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Rick June 19th, 2002 04:13 PM

SW airlines Overweight fare
Saw on news today where Southwest may start charging overweight people double fare (not sure of weight parameters). This would increase cruise costs if they carry through with this. Do you think this is fair? Should overweight people pay more.....certainly some need 2 seats. I think they should pay if they require 2 seats. I am not surprised at Southwests proposal and think other airlines will sit back and see how it goes before doing or not doing the same. I am not real surprised at the possibility of overweight people having to pay more to fly. .We are a country of overweight and obese people. US surgeon general stated earlier this year that this year deaths/illness due to overweight will surpass death/illness attributed to smoking. If not now..then in the near future, I would not be surprised to find that Companies will try not to hire obese people due to health costs. But for now........How do you feel about Southwests possible actions.

UConn1 June 19th, 2002 07:17 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Below is what was in an article on

Starting June 26, Southwest passengers who are booked on full flights and need seat belt extensions, or whose bodies extend beyond the 18 3/4 inch cushions, will be required to purchase a second seat, said Christine Turneabe-Connelly, a Southwest spokeswoman.

I don't have a strong opinion on this - If I am uncomfortable sitting next to a person who is I feel "invading my space" or my "comfort zone", I just politely and quietly (without the passenger's knowlege) ask the flight attendant to be moved. It has only happened once to me in all the hundreds of flights I have ever taken.


Kuki June 19th, 2002 07:29 PM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
If this entire process isn't attacked by human rights commissions and ADA, I'll be VERY surprised!

Rick June 19th, 2002 07:40 PM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Jodi......perhaps I should have been clearer. Not asking would you be comfortable beside an obese it fair for a person requiring 2 seats to pay double fare?

Jim Bragg June 19th, 2002 07:51 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Rick, there will be a lawsuit filed against this the day it goes into effect, if not sooner. It is also reported that the ticketing agent will be the person determining if the customer is required to pay for two seats. This is so vague that it will never stand. In addition what about people who just happen to have wide shoulders like myself? What about ladies with large bosums? Will it only affect overwieght people? What about a person who is exceptionally tall? As you can see, there is no way this can be effectively done with any sense of fairness which means it will be illegal. What the airlines should do is make those darn seats wider! I have been pretty comfortable on most airplanes but those darn 727's with the 3/3 configuration is very painful for me because of the width of my shoulders, they just do not fit between the edges of the seats, and that's bone, not fat.

UConn1 June 19th, 2002 07:56 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
No, I don't think it is fair. I think it would be just pouring salt into the wound.


Rick June 19th, 2002 07:59 PM

Re: Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
I can't see what standing the human rights commission would have in this :). As far as the ADA...maybe in a few cases but the majority of obesity isn't due to medical problems but is due to lifestyle (according to the Surgeon General). If, in the case of lifestyle, people choose to eat at all you can eat buffets and don't control what they eat nor exercise to the point they are hundreds of pounds overweight then I see no prob in Airlines charging for the extra seat their posterior occupies IMO. Also, if I understood the news correctly, SWAir has had this policy for a few years but was rarely enforced. A lady on MSNBC today (400 lbs) spoke out against this saying that America has changed (gotten fat) and we must accept this. Okay, if I can accept her aurguement that obesity is now an American norm then she should accept that for certain forms of transport her 2 person body will have to pay the 2 person fare :). The US Surgeon General is saying that obesity is the new health hazzard in America. Also, if I heard correctly...SWAir stated that after the flight and if the flight had empty seats, the obese person could apply for the extra seat fare to be retyrned .

Rick June 19th, 2002 08:06 PM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Jim, I agree on wider seats.......we just got back from Ca and the seats on SWAir do confine :). What would be the basis of the lawsuit? If one uses 2 seats and the plane is full.......should'nt one pay for 2 seats? It does seem like the policy is too vague......but we are just getting the news spin on it...SWAir has lawyers they pay big bucks to....don't you think they have researched this so they approach it the right way to help minimize a lawsuit? Asking...I really don't know.

Rick June 19th, 2002 08:16 PM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Jodi. you are a nice person :)

Thomas June 20th, 2002 07:28 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
If they have to ask for an extension on the lap belt to get it to buckle then they should be charged for an additional seat. These people don't have to sit next to themselves. I must be one unfortunate dude because I seem to always get seated next to someone who is a twinkie shy of 350 lb. and spilling over into my seat. I can't put my arm on the arm rest because their side is covering it.

Their obesity is their problem. But it shouldn't be imposed on me!


Marnie June 20th, 2002 07:46 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
If I sit on my boyfriend's lap and we can still get the belt around us, can we go for the price of one?

Thomas June 20th, 2002 08:12 AM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
I like it! I liiiiiiiiiiiiiike it! Now there's a great way to economize.


