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'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.

sannaville Mon 25-Mar-13 08:27:18

Hmmm I'm.not sure on this one as taxes on flights are ludicrous due to expensive fuel costs , I think rather than weighing individually they should weigh the family or group of people including all baggage

Trills Mon 25-Mar-13 08:27:54

YABU to say "human rights".

Weight would be a silly thing to base it on really. The problem is people spilling over seats.

Maybe the seats should come in narrow, medium, and wide, and you have to pay extra for a wide seat (and if you are obese or if you have rugby player shoulders, you have to get a wide seat).

There could be fake sets to test on check-in, like there are cages to put your bag in to check it's the right size.

<mostly joking>

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 25-Mar-13 08:29:07

If someone is spilling over into adjacent seats, and spoiling travelling for the person sitting there, then yes, they should pay extra.

redskyatnight Mon 25-Mar-13 08:32:51

I had to travel next to an obese person once. I had about half a seat and had to sit very uncomfortably with my legs mostly in the aisle. Thankfully it was only a short flight so I managed by standing for a lot of it. But no way should the airline have expected anyone to sit in my seat.

Trills Mon 25-Mar-13 08:34:22

I do like the idea of each seat coming with a "total weight allowance" - children weigh little but require a lot of stuff.

My proposed "wide seats" could come with a higher total weight allowance too. At least then people who were paying more would get something in return for that extra payment. Right now if the person sitting next to you spills over then paying extra wouldn;t help you and wouldn't help them.

It's all impossibly impractical though. No airline is actually going to implement anything like this.

homebythesea Mon 25-Mar-13 08:35:08

It is ridiculous that a slim person with a suitcase 1kg over the limit has to pay excess baggage when an obese person just on the limit does not, when the justification for the excess weight charge is that the plane needs additional fuel

maddening Mon 25-Mar-13 08:43:45

Mrsrobert - perhaps they should widen the seats so that all are comfortable - it's probably not pleasant to be spilling over either - especially if they charge the larger person extra that person should be comfy too. So perhaps catering for all passengers in the first place would be another way to stop fat people spoiling your travel.

Interestingly a plane did crash (in usa I think) as they had estimated the fuel based on the assumed average weight of the number of passengers but in fact the passengers weighed more - they addressed this by increasing the average they used in their fuel calculations.

Whether iit's the right thing to do is another thing. I assume the airlines are proposing it to cut costs but they risk alienating customers. Only they could establish whether the savings made would justify this commercially.

If it is a moral question as opposed to a commercial one don't think it's right to punish overweight people financially for being overweight.

I've often wondered why someone who weighs 50kg has to pay excess baggage, for say 30kg of bags (so 80kg in total). But someone who is 90kg can take 10kg (100kg total) doesn't have to pay extra. It does seem very unfair, and it is the fault of the airlines for saying that weight/baggage costs more money.

But then I don't see how it could work because some people do put on weight more easily or might be on a diet, and you might book 6 months ahead and end up heavier/lighter, so need a refund or to pay more.

Having said that, if someone is so large that they need two seats, then there should be an additional charge. I have to pay full price for my 3 year old because she needs her own seat at that age, so the airlines have a policy of charging per seat.

kim147 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:50:57

I remember taking a small plane flight in the Phillipines. They weighed the bag and then weighed me. I didn't see them weighing other passengers - think they were taking the piss.

Pilots need to know the weight of their plane for take off and landing purposes.
The weights are:
Summer
Males (12yrs&up) 13 stones
Females (12yrs&up) 9 stones
Children (2-11 yrs) 5 stones

BarredfromhavingStella Mon 25-Mar-13 08:51:44

YABU, nothing ridiculous about it at all.

Rosa Mon 25-Mar-13 08:52:57

It would be impossible to implement . In order to cram the most seats in the airlines have a set seat width ...there is no way they will give up a seat in a row to make them wider and potentially loose income. They caclulate fuel based on an average weight and make allowances for freight . Check in would take hours ..Imagine weighing 400 people it would take hours . However I am in agreement that if you obviously can't comfortably fit in a seat and you overflow into another thus disturbing your neighbour then you should be charged for a second.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 08:53:16

They will never come up with a system that will make this work fairly, but I do think it's a valid consideration.

Travelling next to someone who doesn't fit in the seat is very unpleasant for the people sitting next to them, and I'd guess its not that great for them either. Plenty of very tall people I know regularly pay extra on flights for more leg room, obese people should have that option as well, except they should be obliged to use the bigger seats because of how uncomfortable they make other people.

It would be a good idea it total weight were taken into consideration when paying for extra baggage, it would make it much fairer on people.

Rosa Mon 25-Mar-13 08:54:04

Oh and a small airline that goes from a west country airport does weigh people - I believe also the channel islands airlines do but they have like 12 people on board.

DoJo Mon 25-Mar-13 08:54:15

I know someone who has to buy two seats when travelling on a plane because he is so massive, and quite honestly, I'm glad he does because it means that there isn't someone next to him being squished by his excess and he is more comfortable too. It's quite common in the US for airlines to insist on two seats being purchased if they have concerns about a passenger fitting into one.

ENormaSnob Mon 25-Mar-13 08:54:24

I can see the rationale tbh.

We'd have to remortgage to fly as dh is rugby player build, not fat at all though.

Maybe they should do it off bmi to make it fairer to tall people. Or they could measure arse width to see if there will be overspill.

MrsBucketxx Mon 25-Mar-13 08:56:06

I really dont see a problem, being stuck in a seat between two large American men was hell on a 5 hour flight,

its not like seriously obese people cant do something about it is it, its not a disability.

mrsjay Mon 25-Mar-13 08:56:42

well you pay for extra legroom why not pay for extra space , plane seats are 1 size fits all, I am 5ft DH is 6 that isn't 1 size, if a person is over spilling a seat onto the next then I do think people should pay extra, maybe the suggestion of small medium or large would be a solution, and you said 'Human Rights' seriously yabu if you think it would be an infringement.

expatinscotland Mon 25-Mar-13 08:56:47

YABU! You are paying for space. I have to buy a ticket for my children who are over 2 although they do not occupy the entire seat. If your person occupies more than 1 seat, you should pay for it.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 08:57:36

If it is a moral question as opposed to a commercial one don't think it's right to punish overweight people financially for being overweight.

Tall people are already punished for having long legs, and there's nothing they can do about it. And they don't affect other passengers comfort as much as obese people do.

SofaKing Mon 25-Mar-13 08:57:37

They could have a weight limit per seat - if you weigh more than x, you have to purchase two seats.

But they are unlikely to charge more for heavier people, a third of people in the UK are obese, and nearly half of Americans in some areas, so the first airline to do this would lose those customers, probably for good.

It's not a risk they are going to take.

WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 08:57:51

I'm overweight because of my disability and can prove it. I'd sue them for discrimination.

sannaville Mon 25-Mar-13 08:58:27

Don't think it would take ages as it usually takes a couple of mins to get checked in so family AMD baggage could all stand on a scaled platform thing while checking in!

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 08:59:56

It would not be discrimination.

MrsBucketxx Mon 25-Mar-13 09:00:11

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WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 09:01:17

Did you not read the bit where I said it's a direct result of my disability? Therefore it would be discrimination.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:03:25

For the luggage/weight issue and fuel costs, perhaps there should be a total weight allowance per person. Then you and your luggage get weighed together, and no one knows if it is the gold brick in your suitcase that tips the scale.
I do think that if you need more space, then you should pay extra, and that if you've paid for a seat, you are entitled to all of it.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Mon 25-Mar-13 09:03:31

never going to work for commercial operators using large craft.

The one time I was weighed for a flight was going in a helicopter over the grand canyon as they had to seat you in a particular formation according to weight so that the helicopter was balanced correctly. There was a spot on the floor, pretty discrete, you stood on and no one but the person doing the arrangements saw the figure.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 09:03:44

I'm not sure the fact that weight is related to a disability is relevant, although I'd be prepared to stand corrected if provided with a good explanation.

Tall people can't help being tall. Why is it currently ok to charge them extra but not ok to charge overweight people extra?

crashdoll Mon 25-Mar-13 09:04:04

I'm slightly overweight, although I fit perfectly in the seats and I agree that if a person cannot fit in the seat, they should pay for two. It is not discrimination, it's for comfort and safety. However, I think it's humiliating to expect people to weigh themselves and their baggage and I'm suprised people think it is a reasonable suggestion.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:04:36

If you had the paperwork to prove the disability, then you should be exempt from payment and still get enough space.

crashdoll Mon 25-Mar-13 09:05:06

Westie Not sure what your disability is but it might be more comfortable to have two seats anyway...?

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Mon 25-Mar-13 09:05:10

How about if they don't raise the price for obese people but offer lower price or more baggage allowance for smaller people.

MrsBucketxx Mon 25-Mar-13 09:06:04

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How exactly would an airline implement a you must buy two seats if your arse is too big for one policy though? Would they turf people off planes (where there are often no extra seats, and therefore no way to offer people the option of buying an extra seat)? Would they insist you measure your arse and choose an option from a drop down menu on booking? It seems unworkable.

Yes, sitting next to a very large passenger who encroaches into your space on an aeroplane (or a train for that matter) is unpleasant. But so is sitting next to someone with dubious personal hygiene. Or sitting next to one of those men who think their balls are the size of basketballs and position their legs accordingly. Or sitting next to a passenger who snores and farts in their sleep. Or someone who gets drunk and tries to grope you (it has happened to me, and the airline did not take it seriously because she was a woman). Or in front of a child who keeps kicking the seat (and whose parents don't bother to stop them). Or behind anyone who wants to recline their seat at all, because the bloody airlines put all the rows too close together...

In short, I think one should just expect to be annoyed and uncomfortable on a plane. Or book a seat in first class. Of you get on the plane and it turns out not to be dire, it's a bonus.

I think there should be a weight allowance per seat. So you get weighed with your luggage.

The fatter you are, the less luggage you can take.

<only kind of joking>

BertieBotts Mon 25-Mar-13 09:07:24

Most airlines already offer the chance to buy a "comfort seat" ie an extra seat if you are overweight.

I think it would be appalling to weigh people or have "tester" seats at the airport. And I'm so underweight I'd probably be able to take 3 extra bags (which would be great!) - it's just an awful awful idea.

Frogman Mon 25-Mar-13 09:08:20

Bloody hell Westie - you'd sue them for discrimination confused

I think it's a great idea to charge fat/heavy people more. I too have suffered with an obese passenger sitting next to me and spilling over into my space. It was awful.

BertieBotts Mon 25-Mar-13 09:08:33

MrsBucket!!! shock

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 09:09:00

In my experience, airlines only show limited understanding when it comes to disability. So while I agree that if it could be proved that weight is related to disability then that person should be exempt from payment, exemption needs to be extended to all extra weight related to disability. My friend takes two wheelchairs on holiday, plus a mobile hoist and toileting chair. He often (not always) gets charged for the hoist and extra chair.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 09:09:26

It is rational to charge by total weight including your seat. People with children are being penalised quiet heavily having to pay full price and I have even heard of an airline considering 'child free' flights.

Freight carried by air is charged by weight so why not people with their luggage plus seat?

It is the fuel used on take off lifting it off the ground that is a major cost associated with additional weight.

I honestly think that if a budget airline did this there would be a lot of people agree and actually specifically book that airline if it offered more leg room and bigger seats in return. I once sat next to a very large man (height and weight) on a longish European flight. He must have been just as uncomfortable as I was.

I bet he would have happily paid more for a bigger seat and so would I.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:10:03

What happens when you get two or three obese people in the same row, is there enough space, or do passengers have to shuffle around?

slippysofa Mon 25-Mar-13 09:10:26

I know. Let's set up national fat farms where we purge fat prople of their desire to eat. Let's give them 800 calories a day and make them work in striped pyjamas. But the increasing obesity problem would make these fat farms full. Concentrated, in fact. So we would have to rename them Concentration Camps. But that would be expensive. Let's euthanase them so that they don't breed and produce even more fat children who will become fat adults.

Dear god, where will this end?

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 25-Mar-13 09:11:17

Another vote for it being based on bmi. Or maybe hip width.

I will pay more for extra leg room, so don't see why larger folk shouldn't pay more for width room.

WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 09:11:36

Westie Not sure what your disability is but it might be more comfortable to have two seats anyway...?

I'm not so overweight that I need 2 seats. On most planes I can just about do up a normal seatbelt, so long as I hold my breath for the entire flight. grin

Remotecontrolduck Mon 25-Mar-13 09:12:43

If you take up more than one seat, you pay for two seats. There's nothing unreasonable about that I'm afraid. It's not discrimination, you simply pay for the space you're taking up. If you're overweight and still fit into one seat, you only pay for one seat.

It might be embarrassing, but it's uncomfortable and unfair for people to have to be squashed thoughout the flight because you're spilling over your seat.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:12:46

44 posts in and Godwin's Law already invoked.

HillBilly76 Mon 25-Mar-13 09:15:43

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expatinscotland Mon 25-Mar-13 09:15:57

'I'm overweight because of my disability and can prove it. I'd sue them for discrimination.'

A man in the US sued an airline when they sat someone who took half his seat up as well at their own and they refused to refund him half his ticket price. He won.

crashdoll Mon 25-Mar-13 09:16:03

Yes, let's humilate everyone! FFS, yes people who cannot fit into 1 seat should have to buy 2 but weighing people....too far!

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 25-Mar-13 09:17:31

Oh dear, I started my response before it all became a little nasty.

Anyway, back to sensible suggestions... surely it could be the norm to opt for a 'comfort seat' if needed, in the same way easy jet currently charge for luggage. If you don't, and then you rock up at the airport and it's clear you need the 'comfort seat' you have to pay for it.

I like the idea of a discreet set of scales so only check in person knows.

of course, this would go hand in hand with airlines having improved disability policies so that those who needed extra help/space as a result of a disability got it as standard at no additional cost.

BeeBopDingALing Mon 25-Mar-13 09:17:38

This is not usually the sort of thing I would agree with, however about 4 years ago my friend and I were coming back from holiday and we were seated either side of a very obese man. He was spilling over and under the arm rests onto both our seats and it was pretty uncomfortable for everyone involved. Thankfully it was only a 2 hour flight. He should have had 2 seats. If someone needs 2 seats then they should pay for them of course. It's not the airlines or other passengers fault the person is obese so why should they take on the cost.

slippysofa Mon 25-Mar-13 09:17:39

I try my best.

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Mon 25-Mar-13 09:18:52

To be fair Westie why should I pay full price for a seat if someone else is spilling over into it,therefore reducing the space that I paid for? Is that not discriminating against people sitting beside those spilling over?

BertieBotts Mon 25-Mar-13 09:19:21

I don't mind paying full price for children as long as the flight isn't ridiculously expensive to begin with.

WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 09:20:18

I would like to know more about this westie, surely its what goes in vs how much you burn or are you totally different to everyone else, I'm a little ( well a lot) confused????

I have a genetic, cognitive impairment which seriously impairs the signals I get from my brain regarding hunger, thirst, pain etc. Sometimes I get no hunger signals so don't eat at all, other times it's so overpowering I eat until I'm sick and then eat more, other times it drives me to eat bizarre stuff eg I once spent 6 months eating nothing but flora straight out of the tub with a spoon.

I spent 4 years seeing a specialist at the hospital weekly, which has helped get it more under control but it'll never go away. I now go once a month. It may be easy for some, but it's not easy for all.

weegiemum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:20:22

I've lost a lot of weight but am still technically obese. I only fly with my family or just with dh and just make sure a slightly smaller person like my 9yo is in between me and anyone who might complain (though I don't overflow any more and can do up a seatbelt ok now).

