Too fat to fly….

Now here’s a tricky problem and the airlines have to sort it out, Huffington Post reports today

There is certainly sympathy for the embarrassment that this might cause overweight passengers at check in and also indeed sympathy for the poor check in agent who would have to administer this policy.  It is becoming a real problem however with 30% of Americans considered obese.  Many airlines are moving towards providing seats with extra leg room e.g. KLM’s comfort class seating.  This does give additional leg room – but that would not solve the problem for passengers who have a problem fitting into the 17-inch wide seats.  There are seats available that are larger and wider, e.g. BA World Traveller Plus – but these come at a substantial increase in price.  “That’s not fair” the larger passengers might cry but other passengers say that when they purchase a seat on a plane they want the right to occupy the whole seat and not have to share part of it with a larger neighbour.  The internet is full of stories –

“The passenger who had to stand during a seven-hour flight because of a morbidly obese man sitting next to him has today spoken about his ordeal.

Arthur Berkowitz, 57, said his 400lb neighbour on US Airways Flight 901 from Anchorage to Philadelphia made it impossible to get into his seat.

The obese man spilled over into Mr Berkowitz’s personal space and he could not move because the plane was full so he was forced to stand up.
Read more:

The problem is how can this policy be implemented.  Many people book simple airfares online.  Are they going to include a spot for you to put in your weight as well as your date of birth?  What about when they book with a travel agent.  Does the onus fall upon us to say to our customers that they have to buy two seats?

Share your thoughts and join the debate.  What do you think?

For a detailed list of airlines’ policies please go to



By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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