Passenger creates big debate at American – I mean big!

Big guyThis is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it’s a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines. The F/A took it to show her manager what was happening on the aircraft (757???) and why she was unhappy about it. Seems the guy paid for only one seat and the gate staff let him board.

You can see the F/A’s point of view – how the heck is s(he) supposed to deal with it. Sympathise with the guy or not, he’s a major safety hazard in an evacuation, a gross inconvenience for the cabin crew, and I would suggest a totally unacceptable travelling companion for the guy next to him.

I don’t know what the actual outcome was but it seems unimaginable that he was allowed to fly in the end. Not that anything on a commercial airline is actually unimaginable, but close anyway. 

A good friend of mine had a similar experience sitting next to a guy who was big but I don’t think as big as this, for a long-haul flight and was effectively injured by sitting for several hours in a contorted position with his fellow pax half on top of him. The airline that did that to him was utterly unsympathetic throughout a lengthy correspondence afterwards. OK, Emirates since you ask. Ironically my chum is now in a senior position with another carrier.

Anyone know how how the American affair turned out?

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472 Responses to Passenger creates big debate at American – I mean big!

  1. Jim November 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    The overhead monitor does make it look like a 757, but I don’t remember American putting Recaro seats on their 757′s.

    Hope that was a handicap seat where the armrest can move up.

    Feel for the guy in the middle seat.

  2. anonymous November 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    The fair thing for the airlines to do, in my opinion is:

    Provide a passenger, at the time he/she books a ticket, the option to purchase two seats next to each other if the passenger is too large to occupy only one seat. If the plane is not full, the passenger will be reimbursed for the second seat. If the plane is full, then the airline has made its revenue for the seat and all passengers, including the large passenger, are comfortable.

    In the event the passenger does not purchase the extra seat, the flight is full, and the passenger will not fit within the seat he/she is assigned, then the airline should have no qualms about removing that passenger from the flight.

    Of course, this policy should be clear and conspicuous at the time of ticket purchase.

  3. Grant November 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    That is unbelievable.
    Why they are charging $50 for bags that weighs 80lbs than normal person for free?

    Is it illegal to charge based on weight of a person?

  4. PlayDumb November 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    On looking closely, the middle guy does seem to have fair enough room, his left shoulder is actually leaning over to the umm, size-challenged guy. There’s a empty gap to the right of the middle guy. Heck it almost looks as if the window seat is empty! The large guy seems to make a special effort to not cramp the middle seat, half his ass is hanging out. And finally, the large guy is LARGE i mean even vertically. His height seems to be fair bit more than all others sitting, maybe he’s just standing!
    Oh well….

    • Harry Potter September 11, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      That guy reminds me of Hagrid.

  5. Hippocrates Health Institute November 20, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I would imagine FA should have no problem solving this – they are still at the gate. If the FA did not notice and they are already moving – thats bad.

  6. Anonymous November 20, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    By making that passenger purchase two tickets would the airlines be openeing themselves up to a discrimination suit?

  7. Chris November 20, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    This was taken by a friend of mine.

    1) Yes, it’s real.

    2) The “big” passenger was allowed to stay.

    3) The guy in the middle seat was pulled from the flight and given $$$ voucher for future travel + f/c on the next available flight.

    4) AA is one of the wimpiest companies I’ve ever worked for – they are ***terrified*** of lawsuits!

    AA Flight Attendant

  8. Robert Kinkley November 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    I agree completely with this writer. Although I can have empathy for the large man, how comfortable can it be for any of the people in that row. This flight should have never flown with a man half out of his seat. Why would the Flight Attendants not moved him to the back of the aircraft?

    By anonymous
    on November 19, 2009 4:24 PM | Reply

    The fair thing for the airlines to do, in my opinion is:

    Provide a passenger, at the time he/she books a ticket, the option to purchase two seats next to each other if the passenger is too large to occupy only one seat. If the plane is not full, the passenger will be reimbursed for the second seat. If the plane is full, then the airline has made its revenue for the seat and all passengers, including the large passenger, are comfortable.

    In the event the passenger does not purchase the extra seat, the flight is full, and the passenger will not fit within the seat he/she is assigned, then the airline should have no qualms about removing that passenger from the flight.

    Of course, this policy should be clear and conspicuous at the time of ticket purchase.

  9. randy November 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Can he fit through the emergency exit? Assuming the airline can work out a way to avoid him sitting next to anyone, my real concern is safety during an evacuation, both for him (because other PAX may prevent him from plugging the exit) and for everyone else (if he does plug the exit). Can you imagine the press if this guy checked out 1/2 in the exit and 1/2 out, with a bunch of dead people in the plane lined up behind him?

  10. anon November 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm #


    Those are not the Recaro seats. Those are the Weber seats. Which are currently being removed and replaced on 118 aircraft with new Weber seats. The Recaro coach seats were only ever installed on 77 737-800′s, the MD-80 Fleet (non TWA) and the 777-200′s.

    You can tell by the tray table latch which on the Recaro is a half moon shape. In this picture it is half a rounded square.

  11. Shay Allen November 21, 2009 at 3:03 am #

    A crazy world we live in…..Here, we are worried about an overweight passenger and the uncomfortable passenger next to him. Well, everyone, we have pilots asleep at wheel, over running their destination, planes crashing daily, without the benefit of even a detectable reason. We are all so worried about “staying in touch” we all must have the in flight connectivity so we can chat, email, and browse. But yet we have all lost sight of the main objective, and that is safety. Who cares about who is chatting with who, when the pilot is asleep? Now we have a Canadian Company that claims to have solved the problem for real time data transmission and to monitor the in flight data. But, what we have is a company that collects data, then emails it or sends the information via text message to the ground station for archiving. Excuse me, I think not. I beg to differ, if data is compiled for five minutes and then emailed. I don’t think that is Real Time. We need better communication and monitoring with regards to the safety and integrity of the aircraft. Are we all more concerned about entertainment in flight or reaching our destination safely?

  12. Steve November 24, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    Discrimination? Is it not discrimination for a normal-size person to have to have their adjacent-seat mate’s elbow or shouler in their face? I do not believe that a large person should be discriminated against but they should pay their proportion of the normal airfare paid by a normal-sized passenger–ie. pay for 2 seats if that particular flight is full, extra seat fare refunded if flight not full–what the writer stated above. If this was a “real” AA flight then they discriminated against the other passenger that was booted from the flight, f/c and $$ not-withstanding. Clearly a safety disaster! People need to be responsible for themselves today, just exactly the opposite of what our society preaches today–everything is about me, myself and I! Great picture–tells the whole story in a glance!

