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Too fat to fly?

February 15, 2010

Kevin Smith was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because he’s fat.  The pilot called him a “safety risk”.  Kevin is, of course, letting them have it via Twitter and his blog.

Anyone surprised that this is a huge topic in the “fat acceptance” blogosphere?  I thought about jumping into the discussion but I’m pretty sure that I’d get creamed as a dissenting voice (check out the comments).  I do completely agree that Kevin Smith was treated horribly as were other fat passengers.  However, I think that the problem is an inconsistent policy and rude airline employees.

Airlines need straight forward guidelines that are consistently applied to people who can’t fit in an airplane seat.

When I buy a ticket to fly somewhere, I want to be able to comfortably sit in my seat.  I don’t want my neighbors elbow poking into my side, I don’t want their leg touching mine (ick!), and I certainly don’t want their butt to be partially on my seat.  I’m a larger than average woman and I’ve flown when I was a lot larger than I am now.  I make a concerted effort to not impinge on the space of the person sitting next to me.  I expect others to do the same for me.  If a person needs more than one seat, he should purchase another seat.

Airlines need to ensure that people do this BEFORE they board the flight so that enforcement isn’t left up to the flight crew and so that the traveller isn’t humiliated in public.

Airlines price tickets based on the number of seats available.  Look at an extreme example.  What if 50 fat people bought seats on a plane with 100 seats and each of them needed two seats?  The airline could not sell 100 tickets and would therefore lose half of their income.  For each seat essentially given away for free, all paying passengers have to pay more to make up for lost income.

There is no right to travel by air.  None.  We are purchasing a service from a commercial entity.  They provide the service in exchange for our fare.  If we can’t pay the fare, we don’t get the service.  It’s simple.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fritz permalink
    February 16, 2010 8:07 pm

    At every ticket counter, there is a box that you can use to size your carry-on luggage to see if it fits. Rides at amusement parks have the “you must be this tall to ride” sign. The same should be done at airports for passengers…can’t fit in the template, have to buy another ticket. Now, you should also get the perks of another ticket, airline miles, luggage, peanuts.

  2. Michele permalink*
    February 16, 2010 9:10 pm

    It’s already been cartooned:

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