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Is This Fair, I Wonder?


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#1 MaraM

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 11:17 PM

I guess I've been living in a sheltered world as I had no idea, until lately, that 'large size' people are often being discriminated against - and wonder how others feel about this.

Apparently some airlines (but not all) will decide - at check in - that someone is 'too fat' (the person at the check-in counter gets to use her or his judgement in deciding who is too fat??)... and insist on charging them for an additional seat. (Imagine how mortified the person must feel! Eek!).

Just my own thought - but, for instance, re plane travel - if a person fits within their own seat and the seat belt does up and the arms rests can remain down, how on earth can an airline legally discriminate this way, I wonder?

Okay, things may be a tad 'squishy' for the person sitting next to a larger person - but I'd consider that a tiny 'annoyance' compared to being plunked in a seat next to a 'chatty-cathy' with breath bad enough force me to endure the entire trip holding my tongue desperately against the roof of my mouth, rather than be rude and gag.

Or, for that matter, being seated in front of a little one who is bored to tears and more than a tad cranky - and insists on booting the back of my seat for an entire trip.

Guess I'm just wondering why 'humanity and kindess' comes into all this - surely, 'fat people' must be one of the last groups of people on earth where it's legal to belittle and humiliate them. Sad sigh.
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#2 Heretic Monkey

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 03:52 PM

I don't really see a problem w/ what they do regarding "mass-emphazised" people. If they're too large for people beside them to sit comfortably, then they should either make different travel plans, find an airline that has special arrangements, or buy 2 seats. All those other annoyances can be cancelled out by headphones or the like, or a simple "Would you please shut the *@$#%@ up". Someone someone too large sits beside you, you'd be touching/rubbing against them the entire flight, and, from experience, i know that's NOT comfortable.

#3 MaraM

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 01:06 AM

I know you are right, Heretic Monkey, being squished against anyone for a period of time is unpleasant.

But I guess I still find the practice a bit unfair. Mainly because, for many people, being very overweight is no more their 'fault' that having blue eyes or having MS or another severe medical condition. And so they are being discriminated against for something totally beyond their control.

As for the humiliation of arriving at the check-in counter and facing a clerk saying "Sorry, you're too fat and have to buy an another seat!" - perhaps the least the airlines could do is make it very clear when any ticket is being booked as to what weight versus height (or some other clearly understood guideline) would be applicable, rather than having customers being mortified in front of dozens of strangers, etc?

On a personal note, I literally burst out laughing when I read your words, ""Would you please shut the *@$#%@ up", Heretic. So, so many times I wish I'd had the courage to say something similar - exact, without fail, the person with the nightmare breath is usually a sweet, lonely person trying desperately to 'count', if only for a couple hours with a stranger. Drat!
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#4 seafox14

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 07:05 AM

Having waged war with my weight for my entire life (I still am), I have come to one conclusion. Most of us got ourselves into this mess through our own actions (or should I say inaction :thumbsup:). There are a few large people that truly cannot lose weight without surgery, but that is not the majority. This is why their is a bias against large people. Why should society be inconvenienced for someone's lifestyle choice? As for myself, I have long ago stopped being sensitive about my weight. Yes people can be and are cruel, but for the most part the situation is if our own making (I ware size 48 jeans). That having been said, if we got ourselves into this mess, then we can get ourselves out of this mess (I used to wear a size 50 jeans). If you are tired of paying more money for clothing and don't want to pay for 2 seats then lose weight. It can be done (I'm following my own advice).

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BTW: hm, I 've got to agree with you. I know, scary isn't it?

Edited by seafox14, 21 September 2006 - 07:08 AM.