  13. Vicki November 24, 2009 at 4:22 am #

    Yes, Kieran,

    Chris is right, the man in the middle seat was “bought off” and flew on another flight. As to the suggestion that this large psgr be moved to the back…there were NO empty seats on this flight. If there were even one, there probably wouldn’t have been an issue. The large guy would’ve been given a seat belt extension and the guy in the middle moved to an empty seat…happens all the time. But on completely full flights, that’s not an option.

    As for someone’s comment about the plane having possibly left the gate – this flight was still at the gate (still being boarded in fact), so the issue was resolved prior to departure.

    Window exit – hmmmm…if he would fit, it’d probably have to be w/ the help of a push from behind and would def slow things down, which could mean lives in a burning airplane. Most definitely a safety hazzard in an emergency, for everyone involved, including the large man.

    I do feel for him (and the psgr next to him), but I’m surprised he didn’t bring the matter to the attention of the agent before boarding bc unless he’s never been on a plane, he probably knew he would need more than one seat, which he clearly does. The agent should have at least had a concern too.

    The a/c is a 737 and the flight was either to or from sfo.

    Priceless photo though, by a quick thinking f/a. Pictures speak 1,000 words. Definitely a “day in the life” of a f/a!

    Ahhhh, …”livin’ the dream…”

  14. No Debt World Travel November 26, 2009 at 6:08 am #

    I was stunned when I saw this picture.

    I always wonder about bathrooms. What about emergency situations? Can a person be a hazard on plane just by his/her presence? Blocking the aisle is not a way to endear yourself to flight attendants. The poor guy in the middle seat, I feel for him.

  15. Bedd Gelert November 27, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    Hmm.. Airlines may have to realise, as many opera houses do, that they cannot ignore this problem for ever. I think it was an opera house in Texas that had to re-install the seating but for fewer people to help accommodate the capacious @r$es of the Americans.

    Maybe on the Airbus they will be able to have small/medium/large seats – or as the Americans will insist on calling them regular/large/supersize…

    Or bring in bench seating, and people just queue for the seats, and when the plane is full – it’s full…

  16. jenny November 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Several people have commented on the aspect of safety in the case of an emergency where ‘large’ people are involved. ie. can they get out of the aircraft in a timely manner; can other people negotiate around them etc. At the risk of being accused of discrimination, I was on one flight where an elderly gentleman with two crutches walked exceedingly slowly down the aisle to his seat in the middle of the plane. He too was large and took several minutes to get into his aisle seat. When his fellow passengers in his row arrived, he took another several minutes to get up before they could take their seats. In an emergency these two other passengers would have no chance of exiting their seats quickly. If a fire started at the rear of the plane and this gentleman had managed to get up the rest of the passengers behind him would have no way of passing him. Why did the airline not provide a seat at the front of the aircraft for this disabled gentleman? I would have thought that the safety of all the passengers should have made this mandatory in this case. There are some occasions where political correctness needs to be ignored.

  17. Andrew November 29, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    There was a discrimination case in Canada a while back where an obese passenger won a case against an airline who charged for two seats.
    With around 30% of Americans, and Australians regarded as obese,its a problem that is not going to go away.
    Its inevitable that at some stage an accident will happen where an obese person is unable to evacuate, and the aircraft manufacturer and the airline will be sued for inadequate provision for a significant proportion of the population.OUCH!

  18. FA November 29, 2009 at 5:08 am #

    The poor fellow. I feel bad for him. But there are several safety issues here. 1. He is not safe sitting like that in case of sudden turbulence. 2. From the picture, this fella would barely be able to evacuate in a timely manner thus posing a hazard to everyone else. 3. In a crash, he might actually smash the person adjacent to him by virtue of his enormous weight.

    When airlines became “cheap”, all sorts of problems developed. Some people that otherwise would ride the train, drive or catch a bus now fly on airplanes. Cheap fares and cattle mentality turned flying into crap and all sorts of problems associated with the word “cheap”. Unless airlines go back to higher ticket prices and stop the “volume travel” mentality, they will eventually collapse and go bankrupt.

    Cheap is not necessarily better. Some people are just very big or very obese and air travel is not comfortable for them or those around them.

  19. Peter November 30, 2009 at 5:10 am #

    I was on a flight from SanDiego last week when an AA pilot was traveling in coach and his suitcase would not fit in the overhead (to stuffed). A couple of ExPlats were giving him a (fun) hard time that he should have checked that his suitcase would fit by using those little boxes at preboarding. Perhaps airlines need a circum. rule for travelers as well. Waste greater than 55 inches? Can’t fit through the two uprights without turning sideways? You’ll have to wait to board and we’ll see if there are two seats available…

  20. Brenda November 30, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    I was once on a DElta flight where a woman about this guy’s size asked the guy in the aisle seat to move over and give her the aisle, because as she said, “I’m handicapped.”

    The guy refused and told her he would give her the window seat, which was her ASSIGNED seat, and she just raised her voice and ranted about how she was disabled and he should accommodate her.

    Yeah, well, I wouldn’t want to be trapped between a window and that woman, either! He was made to feel like an a-hole for refusing to give up an aisle seat that he was assigned, and that he paid for, but I didn’t blame him a bit!

    I am the first person to defend anyone with a disability…. but this is where political correctness has gone way too far. Flying is not a right, it’s a privilege. Lots of people are not allowed to fly for various reasons, whether because of age, or mental capacity, or other physical/medical reasons. Obesity is no different.

    People of size should buy two tickets. And should also have to sign a waiver for the airline absolving them of any liability should they not be able to use an emergency exit like everyone else.

  21. Rich November 30, 2009 at 5:41 am #

    “This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it’s a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines.”

    He or she lied. Simply blowing up the image shows the top 2 inches of the seat back “disappeared” in the Photoshopping hack on this picture. If you’re going to fake a photo, at least try doing a decent job if it.

  22. Flash Bristow November 30, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Jenny, disabled people are not allowed to take the seats at the front (“exit seats”) or any other seat next to an exit. This is because in an emergency the people sitting there have to be able to stand up and open the plane door. Unfortunately these are very often the only seats with sufficient legroom for people with mobility and leg problems – like myself. By default disabled people are allocated seats in a row further back on the grounds that this row has movable armrests(!) That’s a different issue really – but I hope it answers your question.

  23. jeremi November 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    I don’t see what about this. It’s just a large person on an aircraft. Nothing to say, let him live.

