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UA To Charge Obese Fliers Twice On Full Jets

CaptJax

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United Air to Charge Obese Fliers Twice on Full Jets

By Mary Jane Credeur

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- United Airlines, the third-largest U.S. carrier, may force some obese travelers to buy a second seat when flights are full and other passengers complain about being cramped.

The policy brings practices at UAL Corp.’s United in line with those at the other five biggest U.S. carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. The rule took effect today after being adopted in January, said Robin Urbanski, a United spokeswoman.

United passengers previously “had to share their seat with the oversized guest” on full planes, Urbanski said. Chicago- based United acted after receiving “hundreds” of public complaints each year, she said.

“It’s going to perpetuate that negative stigma that’s already associated with obesity,” said James Zervios, a spokesman for the Obesity Action Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group in Tampa, Florida. Airline seats already “could use a few extra inches of room on all sides,” he said.

Urbanski said obese passengers on United will be reassigned to a pair of empty seats and won’t be charged for an extra ticket on flights that aren’t full. Travelers must be able to put the arm rest between seats down to its normal position and buckle a seat belt with one extension belt, she said.

Fewer Than 2%


Delta, the world’s largest carrier, charges the lowest available fare for passengers who need a second ticket, said Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based airline.

AMR Corp.’s American Airlines tries to “find another solution if at all possible” before charging for a second seat, said Tim Smith, a spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier. US Airways Group Inc. has a similar policy.

Continental Airlines Inc. charges the same price as the original fare should overweight passengers need an extra seat, according to its Web site.

Southwest Airlines Co. has had similar guidelines since the 1980s, and it offers a refund on the additional seat if the flight isn’t sold out, said Whitney Eichinger, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based carrier. Fewer than 2 percent of passengers buy an extra ticket, she said.

Zervios of the Obesity Action Coalition said cramped airline cabins cause many disruptions.

“What if the person in front of me puts back their seat and encroaches into my space, or if the person next to me has a puffy coat or leaves their light on when I want to take a nap?” he said. “We need to keep in mind that it’s just a form of transportation from Point A to Point B.”

U.S. Obesity Rate


About 34 percent of Americans are obese, double the rate from 30 years ago, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only one state, Colorado, has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent.

Obesity is defined as having a “body mass index,” a measure of body fat based on height and weight, of 30 or more. Using that calculation, a person who is 5 feet 9 inches tall (175 centimeters) and weighs at least 203 pounds (92 kilograms) would be considered obese, according to the CDC.

Chicago radio station WBBM previously reported United’s policy change.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at mcredeur@bloomberg.net.
 

Bringupthebird

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So do they get two boarding passes? What about a convention of "persons of mass"? How many folks are included on the passenger count? What about average weights?

I say let the skinny folks suffer. If they want room, let 'em fly in first!
 

grinder

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Clearly you have never been buried in someone elses sweaty lard for a 5 hour transcon. I'm not skinny, and it makes it worse.

Why not make folks over 350 or some number buy a first class or 2 seats? They are using the fuel. Extra weight costs more to fly if it's in a bag or a belly.
 

whymeworry?

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I can't wait to see all the fatties whine about yet another rule to force them to lose weight or pay their fare share of their freight.

Obesity/ fatness is an addition. No different than drugs. I'm tired of them failing to take responsibility for where they are in life.

And don't whine or flame to me, join a group.
 

whymeworry?

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So do they get two boarding passes? What about a convention of "persons of mass"? How many folks are included on the passenger count? What about average weights?

I say let the skinny folks suffer. If they want room, let 'em fly in first!


Let me guess? You're tipping the BMI scales too?

GMAFB. Hit the gym. Watch what you eat. It's not rocket science.
 

jetflier

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The airlines should have a a coach seat at the check in counter. Most airlines use a similar device at the counter to determine if a carry on bag is to big for the overhead bins. So, let's have a coach seat row at the check in counter. There the "larger" pax can sit in the middle seat, and a quick determination can be made by observing if their excess self encroaches across and under the armrest into the other seats space. Then there is no debate. if needed, buy another seat.
Personally, I have had the experience too many times. Each time, the flight was miserable due to the already reduced coach seat space made even smaller with the larger person spilling over into my seat.
 

cheapgreek

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I had a flight on aa when a fat man was seated next to me and asked if he could lift up the arm rest.I said no.I could only imagine that in a few minutes with the arm rest up,he would ooze upon my space and ruin my flight experience.

I tire of hearing of the plight of the obese.As many die from obesity as from tobacco.No fat acceptance organizations,no fat fashion shows on oprah,no overfeeding kids who sit in front of the tv or video games.

They can lose weight.
 

LaGarbage Man

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Does this mean they are going to charge some of the FA's to work the flight? God know's it sucks getting a face full of big FA a$$ when they are doing the cabin service. If you want to call it service, more like a beat down.
 

FBN0223

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Does this mean they are going to charge some of the FA's to work the flight? God know's it sucks getting a face full of big FA a$$ when they are doing the cabin service. If you want to call it service, more like a beat down.

Good point!!! That's why I try and fly Asia as much as possible.
 

