I remember the uproar two years ago when United Airlines started imposing a fat fee. They put into place an obesity seating policy that required passengers who cannot fit into one seat to pay for a second. Since then -- other airlines have adopted their same policy, including Southwest. A 340-pound Texas man by the name of Matthew Harper recently got the boot from a Southwest flight because of his size. On company business, his employer failed to book him two seats, and since the flight was overbooked to begin with, there was just no room for him.
I feel bad. In the process, Matt tells a local news outlet that he felt like a criminal for being overweight. After briefly departing the aircraft, Matt ended up being able to fly, but there are most definitely others who have not had the same chance.
Is it fair? Not really. But it makes sense.
I understand there are a whole slew of reasons why people are overweight in today's society. I understand that just because you ARE overweight doesn't mean you want to be. Heck, no one wants to live their life like that. With that said, though, if you take up two seats on an aircraft, then it makes sense that you have to PAY for both seats, period.
Is it an awesome concept? No, of course not. The idea has got to be a horrible thing to come to terms with for those affected, not just because of the price involved, but because of the negative stigma attached. While some people cry discrimination, I personally disagree. I see it as an airline trying to accommodate their flyers. And besides, if you're overweight, you'll be more comfortable in two seats instead of one. That's just the way the in-flight snack service cookie crumbles.
Hear more about Matthew Harper's story, here:
Do you think it's unfair for airlines to charge overweight passengers for an extra seat?
Image via Emily Abbate