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Customers of Size Chart

A couple of years ago, Actor/Director Kevin Smith was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too large for one seat. A war of words began on Twitter and other social media, and the story was eventually picked up by most mainstream media outlets.

It also brought attention to a growing problem in the airline industry: customers too big for the seats. What to do? Sadly, there isn’t one policy to fit all, but each airline handles love handles a bit differently.

Our friends at Airfare Watchdog have put together a chart of Customer of Size Policies of the larger airlines.

BTW, no puns were injured in putting together this posting.

I will allow the comment section to stay open on this but please stay on subject. Any derogatory remarks about people of size will be removed.

Reader Comments (3)

While this makes sense on paper - I've found it rarely works in practice. Instead, those of us who have "extra" room end up having to squeeze so our seatmates can fit. I would find it rude to bring up this issue with the seatmate or the flight attendant, even if I was uncomfortable.

Anyone have a suggestion for how to gracefully tell someone the person needs a second seat? Or are these policies only if "caught" before boarding? Many of the policies seem to indicate advanced booking is required - but what happens when the person does not adhere to the "regulations"? I don't see this information when I purchase my ticket, after all!
November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan E.
I think what we, the public, perceive as a person of size is very different from the requirements the airlines have.
I've sat next to a professional football player on the plane before. He fit in between the armrests and didn't need an extender. He actually had quite narrow hips, but his shoulders were HUGE and he was like 6'7". I'd consider him a person of size. The top half of him definitely encroached on my space. Luckily I was able to switch with a tiny girl and we were all happy, but nobody would have made him purchase an additional seat.
I consider myself a person of size. Up until recently, I weighed in at over 300 pounds, wearing a women's size 26 pants. While I could squeeze myself into an economy seat, I did NOT fit comfortably. I almost always used a seat belt extender. I'm very much an hourglass shape as well with bigger hips and broader shoulders. I'm sure people sitting next to me felt encroached upon. The thing is, according to the chart, I wouldn't have had to buy an extra seat. I could squeeze my bottom in the seat and lower the arm rest. One seat belt extender was more than enough for me. I could actually get by without one on some planes. If you were in the seat next to me though, I'm sure you would have been thinking I needed to pay for two seats.
Luckily for me, I've lost 60 pounds since January, but I've still got another 70 more to go. I fit in the seat much more easily and no longer need a seat belt extender. But I guarantee at least one of you out there would sit down in the seat next to me NOW and still think I might need another seat. Those policies are broad and you would be surprised at the people of size that will be able to keep their one seat with no issues.
November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarbi
Good for you, Darbi, and good point. I think the armrest guide exists as a hard measure to get ahead of discrimination complaints.

Otherwise, as you've pointed out, it's too much of a "know it when I see it" game.
November 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGitsom

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