CaptJax

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AAPR Blasts UA Discriminating Against People Of Size

AAPR Blasts United Airlines Decision to Discriminate Against People of Size; New Policy Charges Overweight Passengers for Two Tickets
PR Newswire
Posted: 2009-04-17 09:00:00

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) today blasted the decision by United Airlines to violate the Civil Rights of people of size by charging them for two tickets if they are deemed to be overweight. United Airlines announced that its ticket agents will begin denying boarding passes to people of size if they are "unable to comfortably fasten a safety belt with one extension or sit comfortably with armrests down," unless they purchase a second ticket.

"They're at it again," said Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of AAPR, of the airline industry. "United is now the latest airline to shelve customer service standards in search for higher profits, while claiming that the new policy is to 'protect' other passengers. At issue should not be the size of any passenger, but rather why the airlines continue to pack coach passengers like sardines into the cabin."

Most coach airline seats are smaller than seats on buses or trains, even movie theaters - yet unlike in those environments, customers cannot simply get up and move around but are rather forced to sit uncomfortably until the flight's destination is reached.

Macsata further argued, "Where does this madness end? So now a customer who purchases an advanced ticket online can show up at the airport and arbitrarily denied boarding because a ticket agent deems him or her to be overweight? He or she would be at the mercy of the airlines - an unthinkable scenario especially if the passenger is traveling for a family emergency or death in the family. I wonder just how much will be the price of that second ticket?"

AAPR also questioned the legality of the discriminatory policy and whether it violates the Air Carrier Access Act governing the treatment of passengers with disabilities. It is documented that certain health conditions, and sometimes medications, can cause weight gain and therefore should be protected by law. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) addressed this issue earlier this year, when it issued its "one-person, one-fare" ruling covering passengers with disabilities - including "clinically obese" passengers who cannot fit into a single seat.

For more information about the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, please visit www.flyfriendlyskies.com or contact AAPR directly at info@flyfriendlyskies.com.

Please visit www.flyfriendlyskies.com to learn more or to join today and help make our skies friendlier!

SOURCE Association for Airline Passenger Rights
 

contrail67

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ok...off that article, then if they don't fit in the seat...give them one they will "fit" into without hanging out over the edge into someone elses seat. Put them in First Class and charge them for it. Easy enough.
 

dh82dvr

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Nothing like getting the middle seat between 2 big fat guys! Makes you appreciate getting the middle seat between 2 pretty girls though!
 

say again

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dh82dvr;1798659Makes you appreciate getting the middle seat between 2 pretty girls though![/quote said:
Hahaha, like that ever happens. :beer:
 

Bad-Andy

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I don't really see this as anything more than someone making a mountain out of a molehill. This new policy is in line with all the other majors. But, in reality, it won't change a thing. If you notice, it says those that need more than one extension or can't get the armrest down will be required to get a second seat. Unfortunately that won't affect anyone (hardly anyone). As a former "obese traveller" (a year ago I was at 388 with a 58 inch waist), I never had trouble with one extension or putting the armrest down. So, the new policy would not have applied to me. Yet, it was still uncomfortable for me and whoever was stuck next to me... This new rule would not have helped either one of us. So, it's just a bunch of b.s.

You want real change? Do what SWA does and charge for anyone over 300 pounds. You really want to help make things better, lower the weight limit to 250-275. At that weight, it becomes not uncomfortable for anyone... (Yes, I speak from experience -- at 250 the seat was no longer uncomfortable, and now at 200, riding in coach isn't that bad an experience, other than the nasty old hags working the flight.......)
 
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jonjuan

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Saw the following cartoon in newspaper yesterday (4/17). Showed a huge fat guy taking up all 3 seats with a FA next to him with her cart. She said "On the bright side, the additional fare means an additional meal."

http://www.nypost.com/delonas/delonas.htm
 
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Glacialfury1906

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Good for UAL.. If you've ever had to spend 2-5 hours next to someone that was muffintopping into your space you'd appreciate this... Good call..
 

whymeworry?

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I don't really see this as anything more than someone making a mountain out of a molehill. This new policy is in line with all the other majors. But, in reality, it won't change a thing. If you notice, it says those that need more than one extension or can't get the armrest down will be required to get a second seat. Unfortunately that won't affect anyone (hardly anyone). As a former "obese traveller" (a year ago I was at 388 with a 58 inch waist), I never had trouble with one extension or putting the armrest down. So, the new policy would not have applied to me. Yet, it was still uncomfortable for me and whoever was stuck next to me... This new rule would not have helped either one of us. So, it's just a bunch of b.s.

You want real change? Do what SWA does and charge for anyone over 300 pounds. You really want to help make things better, lower the weight limit to 250-275. At that weight, it becomes not uncomfortable for anyone... (Yes, I speak from experience -- at 250 the seat was no longer uncomfortable, and now at 200, riding in coach isn't that bad an experience, other than the nasty old hags working the flight.......)

At least you did something about it bad-andy. My problem isn't with the people who are unfortunate enough to have low metabolic rates, it's with the people who REFUSE to change and make others suffer as a result. I had to DH on a 6 hr flight stuck between, not one but TWO obese people. That was enough to change my tolerance level.

I don't exactly have a high metabolism either. I have to watch what I eat or my waist line will expand 4-6 inches in no time. I also have to excersize regularly in order to keep my BMI within repsectable levels. We should all do this. I submit the US would be a happier place if excersize were placed as highly as important as say, watching basketball or baseball games.
 
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