Now, I am a fairly seasoned traveler, and know that the law of averages determines one’s fate. If you are a frequent traveler, you must put up with such minor inconveniences, every now and then. You must accept the situation philosophically and with equanimity. After all, you can’t choose your fellow travelers. And, as lightning does not strike the same place twice, the odds of getting an XXXL person next to you on the next flight are pretty slim. In fact, the odds of sitting next to a pretty, slim girl on a subsequent flight improve dramatically .
So, imagine my dismay, when I got into the evening flight to return to Chennai, and find the same ‘high BMI’, XXL individual firmly ensconced in same seat 10B. And I had thoughtfully telechecked into the same seat 10C.
What are the odds of getting as one’s co-passenger the same person on more than one flight? And, why does it have to happen to me?
Ok, I am being mean and inconsiderate. I am sure that many others have suffered the same fate. When I googled, I found quite a few complaints on the same subject. Here is a case of an irate passenger writing to Southwest Airlines. He managed to get a full refund.
Another blog which calls itself, “The view from the window seat”, asked its readers this question:
Just saw a piece from Aviation (via MSNBC.com) that lists the various airline policies for dealing with overweight passengers. Some, like Southwest, have clear policies in place while others, like United, have no policy at all. Most airlines fall somewhere in the middle with hard-to-enforce informal policies.
I am really curious to know what you all think about this topic and what YOU think the airlines should to accommodate overweight passengers (or not accommodate as the case may be). I am aware of the sensitive nature of this topic but think it is a valid one, especially considering that having an empty seat next to you seems to be, for the most part, a thing of the past.
One of the comments received was:
If only I had found a slim, pretty girl in the adjacent seat on the return flight, I needn’t have engaged in such painstaking research on the subject of overweight travellers and their overhanging flesh. Sigh.
I have sent inquiries to both American and United asking what their policy is for dealing with passengers who buy only one coach seat but cannot fit into that seat. Both said that they will not discriminate against any passenger, and that an obese passenger would not be asked to deplane. I asked what my recourse was if I was seated next to them and could not fit into whatever remained of my seat. I was informed that I could purchase an upgrade, if available, or ask to be put on the next flight, although there was no guarantee of getting to my destination on the same day. So apparently you cannot discriminate against an obese passenger, but it’s OK to discriminate against a normal size passenger. For the life of me I cannot understand why it is OK to buy one seat and expect 1.5 seats, if you are fat, but if you are normal size and buy one seat, you cannot necessarily expect only 1 seat.