  24. By anonymous November 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Sir, I had once this experience from Oslo to London with British Airways. The fellow traweller had to walk sideways in the ile. I was forced to raice the armrest and he took more then half my seat. He had to get an extencion seatbelt (child belt) in order to reach around his belly. When eating he could not get his table down more than a few degrees. My tight was burning after 2 hours squesed to one side. If I had not been fairly slim, there would not have been room enough.

  25. Jo Pierce November 30, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    That looks like he is sitting on the armrest. Otherwise, he would have to be about 7 feet tall. While that’s a possibility, I am sure he would have requested a seat near the front with more legroom. Surely, at over 7 feet tall, he wouldn’t have been able to fit into the seat anyway.

    It also looks like there are two empty seats behind him. Was that his real seat? And middle row passenger has an empty seat to his right.

    While I am not debating that this is an issue and a controversy, I do think there is something not kosher about this photo.

  26. Dave November 30, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Snacks on a plane?

  27. anony November 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I think the large guy looks taller because he is sitting on the armrest.

  28. Eddie Rhodes December 1, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    Actually, although he appears to be, this guy is not necessarily obese, he’s just a really big man. Taking away the width, he still shows a lot of height. So as far as I’m concerned I think the airlines complaints are unfounded. They should still cater for a passenger regardless of his or her size. The cabin crew simply should be aware of the comfort and safety of ALL passengers.

  29. Slimboy December 1, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    I once refused to take my seat in American Airlines economy class because a very fat woman next to me was spilling all over me. I said I’d rather not travel than sit there. Economy was chocka: upgrade here I come, I thought. What did they do? They upgraded her.

  30. Nick December 1, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    “I don’t see what about this. It’s just a large person on an aircraft. Nothing to say, let him live.”

    Oh, so if you were on this a/c, there was an emergency and the individual concerned were blocking the exit routes, you’d just hold your hands up and say, “It’s okay, let him live”? How very altruistic of you. I wonder if your fellow passengers would be as willing to put their lives at risk.

  31. tvnewswatch December 1, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    There is often no consistency with airline rules or policy. In making an inquiry about a large person sized Fuwa doll [an Olympic mascot for the 2008 Olympics] at Beijing International airport last year, I was informed I could only purchase one if I produced an extra-ticket.

    Carry on baggage, while restricted to one bag, also becomes a mockery as many passengers load up after security with large duty free purchases. At Heathrow I am allowed to pass through with ONE lighter, though quite where I could use it given you cannot now smoke within the airport is unclear. Yet notices at Chinese airports state lighters and matches may not even be carried even inside checked-in baggage. I’ve had the inside of a Zippo confiscated due to such rules.

    This large man poses a risk, as many have said, not only to himself in the case of emergency but also to others. He is also an inconvenience to others around him. If I had managed to purchase a large person sized Fuwa doll and attempted to take a single seat, I would no doubt be accosted by staff. Political correctness often get in the way of practical and safety issues. He, no the guy adjacent to him, should have been asked to leave the flight. If he wasn’t prepared to pay for an extra-ticket he should have been refunded and barred from flying.

  32. Angelo December 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Guys, the picture is a clear fake. Open the large size picture, you will see that the top part of the seat is blurred, a tipical side effect of a “clone stamp” action in Photoshop made by a non-professional user.

  33. Bob December 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Big people in a airplane is a big issue in the USA at the moment, but what about tall people.
    With 6’10″ it is also quite a tight fit to get into a normal seat.
    and for emergency seats they charge extra now because of the extra legroom.
    Charging big people for an extra seat only seems fair to me.

  34. Edwin December 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    If this photo is not fake, can someone explain me how this guy even got into the plane? Don’t tell me they let him in through the luggage compartment!
    I agree with Grant: my weight is about 80 kgs. If I take a suitcase with me of 26 kgs, I have to pay a fine (in Europe). My total weight is 106 kgs.This big guy weighs about 150 kgs (or even more!) and only pays a regular fare. I do not want to discriminate, but this is rather unjust, isn’t it?

  35. Lance December 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    I had to fly from Manchester, England to Nashville on December 27, 2008 on American Airlines Flight 55. The crew was great and the flight from England was very nice. However, when I got to Chicago I had to take an American Eagle flight back to BNA. I fit fine in my seat as I was dealing with the flight over from England. Next thing you know a morbidly obese guy comes up and sits down. He was very apologetic as he spilled over into half my seat. I didn’t want to cause a scene because I was just glad to be almost home. But having to sit in an odd position pressed up against the wall of the fuselage for the better part of an hour so this guy could take up half the space I’d paid for did make me angry. I don’t understand why he should get a pass for his potential emotional pain when I’m going to have to get over the cramps from sitting oddly for a long period of time. But that’s the only bad experience I’ve ever had flying. Ever.

  36. famieo December 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm #


  37. Will December 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    I think Angelo is right, the picture looks like a fake. The top of the seatback is missing. No f/a would (should?) allow such a situation as it’s unsafe, not to mention uncomfortable for all involved. The window seat passenger has their laptop out.

  38. paz December 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    why don’t u go to work for another airline? from one of your colleague abroad !

  39. Paolo December 1, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    The picture can be fake, but the problem is real.
    How many time there’s obese people on airplane ???
    You know the answer: too often (and the poor lambs are always eating, by the way…).
    Airline company should charge the passenger on the base of their weight.
    I’m 15 kg underweight (skinny, basically) and i’m charged the same ammount of money of the fat one.
    It’s just unfair.

  40. Mieke December 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    There are two seats empty, behind him why????

  41. Freddie B December 1, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    I had the unfortunate luck of sitting next to someone so oversized that his arms and shoulders were on me the whole flight. He had his little daughter on the window, he was sitting in the middle and me on the aisle, hanging out, because of him. When I asked him if he could move his body out of my space, he said: “What do you want me to do?” and then when I suggested he placed his little daughter between us, so that everyone would have more space, he said that his daughter wanted the window and that he would have less space on his window size. I put up with it since I didn’t want to cause a problem which could result in me being kicked out of the plane or worse. I am tired of this PC BS. STOP IT! I think it is fair to charge 2 fares if you cannot sit on one chair when the plane is full. If you are this person I have only one thing to say: Your rights end where mine begin, that is, I do not have to put up with your problems (you don’t with mine).