I lost a lot of weight when I was acutely ill in 2011/12 and would like to lose more, but like westie I have a disability now that makes most forms of exercise very difficult and I'm also on a special diet which mustn't be changed except by the dietician. Losing more weight is just not an option for me right now!

expatinscotland Mon 25-Mar-13 09:22:01

'Yes, let's humilate everyone! FFS, yes people who cannot fit into 1 seat should have to buy 2 but weighing people....too far! '

How else do you police it, though? I think the idea of a mock seat, the way they have that box to monitor the size of hand luggage, would work. If you know when you sit in that seat that you are too big to occupy it then you buy two seats.

mrsjay Mon 25-Mar-13 09:23:31

This topic is up for discussion on This Morning just thought id mention it incase people dont want to comment any more

EggsMichelle Mon 25-Mar-13 09:25:31

My DH is tall with big legs, so if he wants a comfortable flight we have to pay extra for the escape door seats with extra leg room.

NuhichNuhaymuh Mon 25-Mar-13 09:25:39

Godwin's Law, I've never heard of that before TheNebulousBoojum

MidniteScribbler Mon 25-Mar-13 09:26:10

It would be simple if people who need extra space for whatever reason would be sensible and purchase the spacethey need, then there would be no need for eembarrassment. I have friends who are large people and they always purchase an extra seat between them for their own comfort, and for that of other people. I'm travelling a bit withan under 2yo at the moment, and he could sit on my lap, but I buy the extra seat to give us more room (and to save anyone next to us getting kicked or poked for two hours). It's only that people assume that they have the right to impact the comfort of others that has led to airlines having to look at options to require people to take some responsibility for themselves.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 09:28:05

Having a mock seat in travel agents and at check in would be no more difficult to use than the cage things they already have it hand luggage. It could be used the same way as they use sticks at theme parks to measure if children are tall enlightening for certain rides.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Mar-13 09:30:03

hmm I think two things:

1. weigh family + baggage on an innocuous piece of springy floor with the result visible to no one, and a charge added for excess either baggage or human.

2. Have seats to cater for larger passengers as with extra leg room seats.

DontmindifIdo Mon 25-Mar-13 09:32:05

Surely a 'total weight per seat' - so person plus baggage would be fairer? You could have scales you walk onto with your luggage. I know a lot of smaller airplanes do that, you have a total weight allowance.

It could be equally said that charging excess baggage for someone who needs to take equipment with them due to a disablity/medical condition is discrimination.

I know someone who used to work as ground staff for an airline back before everyone did on-line or touch screen checkin, they were told to discreetly "spread the loads" - in the same way they try to even out very heavy bags on either side of hte plane to avoid one side being considerably heavier than the other, they were unoffically putting larger people on opposite sides of the plane to try to even it out. this was stopped once they realised it was becoming public knowledge, she said the lady from head office said they'd rather take the risk and offend anyone - so I can't see something like this ever being done.

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 09:35:25

Travelling next to someone who doesn't fit in the seat is very unpleasant for the people sitting next to them

This. I'm not entirely sure what the solution is but airlines can't afford to make every seat wide enough for large people (whether obese or "rugby build") without increasing the cost. Should everyone bear the cost of making seats wide enough for a minority?

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 09:39:04

Total weight allowance sounds good.
Filing Godwin's Away in my Geek bibliography (should know it already as am an old Usenet hound).

is it really a valid principle that disabled people should never pay extra to accommodate their disability? I am trying to decide if that isn't patronising.

MildDrPepperAddiction Mon 25-Mar-13 09:39:30

YABU. It's a horrible experience being squashed by your seat neighbour in a plane. If someone had to buy two seats it would also be less embarrassing for them knowing they are not infringing on someone else's personal space.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 25-Mar-13 09:40:26

I think it's weird that we don't seem to mind the new 'naked scanners' but no one wants to be publicly weighed........

Icelollycraving Mon 25-Mar-13 09:40:42

If I had to get weighed,I wouldn't fly. I am overweight,well actually obese. We pay to go into premium economy which is roomier.
I understand about being uncomfortable squeezed next to someone on the hefty side. If someone cannot fit in the seat comfortably,they should have to upgrade to a wider seat.
You'd have to have the sections of wider seats evenly distributed through the aircraft though grin

Kendodd Mon 25-Mar-13 09:40:58

I have had the misfortune of sitting next to an very obese person on a plane, it's no fun at all, and embarrassing for him I'd bet. He was lovely though, travelling with his wife, also very obese, and interestingly not sitting next to each other, but sitting in opposite aisle seats. During the meal, DH and I ate their salads and they had our cake, not joking! Actually, the wife didn't have any cake the husband ate ours.

I heard somebody on the radio a while ago talking about obesity being a moral and environmental issue. Example, more fuel needed to transport people around, more food needing to be produced, more fabric to clothe them etc. He said that all the 'extras' needed added together was having a massive impact and should be addressed. I'll try to find the link.

It seems to be that obese people sometimes try to dress their problem up as some sort of disability, called themselves discriminated against. IMO obesity is not a disability (although it might lead to one). One question though, people with downs syndrome always seem to be fat, why is this?

pigletmania Mon 25-Mar-13 09:41:22

I am going to be flamed but yes if they are taking up to seats with their weight, why should the person be squashed and uncomfortable during the flight that they too have paid for. I am afraid you pay that price for your lifestyle choices. Yes airline seats should be wider, but how wide when a single person can weigh as much as 40 stone plus, noway will they be able to sit in one seat, its pretty obvious

Peetle Mon 25-Mar-13 09:42:19

I still resent paying a full price ticket for my 5 year olds, who weigh 16Kg each, and then not getting a 50Kg luggage allowance for them.

Kendodd Mon 25-Mar-13 09:47:17

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LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 09:54:04

Certain medications affect a persons weight. My MIL was a size 8 before she developed Emphysemia (sp?, sorry) and a year on was a size 16 as a direct result of the steroids, the drugs keeping her alive and the lack of exercise - she eats like a bird though.

Also anti-rejection drugs for certain transplants, steroids for lung complaints and so on.

In fact, for a lot of people simply the lack of exercise as a direct result of a disability/injury will cause them to put on weight - I know I did after my accident, and I have always been a healthy eater - but going from running and gym work every single day to absolutely nothing for 6 months saw me put on 3 stone - and it took almost 2 years because of my reduced mobility for me to be able to get it back off. It was very hard work and totally demoralising, so if this had been bought up back then I think it would have destroyed me.

I think the airlines would be leaving themselves open to a world of hurt if they were to implement this, I really do.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 09:54:27

Rosa I fly frequently to and from the Channel Islands and I have never been weighed. hmm I've also never been weighed flying from Bristol or Exeter. Is there another West Country airport?

pigletmania Mon 25-Mar-13 09:55:05

I think that people will know whether they need two seats really or just stipulate that anyone over say 30 stone will need to buy two seats. Mabey they should have wider seats to accommodate those who are super morbidly obese. They have special bariatric ambulances and wheelchairs, so why not seats. They may pay more than an average seat, but as i said that is what happens unfortunately

VanitasVanitatum Mon 25-Mar-13 09:55:09

?! ken I know several people with down syndrome who are definitely not fat.

MissLurkalot Mon 25-Mar-13 09:59:46

I used to be heavier than I am now, 6ft tall and Size 22.

I purchased an extra legroom seat, at extra cost (which I was happy to cover to be more comfy)... but as I also asked for an extender belt, due to my tummy being too fat to do the seatbelt up... I was asked to move as I was "not deemed 'fit' to open the door in an emergency".

So, in front of everyone, just before take off, I was asked, not so quietly, to move, and sit away from my family, and to make it worse, I was asked to swap with someone else, which meant they were separated from their family. I felt mortified...

It was a hole in the ground moment.. People turned around and were looking at me... and I spent the rest of the flight holding back the tears, and the rest of the holiday, crapping myself about the return flight.

I've lost weight now, and still get very anxious about flying.

I'm not asking for sympathy... I'm posting my experience to show the other side. I can still remember the giggles and the dirty looks from the family I had split up, unintentionally.

Something does need to be done to accommodate heavier people, I agree.. I would've loved to afford by purchase two seats for myself, but I just couldn't have afforded it.

How about offering extra width seats, away from the emergency door, and charge a premium?

My husband is 6ft, but very slim.. And even on some flights he's been on, he felt squished, width wise as well as for legroom.

I don't know what the answer is, but I wouldn't want anyone to have gone through what I went through.

Crawling Mon 25-Mar-13 10:04:16

Just to say I take meds which have made me gain 2 stone. I was slim before now I am just overweight. I am trying hard to lose weight I do 40min a day on my cross trainer and have cut my cals down but the medication I take makes it harder to lose weight. I dont spill over the seat BTW. But some disabilties do cause weight gain.

suburbophobe Mon 25-Mar-13 10:04:39

Haven't read the thread but I think it's a great idea!
(being skinny and all that!).

Nothing annoys me more than being stuck on an aeroplane next to a "big" person who feels they have the right to take more space than allocated, never being able to use the arm rest cos their arms are all over them and touching me already! Ugh!

They really should be paying for two seats!

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 10:08:22

Seems like a sensible idea - having been squashed into half my seat by a very obese woman who took up 1.5 seats I can tell you it was not fun at all. I did think of asking for a 50% refund on my ticket, but decided that I wouldn't get very far with that - though perhaps I should have gone with the human rights arguement, it seems to cover most things hmm.

Don't know how the airlines would manage it in practice though.

Rosa Mon 25-Mar-13 10:12:57

Russian.... Yes there is ...its called NEWQUAY hmm hmm the airline is http://www.skybus.co.uk/ When a friend flew from Gurnsey to Jersey they were all weighed and she was the tallest and she was put in the back !!!

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 10:14:34

The airline business like any other mode of transport is based on weight. It costs more to send 100kg than it does 50kg.
You have to pay more to take a heavy case in the hold than a light one, because it uses more fuel to get it off the ground. The same should apply to the weight you put in your seat.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 10:20:57

Rosa Ah. Newquay. They opened that again didn't they. But I thought you meant international airports. smile And I'm sorry but I fly between Guernsey, Jersey and the mainland several times a year and I have never been weighed. And I've never seen anyone else being weighed either. I'm going next month so I shall be able to report back.

lljkk Mon 25-Mar-13 10:22:00

people with downs syndrome always seem to be fat, why is this?

For all the reasons that the rest of us struggle not to be too big, but also many (?most) DS people have weaker joints, so they can't take as much impact exercise. It's literally harder for them to lead an active lifestyle. The comorbidities with other learning difficulties that make it extra hard for the DS person to understand the value of exercise & healthy diet for their health is also high.

Poppet48 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:25:47

I agree that they should have wider seats to accommodate obese people, That way they can avoid the humiliation and discrimination of people weighed at the check in.

I also disagree with people who have said that obesity cannot be a cause of having a disability and I find it extremely uncomfortable when people have to speak about there disability due to people disbelieving them.

It's a very sensitive subject and one I think does not need to be brought forward.

Rosa Mon 25-Mar-13 10:27:28

Newquay has never closed and it is international ... Just not very often !!

slippysofa Mon 25-Mar-13 10:31:56

Penzance too, for the chopper to the sillies.

LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 10:32:25

The question about people with Downs Syndrome is partly answered here on an info website about DS:

Reduced height is a recognised characteristic of most people with Down syndrome with their average height 2 centiles below the general population. For the majority the cause of reduced growth is not known

Some treatable conditions which may lead to poor growth - congenital heart disease ; thyroid hormone deficiency; sleep related upper airway obstruction; coeliac disease and nutritional inadequacy due to feeding problems occur more frequently among children with Down syndrome

Overweight is now recognised in children with Down syndrome as early as 7 years of age with obesity becoming more common by 10 years of age

Research suggests that children with Down syndrome have a lower basal metabolic rate (BMR) than their same aged peers

So, looking at this kind of thing, and taking into account the myriad of reasons that a person may be overweight (as it's just not as simple as "Eat less exercise more" for a lot of people) I do think that airlines would be skirting into discrimination territory if they were to introduce this across the board - I think they would have to implement some kind of 'get out clause' for those with disabilities/illnesses and I cannot see how they would be able to cover for all eventualities.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 10:38:48

Rosa sorry, I meant scheduled flights. Who knows what charter companies do, I'd be quite prepared to believe they make people strip off, to be honest! grin I thought there was some hoohah about it closing a year or so ago (or longer). There were lots of items in spotlight about it? I see that they are starting one scheduled flight from May though, to Dusseldorf sady I won't be able to use them for that because we have no offices in Dusseldorf but maybe in the future, Lufthansa will add routes and that could be very useful for me.

I've thought of another westcountry airport too, although again it isn't international but it does fly scheduled flights off the mainland - St Just! grin I've not ever used it though.

specialsubject Mon 25-Mar-13 10:38:51

come on folks, we're not talking 'a bit chubby' here. We are talking 'too fat to fit in the seat' which is 'so fat that people look twice at you in the street'. So fat that the person next to you is sitting under you. Why should they have to do that?

those who eat too much and move too little, need to take action if they want to fly. Those who really can't help it may have to accept that they cannot fly. Not being able to take an aeroplane is not an infringment of human rights.

why be embarrassed about what you weigh, anyway? It's a fact, like how tall you are.

edwardsmum11 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:41:15

Shouldnt it be based on ability to fit seat and not weight?

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 10:42:05

By the way, we all know we have to pay extra to carry extra baggage on a plane and while it would be nice if it were free to put any amount of extra bags on the plane we liked - it isnt and we all know why that is. Airlines have bceom ea lot more stringent on that in recent years.

I just think that if we all stood on weigh scale with hand bags, hold baggage and the weight of our fiirst, club, premium economy, economy seat plus ancillary serrvices added in (eg weight of food and drink carts) then we would all be clear what we were paying for and we could choose.

Someone weighing 100kg would not in reality be paying twice as much as someone weighing 50kg. There are some fixed costs no matter how big you are and some variable costs based on weight and leg room and width of seat.

I bet the extra a tall 100kg person would pay would be somethhing like 20% for an economy seat and a matter of 5% on a club class seat. Frankly for a really guaranteed comfortable flight for all concerned then that is a cost worth paying.

Rosa Mon 25-Mar-13 10:46:29

Slippy / Russian- the helicopter service has stopped as the land has been sold for a supermarket . I think it stopped last October ..very sad.

Thing is, the airlines would just charge everyone more in this weight based system and it would make absolutely bugger all difference to seat sizes. Airline seats are tiny and squashed together because the airlines want to squeeze as many passengers on as they can. They just aren't going to redesign planes to offer a variety of seat sizes in economy.

And obese people aren't the only thing that makes flying uncomfortable and unpleasant. There are all sorts of reasons why sitting next to a stranger can be a hideous experience (which encroaches on your personal space), not just that the person next to you is a bit portly.

kinkyfuckery Mon 25-Mar-13 10:48:31

I'm overweight because of my disability and can prove it. I'd sue them for discrimination.

That's grand - you'd be able to use all that extra money to pay for your extra seat! Win-win! grin

archilles Mon 25-Mar-13 10:49:54

Sounds fair to me. Although there are plenty of reasons for being overweight and taking up more space, If you need more space then sadly you have to pay for it.

If you suffer from gluten allergy you have to pay more for gluten free foods. That isn't discrimination, if you need adaptions made to accommodation then you pay for it. That is life.

Tbh I welcome this, being on the smaller side I get more than my fair share of larger people sitting next to me and invading my space, spilling into my seat as they deem me not to need it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 10:49:58

Airline seats are not tiny!!

tazzle22 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:50:09

I agree in principle that more weight ( combined person / weight ) on a plane impacts on fuel costs ( and stability on some planes) ............ and on standard planes it impacts increasingly "overspill" into other peoples space the greater the level of obestity and it is unfair.