DebbieF June 20th, 2002 08:31 AM

Re: Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
From what I understand, this rule has been around with other airlines since the 80's. They didn't really enforce it until now but are starting to because of their declining revenue. The planes are flying less routes and times now, and they are fuller- so that's a few reasons why they are going to enforce it now. I for one agree that if you need two seats- and the plane is full, then you should pay additional $$- think of the uncomfortable person next to you.

worktocruise June 20th, 2002 09:50 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
IMHO.....if you require two seats, you should have to pay for two seats. When you book helicopter tours, if you weight over a certain amount you have to pay double. What's the difference?

It's certainly an advantage to be short when flying! :) I always have plenty of leg room! lol

Pooh Bear June 20th, 2002 01:59 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Hummm, makes me wonder:

When booking a cruise with air - after partaking of all the food venues on the ship - perhaps some of us will have to book 1 seat going to meet the ship......and 2 seats for the flight back home! ; > )


pamda June 20th, 2002 02:16 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare

You know how they have those little things to check whether your carry-on is acceptable for L/W/H to fit under the seat or in the overhead bin?

Maybe there should be something like that for PEOPLE ???

"I'm sorry, Madame, but your avoir du pois exceeds federal limitations for a single seat." Maybe there could be security people measuring butt width?

Children under two years old can travel without airfare if a parent holds the kid. Want to be next to THAT person?

I remember a particularly odious flight next to a person who'd gone to the buffet too many times who promptly raised the armrest between the seats and oozed over into my space.

Maybe the cost of a seat belt extension should be $2,000 ???

A second seat would be cheaper.

I have a great deal of sympathy for people with weight problems that are not choiceful.

But when I rent/buy that itty-bitty airline seat, I expect it to be MY space.

CruzNut June 20th, 2002 11:14 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Well put, Pamda. I sure don't want to share my seat with someone who is getting in my space.

Shar June 21st, 2002 02:38 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
If/when this goes into effect, the airlines should have an airline seat for "SUSPECT" people to sit in. If they can't get the armrests down - they pay the additional fee...
oh well, it really is good incentive for me to go on that diet - :o)


Jenn#1 June 21st, 2002 03:15 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
If someone has to buy two seats do they get two meals/snacks and get to bring twice as much luggage? Just a thought.

PamG June 21st, 2002 04:17 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Shame on you all. I hope you become overweight.

Rick June 21st, 2002 04:53 PM

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Pam.....becoming overweight (normally) is a choice :). Obesity is not healthy nor I have very little symphathy for people who over eat or don't exercise to the the point they become obese. If one chooses to carry 2 people in one boby then one should pay for 2 seats IMO.

Suzie June 21st, 2002 07:59 PM

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Pam G,
Never, never, would I let myself get " overweight " Why do you say " shame on you " ?
Some people just don't give a darn how they look - not to mention how un-healthy.

DeniseToAlaska June 22nd, 2002 03:17 AM

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Wow, Rick, how interesting that this came up just as I was thinking the same thing.

I'm cruising next week with a friend who is blind. She wants to go canoeing, SEE (her words) all of the sights of Alaska, and she's just a blast. I've known her for about five years, she holds a job, has a family, two lovely daughters, and is just incredible. Her handicap doesn't hold her back from anything.

Me, on the other hand, I'm fat. Obese by US standards although I'd never have to buy an extender for my seat belt. I feel like more of a pariah than her. I try to hide. I don't want to be seen. It's set me to wondering lately WHY. Why can she feel more totally at ease cruising and SEEING the sights than I can.

Because her disability is not her fault. Mine is my fault. I came to that realization just a few days ago. Wow. I know that when people look at her, they say, Not her fault. I know when they look at me, they say, That fat lazy slob, her fault.

No, I'm not at all disabled, 5'8, 200, but I am a pariah. Disabled by the treatment of others towards me. Because it's all my fault.

There are no excuses. But if there are no excuses, why do only 5% of diets ever succeed long-term? Those are the statistics. Go check yourself.

I found the answer 40 pounds ago. It IS metabolism. It is different biology. There IS a reason we crave to eat and, once large, have trouble finding the engery and motivation to exercise.

I won't go all off-topic and weird everyone out with alternative thinking, just suffice it to say that low-carb (not HIGH PROTIEN, low-carb) works and yet has been slammed by every mis-informed idiot on the planet. My blood pressure is now below normal, my TG is <100 (can ANY of you say that) and my cholesterol is fantastic.

Diabetes is now a national epidemic. Why? Sugar, starch, all pushed on us from the moment we're born. It's not natural for human beings and the diabetes numbers are showing it. Skinny people get diabetes, sir.