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#5 HitSquad

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 08:27 AM

I have a good friend who is overweight and gets charged for two seats in coach.
On some flights a 1st class ticket, if available, can be cheaper then paying for two seats in coach.
The seats up there are wider and he doesn't have to "straddle" between seats.
I fly about 25-30 times a year myself and hate every minute of it. Your just a big sardine packed in a round can with engines. :thumbsup:

#6 MaraM

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 02:31 PM

You're both right - many may be overweight for the reasons you're given, SeaFox ... and 'sharing' one's seat with a stranger's over-hanging hips is horrible uncomfortable, as Heretic first mentioned.

And I like HitSquad's idea of booking a first class seat versus 2 seats in coach, too - it would obviously be an improvement and, if nothing else, the food and sense of space is worth the money (if one has it).

But honestly do still feel the whole thing is a bit unfair to heavy people. After all, I don't think the airlines forces someone with really wide shoulders to pay for two seats, yet I've sat beside some that have shoulders so wide I'm darn near sitting sideways. And what about those with really long legs that make it impossible for the person in front of them to recline their seat at all during the flight. (I've got long legs - or else many seats are created for pygmies - and have to sit slightly sideways or my knees would be pressed up against the seat in front).

Come to think about it, I'm just going to blame the airlines for being so greedy that the seats in coach are miserably small and far too close to the seat in front, etc. Yup, I suspect darn near all of us would agree with HitSquad's words, "You're just a big sardine packed in a round can with engines". (Personally, I always wonder if part of the reason so many people die in certain plane crashes is because it's virtually impossible to exit easily when it involves climbing over the people seated so closely together there is no 'path' left).

If nothing else, surely the airline could ensure there are no 'last moment' surprises (and humiliation) by creating pre-set 'ratio' guidelines that are included with information given when people book fllights? (They have them for luggage sizes, after all).
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#7 ussr1943

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 06:25 PM

i think this is something the airlines should work out
1. make roomier seats
2.bigger ailes
3.more room between front and back of seats

i need this stuff , as well as others cuz im 6'4'' currently and im still growin (only in high school still).
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#8 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:42 PM

The more weight goes on a plane the more the trip costs to them and the more it costs you.

I read just taking off 4 magazines off of all a companies planes can save them millions every year on fuel costs.

They just try to get you from point a to point b.

I have never been in a plane but have seen them on tv and they dont look to bad. Beats walking or rowing a boat across the ocean.

Well if a person can not sit in a seat next to another and be comfy then I think its okay if they charge the larger one to pay for two seats.

There are a few large people that truly cannot lose weight without surgery, but that is not the majority.


People eat a lot today and do no exercise and are stunned why they are overweight. Its becoming a major threat to people today!

If nothing else, surely the airline could ensure there are no 'last moment' surprises (and humiliation) by creating pre-set 'ratio' guidelines that are included with information given when people book fllights? (They have them for luggage sizes, after all).


Sounds like a good plan to me.

#9 Orange Blossom

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 03:21 PM

I agree that the measurement limitations for a single seat should be posted and if the measurements exceed those limitations an extra ticket and seat will have to be purchased. That way a person knows ahead of time if he or she needs to purchase an extra ticket and will not be embarrassed monetarily or emotionally by having a surprise sprung on him or her.

Too bad there aren't seats designed for long-legged people. I've always had sympathy for these folks whose legs are cramped and contorted in an effort to fit in the seat and the poor exhausted soul in front can't lean back in his or her seat for a nap either.
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There is certainly something in U.S. culture and lifestyle that is ballooning the sizes of the people in this country. Childhood obesity in the United States is skyrocketting. People visiting the country are affected too, even if they haven't changed their eating and exercise habits. Rings don't fit, clothing doesn't fit. I suspect ingredients in prepared foods differ here contributing to the weight problem.

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#10 MaraM

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 08:00 PM

Quote: "I suspect ingredients in prepared foods differ here contributing to the weight problem". (Unquote)

I suspect you may be so very right, Orange Blossom - apparently people in North America eat more 'refined' foods and 'additives' in their diet than than anywhere else in the world. Scary thought.