  42. Nannet December 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    As a weightconsultant and former KLM flight attendant I was astonished to see how very heavy passengers sat perched in their airplaneseats, almost unable to move, on my trip from Las Vegas to Memphis. A very overweight passenger who did not fit in his chair complained to the f/a and was moved to business class(!!). Right in front of me a corpulent passenger, I would guess over 120 kilograms, occupied one and a half seat. Luckily the man next to him was tiny and very much in love with his girl, whom he hung onto for the whole flight……And I…….60 kilos (less than half the weight of the passenger in front of me) had to pay for 5 kilos excess luggageweight (all American stuff I bought to help the American economy :-( )

  43. GREJEF December 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    I hate to say it, buttttt…. I was on that flight, dude was too big for the seat and was waiting for a FA to assist him. Guy in the middle would not move for him so he parked his behind on the armrest. If you have ever flown with a spill over, yes we frequent travelers call them that, you can see why the guy would not move. This guy once seated took two seats total, and would have spilled over into a third if not for the seat belt.

  44. mark December 1, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    Rich… the seat back hasn’t disappeared, the fabric has been pulled forward. The white line you’re using as a point of reference is text on the fabric, which is bowed upwards from the tension. If it was ‘shopped, that same line would likely be bowed downwards.

  45. Erwin December 1, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    This is really an American issue since the most over weighted people are seen there. Happened to us one time also with KLM on our way to ATL, a big overweight US citizen didn’t fit in the middle row so got he got an isle seat next to my mom. His fat was hanging over on her armrests and since she was sitting in the front row (A330-200) she had to ask to the guy to stand up when she needed her table, really discusting!
    People that are having so much overweight should be forced to buy a business class ticket or 2 economy class tickets or don’t fly at all. Besides it is a pain to see people like this I don’t even mention flight safety here.

  46. oswald December 1, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    Fat guy. They let this slob on the plane? HMmMMM…give him a voucher for Mickey d’s…that will get him out

  47. mad December 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm #

    I realized, with great pain, that this man so many people are making fun is someone I know well. His mother died suddenly of cancer less than a month ago. Yes, he is overweight–diabetes and obesity runs strong in his family. However, he almost always pays extra to fly first class. I don’t know the details of this specific flight, but suspect that for some reason first class was full because the flight was full, as described by some posters who claim they know the details of what happened.

    I know it is easy to make fun of people who are this large. But please remember that every human being is still a human being, no matter what they look like. Personally, I do feel that obesity is a medical disability. Sometimes it can be helped and other times it can’t, it depends on the person and the situation and their medical history and, yes, genetics. I am not this man’s doctor, so I can’t tell you for certain what causes are in play in regards to his weight, but I do know that he has struggled with his weight for many, many years. I can also tell the folks without any decency for other human beings that this man has a young teenage daughter who will likely cry her eyes out over every cruel word you have said. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    As far as the logistical problem of obese people on planes? Yes, there are challenges in serving those that suffer from obesity, just like there are challenges in serving customers who are blind and deaf and in wheelchairs. This gentleman, I assure you, has had to pay for two seats many times. He prefers not to have to do that, and avoids airlines that charge extra for another seat on principle. Because it is a disability, and he wants to be treated like a human being, not an extra bag of luggage. Let me ask you this: Do you think he should not be able to fly because of his size? He enjoys travel just like the rest of us. As long as he’s not sitting on the guys’ arm next to him, does it really matter? I don’t see him sitting on his neighbor. And, from what I’ve read from those who “seem” to know, it appears that the airline was able to make him more comfortable. No harm, no foul. Now leave the guy alone.

  48. Janice December 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    Whether the photo is real or not, being seated by someone obese is a problem. This happened to me once and the flight attendant made me feel like I was in the wrong for wanting another seat. I couldn’t fit into my seat because the guy came halfway into my seat. Finally a tiny, young college girl offered to sit next to the obese guy.

    Maybe airlines should charge for width, rather than per seat.

  49. Deana December 1, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

    I am a 5’4 95 pound woman; I am TINY. Even if I check an *overweight* bag, I still weigh less than the average PERSON. Weight of a bag factors into price because it requires more fuel to carry the weight. Weight is weight, and weight of a person should factor in too! As a thin, light person, *I* feel discriminated against, as my money is being used to pay for the fuel that fat people are causing the plane to burn!

  50. d. Krist December 1, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    what is wrong with the airflights and the rest of the 12″ seats?? if it isn’t just discrimination, its a lawsuit waitin to happn! Apparently anyone that size is handicapped, and must be dealt with as indiscriminately as possible. How would you feel if you had a bugger right inside of your nose, and then have it published all over the world. Not so funny now is it. or would this sick ass world we live in get a kick out of someones discomfort? Shame on the airflight attendant she should loose her job. Shame on the airline, shame on the publicists, and i hope that guy does sue you. its idiots like you people who make our world not such a nice place anymore. Oh by the way, I am 5ft 2inches. I weigh 120.

  51. Kev December 2, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    This is so wrong,the guy is clearly a safety hazard,we live in a nanny state now, its “not his fault” he is twice the size of a normal pax !
    Simple, if you don’t fit the seat,or are blocking the FA’s path,or emergency exit, book yourself a space in the cargo hold.
    I had a AA long haul from PHX to LGW on a 777,centre seating, and couldn’t climb over the 2 “larger than life” guys either side of me,
    Too “large”, no flight, in this case.

  52. philip December 2, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    wow, how did he even manage to get to his seat?

  53. Stefano December 2, 2009 at 4:12 am #

    If Airlines charge for fat on one hand, on the ohter they should discount for thin people. That can be an incentive to take more attention to wealth problems for over-weight, typical for americans, much more than others. Stefano, Milano (Italy)

  54. Anon December 2, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    In the picture, the big guy is sitting on the arm rest with one leg down in the seat.

    I’m EP on AA and am distressed to think that AA FAs would post a picture like this and comment on it on a blog. Hopefully the commenters are not really FAs but high school kids trying to look clever. Still, some days, US Air looks pretty good.

  55. Mark C December 2, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Never mind him in his seat!
    Whappens happens if, in the event of an evacuation, he gets to the emergency exit before me??

  56. Citiboy December 2, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    I sat next to a large man (not as big as the guy in your photo) and he effectively sat on me because he was too big to have the arm rest down. I ended up with bruising (it was a 2 hour flight, I was basically squashed against the aisle armrest on the Boeing 737). Frankly, if someone who is too big to fit in a seat wants to fly, he/she should purchase a second ticket and ask for the seats to be adjacent. Then he can weigh 400lbs and not worry about not fitting. On budget airlines, the issue of weight becomes significant – British Airways limits luggage to 23 kilograms (around 50 lbs) but if you personally weigh 400lbs, why isn’t that taken into consideration? I know, it’s fattist isn’t it to say this but come on, didn’t the guy realise when he was stuffing his face that he might be storing up trouble for himself?