How to solve the issue is indeed complex ....... and my personal favourite of having different sizes seats from kiddies to comfort seats ( with increased prices as one gets larger seats) does certainly have some issues.... in that one never knows the percentages involved and even averaging it out might still leave unusable seats on most journeys because of mismatch. Even having adjustable ( sliding sideways arms rests) probably would have safety problems even if it was viable to fit them on all planes .

I think already very obese (and I am still obese atm though shrinking !) people have to accept that all things with seating facilities have their limits, from cinemas, buses, trains, planes, funfair rides etc.. Is it fair... debatable (the cost etc of adapting everything to accomodate every possible size would be prohibitive never mind get to "reasonable" as required by law) .

Maybe if the seats had "sides" so overspill can't happen ?????? ( and of you can't get in you can't fly confused

BarbarianMum Mon 25-Mar-13 10:50:16

You pay for a seat. If you can't fit in it then you should pay for 2. If you can't afford to do that, then I guess you can't fly hmm.

It really is that simple. You are simply not entitled to take up someone else's seat because it has already been paid for - by them. And I speak as an obese woman.

BarredfromhavingStella Mon 25-Mar-13 10:50:28

Tester seats are a good idea-they have them at Alton Towers for some of the rides (safety issue rather than comfort in that case though)

If you're so big that you are spilling over into another passengers seat it should be your problem not theirs-why should they be uncomfortable for the duration of the flight to spare your blushes??

Airline seats are tiny. I am not far from overweight and I wouldn't describe them as roomy. Given that you are expected to sit in them for hours and hours on end, they are positively stingy. It's even worse if the person next to you reclines their seat. Economy is not designed for comfort.

And don't get me started on the leg room issue. I'm only 5'4 and I find it cramped. I have no idea how tall people cope.

quoteunquote Mon 25-Mar-13 10:57:15

the last time this subject came up, I asked DH and DS who weigh quite a bit, as they are both nearly seven foot, neither are over weight, but very large muscly due to sport, so their weight on a much shorter person would mean that person was obese,

Their comments were, they are happy for this to go ahead, but the tall people will be getting together to form a union,

There will be a charge on reaching things from high places, especially in supermarkets, there will also be a charge for shoulder rides at festivals, and no cooperation on where they sit at concerts and films, and the charge for first footing will be astronomical, a lack of tack when observing bald patches, roots showing through will also be apparent.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 10:59:27

100% agree with Barbian.

If you are too big to fit into the seat that you need to buy another one. Airlines tickets are often bargains compared to yrs ago. RyanAir has very cheap flights providing you book well in advance.

Its selfish to buy a ticket knowing you are overweight and then try and use someone elses (mine for example!).

There is a picture around the internet of a huge chap literally bursting out of a seat on a plane. Surely this cannot be safe for anyone.....

Icelollycraving Mon 25-Mar-13 11:02:16

I personally find brattish children kicking the back of my seat more annoying than a porky adult <cat amongst the pigeons>

livinginwonderland Mon 25-Mar-13 11:04:46

if you need more than one seat, you should have to pay for it, regardless of the reason.

pigletmania Mon 25-Mar-13 11:06:36

Edward what if the person is able to fit in the seat just about but is spilling over and obstructing the person next to them so that they have less space, hardly fair

fieldfare Mon 25-Mar-13 11:07:45

So I understand the point you're making about obese pele, however if at person was travelling with a child that was under this magic weight restriction, would the two cancel themselves out?
What if that obese person was travelling with carry-on only instead of a fortnights luggage + the kitchen sink, would that then cancel it out?

It's impossible to police without upsetting someone.

That said, on a helicopter ride in Vegas we had to be weighed. There was an area of floor that you had to stand on so quite discreet and then the person behind the desk could tell where to position you for the flight so the helicopter was balanced properly. I was larger then and didn't find that at all offensive.

I think there should definitely be extra-wide seats. I once had to fly from Cyprus with an 18 month old on my knee when half of my seat was taken up by her.

I felt awful about it, though. I was uncomfortable, DS was uncomfortable, and she was clearly uncomfortable - not just because of the crush (and it was a crush) but also because DS was very wriggly and objecting to the very small space he had.

The cabin crew weren't that much use either. She had a seatbelt extension, but needed another one too as the belt still wouldn't fit. The man who was helping her was sighing and tutting, and kept catching my eye and saying "I am so, so sorry about this". I appreciated that he was clearly aware that it wasn't a brilliant situation, but it made me feel even worse for her.

Grr, deleted a bit of my first sentence. "Her" being a very obese lady.

BristolWatcher Mon 25-Mar-13 11:18:56

YABU. It's a question of physics. With a plane of a given design, it takes a certain amount of fuel to get a certain amount of cargo off the ground. Heavier cargo means more fuel means the plane costs more to take off. The people who want to move that heavy cargo should pay for it. It's extremely unfair that costs are currently based on discrete units of cargo (number of people flying) instead of what it costs to get them off the ground.

LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 11:32:13

Everyone complaining about 'seat-spillage' - It's nothing to do with that, the airlines don't care about your comfort, they care about their profits. All the anecdotes about uncomfortable flights have nothing to do with the proposal (Which is actually from some professor so is highly unlikely to be anything more than a way for the tabloids to sell more papers!):

A pay-what-you-weigh airline pricing scheme should be introduced because heavier people cost more in fuel to fly, a professor has claimed.

Heavier passengers would pay more for their plane tickets and lighter ones less under plans put forward by Dr Bharat P Bhatta.

Writing in this month's Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management publication, Dr Bhatta said weight and space should be taken into account when airlines price their tickets.

Dr Bhatta, of the Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway, said: 'Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services.

'As weight and space are far more important in aviation than other modes of transport, airlines should take this into account when pricing their tickets.'

Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management editor Dr Ian Yeoman said: 'For airlines, every extra kilogram means more expensive jet fuel must be burned, which leads to CO2 emissions and financial cost.

'As the airline industry is fraught with financial difficulties, marginally profitable and has seen exponential growth in the last decade, maybe they should be looking to introduce scales at the check-in.'

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 11:47:09

They really aren't tiny. They are fine. Their dimensions become an issue only when the person sitting next to you is too big. Otherwise, they are fine. I do personally have a problem with my feet not comfortably reaching the floor but I normally curl up if there isn't one of those foot rest thingies. And then it's fine. And I realise that airline seats can't be height adjustable (although I wish they could be.)

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 11:50:02

Bristol - "It's extremely unfair that costs are currently based on discrete units of cargo (number of people flying) instead of what it costs to get them off the ground."

Yes I agree and it would also would be equally unfair to base a ticket price purely on weight. In reality, the cost is partly weight and partly a per unit cost. I guess in the days when fuel was a lot cheaper it was just easier to charge per person (unit) rather than weight but now in the days of fuel price supplements weight matters a heck of a lot more.

I once did a bit of work for a firm that flew gold (high weight but low physical volume) out of African mines on 747 freighters. They used to take off with the gold on board but obviously had huge amounts of empty space in the cargo area so they would land again on the way back to the UK to pick up a cargo of low weight but high physical volume exotic flowers before taking off again. That way they carried the maximum weight and volume.

The fact that this is human beings we are talking about rather than gold and flowers makes no difference at all to that basic physics and economics questions of running an airline.

I often want more leg room and have to pay Premium economy fare to get it as I am taking up more volume but am only 12 stone. Surely someone who is shorter and 16 stone should pay for their weight like I have to pay for volume. Seems like people do't mind tall people having the tough choice of suffering in pain for a whole flight or paying more for a seat but 'fat' people is a no go area.

archilles Mon 25-Mar-13 11:55:32

I don't think it is discrimination or people having to justify their disability/weight.
It is a fact that having more weight is uncomfortable to the person sitting next to you and uses more resources that, in this case, everybody using that flight pays for.

If you are a huge 6 foot plus rugby player or are morbidly obese and go into a restaurant and eat three times as much as me I don't expect to share your food bill. I expect to pay for what I eat. It is as simple as that. It is not discrimination, it is just fair to pay for the resources you use, especially in non essential services.

We aren't talking paying more for education or health, we are talking paying for the extra space and fule needing to get you off the ground. It is a leisure industry.

Sorry if that offends those who have medical reasons for obesity, but it isn't about judging, it is about fact.

After all I can't afford to go on a plane full stop. Is that discriminatory? No I just can't afford to pay the price so I don't go.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 11:55:53

I might also add I have issues with people that carry several bits of hand luggage on to a plane which are effectively the size of the suitcase I had to pay to check in.

You know who you are! <hard stare>

pigletmania Mon 25-Mar-13 11:56:19

Yes the same might apply to sportspeople. I have been sat next to someone who seemed supermorbidly obese on a plane and my space was restricted and i felt uncomfortable, but it was a shortish flight. why should other people be uncomfortable because someone who is supermorbidly obese is impeding on their space. I dont think those who are supermorbidly obese are sports people. The airline companies should have some large seats for those who need them but with a higher price, that is fair

ENormaSnob Mon 25-Mar-13 12:05:05

On top of the comfort and cost issues of a large person taking up extra seat space, what are the safety issues?

There must be some ramifications of a morbidly obese person taking up half of your seat in the event of an emergency landing or evacuation?

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:05:40

So how would they really put this in to practice?
We went to Australia and booked our flights about 8 months in advance, in that 8 months I could probably put on 4 stone if I tried hard.
What would they do charge 1 price at booking and then expect people to pay the rest at the airport?
How many more staff would they need to weigh everyone and then charge the extra money?
What would they do if you had paid the original price but didn't have enough to cover the fat charge?

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 12:07:46

How many more staff would they need to weigh everyone and then charge the extra money?
No more than they need to weigh our cases and charge the extra money now.

Mondrian Mon 25-Mar-13 12:07:56

Wonder if this will cause slim/short people to become underachievers as they can get by on cheap tickets and cheap cars whereas us tall/big people have to achieve more to be able to buy more expensive seats/cars.

On the other hand we are supposedly over age/race/gender discrimination so why are we exactly creating new classifications to discriminate against - or is it just a case of financial benefits for the masses, if so then is it ok to also discriminate over age/race/sex if it benefits the masses financially.

Are we reall civilised or just pretending to be civilised?

LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 12:08:59

MoreBeta,

Back in my diving days, it was quite normal for us to take flights whilst wearing most of our dive eqpt - incl weight belt! Airlines used to give free extra baggage allowance for golf clubs but not Scuba gear - very unfair.

I never ever paid extra baggage, but I reckon I had at least 20Kg over every time

<<badEve>>

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 12:09:15

Paying extra for the extra fuel you use is hardly discrimination.

Smudging Mon 25-Mar-13 12:10:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 25-Mar-13 12:14:40

I don't think it could ever be fairly implemented, but it has struck me before that it is an odd contradiction that apparently how much my bag weighs is of paramount importance, and yet the pilot has no way of knowing whether he/she will be transporting a plane full of people weighing 20 stone each or 8 stone each!

Either weight at take-off matters, or it doesn't! But I suppose it's precisely because they could end up with a heavy plane that they have to take control of baggage weights.

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:16:42

Sally of course they would need more staff, the average family of 4 probably take 2 cases, which can be weighed together, if everyone has to be weighed they have to weigh the cases and the people so they are weighing 6 things not 2, that is going to take longer. Unless they just weigh those that look slightly tubby? They would also need new scales, they can't put us all on the luggage belt

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:21:00

Would they have different limits for men & women? I'm quite tubby, but as I'm only 5 foot 1 my actual weight is probably the same as an average man, so would that matter? There would be so many arguments about this!

Bananasinfadedpjs Mon 25-Mar-13 12:24:32

Combined weight, luggage plus person seems like a good idea.

But in practice it just seems really unfair. Overweight people are likely to need just as much luggage as lighter people - more, if anything, because their clothes are likely to be larger. Excess baggage charges are often very steep.

I know that one some planes, the armrests rows of three seats can be adjusted by the cabin crew with some sort of tool, so that they move outwards, so that the middle seat is made far too narrow to sit in, and you end up with two wider seats, instead of three standard sized ones - I think this is what counts as "First Class" on some flights.

I think that these seats should be made available as standard on some flights. They could cost 1 and a half times the cost of a narrow seat, and you could get 30kg luggage allowance with them instead of 20.

You should have to specifically ask to "downgrade" your seat to a narrow one, and pay less, and get a lower luggage allowance, and they should put a warning that if you do downgrade to a narrow seat and then can't fit into it, then you will have to pay to upgrade (plus admin fee), and if there isn't a standard (ie, wide) seat available, then you won't be able to fly.

mirry2 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:24:35

I'm classified as obese but I'm short and small so never overspill into another seat-so would I still have to pay extra?

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:26

Installing a big flat scale in front of every check in desk so a whole family could stand on it with bags would not be discriminatory. A family with a big bloke, an average woman and two small DCs and a couple of decent sized suitcases and maybe a folding pushchair is pretty much an 'average' family going on holiday.

A team of rugby players on tour with a whole load of kit bags is not.

<stares very hard at LtEveDallas over knees tucked under chin from Row 56 Seat C> grin

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 12:26:40

It would take very little extra effort. You have to stand in front of the ticket desk already, and the weight platform would be in the floor where you stand now. The only difference would be that in a group each passenger would have to stand there in turn, so the machine can add up the total weight. It wouldn't take long to arrange that.
If the group includes children, their lower weight will actually balance out the heavier adults.

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 12:27:31

MoreBeta - we think alike!

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 12:29:54

Very little extra effort? A jumbo hold 500 people. You seriously think weighing 500 people would take very little extra effort? Ok then!

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:30:14

Sallying - yes indeed we do.

In fact, we used to weigh our cattle that way at the market. They don't call it 'cattle class' for nothing.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:31:33

nancy - they could easily do family groups while they were stood queuing.

I quite like the idea of a joining a fat farm, wear a stripy Pyjamas, and do gardening or other similar work for a week or two to trim me down.

People pay a lot of money for that. And they call it Spa Break!

Just add a swimming pool for exercise, a one off back and buttocks pummeling, some guinoa and a bathrobe, and we are there! grin

<grabs another pastry>

EggsitPursuedByAChocolateBunny Mon 25-Mar-13 12:33:39

Good grief.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 12:35:47

Honestly, this is not about fat people as long as the ticket price is not purely based on weight. It is about fat, thin, short, tall people all sharing a physical volume and weight limit in an equitable way.

To some extent people in club/business class already pay more because of the amount of space and weight they take up.

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Mon 25-Mar-13 12:41:15

Two issues on this thread are

A) should passengers pay for total weight, eg, themselves and their luggage.
B) the problem of obese people spilling over into the seats of the passengers next to them.

Some previous posters seem to support issue A because of issue B. The problem is that implementing issue A will not solve issue B. I can't see any airline putting in different size seats, it would be cost prohibitive and they're there to make a profit, airlines don't give a damn how comfortable, or not, their customers are. The better option seems to be to implement a rule that any passenger over a certain weight has to buy a comfort seat but how they would enforce this rule I don't know.

I personally don't have any objection to issue A despite being a bigger person myself but then again maybe that's because I can't afford to fly full stop atm grin If it did affect me then maybe I would feel differently or maybe it would be the incentive I need to lose the weight...who knows.

woozlebear Mon 25-Mar-13 12:49:05

It's fairer than the current system. DH recently had to spend a 10 hour flight next to someone whose upper body spilled over so much it took up literally half of DH's space. DH had paid the same as him for the same sized seat, but was unable to use all of it. I felt like asking the bloke to pay for some of DH's seat that he was using. Plus he was so tightly stuck in his seat he refused to get out fully to let me pass to go to the toilet and make me rub right up against him <boak>. Meanwhile we'd been weighing and re-weighing our luggage and fretting about being bang on the weight limit, even though me and DH combined probably didn't weight as much as this guy.

