I recently wrote about a picture that was in a local newspaper, depicting a morbidly obese person on a flight, who seemed to be so large, that his body was blocking the aisle. The blog discussion revolved around-
- Whether or not the photo was real
- Whether or not the man should have been asked to buy 2 seats so he could fit in the row and not block the aisle
- Whether or not the person sitting next to him (and probably being discomforted) had the right to demand that the overweight man be moved
- Whether an airline has the right to ask the overweight passenger to leave the plane (or not get on the plane) if indeed, he has not purchased the 2 seats to accommodate his (her) size
Well, yet again, another "airline story" hits the papers and the internet. In this case, a movie director, who had actually purchased 2 seats on a flight, suddenly realized he was at the gate early enough to get on an earlier flight. He did not request 2 seats to accommodate his girth (there may not have been 2 seats available short notice) and he boarded the plane. He was asked to leave the plane after being seated, allegedly because he did not fit in the single seat per the Southwest Airline's standards. He felt humiliated, singled out and absolutely devastated by the experience. He acknowledges that he knows he is fat, that it has been a lifelong struggle and that "no fattie wants to be humiliated this way." As I did with my other blog on the subject, I will merely ask questions for the sake of discussion - I won't post any personal views.
-If he had already purchased 2 seats on more than one occasion, why was he surprised about the manner in which Southwest handled the issue?
-If we appreciate the negativity of the situation, what about the rights of a passenger sitting next to him who might have felt that his rights to a full and comfortable seat (presumably paid for and expected) were being challenged? And how do you "gracefully express this personal right" if you know you will be accused of "identifying your fellow passenger as a fattie?"
-Should the airlines create several rows of "over-sized seating" even if it means they lose some seats (and money on the plane)? Should they charge extra for those seats?
-Should we be changing all physical dimensions of seats in public places to accommodate larger sized people, even if we have designated the obesity crisis as something to solve?
-What is your solution to this ongoing airline problem?
Published On: April 06, 2010