Plus-size people and airlines have been having more frequent run-ins recently. This is because, over the years, airlines have found it more profitable to reduce the size of their seats. This way, airlines can accommodate more people per flight and make more money. Recent happenings have shown that this strategy may not continue for long.
A woman made online news headlines after allegedly demanding a refund from Frontier Airlines. A Twitter user posted a photo of an overweight woman cramped up between airplane seats. She couldn’t fit into the window seat and had to sit almost sideways as the space between her seat and the seat in front couldn’t accommodate her large legs if they were normally positioned.
In the tweet’s caption, the woman was allegedly quoted to have made a demand for a refund after bashing the airline. “I cannot get comfortable in any position in the next 3hrs,” she lamented. She ended by saying “I want a refund.”
Airlines now have to choose between making more money or satisfying their customers. But many Twitter users who commented on the post do not believe that it is a difficult puzzle to crack. According to one user, plus-size passengers have only one person to blame for not being able to fit into airplane seats, themselves.
One user said quite sarcastically, “Yeah, totally the fault of the people who need to try and float a 70,000-pound chunk of metal safely from one city to another with passengers on board and not the fault of the person adding an unnecessary 500 lbs.” Another comment read, “The plane wasn’t built for someone whose that size, so buy 2 seats, ma’am.”
Twitter users seemed unanimous in their verdict. Plus-size people should either stop flying or pay for two seats. Airlines don’t have the luxury of such simplistic conclusions, though. The potential of facing a discrimination lawsuit isn’t a pleasant one, as there are people who believe that the situation could be a human rights issue.
Airlines have different policies to cater to their plus-size passengers. Some airlines say that passengers who would need an extra seat because of their weight should buy one in advance. Others add that if there are empty seats after takeoff, they will refund the plus-size passenger for the extra seat they paid for. Some other airlines do not talk about the issue at all.
A plus-size traveler, Jae’Lynn Chaney, has started a petition to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aim is to encourage the administration to make it mandatory for airlines to adopt seat policies that favor plus-size people. Among the demands of the petition, one request stands out, which is that airlines need to provide additional and accessible free seats to customers of size.
She believes that asking plus-size passengers to pay for additional seats is discriminatory as they didn’t choose their weight. We keep our fingers crossed as we await the decision of the FAA.