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Mon 25-Mar-13 12:50:12

I should add that although overweight I can still fit into one seat without overspill.

lainiekazan Mon 25-Mar-13 12:58:40

The problem with providing "comfort" seats is on-line check-in. Plenty of people who were not obese would select these in order to give themselves more room.

If a plane is full there's no point weighing people or getting them to sit in tester seats - there would be no spare seats available to put them next to.

I think there should be in the first instance a suggestion by airlines when you buy your ticket that if you are over a certain weight or dimension, you should consider purchasing two seats for your comfort and the consideration of those next to you. Then if you willingly flout that, you may not be permitted to fly.

Chandon Mon 25-Mar-13 13:03:23

Russiansonaspree, you keep reiterating that airplane seats ar e not tiny.

That surely depends on one's size? how can you state that for a fact! Wlak a mile in another person's shoes, if you can fit your tiny petite feet nto my size 8 pumps...

I have a Dutch mum, and I am over 6 ft, which in some countries ( like Holland, Germany, Sweden) is quite a normal height.

I am a size 12 and not fat, yet I do not fit the seats of most planes, as soon as the person in front of me reclines their seat, I need to sit with my legs wide apart, which infringes the leg room of the person next to me.

No amount of exercise can my make my legs shorter.

Also want to add, I find the attitude of lots of people on this thread disgusting, I cannot believe Westiemum had justify her size.

It is up to te airlines to provide a service to people.

There is a much better way of doing this, adding wider seats to the planes and upping all fares. Also leave small seats for the petite tiny people. They can then get a discount, ie, only tiny people get measured, and the default seat is the wider more expensive seat.

Now is that a solution, or what?

Nancy66 Mon 25-Mar-13 13:10:26

I have refused to sit next to a hugely overweight passenger before.

It was a flight to Australia with a 2 hour stop off in Hong Kong. I would have been horribly uncomfortable for 22 hours. I'd paid £800 for my seat - and it wasn't fair to put me in that position.

In the end they moved me into business class.

The fact is that in some cases passengers need two seats - and I don't think it's the responsibility of anyone other than the overweight passenger to pick up the bill.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 13:12:55

Chandon I've said it twice. Other people have said they are tiny as fact more than twice. My truth is JUST as valid as their truth, thanks very much. Especially since they are wrong and I am right. grin I fly every month, my job involves significant international travel and I am therefore easily experienced enough at frequent long distance travel to say that the seats aren't tiny, the problem lies with some of the passengers.

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 13:15:32

I quite like the idea of paying less for my tiny seat Chandon grin. Only problem is that you can't actually move the tiny seats around the plane, so families/couple/groups would be split up <ponders whether or not that's necessarily a bad idea>. It would be carnage, I tell you, carnage! I think billing people who take up 2 seats is probably a bit more manageable.

Chandon Mon 25-Mar-13 13:21:09

What is the big deal about sitting together? Unless there is an infant. It is hardly quality time, you eat nasty meal, you doze, you watch a film.

There was this couple last time we flew, kicking up an almighty stink about sitting two rows apart, they hurled abuse at staff and the manager, it was pathetic. A two hour flight, wtf.

Anyway, let us just put all the tiny people together, we can call it Smug Class, and they can have a discount.

lainiekazan Mon 25-Mar-13 13:27:35

Well, I would qualify for a Smug Seat, but then I could be charged extra for needing help to reach the overhead locker grin

thezebrawearspurple Mon 25-Mar-13 13:34:29

They should just have seats for larger people and seats which provide extra leg room. I was on a recent flight and there was a man who must have been nearly 7 (!)feet tall, his long legs wouldn't allow him to fit into his seat because there was nowhere to put them, he was sent to the emergency exit row.

I don't think people be financially discriminated for things that are outside their control, whether it's their height or an illness (including mental) or disability that makes them too wide. The world is cruel enough for the different.

spottyparrot Mon 25-Mar-13 13:42:20

I think it's unfair to pay on weight. All of us in my family are very tall and built like brick shithouses! We are all heavier than the standard weights they are using to calculate the total weight of passengers but due to our heights, none of us are anywhere near obese. In facts the airlines need to be giving us the emergency exit seats with extra legroom for free IMO - should be a medical requirement for people over 6 foot 6.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 13:42:35

Legroom is to do with the distance between seats, not the size of the seats themselves. If you think a seat is tiny then your issue is with the size of the seat relative to the bits of you that go in it (which doesn't usually include your legs). If the seats were tiny most people wouldn't fit in them. Since most people do fit in them, they clearly aren't tiny.

I could say the seats are HUGE because the distance between them and the overhead lockers is so great that I can't reach to put my bag in. But, I'd be wrong. Just like the people saying the seats are tiny because there isn't enough space between one row and the next.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 13:45:26

spotty - you are right that taller people should get extra legroom as standard. Short people like me should be prevented from sitting in the extra legroom seats (I don't sit in them if I can possibly help it). Taller people often have issues related to their height, like back problems, that can be exacerbated by sitting with bad posture, all scrunched up. There are also possible issues with DVT which might be triggered by being all uncomfortably scrunched up.

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 14:20:43

Chandon - if I were travelling with my 13 year old daughter she would prefer to sit beside me rather than with a complete stranger. Given that she's about a foot taller than me that wouldn't happen. Her preference as to whether or not she sits with me is as relevant as your preference.

Anyway, it's a moot point - the issue in question is whether or not someone who is so obese that they take up two spaces should pay for that extra seat. My opinion is that they should.

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 14:20:58

I think it's unfair to pay on weight.

Do you pay more in a restaurant for having an extra dish?
Do you pay more for posting a heavier parcel?
Do you pay more for a 3 bed house than a 2 bed one?
Do you pay more to fuel up a big car than a small one?

Then you should pay more to use more fuel in a plane, or to occupy a bigger space in it.

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:32:06

For those of you that are so in favor of charging us fatties more, you do realize they won't be charging skinny people less? Your ticket won't be cheaper just because mine is more expensive. it is a way for airlines to make more money, they won't pass on their profits to the customer, no matter what they weigh.

Frogman Mon 25-Mar-13 14:35:55

Nancy - So! At least you fatties will have 2 or more seats (depending on your fattiness) to yourselves and not impose into our seating areas.

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 14:39:38

Yep, but that's fine Nancy - it just means that I will be guaranteed a seat to myself without having to share it with someone else's overhang.

Sallyingforth Mon 25-Mar-13 14:41:27

As Frogman says - So?
All we are asking for is fairness.
Getting a millionaire to pay more tax won't reduce my tax bill, but I still think it should happen.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 14:43:04

Perhaps airlines should allow more leg room and bigger seats like in Premium economy and charge more - then this problem would disappear?

Honestly, it has all been caused by airlines in a race to the bottom on price by making service, leg room and the entire experience worse and worse year after year. It isnt actually cheaper. Its just worse service for a lower price.

I remember, for example, the days not so long ago when BA really was the Worlds Favourite Airline - those were the days. We had food, something to drink, a baggage allowance that actually included a normal suitcase and a decent amount of leg room without enormous queues to check in. I barely go on a plane now the experience is so awful.

Pitting one passenger against another like this is what airlines now do so well because important people like VIPs, and politicians of course fly in private jets and wizz through airports in special security areas.

ComposHat Mon 25-Mar-13 14:43:10

I like the total weight allowances idea - 15 stone per passenger, how you make up that is up to you.

Over that, pay more.

Although the thought of sitting next to sweaty fat knacker only wearing his kecks in order to save money reminds me of the time I took a London to York on a blazing hot day.

A huge woman (thankfully clothed!) sat next to me, took up three quarters of my seat as well as hers, leaving me pinned up the window like a Garfield cat you got on car windows in the 80s. The sweat was pouring off her and being wedged between her moist bulk and the window made for a hellish journey. She looked unperturbed and spent the journey swigging from a 2ltr bottle of Coke.

An experience I wouldn't like to repeat on a plane.

mirry2 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:46:10

What about charging people for reclining their seats into the space of the passenger sitting behind so that said passenger can't fully open their tray and the TV is within 6 inches of their nose.

ByTheWay1 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:48:18

I am overweight, but have no problem at all fitting into airline seats (well, on Virgin, BA and Flybe) and have never had an encounter with anyone overspilling on to me in around 200 flights (UK, Europe and to US)

Would be interesting to know where exactly all these superfat folks are flying? Or is it another MN myth that translates as maybe one or 2 per plane in Real Life.......

Frogman Mon 25-Mar-13 14:48:41

Very true MoreBeta. If companies like BA were smart they would see that their service needs to be improved and customers would flock back to them. They are turning into just another airline these days (although they still look good next to Emirates with their scarey Eastern European air hostesses)

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 14:49:18

MoreBeta - it hasn't all been caused by airlines reducing leg room. A substantial part of the problem is that there are far, far more obese people now than there were even 20 years ago. Combine that with more people flying and an increase in the demand for cheaper flights, and this is one result.

Frogman Mon 25-Mar-13 14:50:01

Mirry2 - that's the design of the seats. If the passenger behind can't open their tray they must be too fat (kind of on topic then)

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 14:51:33

Once you start defining a boundary like 15 stone you get problems.

If its £1 per kg on top of say a £100 /ticket flat rate no matter how small or big you are then no one gets defined as being 'too big' or 'too fat'.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 14:53:09

Morebeta But I don't want or need more legroom or wider seats. And I don't want to pay more. Why should I have to pay more because a very small number of people are really fat? Following your logic, I think that they should lower the ceilings of aircraft to make it more convenient for me. Sure that will be vile for everyone of normal height but hey! What should I care.

Kendodd Mon 25-Mar-13 14:53:55

A friend of mine was flying back to the UK from Kuwait with a broken leg once, he had to pay for three seats so that he could fit on the plane. If he didn't like it, tough, he could stay in Kuwait. No talk of 'it's not fair', or 'disability discrimination,' he had to pay for what he used.

Very overweight people should not expect the person next to them to pay for the extra seat space they're using.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 25-Mar-13 14:55:28

Bytheway It's happened to me 3 or 4 times on probably well over 100 flights. It's really not a common problem, but if it happens to you once, then you do tend to remember it.....sad

mirry2 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:57:14

Frogman- it's nothing to do with being too fat- they are always asked to put their seat upright for meals. Are you one of those inconsiderate people who gets on a plane and immediately reclines their seat so the seat back is practically in the lap of the person behind? Or haven't you ever flown economy on a plane?

Lindyhopper29 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:58:25

I don't think it's ridiculous. What makes me cross is that a person who weighs considerably more than me is allowed the same amount of luggage as I am. It should be the combined weight of passenger + luggage.

ruby1234 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:58:43

A couple of years ago me and DH flew from Miami to the Bahamas in a smallish plane, maybe 40 or so passengers.
The air stewardess insisted we sat at the emergency exit seats, and she spent some time showing us how to open the emergency exit door in the event of an accident and was most insistent we got ourselves out first without worrying about anyone else. During the flight we got chatting with her, and she admittted she had sat us there as we were the only passengers on the plane slim and agile enough to get out of the exit.
Being obese and flying carries it's own risks!

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 15:00:55

A reclined seat is nowhere near as much of an imposition as being squashed into half your seat by an obese person for hours on end. I take it you've never been in that situation Mirry?

mirry2 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:03:33

Sirchen - yes I have and it isn't pleasant. It was in premium economy and he was still too massive for the extra space.

MoreBeta Mon 25-Mar-13 15:04:59

Frogman - I used to fly TAROM (Romanian airline) before the Berlin Wall came down and remember being ordered to drink 'orange juice' on a flight from Bucharest to Frankfurt. The E. European air hostess insisted and watched over me while I DID as she was concerned 'you will dehydrated!'.

Those were the days - all the backs of the empty seats (and there were many) on TAROM jets used to flip forward like dominoes all the way down the plane when we crash dived into Frankfurt as well.

grin

Frogman Mon 25-Mar-13 15:05:41

Mirry2 - no I am not one of those people you describe, infact "those sort" of people irritate me greatly. However the seats are there to be reclined and as long as the recliner does it with manners/grace then it nobody can really complain.

When someone whacks their seat abruptly without looking behind that's a different subject and there will always be ignorant people.

mirry2 Mon 25-Mar-13 15:09:45

Well frogman we agree. It's the ones that whack it back that annoy me.

lainiekazan Mon 25-Mar-13 15:09:52

God, I remember the retired couple on a flight from Portugal to Bournemouth. Po-facedly put on their special dvt flight socks, took aspirin, then immediately after take off reclined their seats fully. Onto me with dd on my lap. All their special precautions for extra-long lives nearly ended there and then...

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 15:09:52

Then I'm sure you'll agree that a reclined seat isn't nearly as bad Mirry - it's a pita, but hardly in the same league!

Now, kids behind you that rock or kick your seat for the whole journey otoh.....wink grin

ComposHat Mon 25-Mar-13 15:11:09

Emergency spanx on board so that 'big boned' passengers could be poured into if their flab was intruding into the seat space of their neighbours?

LivingThings Mon 25-Mar-13 15:16:33

I think its a good idea but then agai. I am pretty mini.
If me and DH manage to sit together on a flight he raises the armrest and uses my spare space! He could fit in a seat fine but has rugby player build so the extra space makes him more confy!

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 15:17:18

grin Compos

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Mar-13 15:21:43

Airlines just have to make the seats bigger, rather than squashing people in for maximum profit.
There are all shapes and sizes out there.
The whole weight thing is annoying though as I had to chuck out half my toiletries a couple of years ago coming back from The Canaries and rearrange suitcases with my ds and his two mates as we were over the limit and I was buggered if I was going to pay extra.
I'm 8 stone and they were all skinny teenagers.

cleofatra Mon 25-Mar-13 15:31:12

What about charging people for reclining their seats into the space of the passenger sitting behind so that said passenger can't fully open their tray and the TV is within 6 inches of their nose.

I agree with this. I am not obese but find that because I am small, the people in front of me ALWAYS take advantage of this. We have a running joke in our family that the person in fornt of me will always be the full recliner. We have never been proved wrong yet.
It pisses me off.

LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 15:31:17

The proposal is for "Pay as you weigh" and nothing to do with size/width. A passengers weight plus his baggage is what the professor suggests the price is based on

So my willowy friend who pays for 25 Kg baggage allowance (lots of shoes) when flying to her mums (she also took a slow cooker with her this year WTF??) will pay the same as her rather bigger DP who packs about 10Kg max but probably weighs 20 Kgs more, and that won't make a difference to whoever it is that has to sit in their third seat...

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 15:32:45

Airlines just have to make the seats bigger, rather than squashing people in for maximum profit.

And prices will rise as a result. Most people are fine in the current sized seats - why should they be penalised?

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 15:35:23

Why should parents have to pay for an infant who is not taking up a seat but a person who spills out onto someone else's seat doesn't have to pay more?

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 15:39:54

Agree Soup. I wonder how big the seats should be - because unless you make them at least 1.5 times as wide as they are now in economy you will still get people spilling over into another passenger's seat. That's the passenger who isn't obese but who has had to pay more for their seat as a result of less seats being available on the plane to accommodate those who are obese btw.

MrsBethel Mon 25-Mar-13 15:50:55

I think it's fine for airlines to charge what it costs them, plus a bit for profit.
So something like tickets for £100 plus £1.50 per kg, or whatever.

As soon as one starts doing it, they'll all follow. Otherwise the airlines who don't will be stuck with all the heavy passengers and get nailed for fuel.

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 25-Mar-13 15:59:30

I'm heavy and nearly 6 ft, I always make sure to squeeze over to not upset anyone. inevitably get stuck next to a bloke who is about 5 foot 4 but still needs to stick his legs in my space and take my arm rest though . does that guy have to pay for another seat?

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 16:13:06

No, because he is able to move back into his own seat after the person next to him points him gently or otherwise in the direction of his own personal space. Obese people who spill into the next seat aren't physically able to do that.