  57. Merckling December 2, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Perhaps the question should be whether human beings should adapt to airplanes seats or seats to human beings.
    Airliners do not command the sympathy of anybody except the most crooked of masochists.
    Any McDonald employee may give a course of good manners and service ethic to any over payed arrogant flight attendant. So why do not put the burden on them? Blind reservation and then if the human being is too big for the lilliputian seat, they must provide, for free, a second one.
    Those like me, 6 footer 150 lb, must not feel free of the ever growing greed of airlines: tomorrow they may decide that the normal human being is 4 feet tall and weights 80 lb. Those who do not comply must pay for two, three, six minute seats.
    Stop being cowed by this bunch of crooks.

  58. Marvin December 2, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    This is nothing new. I fly international around the world and have seen this before. From DFW to Incheon, South Korea is about 14 hours. This happened in 2009 on a 777, back nearly at the rear. Same size as your guy in the picture. Hated to be the guys next to him, sorry for him as well. They ought to make jumbo folks buy two seats and limit them to business or better.

  59. Me December 2, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    He should have bought a ticket with a cargo airline.

    It really sucks if you are the guy sitting to such a fat person for a long destination flight.

  60. Moose December 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    As a fat passenger myself who travels overseas and around the world on a monthly basis, I have to ask you.

    Do you have ANY glimmer of thought to how this large person is actually feeling right now?

    Do you know what it’s like to step on to a plane and have EVERY SINGLE PERSON on that plane look at with a look on their face that says, “GOD! I hope that person isn’t sitting next to me!”?

    Do you know what it’s like to go through that your whole life?

    Do you think he really wants to inconvenience anybody else?

    Who’s fault is it that he is inconveniencing the passenger next to him if you don’t assume ugly things, like gluttony, as being the cause of his condition? Could that fault be the airlines fault?

    Do you know of anyone who could afford to buy two tickets – especially on international flights?

    Do you know how uncomfortable it is to sit in two seats at the same time with the arm rest jammed into your back or your side? They don’t fold all the way into the back of the chair.

    Do you know of an large people who have to buy two tickets to get on a bus or pay double for a cab because of their size?

    I sit next to people who stink, next to drunks and loud obnoxious people all the time who make me really uncomfortable. Should they have to pay for an extra seat?

    Maybe we should put mothers with screaming babies in the toilets with the doors closed for the flight.

    Should people in wheelchairs have to pay extra for the services given to them? We don’t know how they became handicapped. You don’t know how an obese person became the way he/she is. It is rarely gluttony. There are many metabolic emotional and addictive issues. Obesity is a disease. It is currently the most common and debilitating disease in the US and we treat it’s victims like pariahs.

    Weight discrimination is the most common form of open discrimination in the world today. Everyone seems to think it shocking to slam a door on a person in a wheelchair, yet think it’s funny and a license to be rude when a fat person falls and hurts himself when his chair collapses from under him.

    I have nerve damage in my thighs from the silly remote control boxes for the TV jamming into my legs. Quite often my seat falls back on take off because my thighs push against the seat rest button on the inside of the arm. I have to sit skewed and at a screwed up angle for hours. Quite often it takes my back a month to recuperate on overseas trips. I can’t eat or drink anything on the flight because my tray table won’t fold down. I’m so afraid of making anyone around me mad, that I sit with my seat back up the entire flight. Because my fat displaces me forward, if the person in front of me puts their chair back, I’m basically smelling their hair the entire trip.

    Airlines should provide one or two bench seats rows to cater to passengers of ALL sizes.

    One ticket should apply to any passenger, no matter that passengers age, handicap, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference or size. That is what’s fair – and yes – you have to put up with it. Airlines have to deal with it. It’s called TOLERANCE. We seem to have forgotten it in today’s self centered society.

  61. Moose December 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Thank you Jim. Finally a correct answer to this issue!

  62. John December 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm #


    Hey fatty, lose some damn weight. Stop crying over something only you are responsible for. “Weight discrimination” is BS – don’t compare weight to age, handicap, religion, gender and sexual preference. If you can’t handle go start your own airline – only for fatasses like you.

  63. Responsiblity December 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    Most people in wheelchairs did not eat themselves into that condition.

    None can diet and exercise themselves out of the chairs.

  64. Cattlegod December 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm #


    Go on a diet then fatty

  65. Moose December 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Thanks for that Anon. I was wondering if anyone was going to say that this photo and article is perhaps a poor showing of class on behalf of AA (or any airline for that matter) if the person is a real FA. If that passenger was uncomfortable because they had a severe deformity or was in a wheelchair, we’d be roasting this photographer alive for such a post and we’d be bashing anyone who complained of being uncomfortable for sitting next to him. Yet there seems to be a public license to mock and ridicule people if they are morbidly obese…

    I’ve always thought that every aircraft should have a row or two of bench or otherwise special seats for people with such handicaps – limiting those bench seats to only two passengers per bench row and then require a doctors handicap certification for access to that row – like how every parking lot has a section of handicap parking spaces that are never used unless needed. Such seats could be used for FA’s on long haul trips if unoccupied.

    I know it comes at a cost, but that’s the cost of tolerance.

  66. Hank Larson December 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Moose? With all due respect, go jump in a (large) lake.

    We should all feel for this disgusting fatbody? Where is HIS regard for the safety and comfort of the poor schlub who has to sit next to him?

    If he really doesn’t want to “inconvenience” anybody, then he should BUY A WHOLE ROW. And if he can’t afford it, then he SHOULDN’T FLY.

    How selfish of him–and you–to expect that everyone else should take pains to accommodate his horrendous obesity.

    This isn’t a civil rights issue. It’s a fat-doofus-presents-a-safety-hazard issue.

    You don’t like weight discrimination, Moose? Simple solution to that: PUT DOWN THE CHEETOS AND GO FOR A JOG.

    Because I will continue to discriminate–with alacrity and without apology!–against blubber-monsters like this airline passenger.

    And you’re gonna have to put up with THAT, fat boy…

  67. Moose December 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Been on every diet there is. 90% of all diets fail. I’m on a diet right now. But heck who knows. Maybe I can lose weight.

    Unfortunately though, you’ll probably always be an ass. There’s no diet for that.

