company or sit next to a thin person who smells. Or who is obnoxious. Let's not become fascists about stupid things, please.

Oh and btw I think men should be charged a higher price for tube tickets because they always insist on sitting with their legs wide apart. Poor me it's so unfair that I don't live in a world full of people who are just completely perfect, like me.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:51:36

I agree Soup - all this 'they cant help it, they just cannot resist a good takeway' is rubbish. Hopefully we know that a Macdonalds isnt good for you. Doesnt stop a queue into the Drive Thu's though.

I am not saying that you cannot have a KFC or a Big Mac, just not that sort of food every single day and for lunch, dinner and possibly preceded by a good fry up at breakfast.

Less and less I think society is putting responsible for people's actions at their own front door. My DS has a SS. He has been in jail but she keeps saying he has 'anger management issues'. Well, that's OK then, the nurse he hit saying he had been waiting too long in A&E should be much happier now.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:53:58

The obsese issue though is a health and safety issue both for the person themselves and the person sitting next to them on the plane.

God forbid in the event of a crash that you were the window side of them. They are wedged into their seat and will not nimbly jump up towards the exit door.

grovel Mon 25-Mar-13 17:58:05

Put the lardy ones in the hold. Bags of room.

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 18:00:06

^ Just a way of making people feel better about themselves at someone else's expense.^

No, it's about someone occupying part of the seat you have paid for. Or vice versa.

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 18:01:55

How about people just accept that people are different and you might sit next to a fat person but enjoy their company or sit next to a thin person who smells

I do accept that people are different. I don't judge a person on their size at all. I just don't want them sitting half on my seat.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Mar-13 18:03:51

What a nasty thread sad

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