MissLurkalot Mon 25-Mar-13 16:22:06

If I was the air stewardess who had the pleasure to meet Nancy, I would've upgraded the other guy to Business Class!!!

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 25-Mar-13 16:22:09

I think the idea of a combined weight for passenger and luggage is a good one. There should be no dfferential between men and women unless they are planning to reduce the price of seats for females. Obviously that's not going to work as then the overall weight of the flights would increase but it's one to consider.

I've had the experience of being pinned against the window due to a very large man sat beside me. I couldn't put the arm rest down because he spilled over the seat and I had to literally squeeze myself beside the window to avoid my body touching him as I am of average height and weight.

Thankfully it was only an hours flight London to Edinburgh as I had pins and needles down one side as a result of being so cramped.

I felt sorry for him as he can't have been comfortable, but I felt sorrier for myself as I was the one who was having to accomodate him. Unfortunately the flight was full so I/he couldn't move.

Well done Nancy66 for refusing to sit beside an obese person on a long haul flight.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 25-Mar-13 16:24:12

Why MissLurkalot - do you think she should have meekly accepted that for 22 hrs she would not be able to relax or stretch her body and possibly risk getting DVT because of someone elses size?

LetMeAtTheWine Mon 25-Mar-13 16:29:47

Increasing the cost as a result of the combined weight of a passenger and their luggage won't make you more comfortable though, the larger person would need two seats to avoid that problem.

The weight issue and size issue are two completely different ones...

HoneyStepMummy Mon 25-Mar-13 16:35:47

I worked for a US carrier for 6 years. 3 years as a ticket counter/gate agent and supervisor, 3 years as a flight attendant and trainer.

The reason you have to pay extra if your bag is overweight is because heavy bags shift around in the aircraft bag bin, often causing damage to the aircraft and other people's luggage. The airline has to pay to fix both. Not to mention the injuries lifting overweight bags causes...ouch...happened to me too...

Most aircraft is leased by a carrier, not owned. If an airline was so swap out all their seating on their whole fleet can you imagine how expensive that would be? And who do you think that cost would be passed down to? There are larger seats available for purchase, they're called * business and first class*. Unfortunately us consumers (including myself) want low airfares. In order to keep the fares low but still make a profit the airlines have to cut corners and service wherever they can.

The airline I worked for had a policy that if a passenger was too large to lower the armrest next to them and/or to big to use a seatbelt even with a seatbelt extension they needed two seats. If there was an extra seat on the plane we would switch people around so the "passenger of size" could have two seats next to each other. At no extra cost. If there weren't any available seats we would have to ask them to get off and rebook them on another flight. It's not just an issue of comfort for their fellow passengers, it's an issue of safety.

When you make an airline reservation you know how big you are and how much room you need. You have the option of purchasing seats. It's not fair to make other passengers suffer because of your lifestyle choices.

As far as reclining seats far back, it's very inconsiderate. I never had a problem nicely asking telling someone not to recline so far back because the person behind them was very uncomfortable.

The reason very small planes (well not the plane, the person doing weight and balance) need to know your weight is because it makes a huge difference. They have to balance out the weight of the plane, passengers, cargo, and fuel and it's a big pain in the neck!

Larger carriers couldn't charge ticket prices according to each passenger's weight. Everyone would lie (well I would --since I'm vain and lie on my driver's license--) and the ticket agent would have to weigh each passenger then charge them extra. Boarding would take about 3 hours...

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

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 25-Mar-13 18:17:16

I think we should stay away from the moralistic elements of judging people on their size and stick to the facts.

I know it's hard for people to lose weight. I know that particularly in the US they put a lot of rubbish into preprepared food and the portion sizes are so large that it amazes me that most people aren't larger. I also know that some people are overweight because of health conditions.

I have no interest in judging the size of people on my plane. It 's of no interest to me. I do however want to be able to fully utilise what I have paid for which is my seat without having to squash and contortion myself into a corner and risk permanent damage to my own health.

And yes to what maisiejoe says about getting to the aisles. In my one experience where I was at the window seat beside a very large man I spent the entire flight worried in case we had to do an emergency landing. I had no chance of getting past him and there was very little chance that he would be able to get out of his seat and down the aisle in a short period of time.

feeldown Mon 25-Mar-13 18:20:16

Quite upset at this thread.

Being overweight isn't always a case of eating too much.

I am a size 22 on bottom, 18 on top. I eat cereal and fruit for breakfast, sandwich and salad for lunch and meat and veg for tea. I weigh 18 and a half stone. I take anti depressants daily due to severe mental health issues and have put on approximately 4 stone in two years due to their side effects. I'm not allowed off them, I'm not allowed to change them and short of cutting out meals, there's incredibly little I can do to change my weight.

In my case it's not a lifestyle choice and I take great offence at people who state that fat people smell, or are sweaty, or lazy, or consume fast food for breakfast.

feeldown Mon 25-Mar-13 18:21:13

Thankfully however I am utterly terrified of flying so I won't be there to bother any of you on a plane anytime in the future.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 18:21:40

Why is it nasty? Should people just put up with other people taking up their very expensive seat without even feeling a little annoyed?

Isn't it more nasty to think you can take someone else's paid for space instead of buying your own?

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 18:22:06

Was it not Ryanair that wanted to replace all the seats by benches on short flights?
I think that would be a great idea. All on a bench, equally uncomfortable and punching each others shoulders.
No more problem grin

crashdoll Mon 25-Mar-13 18:24:38

I've also been upset by some of the comments and would like to repeat this point.....*The reason you have to pay extra if your bag is overweight is because heavy bags shift around in the aircraft bag bin, often causing damage to the aircraft and other people's luggage. The airline has to pay to fix both. Not to mention the injuries lifting overweight bags causes...ouch...happened to me too...*

HOWEVER, I do think if a person cannot fit into the seat, they should have to pay for 2 seats. It's not comfortable for the person who cannot fit into the seat and not comfortable for the people around them.

nancy75 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:25:37

Is there any suggestion that seats will be bigger if fat people are charged more? All you thin people will have is the satisfaction of knowing that the fat person squashing you has paid more than you have, that knowledge won't make you any less squashed

maddening Mon 25-Mar-13 18:25:44

Why blame the other passengers if the airlines squish as many seats as possible in - I have flown at size 18 and did not spill in to other seats but that was over 5 years ago so I guess that this has become more of an issue if the seats have been decreased in size over the last few years as airlines cram in extra passengers.

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 18:29:39

feeldown this exactly the issue with looking at weight and shoulder size.
I agree a lot of people on here are very selfish, looking at what they are entitled and what they are missing on.
They forget that the reason they can afford to fly us because seats have been made smaller, too small even for the average person to be comfortable.
They forget that if there is an rodent if obesity, then it's likely that it's not just people being greedy. And that's wo the case of people like yourself that can't do anything about it.
They also forget that if the 'average' person fits in the seat then it is obvious some people will have some extra room and others will overspill. And if we were all a thing size, the airline would make the seats smaller to accommodate more people.
Actually thinking about it, they should thank the 'bigger size' people for having increase the average ad it means they usually have more space on their seat than the airline would be happy to give them otherwise.

maddening Mon 25-Mar-13 18:29:48

I suffer with pcos so it is v hard for me to lose weight (pcos affects people in different ways and for me it is weight) and it is ridiculously easy to put it on. 4 stone over pre preg weight and limited with exercise due to hernia from my pregnancy means I am going to have a hard time losing it.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 18:31:52

I thought Ryan Air at one point were looking at standing spaces as opposed to sitting or was that a joke!

Everyone has their own reasons for how they are and what they want, some are nervous flyers and want to sit next to their partners. With unallocated seating that isnt always possible but if that is really really important to you then book with an airline that allows pre-booking - but then again they dont really want to because they want to cheap airlines and it goes on and on...

A few years ago a flight was held up (not by long thankfully because a very firm flight attendant) by a couple who hadnt pre booked seating together, who checked in and presumably didnt realise they werent sitting together, and I guess checked in late.

When they got on the plane there was a scrambled for seats and heaven forbid - they couldnt sit next to each other! The woman burst into tears saying that she couldnt possibly NOT sit next to her DH because he helped her open her drinks etc (I joke not!). She also claimed to be a nervous flyer and refused to sit down until the crew asked others to move so that she could sit next to her partner.

A flight attendant said unless she sat down immediately he would have her removed from the plane as it was holding up the flight. I think tbh that someone would have moved eventually but that crew member was taking no nonsense.

These days I am just glad to get away on time with a seat to sit in let alone fussing who I sit next to....

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 18:34:07

I don't mind airlines squishing in as many seats as possible, I'm a normal size so a normal sized seat is very comfortable.

If bigger people are going to pay more then they need to be paying for space. I can't see anything wrong with them paying for two seats.

The difficulty will be for airlines that do nothing but take people on package holidays. The holiday company will end up losing money if they let people pay for an extra seat when that seat could be taken by someone paying for a whole holiday.

maddening Mon 25-Mar-13 18:36:18

Why is it easy to accept anorexia and not eating but not the converse?

Some people will be overweight because

Medical condition
Medication side affects
Mh issues addiction
Mh issues stress anxiety
Mh issues other
Overeating
Physical disability/illness making exercise hard
Lack of exercise

And probably a load I can't think of. So this rubbishing of other peoples lives and experiences is uncalled for.

SoupDreggon Mon 25-Mar-13 18:41:37

I don't care who I sit next to so long as they aren't sitting on my seat.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:17

It is true that it's unpleasant to sit beside someone who smells is drunk etc etc.
However generally they do not cause health issues, being cramped an unable to move does. Was there not some case where a lady successfully sued an airline as she developed DVT after being beside a very large person. In that case should she just have thanked her lucky blessings that the flight left on time and she had a seat and just put the life long health issue down to being one of those things?

I think the US solution of requiring people to buy an extra seat is quite sensible. However presumably this is only advised at check in time when its a bit late. It might be helpful for the airlines to give guidance i.e. if you are in economy then we recommend a max weight of xx stones , premium economy yy stone and first class zz stone. If you cannot fit into your allocated seat then you may be required to purchase an upgrade or an additional seat or if there is not enough room. Yes weight is not an exact science but the limits should be quite large.

I do agree with maddening though that it seems strange that the airlines are reducing seat space whilst people are getting taller and bigger generally.

ComposHat Mon 25-Mar-13 18:53:25

maddening when I was squished by a fat sweaty woman. I couldn't have given two fucks how or why she got so big (although the 2ltr of full fat coke she was demolishing gave me a clue)

All that mattered to me was that she was making my journey unbearable and was literally taking up three quarters of the seat I had paid for.

I've often wondered how airlines can cite weight as the reason for charging for a few pounds of excess baggage, yet a passenger who is twice the weight of another does not pay any more. Either weight is an issue, in which case a combined person plus baggage allowance makes sense, or else the baggage charges are pointless (assuming they are safe for baggage handlers to lift)
If it's a comfort issue then physical size needs to be measured, not weight surely?

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 19:07:12

Maddening - I can fully understand that some people have a medical condition which makes them overweight, but the vast majority of people who are overweight or obese simply don't exercise enough and consume too many calories. Regardless of how they became that way though, they should not be allowed to impose on a fellow passenger's seat allocation. If they take up more than one seat than they should pay for two. That's not fattist, that's common sense.

dangly131 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:09:24

How about 3 sizes of seats....wider ones where the occupant pays double but also gets double the allowance as technically they weigh the same as 2 people so are entitled to 2 allowances much in the same way 2 individual people are.
Next an average seat where the occupants get the usual baggage allowance.
Finally a seat half the size for children which costs half the price and who get half the allowance. 1 wide seat + 1 half seat would = 2 normal seats so they would cancel each other out.

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 19:10:36

Weight baggage is an issue for handlers because it means more baggage to handle or more difficulty to move them.
A person who is over the average weight doesn't cause any issue for the handlers or to the plane (see honey post above).
It's just not the same thing.

I have to say, I am struggling to see how someone can take 3/4 of your seat if the arm rest is down, which it had to for safety reason....
I get it makes the journey uncomfortable. I am struggling to see how it stops someone to move during a flight and cause dvt. Surely you just need to get up?

TumbleWeeds Mon 25-Mar-13 19:12:48

sir I think you need to educate yourself to the reason of the mass epidemy of obesity. It goes far beyond the 'they ate just greasy' mentality. This is a view that is much too simple to explain the issue.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Mon 25-Mar-13 19:17:30

If it worked by everyone getting weighed and a ticket price being set based on the result, then this would be sex discrimination because on average men weigh more than women.

longingforsomesleep Mon 25-Mar-13 19:17:42

I don't see what difference it makes WHY someone is obese. If they are - whether through their own fault or not - surely they should accept that they can't intrude on another's seat and be prepared to pay extra?

My DS is 6'7". We always try and book seats with extra leg room when we go on holiday - and are prepared to pay for this. We don't say "it's not his fault he's so tall so why should we pay extra?". We accept that's the way things are. Unfortunately seats with extra leg room are usually already taken but I would happily pay well over the odds to get him a comfortable seat. I certainly don't take the attitude that it's not his fault so he's entitled to stick his legs out into the aisle and trip people up or jam his knees against the back of the seat in front of him and annoy the person occupying it.

HoneyStepMummy Mon 25-Mar-13 19:24:53

Lots of people have special needs or circumstances when they travel. They could be travelling with a small baby, be in a wheelchair, be blind, need oxygen, be travelling with a guide dog, be so large they need two seats...lots of things. The airline will do everything they can to accomodate the passenger. However, when the passenger makes the booking they know they have special needs, and need to advise the airline accordingly.

I found that a lot of the really large passengers were actually disabled and in a wheelchair, barely able to walk (or not walk at all). The disability had come first, and the weight as a result of the disability. The problem was that if a severly disabled person had lost the use of their legs it was a real struggle to get them down the ailse in a ailsechair, then into a seat. You could only really get them into an ailse seat, and once in they couldn't move. As in at all. Not very nice for them, and not much fun for the person next to them. In the event of an evacuation another passenger or extra crew member would have to drag them out of their seat to get them off the plane. It would be very difficult for the person next to them to evacuate.

So once again, overweight baggage and large passengers are two different matters....

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 19:27:53

No, it's really not Tumble. We could go into the politics of the food and weight loss industry, body image issues, cooking skills, poverty/deprivation and the access to fresh food, less manual work, increase in sugar intake etc etc etc but ultimately it's not enough exercise and too many calories (and not necessarily greasy ones).

I take it you've never actually had the dubious pleasure of being squashed into half your seat by your fellow obese passenger? I have, and it's far from a simple case of lowering the arm rest (which would have been incredibly uncomfortable for my neighbour) to prevent the overspill. I'm also not quite sure why you think it's the responsibility of the non-obese person to spend the journey walking around the airplane?

LtEveDallas Mon 25-Mar-13 19:35:57

I have, and it's far from a simple case of lowering the arm rest (which would have been incredibly uncomfortable for my neighbour) to prevent the overspill

I'm confused confused. Every flight I've ever been on the armrest has to be down during taxi-ing, take off, turbulence and landing. Why wouldn't you just leave it down? How very strange hmm.

ComposHat Mon 25-Mar-13 19:40:54

it happened to me on a packed train. in retrospect I should the armrest down as she hoved into view.

i am technically obese. last time i flew i was 20st 5lbs and i didnt spill out over the side of my seat (i was in the middle). i could sit with ease and do my seatbelt up with no problems. was sat next to dh and he said i was fine. im 2st lighter than i was back then so i expect i would have no problems again... but just by looking at me... you would think i would be an inconvenience, but im not!

i think having seats at the check in or even in travel agents, like they do in theme parks is a good idea. it also seems to be the less embarrassing one too. i wouldnt want to be weighed in front of everyone angry

also... larger peoples clothes weigh more than smaller peoples clothes as they have more material (obvs!) so the excess baggage thing is a stupid argument.