So blame me all you want. I now have something to blame. And the success rate for low-carb dieting is huge. I just hope other people who are blamed for their weak wills finally discover that it isn't them.

You skinny people have never experienced the hunger that we have. Now that I eat low-carb I finally realize the control over eating that YOU have. Sweet. Wish you could feel what I used to.

And you've renewed my committment to keep it up even on a cruise ship.

Thank you!

GRANDEUR14TH June 23rd, 2002 04:16 PM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
It is not good for the obese person, nor the person sitting next to him/her. I think that you should have to pay a moderate fee if you require two seats. I cant stand people that make fun of the obese because they have no idea what its like.


John June 23rd, 2002 11:49 PM

Re: Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
I think 2 fares for 2 seats is very reasonable. I can't tell you how many times I've said a silent prayer when I see some one obese coming down the isle. I just keep saying please lord not next to me. I have to relate a funny story. When my parents were living in the south pacific they weighed everyone before they got on the plane then they would walk into the plane and look around and say you and you get off. Those smaller planes had weight restrictions and in a country where you can weigh 300-400 pounds and be considered attractive well it's not a big issue. One time my dad had to help a Samoan lady with the seat belt extension. She sat back and held up her breasts while dad reached across and hooked up the belt. Talk about a fear of getting crushed.

Thomas June 24th, 2002 08:47 AM

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"There IS a reason we crave to eat and, once large, have trouble finding the engery and motivation to exercise."....................DenisetoAlaska

To this I say, "The difficult takes a long time to achieve, the impossible a little longer."

Metablolism changes throughout life. People who were once skinny are now fat without changing any of their eating habits. But the laws of physics do NOT change. The laws of conservation of energy do NOT change. And these laws state that for every calorie consumed, a calorie must be burned, or a portion will be stored.

I sympathize with obese people because their condition, whether self-inflicted or not, brings difficulties to their lives. However, there is a cure for it and they have an alternative.


jomama June 24th, 2002 11:42 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
When I cruise solo I have to pay for double the space when I don't use it. Do I think someone on a plane should have to pay for extra space when they DO use it? You betcha.

michelle June 26th, 2002 10:26 AM

Re: Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
Do you get double frequent flyer miles?

As mentioned before all the airlines have this policy in their books, southwest is the only one with the guts to put it out in public and use it. I would think that they have had their lawyers go over the actual policy with a finetooth comb before they release it to the public like their did and it is a poor job done by the reporters explaining the policy because they wanted to make it into a bigger news story then it really was.

I agree with the policy. I have paid for my seat and it is mine for the duration of the flight. I have ended up next to people twice who just put up the arm rest and used up my seat. Luckly I was able to be reseated once but the other time I had to endure an uncomfortable flight.

I have been on smaller airplanes that weight you and your luggage before you get on the plane to get the weight distribution correct. The check-in agent could care less about how much you weigh. It's not like they are going to insult you to your face.

Driversed28 June 28th, 2002 11:45 PM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
I used to have respect for this website....but after this thread I am beginning to wonder.
You seem to generalize all obese people in one category, but you can not honestly look at an obese person and know if it they are heavy from their own doing or because of a medical problem.

I happen to be is my grandmother... and 2 of my aunts. It is a hereditary thryoid problem that has affected probably 5-6 generations of the women in my family.

Have I let my weight stop me HECK NO!!! In High School I was in marching band and worked at a scout camp and hiked 10 miles a day....

I cannot run...but I do walk everyday....I play with my 9 and 10 yr old...I participate in the 5 or 10 k charity walks each summer.

I eat less than a thin person would eat in 1 day...My Cholesteral is Great....I am not a diabetic... and I am a hygiene freak.

Yes...I would take a seatbelt extension on a plane..merly for comfort. but I would not "spill into your space"

and don't tell me It's my fault....the pills I take have pretty much stopped the weight gain...the only time I have ever been able to loose a substantial amount of weight was during pregnancy..I lost alot of weight but almost my child as well.

Do not judge a book by it's cover....
I would give my right arm..not to be obese..for me it is not a choice.
The comments I have seen here have given me a sour taste for this respectable site...

I guess I will be searching for my cruise advise elsewhere from now on...First it was "who will be in line first" and saving yourself before the this.
One of these days one of you may end up with a condition that leaves you unsightly in some way...then maybe you will realize how you sound now.

DMize June 29th, 2002 07:15 AM

Re: SW airlines Overweight fare
BTW this has been a Southwest Airlines policy enforced since 1980. I think it's only come to the media as of late since no one could bear the bad financial headlines one more time. AKA slow news day. I endorse the policy. They are in the business of transportation and space. If you take up more than customary you should be charged accordingly. No one ever has objected to paying for produce or meat by the pound. I'm no expert but would it be safe to say we are a 'larger' population than 20 years ago?

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