    Maybe airlines should charge more for people who are intolerant butt heads like you…

    It’s usually people like YOU that are the REAL reason for airline discomfort.

  68. Moose December 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Thank you! Someone with a sense of grace on this page!

  69. John K. Ing December 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    fat rats should keep out of planes

  70. John December 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Moose, are you kidding me? Although I am sure there are people that really cannot help being overweight, I think there is about 99% that could do something about it, but choose to keep on doing what they are doing. And yes, that will cost you an extra seat. Can’t afford it? Imagine all the money you could save when you eat less, and don’t have to pay extra air fare to boot!

    If obesity is a disease, then find a treatment. If that treatment is not an easy way out with a couple of pills, but actually happens to be exercise and dieting, then so be it. If you don’t feel like doing that, then stop complaining.

  71. Moose December 2, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    99% of all diets fail. John. The hormones that control hunger are the most primal hormones we have. They have driven people to the point of eating each other sometimes. Try living hungry all the time, yet knowing that eating will kill you.

    Fat people are doomed to a short life span… A little tolerance and respect of us would not be out of order since we aren’t around long enough to bother you for YOUR whole life.

    Are you really that naive to think that fat people WANT to be fat?

    Give me a break.

  72. Moose December 2, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    Amen Merckling

  73. GeeBee December 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    It may not be that the fat guy is tall – it could be that the other passenger is small!


    Only in America.

  74. Sally B December 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    Absolutely agree with you John.

    I am quite sure it royally sucks to be that obese. So my question is, why not do something about it? It can be done. You will save money on air fare and your fellow passengers will thank you. Oh and you’ll live longer too. (!)

    I would say instead of whining endlessly about how hard it is to lose weight, you could really seriously look into how to improve your life–after all, the primary beneficiary will be you.

  75. Leon Wilkeson December 2, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    I am embarrassed for you – that is the most pathetic thing I’ve read in a long long time. “Obesity is a disease!??!!!” Well… Yes… For maybe 2% of the obese population. I weigh about 255 – chicks still dig me, but I know I could lose about 35 and they would like me even better. The point is, I sure as hell am not spilling over into the seat next to me and if I was, I would quickly do something about it. I sure as hell would never claim I had a DISEASE other than a love of food and a job that sits me behind a desk. I have no sympathy for disgusting people that have no preexisting conditions. Unless laziness and being pathetic are preexisting conditions.

  76. tebta December 2, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    Moose, are you being seriously?!

    You are fat because you EAT TOO MUCH you fat disgusting bag of lard. DONT TRY TO BLAME ANYONE ELSE for your problem- obesity is a self inflicted disease. Stay home and lose weight before coming on here moaning!

  77. John December 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    The only way to solve this isue is for a normal size person who has been in such a situation to sue the airline concerned for fraud ( they are supposed to provide a seat and not half a seat) and endangering passenger safety. See how fast the airlines pay attention.

  78. Anton Aschwande December 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    i dängche es isch eso das die huere fette lüt müesse scho 3-5 plärt reserviere aber dr chopfsalat ir schüssle chenedd sie ja nid go aziinde wil es jo grien isch es isch es huere guets tee wil mes cha esse ich due gärre schwimme

  79. bobby b December 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    In my 35-50 trips per year for the past five years, I’ve suffered through a number of instances where the person next to me became the person on top of me, the person surrounding me, the person squeezing the breath out of me, the person making it impossible to eat, read, sleep, get out of my seat . . .

    And, sure, each time I’ve sat there and harbored resentment against someone who lets themselves get so damn large, and then, being that large, travels on an airplane where they know this is going to happen.

    But I know it’s not fair to them to be made the object of ridicule and resentment, or to me to be made to suffer when I’ve purchased my own seat.

    It’s the airlines that deserve all blame for this situation.

    The airlines have decided, for profit reasons, that each passenger gets only X amount of space, and X has become an exceedingly small number. That way, they can pack more people in. But what they’ve done DOES constitute illegal discrimination, based on what is either now, or will be soon, considered a handicapped status.

    To the person who said that flying is a privilege and not a right, you’re wrong. The airlines are common carriers, and, in exchange for several advantageous sets of rules from the government regarding their business that they recieve because of that status, they implicitly (or maybe it’s even explicitly now) guarantee that they will provide transportation to all who can pay, without discrimination.

    As common carriers, they are also subject to the requirements of the ADA. I believe that an airline that knowingly sizes its seats such that someone obese enough to be considered “handicapped” can not fit into any available seat is in violation of the ADA, and they are likely in violation of their duties as a common carrier.

    Frankly, with the current seat size, I hate flying next to 6’3″ guys who aren’t obese. It’s still painful. If the airlines decide that those guys need to buy two seats along with the obese, will anyone here be changing their opinion about this?

  80. Amazed... December 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Wow… the ignorance on this page is astounding. I am stunned by the illiterate, misspelled, grammatically incorrect posts that I have read! Prejudice against the overweight is one of the last acceptable prejudices. I am prejudiced against idiots, and there are several on this page.

    Comfort on an airplane is not just a problem with obese passengers. I sat next to a tall, thin man with broad shoulders. He was very handsome, but his shoulders extended more than 5 inches into my space. His arms fell over the arm rest, into my seat space. He was definitely taking a great deal of my space with his legs under my seat as well. Since this man was thin, people would have thought I was insane to comment on it. The reality is that I was able to deal with it. As a HUMAN BEING, I would deal with a very large passenger sitting next to me as well.

    Aside from the lack of tolerance for the overweight, I see a strong Anti-American sentiment here as well. I have been all over the world and see obese people everywhere I go. This is a global issue.

    Obesity is not only a food consumption issue. It is a medical issue, and those who do not deal with it daily should thank God.

  81. BongoBoy December 2, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    You make several good points. It is easy to depersonalize people in pictures or strangers on planes.

    I want to respectfully respond to a few of your points.

    I know that the vast majority of larger people do not want to inconvenience others, and it would be distinctly unpleasant to see everybody looking at me as I came down the aisle hoping I wasn’t going to sit next to them. I want you to be comfortable on the flight, and I want everybody to be safe.

    I find though, that I must disagree with you on several of your points concerning paying for two seats.

    Do we know if they can afford to pay for another seat? Immaterial. You don’t know if I have saved five years for my seat or if it was free. It doesn’t matter. I have my assigned seat and I’m entitled to it.