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 20:26:37

If someone is so obese that they take up half of the seat next to them (or more) do you really, honestly think an arm rest will stop the overspill for the entire flight?!!

(It doesn't btw)

AllSWornOut Mon 25-Mar-13 20:38:05

Someone up thread said to stick to facts. She/he is right. The travelling public is made up of people of all shapes and sizes. Some of the comments in this thread are appalling.

The fact is though that the airline business has notoriously slim margins (excuse the pun) and as the aircraft cabin is one of only two revenue sources (the other being cargo) the airlines are doing anything and everything to maximise that revenue. This helps keep ticket price down.

One way is to increase the number of seats on the aircraft - this is either done through moving the seat rows closer together or putting in more seats per row. Some aircraft are better than others. A380s have seats that are particularly wide for instance.

Plenty of airlines also try to increase revenue by offering additional services such as extra legroom rats seats and for extra width you can usually go up a class to premium economy or business (at least on long haul).

But as someone put it on page 1 of this thread:
"Something does need to be done to accommodate heavier people, I agree.. I would've loved to afford to purchase two seats for myself, but I just couldn't have afforded it. " As long as everyone wants to pay the cheapest fare possible then comfort will not increase to the detriment of the number of seats on-board.

BTW there are plenty of people working on how to improve economy seat comfort but no-one has yet worked out how to do it without reducing the number of seats. And from a purely technical standpoint weighing all passengers with their baggage would make sense - but the only time I've been weighed for a flight (single engine seaplane) I found it horribly embarrassing even though I'm not overweight or particularly sensitive about my weight.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 25-Mar-13 20:49:20

"Something does need to be done to accommodate heavier people, I agree.. I would've loved to afford to purchase two seats for myself, but I just couldn't have afforded it.

If you can't afford it then don't fly. Plenty of people can't afford to fly, it's rarely essential.

pingu2209 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:00:16

When you go to a theme park with fast rides, there are 'seats' you can sit in at the beginning of the queue so you can see whether you will fit before you queue for over an hour. Also to avoid embarrassment.

I think the airports each airline should have an example seat at the check in desk so that passengers can try the seat before boarding. If they can't fit then they can't fly. Or they have to buy 2 seats if there are any free.

As someone who used to weigh 23 stone I can assure you that you know that you may well not fit. So when you book your flight you know there is a chance you can't fit.

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:07:09

Airlines are not charities or really interested in how people have got so overweight that they cannot reasonably fit in one seat and tbh why would they?

We are demanding cheaper and cheaper pricing yet we want to have it all. I have heard people moaning about Ryan Air and their insistence on charging for luggage. Well, if you dont want to pay that charge - dont take any! Of course you want to take your nice clothes with you going abroad though. Why wouldnt you but you cannot have it all ways.

I have flown Ryan Air a number of times. As Michael Ryan says when people complain about not being able to sit next to their partner or that they are charged extra for luggage - what do you expect for £10!!

MummytoKatie Mon 25-Mar-13 21:09:51

I really think that there should be "extra wide" seats as well as extra legroom seats that you can purchase for a premium. It wouldn't just be larger people who would want them - I know a lot of blokes who like extra space for the "family jewels". And, having flown last month with dd (age 2) in the middle and the arm rests up it was rather nice to have extra width even though we didn't need it.

Also, by Pythagoras (just to add to the intellectual level of the thread), an extra wide seat would also have extra leg room.

Once these were implemented and known about airlines could start being stricter about "overspill" problems.

Really quite pleased with the "extra width premium seats" idea.....

maisiejoe123 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:17:11

Problem is that I dont think many will want to pay the extra.....

ILikeBirds Mon 25-Mar-13 21:19:55
MummytoKatie Mon 25-Mar-13 21:25:05

Do you reckon? My parents love the exta legroom seats and always book them. They are tall but not enormously so. (6 foot and a long legged 5 foot 10.)

pedrohedges Mon 25-Mar-13 21:40:10

Bloody hell ilikebirds. That poor woman!

DH is tall and broad (not fat though) and works in the airline industry so flies a lot.

He now doesn't fly below Premium Economy (except on single-class routes, in which case he needs an aisle seat generally or to be sitting next to a shortarse like me, or one of the DCs.

And he is quite clear that the technology to weigh us already exists in many airports - eg in the funny security tunnels which already have weight sensors in the floor.

As an aside, the luggage thing isn't just about weight. One reason budget airlines keep their costs down is by doing a fast turnaround. If most passengers don't have hold baggage, it takes less time to load the baggage and they can turn the flight around. On the other hand, passengers with large cabin bags (ie those cases that fit precisely within the 50x30x20 or whatever it is) cause delays to boarding and disembarkation.

So budget airlines in the US are now moving towards a model of allowing one reasonably small hold case (20kg say) to reduce delay. I doubt it will be long before European airlines follow suit. Having planes on the tarmac earns them nothing.

maleview70 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:59:47

Personally I would charge kids more for being a complete pain in the arse on flights, kicking seats, constant fcking wailing. They are far more of an inconvenience than fat people

RainbowsFriend Mon 25-Mar-13 22:40:43

I can remember flying with Aurigny (Channel Islands) to and from Alderney (via Southampton or Guernsey) and being weighed with your luggage.

Noone minded - the pilots could then do their calculations, and the desk staff would seat you on the plane according to how heavy you looked so it was balanced right.

OK so I'm talking about small prop planes (still scheduled flights though) but they did have to stop doing this - maybe it's time to start it up again?

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 07:18:00

Excellent - we can put people like maleview70 in the seats where they'll have someone else sitting on top of them. Problem solved!

TumbleWeeds Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:40

Actually Sir I have been sitting next to someone who was 'big' and as I am not thin myself, I could certainly 'feel' it (or feel their arms next to mine etc..).
Was it the most pleasant flight? No
Do I still harbour resentment towards that passenger? Nope. What would be the point of that? It's in the past and I tend to leave it there.

The thing 'Premium Economy' is that they don't exist on short haul flight/cheap flight where you have ONE type of seat. So saying that people should pay more wouldn't solve the problem.
As it happens we flight mainly with that sort of airline. DH has to make do even though he is tall (and broad). I have to make do with whoever is sitting next to me.
I am at loss as to how I can complain. Tickets are a third of the price now than they were 15 years ago and that's wo taking into account the inflation. I accept that I have to accept some (little) inconvenience for the privilege of paying very little money for my trip.
This is also the case with long haul flight where tbh, I don't like being seated next to another (thin or big) passenger. But I cope with it.

TumbleWeeds Tue 26-Mar-13 08:14:01

Soup will you be happy to pay more for your dcs though? After all you also carry car seat, pushchair etc... so you should be paying for those instead of asking all the other passengers to do so for you no?

whois Tue 26-Mar-13 08:39:46

Seats do already come in narrow, wider and wide. It's called economy, premium economy and business class...

If you are too fucking fat to fit in an economy seat they pony up the cash for two economy seats or one premium economy seat.

I've had a couple of flights next to obese people and its hell. I took to shoving the magazine down the side of my seat, so although I lost any access to the arm rest I didn't have their sweaty arm touching mine and only had to deal with sitting at an angle trying to get away from the massive upper arm.

I think you should get a 'total' weight allowance for you and baggage as well.

diplodocus Tue 26-Mar-13 08:51:04

I work with an extremely obese woman who has to fly premium economy as she really doesn't fit into the economy seat. She needs to fly a lot for work, but's she's had terrible trouble getting premium economy flights sanctioned because of work's economy only policy (despite the fact they really don't cost much more). There needs to be a greater acceptance of this from companies (and other employees, who moan at the "favouritism").

CandyCrushed Tue 26-Mar-13 09:03:01

My DH had a male reletive that was very obese. He needed an extension strap when he flew. His wife was very slim and would always sit next to him on the flight as he used her 'space' too. She said it was very uncomfortable to ave to sit next to him as she was having to sit at an odd angle all the time. He couldn't put the tray down and the person in front couldn't fully recline his seat.

It was not a nice experience for anyone involved.sad

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 09:04:48

It's funny how no one complains about travelling with sweaty arms on other means of transport such as buses or tubes but take an issue with air travel. I suspect they are still stuck in the 60's & 70's when air travel was reserved for the rich. I pay £2 for a 5 min bus trip and you can fly to NY for around 280 so not much difference in £/min journey - you want to travel in 60's sans sweaty arms then pay the premium and fly first class, that's if you can afford it!

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 09:15:31

Soup will you be happy to pay more for your dcs though? After all you also carry car seat, pushchair etc

Why would I pay more when they occupy less space and have no extra luggage? I don't have a carseat or pushchairs and, when I did, the child had less other luggage.

Children often aren't kicking the back of a seat intentionally, it's just where their feet end and thus touch the seat in front whenever they move. And very few are "constant fcking wailing"

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 09:18:48

It's funny how no one complains about travelling with sweaty arms on other means of transport such as buses or tubes but take an issue with air travel

Well, on a train/bus/tube you've paid a small amount of money for the journey whereas on a plane you've paid a lot for an actual seat. They really aren't comparable.

Plenty of people complain about being wedged tightly onto a tube train with sweaty people though.

Kendodd Tue 26-Mar-13 09:29:08

Just read your link ilikebirds shock

I know it was uncomfortable sitting next to a fat person, I suppose thinking about it it makes sense that it would also be dangerous.

"But the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance has taken on airlines over discrimination against overweight people." Is that their comment on this? IMO being so massively fat like that shouldn't be acceptable, you are taking up more that your fair share (in almost all cases) because you eat to much.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 09:31:58

Soup, you pay more due to length of journey - please read my price comparison in terms of £/min spent on journey comparing buses vs airplanes.

LessMissAbs Tue 26-Mar-13 09:39:42

hmmm I flew back from a holiday in the sun to Glasgow
Yesterday. Where would you start? Only a small minority of passengers were slim and, I would guess, under 70 kg. The baggage allowance was 5kg or you had to pay excess. I weigh 52kg...so ultimately im subsidising the extra fuel costs to carry someone twice or three times my weight.

The man in front of me asked for a seatbelt extension. This was given free of charge. Virtually nothing else on the flight was free but I guess this is for safety reasons, although being squashed by a very large person is hardly safe either.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 09:43:46

Kendodd I am 6'4 tall and built on the large side, my body fat % is just over 18 which is considered athletic/normal. I have never done weights - so not artificially bulked up. My over weight 8 yr old DD has just been diagnosed with Thyroid. Some large/fat people are what they are due to genetics, medical conditions etc. Is it just to discriminate against such people in a civil society? Do you want to live in a civil society?

MrsBucketxx Tue 26-Mar-13 10:55:13

thyroid problems are much rarer than you think,

to many people are making excuses for ther lack of control.

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 26-Mar-13 11:01:59

Some posters don't seem to have grasped the fact that charging for total weight instead of weight of luggage is not going to solve the overspill problem. Yes, airlines would charge more for the bigger person but the seat sizes will remain the same so you will still be wedged in to your seat with someone else 'sharing' it.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 11:08:57

mrsBucks I agree but what about hormone problems, that's what GP suspected and just added the thyroid test as an after thought. Then there is the mental health issues such as eating disorders which incidentally means that the 50kg passenger & the 150kg passenger are both suffering from the same problem but one gets fined whereas the other doesn't.

IMO I think it's better to address the underlying issues causing the increase in average weight of population than fining them. The cost to NHS is much more than what you end up saving on flight tickets.

LtEveDallas Tue 26-Mar-13 11:12:17

Chaotic - I know, and it is driving me batty. Poor old journo OP has had hardly any actual answers to her question...

ILikeBirds Tue 26-Mar-13 11:23:53

Thyroid disorders once treated are not really an excuse either. Weight gain is a symptom, but only before treatment.

angelos02 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:24:00

Surely if someone was so big they spill into another seat, they wouldn't want to fly without buying an extra seat? The embarrassment must be horrific.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 11:27:20

ilikebirds so what should we do stop flying until DD gets it sorted? What about all the other issues raised?

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 26-Mar-13 11:31:31

LtEve, it's driving me batty too. Still if posters want to continue to believe that charging larger people extra will mean they get a full seat that's their choice.

angelos02 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:33:42

Mondrian you don't have to stop flying, pay for an extra seat.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 26-Mar-13 11:55:53

Mondrian, many (most?) 50kg passengers will not have MH issues or eating disorders! shock Just under 8 stone is a perfectly respectable weight for the smaller in stature, thanks.

LessMissAbs Tue 26-Mar-13 12:15:33

Mondrian - are you actually suggesting that people like me, who weigh around 50kg, have mental health issues? Its a perfectly normal weight for fit and active women under say 5 feet 4! How odd!

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 26-Mar-13 12:23:28

It seems Mondrian is doing the normal insult the smaller people thing. How disappointing. Such a great user name too.

LetMeAtTheWine Tue 26-Mar-13 12:25:15

I don't think Mondrian was suggesting all 50kg passengers have mental health issues. Wasn't it more of a point to highlight that two people could suffer the same sort of MH issue but with two very different results and one would be penalised for it? That's how I read it at least.
Chaotic - yep, the two issues do appear to be getting confused and it is really frustrating!

EostreChaotichasRisen Tue 26-Mar-13 12:55:54

That's how I read it too LetMe

MrsBucketxx Tue 26-Mar-13 13:03:15

seriously skinny people get help cause the die faster than fat people than over eat, both are killing themselves.

if you are larger please buy the extra seat and do the right thing.

ICBINEG Tue 26-Mar-13 13:09:51

two people suffer the same problem, and only one is penalized...but then only on affects others?

Something like low self-esteem/depression can cause people to behave in a massive range of ways.

Obviously curing the problem is optimal...but if we can't (although I don't see why not) then surely it is right for society to tackle the aspects that make others lives difficult before the ones that don't?

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 13:24:56

Another day, another fat-bashing thread. Super.

HoneyStepMummy Tue 26-Mar-13 14:20:11

The airlines are a business, not a charity nor a 'right'. They transport people and cargo to make a profit. The price of a ticket is very much about need and demand, and is not calculated by taking in consideration people's weight. Cargo is a completely different matter.

On a plane you will encounter plenty of inconsiderate people, or people you just don't feel like sitting next to. What do you expect the airline to do about it? Sitting next to someone who is so large that they can't fit into one seat is a completely different issue. There's also a big difference between sitting next to someone a bit big who's rubbing shoulders with you and stretching their legs out to someone who's obese.

If a person cannot fit into just one seat they pose a safety risk to themselves and the person sitting next to them. Not to mention how uncomfortable both people will be. Many carriers in the US offer you a half price ticket for the 2nd seat if you purchase both seats at the time of booking. You also have the option of buying a business class or first class seat if that aircraft has any. These are all good options.

The airline lets passengers check in a bag as a courtesy. They don't make any profit off this, unless they are charging extra fees. It's much easier for a passenger not to pack 24 pairs of shoes for a two week trip then it is for them to lose 100lbs for their flight. Baggage and cargo has nothing to do with a passenger not fitting into one seat.

Like someone else stated, just because a large person sitting next to you is paying more for their ticket (if people paid by weight) you wouldn't be any more comfortable.

Coach class seats are very small and cramped even if you are skinny. Like someone else already stated, us consumers have driven down the cost of tickets. What do you expect? Again the airline is a business. If you don't like the small cramped seat your very affordable ticket got you then pay more and fly first class.

What difference does it make who's fat, who's skinny, and how they got that way? Why do you think the airlines care?

DH's last flight, he was on a row-of-three with a woman who was so overweight she needed help into her seat from the cabin crew. His seat was the aisle seat (because he's so tall he can't generally sit comfortably in any other on one-class flights) and hers was the window.