Although far from a 'food fanatic', I took an old TV commercial to heart years ago - the one where a child can't read the ingredients in their ice-cream versus the old fashioned one made of just cream and sugar and real vanilla. Yup, I actually now look at the ingredients and if I can't even say them, changes are I don't need them in my life - gentle smile.

And CowsGoneMadd - I hope you get to have lots of great flights in your life! Adventuring is nearly always great fun - even if TV makes the airline seats look twice the size they are in reality.
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#11 Enthusiast

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 06:14 PM

It isn't a matter whose fault it is or discrimination by the airline.

If someone will not fit in one seat and uses two, they should pay for two.

They should notify the airline in advance to avoid embarrassment if they need two seats or book the first class seat if that works, whatever applies.

When you ship freight you pay for weight, which is a factor in both how much the aircraft can hold and its fuel costs, and someone who uses more of the airline's available resources should pay more.

You even pay for additional luggage beyond the weight limit.

What is fair is fair.

#12 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:32 PM

I will prop never get on a plane.

If I ever get the money I want to build one...

I saw this helicopter kit for 20k and it looks very neat. You get it in a box and put it together and it flies one person.

Or build a normal plane. Its prob something I wont ever do but the wright brothers did with bicycly parts and without being able to see working planes like I can today.

I like the idea of "personal" planes.

I like to build and design new things to make life easier and I do it all the time.

#13 flygirl

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:28 AM

To the long legged: The exit row and bulkhead seats have almost double the legroom. Try for these next time.

The two seat issue is a sticky one, but the airlines that do enforce this policy usually practice it with respect and tact. I'm quite sure there are exceptions, but overall, a large person knows they are large, and if they choose an airline with said policy, buys two tickets.

It's kind of impossible to set a pre-determined weight for this policy, like a piece of luggage. Everyone is put together differently, and 250 lbs on one person is overweight and not on another. If they did set a cutoff weight, it would never work. How would they enforce it? People would fudge, and they can't make them jump on a scale right there at the ticket counter. It would still have to be addressed, and now you are calling them a liar on top of calling them overweight. I don't sell tickets, but I can see it now.

The cramped quarters are a reflection of changes dictated by consumer demand for cheap, cheap, cheap. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just fact. Aircraft have been reconfigured in the past decade to allow for more seats, to offset the lower fares. Most aircraft have substantially more capacity than they did as recent as 10 years ago.

#14 MaraM

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:23 AM

Hi flygirl,

You're right, the exit row and bulkhead seats are the easiest for those of us with long legs - but there are still times when I swear some of the seats are made for really, really short people - gentle grin. (Personally, I always aim for the seat right beside the emergency exit door).

Honestly, I do understand the dilemma that airlines face - but as it stands, it's up to the people at the check-in counter to decide who is "too big" or not. And being human, not even every person that works for the airlines can agree - after all, it's simply based on visual assessments.

Perhaps something as simplistic as a general guide could be used ... for instance, included in the info pack when purchasing a ticket could be a wee thing like, "If a person's hip width exceeds ___" when seated, purchasing 2 seats will be necessary". (After all, even luggage gets a 'heads up' beforehand - if it doesn't meet the width requirements, it's simply not carry on).

Yup, cheap cheap cheap seems to be the way to go now and I understand why - but I still long for the Boeing 747s - grin.
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#15 MaraM

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:26 AM

I will prop never get on a plane.

I saw this helicopter kit for 20k and it looks very neat. You get it in a box and put it together and it flies one person.


I saw that personal helicopter demonstrated on a science channel too - and thought it would be such fun! Mind you, if people weren't anymore careful flying through the sky on these magical little things than they are driving their cars on the streets, I suspect we'd have bodies raining down from those skies - eek!
Never let your computer realize you are in a hurry or just typing the last few words of a vital document.

While outer events might make one happy or sad, happiness itself is entirely internal, and at all times completely within one's power.




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