    Who is at fault for the seat size? The airline is a business. They establish a business model that includes plane capacity and seat size. While it isn’t practical to say if you don’t fit in the seat you shouldn’t fly, it is fair to say you should pay for what you use. If you use more than one seat, you should pay for more than one seat. If the plane isn’t full, the airline may let you sit across two seats without paying. If it is full, they lose money on the extra seat if you don’t pay. Airlines are not charities. There is no right to fly.

    The center arm rest doesn’t go back to the angle of a reclined seat, and I can see that it would be a comfort issue.

    Smelly, drunk, or otherwise obnoxious people are a pain indeed. They usually don’t need more than one seat though. Space is the issue. We all buy about 17 inches of width. We should all get about 17 inches of width.

    Mothers in the toilets for the flight would be unsafe for them.

    Small seats are not discriminatory. They are a decision that airlines have made to be able to have a chance at being profitable. Size is a fact and material discrimination centers on rights not privileges or prospective entitlement.

    I like the concept of a couple of bench seats though.

  82. anon December 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    Technically, the airline doesn’t sell you a seat, it sells you transportation from one point to another.

  83. Lionel Geschke December 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Angelo, this photo has not been post-processed through Photoshop to increase the height, width, or depth of the large person.

    You are misreading the actual bits of the image if you claim you can see the operations of a ‘clone stamp’ type of image manipulation.

    How shall I put this delicately? This individual is sitting with his posterior balanced on the left armrest of his seat. His left buttock is to the left of the armrest, and his right buttock is to the right.

    That raises his height by approximately 4-5 inches, and makes him appear to be quite a bit taller than his fellow passenger. But it isn’t the case.

    He boarded the plane by walking sideways down the aisle.

    The top of the seatback is pulled down (and therefore appears ‘missing’) because the mass of flesh in this gentleman’s back is applying a significant downward force on the top of the rear of the seat.

  84. viajera December 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    For those of you worried about evacuation issues – what about a handicapped person? They can’t evacuate either. Should old ladies in wheelchairs, young people on crutches with broken legs, or people with other mobility issues be banned from flights because they couldn’t evacuate rapidly in case of emergency?

    What about screaming kids? Or Chatty Cathies? I don’t want to sit by either of those types of people. Should they be punished by being forced to pay double, or be banned from flying?

    If your answer to the above questions are “but, that’s different”, you need to think about what’s really motivating your concerns. Because they’re not different.

  85. Bill McKean December 2, 2009 at 11:34 pm #

    That could be a picture of the fellow who waddled down the aisle to the LAST empty seat on my flight from Philadelphia to Minneapolis-St. Paul. That empty seat was the CENTER seat on the row, and he wedged himself behind the seatbacks ahead, lifted BOTH armrests, and plunked his huge behind down into his seat, half the window seat (occupied) and half of my aisle seat. Did I mention, he was wearing SHORTS, and his fish-belly white, floppyflabby legs pushed against my (trousered, thank God) legs so that I had to put my right foot out into the aisle (the cabin attendent admonished me to put it beneath the seat ahead of me, and when I asked her “Where, for goodness’ sake?” she just walked away.

    There was no apology by either the aircraft crew, the agent to whom I complained after the flight, nor the fattie.

    Fat people have rights? Yeah, the right to ride in a TRUCK!

  86. Marco December 2, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    You know, Moose, I bet if I knew you in real life, I’d want to go out for a beer with you on a regular basis. You make excellent and thought provoking points. I think this is an issue that really deserves some sincere thought. On the one hand, I make the point that if a person requires resources, they should pay for them. However, you bring up a very important point about compassion. Traveling from one place to another is not like buying a house or ordering in a restaurant. My analogy has flaws. I can see that.

    I mention doubling seat size and halving the number of seats on a plane. I don’t have the science or math skills, but I’d be curious to know how the weight reduction and redistribution of that would affect fuel economy (and thereby fuel costs), structural stresses related to take-off (and thereby maintenance costs), etc. Certainly, I’d like a bigger seat.

    Thanks, Moose, for making me think. My first reaction to this article may have been wrong.

  87. Mark December 3, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    If I go to a restaurant, and I’m not full after eating one “happy meal”, should the second one be free? No?

    Let’s say I want to buy a house, and I have sixteen people in my family. Should I be able to get an eight bedroom house for the same cost as a one bedroom house? No?

    Okay, then why, if I’m too big to fit into a normal airline seat, should I expect to get a second seat free?

    Now, maybe it’s not my fault that one “Happy Meal” isn’t enough for me. Maybe God just made me a big guy. Is Mickie D discriminating against me by not giving me a second Happy Meal for free? Maybe I belong to some religious group that believes that birth control is wrong and that God wants me to have lots of babies. Is the realtor discriminating against me and my religious beliefs by not making my house as cheap as a house for a guy living alone?

    So why is it discrimination for an airline to charge for the resources I use? If I’m so big I use two seats, then it doesn’t matter WHY I need those two seats. The fact remains that I need two seats. I should pay for them. It’s selfish to expect other passengers to move out of my way, or to expect an airline to give me a resource I didn’t pay for.

    Someone asked: don’t large people have the right to fly? If the airline cabin cannot safely or comfortably accommodate that person, then NO. They don’t … because other people ALSO have rights: the right to fly safely and comfortably.

    Believe me. I sympathize. I have a friend the size of the guy in that picture. He doesn’t even look obese. He’s just a really big guy, upwards of 7 feet tall and nearly 400 pounds!

    Ask ANYBODY: would you like airlines to double the seat size? Heck, YEAH! Would you like airlines to halve the number of seats on a plane so we’re not squashed in like sardines? Heck, YEAH! Would you like airlines to charge us ALL double so that everyone can fly? Heck, NO!

    Is that discrimination? Yeah, maybe it is. But maybe so is Mickie D telling me I can’t have a second Happy Meal for free.

  88. Ciaran December 3, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    I am a large individual; and I always purchase an extra seat when flying. just because of comfort and more importantly safety. Although it can be costly, it is much more pleasant, and while I’m no where near the size of the man in the photo (I don’t need a seat belt extender), my seat mates are happy when i welcome them to some extra space as well. Hey TEBTA, not every one is overweight because of overeating. I’m a former football player and due to 4 spinal operations gained 80 pounds. I now suffer thru with a semi rigid spine and back spasms which are virtually constant. I monitor what I eat and its 2500 calories per day. My weight is static due to an inability to exercise; thank your lucky stars you are healthy. Not everyone is so lucky…

  89. Not sitting next to Moose December 3, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    Dear Moose,

    You chose to eat too much and exercise too little for your entire life.