The cabin crew asked him to swap, as they couldn't safely get her into "her" seat, nor out of it in an emergency. He was a bit put out, as obviously if there had been said emergency he'd have had a hell of a job to get past her.

A certain amount of weight actually puts other passengers in danger, let alone discomfort.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 15:16:25

LetMe is spot on with her take on my point. However if skinnies want to charge fat people then they should be prepared for some too. For the record I am not even overweight.

SoupDreggon Tue 26-Mar-13 16:39:31

It's not about "fat bashing" or "skinnies" charging "fat people" it's about people sitting half on a seat paid for by someone else and the fact that it is not fair.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:40:17

Horry - that's really dangerous to be so overweight that you need to be carried to your seat and when you get to it you are literally squashed in and in fact have to ask others to move. In an emergency what on earth was your DH going to do.

Kendodd Tue 26-Mar-13 16:45:01

My mum is very heavy, would spill into the next seat on a plane heavy, she doesn't fly because of it, it would be too uncomfortable for her.

As an aside, she also have diabetes, I don't know for sure, but I think because of her weight. She got very heavy then developed it. Now, my mum always says that she eats hardly anything and that her weight is because of her medication. IMO this just doesn't seem to be true. If we go out for lunch, she is always the only one (apart from the children) who orders pudding, with the comment that 'she never has pudding so will today'. If we're at home she always has second helpings (and pudding) , with the same comment. I don't know how she eats at home alone, she says she eats salads every day, and only has one meal. She always seems to have plenty of other food and ice-cream etc in though. She does say that she eats a lot of chocolate in front of the telly in the evening though.

In my mums case, it seems to me that she just eats too much and this is why she's heavy, while sincerely believing she eats very little. Maybe because of this I am always a bit sceptical when people say they are heavy because of a disability, although I'm sure they believe this is the reason. Maybe it is, what do I know about it.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 16:59:49

Didnt some analysis come out last year that people underestimate how much they are eating on a weekly basis by 40%. Tbh - I can see why. Its so easy to forget the two biscuits you had and yes, Ken sadly I think there are a lot of people like your Mum who are really only fooling themselves into what they arent eating. Everyone else knows it is because they are eating too much...

cleofatra Tue 26-Mar-13 18:17:49

I wonder how we should deal with people flying overseas to have bariatric surgery.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:26:46

Cleo - is this the gastric band surgery? If so - two seats.....

HoneyStepMummy Tue 26-Mar-13 18:35:38

Cleo this would be dealt with the same way as any other passenger of size...with either two purchased seats or with a purchased first class seat.

HoneyStepMummy Tue 26-Mar-13 18:38:18

MaisieJoe- Horry's husband would have done the same thing in an emergency that I have seen passengers do in non emergencies while seated next to a very big person. Climb over them.

Mondrian Tue 26-Mar-13 18:42:30

Russians Thank you for liking my usernane, your the first to comment on it. For the record I am not bashing the skiny people, just saying that not all fat people are pigs, most are really nice people with lots of issues, dilemas and challenges, itsjust that their problems spills on their physical side while for others its the reverse and others a different ... maybe they add emotional bagage. What I am saying is that its not fair to penalise them in some way coz pretty soon we wil have to ask people if they will be checking in their emotional baggage as well as their tangable bagage.

maisiejoe123 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:47:08

Honey -lovely vision...

I guess we are back to the 'why shouldnt a grossly overweight person have access to all the cheap airlines and have to consider buying two tickets'.

Well - because they are effectively taking up two seats.

I havent gone grey yet, when I do I will pay a salon to colour it. It will cost loads and maybe I should complain that its not fair that others dont have this cost but I have a choice. I can go grey.

If you are unable to fit into one seat and end up sharing someone else's you also have a choice, lose weight or buy another seat. You cannot have it both ways.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 26-Mar-13 18:48:04

Mondrian I love Mondrian's paintings! grin Thanks for the clarification, I think you are right, to be honest. I haven't advocated differential pricing on airlines based on size and I can't see that I ever would. I think policies of moving people when there is space are a good idea though.

If we have to pay by weight a naturally very petite person will pay a lot less than an equally fit and healthy naturally very tall, broad shouldered person, even if both have the same BMI and neither spill over into the next seat.

That is logical in relation to fuel costs but "unfair" in that neither can do anything about their size... If you are 6 ft 6 you are going to weigh a lot more than your neighbour who is 5 ft 0, even though you are both responsible, healthy living types. Could it even be illegal as it would really be discrimination on the basis of genetics...

HoneyStepMummy Tue 26-Mar-13 19:21:32

When I was a flight attendant I could care less how much someone weighed, how tall they were, did they get heavy because of a disability or because they ate too many pies. What I cared about was if a passenger was so large they couldn't safely occupy one seat. On a flight with empty seats not so much of a problem- move people around and get them two seats. On an oversold flight however it was a different matter. The large person would have to get off and get rebooked on another flight because they simply couldn't fit into just one seat. I got absolutely no pleasure out of having to ask someone to get off the plane, but there wasn't another option.

I remember working a flight were we couldn't do beverage service, because a passenger of size was spilling out of his seat and into the ailse so we couldn't get the beverage cart down the ailse. The girl sitting next to him ended up spending most of the flight standing in the aft gally because there simply wasn't enough room for her next to him. This meant that she was jepardizing her safety and the flight attendant's safety if we hit bad turbulence.

Another time we had a lady who was so big she couldn't fit the seatbelt around her even with a setbelt extension, and she was pressed up against the seat in front of her. She had to get off the plane and take a bus I believe. The captain pointed out to me that if she had had a medical emergency such as a heart attack (more common than you think on a plane) we wouldn't have been able to help her...I mean how could we even get to her to use the defibrillator?

CoteDAzur Tue 26-Mar-13 19:24:37

"Could it even be illegal as it would really be discrimination on the basis of genetics..."

Clothes for older kids (slightly larger) are often a bit more expensive than the same models in younger kids (slightly smaller) so there is precedent.

Who here wouldn't like to pay much less for DC on planes?

MrsBucketxx Tue 26-Mar-13 19:34:15

honey thats shocking, I would be trully shamed if I was the larger person.

do they not realise the safety concerns the rest if us have.

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Mar-13 23:59:32

SoupDreggan, it is a fat bashing thread. The thread may be ostensibly about overspill, which is no doubt a genuine issue, but a lot of the comments nevertheless amount to judgmental fat bashing. Threads involving size always descend into fat bashing, the same way anything about childcare descends into a SAHM/WOHM row.

midastouch Wed 27-Mar-13 00:15:38

YABU what about my rights of having to sit next to an obese person who is spilling over into my chair, thats hardly fair!

ComposHat Wed 27-Mar-13 01:18:50

Would it be so hard to put in the small prin of the ticket: this seat is sold on the basis that the passenger can fit within the confines of the seat with both armrest s down. If the cabin crew judge that this os not the case, you will be charged for an additional seat. In the event of no seat being available you will be removed from the flight and placed on the next available flight with free capacity.'

LetMeAtTheWine Wed 27-Mar-13 03:26:51

People still seem to be missing the point of the original post. The suggestions that have been put forward by the professor have NOTHING to do with paying for an extra seat and therefore giving everyone more room. They are simply suggesting that if you weigh more, you pay more. Everything to do with fuel consumption and nothing to do with comfort or safety.

IwishIwasRiverSong Wed 27-Mar-13 03:40:14

Ironically I heard about an obese person who DID book and pay for an extra seat for comfort. Then on check in found that the airline had allocated the two seats in different parts of the plane!! AND they wouldn't refund him the extra seat!

Mondrian Wed 27-Mar-13 04:54:21

LetMe - It is normal for passengers to have such delusions, do you remember when airlines banned smoking on flights? Well it wasn't due to their concern for health of passengers but because of the cost of cleaning the Air-conditioning - the tar would clog up the system if not routinely cleaned up, in actual fact it was the single most expensive labour item in maintenance, they saved a fortune on that. Weight is the same, fuel consumption is totally dependent on total weight of AC and its a double whammy .... Higher weight of passengers = extra fuel so now the aircraft is even heavier due to extra fuel and needs even more fuel to carry the extra fuel.

However the airlines will not have any interest in saving 200kg by penalising a handful of obese passengers and all the negative publicity that entails ... They would only get on the band wagon if it was a mass cull, affecting a decent chunk of passengers and that will be very complex to design & implement.

Furthermore there is no definition for standard passenger size, or even standard airline seat. You may have noticed that you have a little less room in budget airlines and a little more on long haul BA.

LetMeAtTheWine Wed 27-Mar-13 05:05:23

Well I never knew that about no smoking, Mondrian. Ever day's a school day wink

To be honest, I am just finding some responses on this thread annoying because people keep banging on about paying for two seats and that was never the 'recommendation' in the first place. Some sensible answers and comments but others are just, IMO, a bit over the top.

LetMeAtTheWine Wed 27-Mar-13 05:06:11

*every day, not ever day!

nooka Wed 27-Mar-13 05:36:33

Airlines have two choices when responding to the increasing weight of the population and the consequent additional fuel costs. They can either charge everyone more or they can introduce differential pricing. I expect they will do whichever affects their operating margins less. Likely most people will pay more.

The issue of seriously obese people not being able to fit into a single seat is related but different, and I think the American airlines have the right approach (although they have almost certainly adopted it because of fear of litigation from people suffering injuries as a result of being squashed).

Here are American Airline's rules

and South West's

Neither seem particularly unreasonable to me, but there is no doubt this is a real problem.

Mondrian Wed 27-Mar-13 06:05:49

Nice take on the issues Nooka ... Come to think of it airlines are already addressing the increasing weight issue, over the past 20 years luggage allowances have certainly shrank and they are certainly much more strict on hand luggage.

SoupDreggon Wed 27-Mar-13 07:12:11

SoupDreggan, it is a fat bashing thread.

I disagree but you are entitled to your opinion.

I don't care what the reasons are, be they huge rugby player or obesity. I don't want someone else sitting in half of the seat I have paid for. If you need more than one seat you need to pay for it.

I am less convinced about charging for weight alone but definitely size needs to be addressed where it impacts negatively on another passenger.

SoupDreggon Wed 27-Mar-13 07:14:40

People still seem to be missing the point of the original post

I think the discussion has just evolved in a slightly different direction.

CityTiliDie Wed 27-Mar-13 07:23:03

Sorry but if you are fat then its your fault and you should be made to pay extra!

No one forced you to eat so much that you became obese and no one os forcing you to fly so if you want to have the luxury of eating what the fuck you like without accepting the consequences then PAY UP!

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 07:38:55

Hmm no fat bashing here at all. That said I generally agree with the broad point. If you are too big for whatever reason to fit in a seat without affecting another persons comfort, you buy two (and I do appreciate that wasn't the original point of the OP). However posts like CityTilIdie's are expressed in such a way as to be unnecessarily vitriolic. You can make the same point without being so judgmental about something which is really none of your business (unless you are being squashed on a plane of course).

LtEveDallas Wed 27-Mar-13 08:10:25

No one forced you to eat so much that you became obese and no one os forcing you to fly so if you want to have the luxury of eating what the fuck you like without accepting the consequences then PAY UP!

No. Not fat bashing at all...

Crazycake Wed 27-Mar-13 08:16:35

It's not just obese people though is it? My DH is 6'11, so although he's 18 stone he's not obese!

CandyCrushed Wed 27-Mar-13 08:37:16

Tall people don't spill into the neighbouring seats. It is different from overweight passengers.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 08:58:27

They may not spill in the same way but there arms and legs have a tendency to take over so you can still be pretty uncomfortable next to a tall person.

Being honest though I fly budget a fair bit and have never experienced this overspill problem in Europe/UK. Am I just travelling to the wrong places?

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 08:59:26

Their not their

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 08:59:53

Aargh - not there

DH's ridiculously long legs do not fit in a standard seat. He has to put them in the aisle or in the legroom of the person next to him. He also has long arms so takes up more than his fair share of armrest space. Git.

Kendodd Wed 27-Mar-13 09:41:36

Another issue about seriously obese people flying, surely it's just not safe, both for them and others. I would guess they are more vulnerable to DVT and if they did develop problems how would the cabin staff get them out of their (and their neighbours) seat to help them?

My mum doesn't fly because she's to fat, I wouldn't either if I were her. Maybe airlines should just have a rule that if you can't fit in the seat you can't fly. I mean how would the person next you you get out in an emergency?

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:13:38

Yes, you do need to keep moving on long flights, the majortity of people know this. How does a person with such weight issues regardless of why move around?

And god forbid in the event of an emergency would the wedged in obese person in 32B just get forgotton? Are cabin crew responsible for helping them out of their chair. I suspect they are responsible until it endangers their life...

Latara Wed 27-Mar-13 10:27:10

OMG I'm worried now; i have to fly in May & i'm just under 13 stone sad

I'm on a diet though & off to the gym again today; so hopefully will lose at least a stone before the flight!!

TumbleWeeds Wed 27-Mar-13 10:42:24

But surely this is not the same to be overweight (size16 is the average size in the uk so you would expect airline companies to accommodate a size 16 or 18 wo any problem whic is not the case) and to be obese and to be so big that the trolley can't fit through the aisle etc.,,

In the later case, yes that person should take 2 seats and tbh unless they haven't fly before they will know the issue. That's the sort of case * honey* is referring to.
In the second case, there is no safety issue but some inconvenience for the passenger next to him/her. That's what * soup* is talking about and tbh it's just inconvenience. Interresting you never hear about these cases on a bus journey for exam

TumbleWeeds Wed 27-Mar-13 10:43:31

Sorry press send too soon.

This has nothing to do with the weight if the suitcase though.

Latara 13 stone is nothing if you think about it - plenty of taller men are 13 stone without being overweight at all, so nobody has any reason to object to you being 13 stone. I would guess the people being judged, ridiculed, vilified and loathed discussed on this thread would be nearer 20 stone than 13. Also the people making vitriolic comments on this thread are probably not representative of the general population.

Latara Wed 27-Mar-13 10:54:58

Thanks MrTumbles - tbh no-one has criticized my weight except my family who know it's making me unhappy so they are helping me pay for the gym. Luckily i've got an hourglass shape so i don't look fat, just v curvy.

But i would hate to get in the way of anyone else on a plane.

I also hadn't thought about the DVT risk (it's a 4 hour flight); i may get some of those ultra glamourous TED stockings!!

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:07:23

We are talking about seriously obese people here aren't we? I mean I am a size 22 on top which is pretty big I would have thought and I fit comfortably into budget airline seats. Noone would be endagering their life getting me out of a seat (unless, of course, they were trying to move me out of arm's reach of a cake and then I accept no responsibility for what might happen to them).

I dunno, maybe I just fly on skinny people routes (to places not internationally known for their cakes perhaps?) but I have never seen someone on a plane who couldn't extricate themself from their seat to get to the loo or whatever, or get out of the plane in an emergency. Is this mainly a US problem still, or do really big people actually self-select and decide not to fly if they are worried about getting wedged in their seat?

You are right MummyPig I have never seen anyone wedged into a plane seat and needing help to get in and out either. The problem of somebody slightly larger (but not to the point of being unable to move independently about the plane shock ) "overspilling" would also only occur if the larger person is travelling alone, if they are, for example, travelling with a child they would presumably sit next to that child, therefore inconveniencing nobody but their own child.

The fuel cost issue should perhaps also be looked at for the whole party booking together - if a parent is 3 stone overweight but travelling with a 3 stone child who has their own seat (and we all know children of 2 + pay virtually full fare), their combined weights would still be less than 2 average weight adults smile

LessMissAbs Wed 27-Mar-13 11:28:20

I don't like forced physical contact with another person's body. So I would feel aggrieved, uncomfortable and annoyed if a person next to me in a plane were so big that their skin was constantly touching mine. Particularly bad if they were sweaty. This has only happened a couple of times.

Mind you, its not just overweight people - it can be creepy people too. I look very young for my age, and a few years ago, the man (slim build, not especially tall) in the seat next to me sat with his feet in my footwell. I was pressed up against the side of the plane to get away from him. I had to ask him twice, the second time very forcefully, to remove his feet from in front of my seat as I didn't want to play footsite with him for the duration of the flight. Argh.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:30:53

MrTumble - the family weighing-fuel idea is a good point. And I suppose, whilst the idea of being weighed before you fly is fairly mortifying, provided it is confidential and flashing lights and klaxons don't go off if you are over a certain weight, it can't be any worse than the whole pat-down experience, which I suffer almost every time I fly. The last time, i was travelling alone with DD (2) and she had to be strapped into her buggy by the security people so she didn't make a break for it while I was patted down in front of everyone. Not a nice experience whether you are fat or thin.

However, the idea some have had upthread of having to prove you can fit into a seat before you are allowed to board would be sufficiently humiliating to put me off flying forever, even though I would currently pass the test. I really don't think anyone with an ounce of humanity would seriously subject people to that at check-in.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 11:32:16

Latara the last time I flew I was around 14 stone. I fit into a seat easily and that was flying with Easy Jet so don't worry about it.

I can see both sides of this thread. If you are charged according to weight then why not overall weight instead of just luggage. Then again why should someone be discriminated against because they're tall/their weight is due to disability/insert reason here. I can't get myself worked up about it quite possibly because atm I can't afford to fly so it doesn't affect me. I also admit that if I was small and one of the ones paying less then it would be an attractive proposition.

However, as I've said above, it won't do anything to avoid the overspill problem that some posters have mentioned. ComposHat's suggestion at 01.18 maybe just solve that problem and seems a fair way to do it.

Btw I speak as one of those fat bitches, who eats too much, therefore is overweight, although not so obese that I can't fit into a single seat, that some poster's like to spew vitriol at.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 11:34:15

Disclaimer about part of above post. I have not sat here and weighed up the pros and cons of ComposHat's post just taken it at face value.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:37:36

Hello Eostre - perhaps we should form a fat bitch club. We could find another use for the biscuit symbol maybe?

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 11:40:19

grin Mummy maybe we should get mn to provide us with our own smiley. Definitely like the idea of a fat bitch club grin

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:47:37

grin Good idea about a dedicated smiley. A big slice of chocolate cake would get my vote.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:57:17

Thinking about it though, going back to the original OP, I do think there is a potential sex discrimination issue here. On average, men weigh more than women. They are taller and bigger-framed (on average). Thin men tend to weigh more than thin women and obese men more than obese women. Overall a pay by weight system will result in men being charged more to fly than women for something they may have no control over. You could argue that if you add luggage in to the equation, men tend to travel lighter. (I have no idea if this is true but you could argue it). However, given the increase in budget travel where everyone tries to stick to hand luggage only and, at the other end of the scale, business travel where people don't take much with them anyway, I think men are going to lose out overall.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 27-Mar-13 11:59:49

I agree that it's very uncomfortable sitting beside someone who is massively overweight, but I equally agree there is some very nasty fat bashing on this thread.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 12:11:00

Yes, it would discriminate against men overall. I suppose they could get away with it by charging £x up to y kilograms in weight but have y higher for men than women iyswim.

Wrt travelling light, I took dd to Spain a few years ago and we had a 20kg allowance each. While over in Spain we bought quite a few things so I took note of the weight when they weighed the luggage at the airport on the journey home. Dd's was just under 15kg and mine was just over.

Lueji Wed 27-Mar-13 12:21:06

I am in favour, as I am very light. Selfish.

blush

But then they should weigh hand luggage too.

HoneyStepMummy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:07:01

I do NOT think that ticket prices should be based on weight, nor do I think that obese people should somehow have to pay more for their one seat. I know and understand from years of industry experience how airfares are calculated. It's very very complicated and boring and has nothing to do with weight. It isn't like taking a bus or the tube where you pay xx from zone 1 to 2 and xy from zone 3 to 5 etc etc. When you are on a plane most likely the person next to you has paid a completely different price for their ticket. I couldn't care less what someone else spent, I only care how much I did! There is no way the airlines would take the bet of charging by weight. How can they anticipate if the plane is going to be full of skinny 7 year olds or sumo wrestlers? Since pricing is based a lot around inventory, again it's back to how many seats will one passenger occupy.

I don't especially enjoy being pushed up against the large person next to me, but I also don't enjoy sitting next to someone wearing White Shoulders, or has just eaten garlic, or the air marshall who spent the whole flight staring down my cleavage. I also don't enjoy people who talk really loudly on the bus or fart in the lift. But such is life. Again this cannot be compared to sitting next to a passenger who simply needs two seats due to their size.

Unless you own the airline or have stock in it why would you care what other people pay? What I can tell you is even if obese people had to pay more for the 'extra weight' the savings wouldn't be passed down to anyone else. How do you know that the chubby person sitting next to you didn't already pay for a last minute, full fare ticket that costs the same as a business class fare? Would that make you happy?

Like I said earlier excess baggage fees aren't based on extra fuel consumption. Heavy bags cause damage to other peoples luggage, the luggage bin and employees. Hence the extra cost. Plus it's just another for the airlines to charge more. Why not, they are a business...

The reason hand luggage is limited is again because overstuffing the overhead bins causes damage to the aircraft. Also during bad turbulence large and heavy bags will cause the overhead bins to pop open, resulting in said bags to fall on passengers (I have experienced this).

Somebody asked if the "passenger in 32b would be forgetten in an emergency". No, they wouldn't be forgetten. But at 5"9 and 130 lbs I would not have been able to pull them out of their seat and drag them off the plane.

I really don't like fat bashing and am sure that large people don't really enjoyed being squeezed into a seat either.

Either a very large person will tackle the seat issue at the time of booking and book two seats or a first class one, or they'll chance it and see what happens at the airport.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 13:27:08

What are/is white shoulders? confused

HoneyStepMummy your posts have been really interesting. It's being useful to hear from someone who has experience of working with an airline. Do you think that the best policy/solution wrt overspill is that any person who does not fit into one seat should be required to purchase a second one? I think you mentioned it was company policy for the airline you worked for but I'm just wondering if you think it would be the best solution.

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:33:34

I think they are really interesting too....

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:36:13

Suspect it might be dandruff!

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 13:41:18

Oh, of course grin I'm sat there confused

<dumb emoticon>

HoneyStepMummy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:41:54

Hello Eostre! White Shoulders is an old and cheap perfume by Elizabeth Taylor. Smells worse than jet flumes.
Yes, I do agree with the company policy of buying a second seat if there isn't an extra empty one on the plane. If there's an extra seat with moving people around the problem is resolved. They wouldn't have made any money on the empty seat anyhow so why not just use it to resolve the issue?
I also have put the other (not the large one) passenger into a first class seat when coach was full. This wasn't done out of spite. The other passenger was the one who was inconvinienced and out of a seat, and quite frankly two coach seats are much roomier than one first class. The airline also preferred we do that, because the didn't want big people booking coach seats on purpose and demanding a free upgrade (their thoughts, not mine).
TBH you have to be really big not to fit into just one seat. I'm sure this is more of a US problem. I remember working flights out of Texas where we ran out of all five seat belt extensions.

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:44:20

Isnt it White Diamonds or have I got this all wrong...its just White Shoulders sounds a very odd name for a perfume.....

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:49:05

Its interesting as well what you say about moving the slimer person into Business. And yes, I did know someone who was going to say at check in for safety reasons he needed a BS seat (he just didnt want to pay for it and was looking for a free upgrade!).

You know when someone comes on with real knowledge of a subject the problems/issues you think you see have already been thought of and in sensible ways too.

I have a friend who REALLY cannot understand that if the plane is not full in BS why shouldnt the airline open it up to everyone once they have boarded.

EostreChaoticResurrEggtion Wed 27-Mar-13 13:50:02

Thank you smile

Yes, White Shoulders does sound an odd name doesn't it.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Wed 27-Mar-13 13:53:18

I don't see how an overweight person can 'spill' over to the point of taking up half (or laughably 3/4 as someone claimed hmm) of someone else's seat - the arm rest is in the way surely? Yes their arm/shoulder might take up a bit more of the width - but 'sitting on you'? Really?

HoneyStepMummy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:59:30

White Shoulders is a really disgusting perfume http://www.amazon.com/White-Shoulders-Cologne-Lotion-Parfum/dp/B000P276AK but yes, I'm not sure is Elizabeth Taylor is involved. I might be confused. But it's my solution for getting rid of people you don't like on planes grin.

Chipping- armrests can be raised. Depends on the aircraft.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 14:50:54

Really interesting posts HoneyStepMummy. I know on Ryanair at least, they insist you lower the armrest for take off and landing. So you would physically have to be able to get it down to stay in that one seat. However, once the plane has taken off, all bets are off.

The only time I ever suffered with being squashed was on an internal US flight where the man next to me insisted on raising the arm rest as he said it made him uncomfortable and then spilled into my seat. It was unpleasant and hot but I was quite young and too embarrassed to say anything. Now I think i would ask to be moved (although now, he wouldn't have anywhere to spill into as I would be taking up all of my own seat). It particulalrly annoyed me at the time as his wife was on the other side of him and I couldn't see why he didn't raise that arm rest and spill over onto her. Maybe they had had a row....

White Shoulders sounds like a great wheeze to achieve the Holy Grail - a whole three seat row to yourself!

RoloTamasi Wed 27-Mar-13 14:56:37

Being a guy, I'd lose out slightly on a 'total weight' based system, since women tend to be significantly lighter than men. I'm still in favour of it though, if it's a fair reflection of the airline's cost to transport me.

Extra if you take up two seats too. Space is at a premium too!

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 18:15:52

I stilll think we should include 'White Shoulder's as potentially people with dandruff. It really does make me shudder when I see it - yuck!

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 18:16:51

Everyone complains about Ryan Air and claim they will never fly on them again. Their planes are full. I thought they were fine (and very cheap!)

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 27-Mar-13 21:45:01

Ryanair are fine when everything works ok and when you fit their profile, ie. you can travel light so ideally aren't with your family. When anything goes wrong they are not so good.

I had a dreadful experience one Christmas Eve trying to get to Ireland. There were airport problems which affected all flights but those of us on Ryanair waited the longest, had to get all our information from other airlines' staff and, when the passengers started to play up and get angry with the Ryanair staff (after hours of waiting in departures with no info while all other flights had left), they apparently went on strike and had to be coaxed back by the staff of other airlines who said they couldn't leave us at gatwick for Christmas. I eventually arrived at Dublin airport at about 3am on Christmas Day. There were plenty of babies and small children on that flight, bless them and their poor parents - I was luckily single and childless at the time. Not that it has stopped me travelling with them. Sometimes they are the only viable option for a particular destination.

But you get what you pay for with them, no doubt about it! And of course with all the added extras they are no longer always so cheap.

ComposHat Wed 27-Mar-13 21:58:20

I think RyanAir work on the same basis as Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses did in the 70s and 80s. That there are enough people in the world that you can rip them all off and treat them with utter contempt once.

maisiejoe123 Wed 27-Mar-13 23:09:16

Now I don't see that at all about Ryan Air. You don't have to fly with them. Last year we went to Salzberg with them. They were 55 pounds and BA for 250 pounds. We had to pay 60 for luggage but its no secret they charge.

ComposHat Wed 27-Mar-13 23:32:50

I flew with them once - hated it.

I don't mind EasyJet - I don't mind the no frills approach at all. I just think RyanAir go out their way to make life as needlessly unpleasant for their customers as possible. There boss Michael o'Leary? seems to suggest more and more fanciful ways to screw money out of customers (most of which never get implemented -anyone remember standing room only flights and the pay to use the loo on the flight ideas - but generate loads of publicity for his crappy airline.)

He seems a horrible, horrible man and it seems to be reflected in the airline he runs.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 07:46:04

Larger people can overspill into someone else's space, even when the arm rest is down. My friend is big, and when we have flown together her arm is well onto my seat, with the arm roast down. She doesn't need seat belt extenders, but she does worry so much that she won't be able to get the table down that she buys sandwiches to eat on the plane instead of getting the tray of food provided by the airline.

I didn't mind my friend being in my space because I'm small, but I would hate it if it was a stranger. Something does need to change to solve this problem, and I don't see how they can reasonably make sure everyone fits in their seat without having a test chair at check in.

NuhichNuhaymuh Thu 28-Mar-13 08:04:06

I don't think everyone complains about Ryan Air and says they won't fly with them.

Michael O'Leary does indeed come across as a horrible meals scrot and it certainly is reflected in the airline. No bother if your travelling alone or as a couple though. Sitting anywhere is fine then. But with children it's a little mire uncomfortable and you have a worry about seating.

I've seen hideous treatment of a disabled traveller. She was humiliated, shouted at by staff for not giving into her seat quick enough. Also an old man shouted at for not having anywhere to put his bag (overhead bins where full)

If they truly are the cheapest I'll fly Ryan air otherwise not and id pay up to 80 more to avoid then when flying with children.

as for the op on this thread paying by weight wouldn't work, though having another person taking your space is a problem. Though Id have thought a rare enough problem.

NuhichNuhaymuh Thu 28-Mar-13 08:32:00

*meals = mean!!

WestieMamma Thu 28-Mar-13 09:20:32

I flew Ryanair as a disabled passenger last year. I was dreading it because of the horror stories and my extremely vulnerable emotions at the time (my dad had just died and it was the only flight available that day). We waited for everyone else to board as I couldn't cope with the scrum, and I was prepared to sit wherever was left.

I was really surprised to find that the cabin crew had kept a whole row free for us so we could choose which seat was most suitable. The other people in the row had to wait to have what was left. They'd also reserved space in the overhead locker for us. I was most impressed. (Sadly they did 'lose' my walking frame so I couldn't get off the plane for half an hour after everyone else while they sorted it out, but BA have done the same on occassions too so I don't hold that against them.)

NuhichNuhaymuh Thu 28-Mar-13 16:32:10

Oh that's good to hear WestieMamma nice to hear some of the staff are thoughtful.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Thu 28-Mar-13 20:46:17

Honey - I used to spend half my life flying - I know arm rests can be raised grin but surely, it's a simple matter of the 'skinny' person putting it down. I haven't come across a commercial airline that would be happy with the armrest being up during takeoff and landing and so if it can't be put down, then there's an actual problem BUT I have never come across this on the zillion flights I've taken. Where are all these people who need the arm rest to be up?

MummyPigs I disagree that 'all bets are off' one the aircraft is in the air - the default position is that the armrest is down - it being up is only acceptable if both parties are happy with it (and crew would support you on that). Sod the bloke if he was uncomfortable, that's HIS problem, not yours and he should have put the side up next to his wife or booked two seats (but I suspect they'd had that 'discussion' previously grin You were young - we'll let you off smile

WhatKindofFool Thu 28-Mar-13 20:48:14

If you eat more, you spend more on food. If your weight uses up more aircraft fuel, then you should pay for it.

mirry2 Thu 28-Mar-13 21:50:39

The last time I flew (to France with Easyjet) I'm sure the arm rest was in a fixed position.

thelittlestkiwi Tue 02-Apr-13 06:21:10

Not sure if this has been linked already:

Air Samoa already doing it

WhatKindofFool Tue 02-Apr-13 12:25:13

Crikey! I thought it was an April Fool at first but it seems very genuine. I can see the logic in it.

Talking of smells on planes I once worked with a guy who took the opportunity to test Einstein's little known hypothesis that farts don't smell on planes.
I'm thankful I wasn't in the row behind him.

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