    Now YOU have to deal with it, not me!

    Its called reaping what you sow.

  90. Croatoan December 3, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    How do people even get past it down the aisle? How do they get the beverage carts past that behemoth?

    That’s just dangerous. At some point, the rights of the hundreds of other passengers and crew on the plane to be safe in an emergency outweigh the desire of one huge person to go somewhere. Can he hurry down the aisle? Can he get thru an emergency exit? Will he break the slide? Will his seat belt (if there even is one) work? Can he run away from a burning aircraft? What if he’s unconscious…can he be carried off of or away from the aircraft? How does he use the tiny bathroom?…or does he just soil himself?

    Aircraft are built to fly 99.9% of human beings, most of them comfortably. But this guy is way beyond any semblance of normal. I don’t think the safety of 200-300 people should be compromised for one passenger.

    He probably needs to take a cargo flight, a ship, or maybe the best idea would be to walk to where he’s going.

  91. Charlie Leocha December 3, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    Where did you get that photo? I had it a week earlier and it was posted back on November 11th on

    It would have been nice for you to have given us credit or at least a linkback from your site. On the other hand, once something is out in the Web, gets tweeted and is on facebook, it is impossible to keep track of it.

    I was just wondering whether it was sent anonymously to you or whether you took it from our blog.

    Just wondering.

  92. brianch December 3, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    I have to call bu!! sh!t. Where is his arm rest? The planes I travel on will not let you fold up the arm rest. If he was able to fold it up, we would be able to see it along the side of his seat. If he could not fold it up, he would need to call emergency services to have it extracted from his nether regions.

    Did I bust this one?

  93. Marco December 3, 2009 at 3:17 am #

    Sorry, my comment didn’t post earlier for some reason … I’ll try again.

    Let’s say I go to McDonald’s to buy a “Happy Meal” but one “Happy Meal” just isn’t enough to satisfy me. Do I deserve to get a second “Happy Meal” for free?

    If I go to the shoe store and try on a size 5 shoe and it doesn’t fit me, can I insist on getting a size 13 for the same price?

    If I have a family of 16, can I ask the realtor to give me an 8 bedroom house for the price of a one bedroom home?

    After all, aren’t we all equal under the law? Don’t we all deserve the same consideration?

    Is it necessarily MY fault that one “Happy Meal” is not enough? Perhaps God just gave me a big appetite! Is it then discrimination if Mickie D’s won’t give me a second “Happy Meal” for free? After all, I was not, ultimately, happy with my “Happy Meal” right?

    Is it my fault that I have big feet? Certainly it’s inconvenient, and I envy people with smaller feet because it’s hard to find shoes in my size. Is it then discrimination if the shoe store will not sell me a larger size at the same price?

    Perhaps my religion forbids birth control and my God tells me that children are a blessing. If the realtor won’t accommodate my larger family and give me the same chance to own a home that a single man has, is that discrimination? Aren’t they, really, discriminating against my religion?

    Why then, if I do not fit into a standard size airline seat, and a single airline seat cannot safely and comfortably accommodate my size, do I think it’s okay to demand that the airline give me a second seat for free? Aren’t I just demanding resources I didn’t pay for? Aren’t I, in essence, demanding a second “Happy Meal”?

    While it is true that some people have no control over the size of their bodies, that they are, indeed, disabled by physiological malfunctions that result in irregular body size, they are, we must admit, the minority. The vast majority of overweight people are obese because they lack proper diet, exercise and self-control. Lack of mobility is not an excuse, nor is diabetes. Many with mobility impairment and diabetes manage to control their weight just fine.

    Ultimately however, does it really matter WHY the person needs two seats? I think it doesn’t matter. In order to be safely and comfortably accommodated, an obese person requires twice the resources (two seats) than the average person (who only requires one seat). Why shouldn’t they have to pay for that? Why should the airline be expected to pick up the tab? We’re talking about resources and cost/value, not rights.

    Someone asked: Don’t obese people have the right to fly? If an obese person cannot be safely and comfortably accommodated in the airline cabin, NO. They don’t have the right to fly because that would infringe on the rights of the airline to demand payment for resources, and it would further infringe on the rights of the OTHER passengers to fly safely and comfortably. Since when has it become acceptable for the rights of any one individual, even a disabled individual, to supersede the rights of all others?

    Now, if we asked the majority of people, “Would you like for airlines to double the size of their seats” I do not doubt that you would hear a resounding “Heck, Yeah!” And if we asked the majority of people, “Would you like for airlines to accommodate larger seat sizes by halving the number of seats on planes?” Again, I think we’d all agree, as most of us have, at one time or another, enjoyed the ambiance of our airline industry’s flying sardine cans. However, were we to ask the majority of people if they’d like airline companies to double the price of a ticket, every ticket in fact, in order to accommodate this luxury, I doubt few if any would support the idea.

    Someone mentioned sitting next to someone who smells bad. I totally agree that it is a horrible experience. However, by what standard would we measure it? Someone mentioned crying babies and unruly children. I totally agree. How would you enforce it consistently? Would you even want to try? The obese are another matter. It’s completely objective and depends totally on one single criterion: can this person fit into their seat? Someone mentioned the size limits for carry-on luggage and suggested something similar for people: set up poles and say “If you cannot fit through these two poles, you must purchase an extra seat.” Perhaps we need an aisle-size limit and say “If you cannot fit through here, you cannot get on the plane.”

    Is it discrimination? Perhaps. But if so, so is Mickie D telling me I cannot have a second “Happy Meal” for free.

  94. Beth December 3, 2009 at 3:53 am #

    So, how are they pushing the drink cart through? Or how are people passing to go to the bathroom. Sure he made room for the guy in the middle seat, but now he’s inconveniencing everyone else on the plane. If you are that large, you know whether you can fit or not. I imagine if it were me in that position, I’d hate to fly and be embarrassed, and would likely find other means of travel that would be more comfortable to me, if possible. If not, I’d probably spring for first class seats since they are more roomy and less intrusive to neighbors.

    And bench seating… how would an airline know how many tickets to sell? If there are several large passengers, they may overbook a flight because everyone didn’t fit into the bench. That wouldn’t solve anything.

  95. Sheva Kuvet December 3, 2009 at 6:45 am #

    Regret to say that this cannot be correct as one would need to be belted into the seat and even belt extenders do not allow for this large size.

    Seats need to be larger in general. There is no reason to have shrunk the seats over the years. They allow for drunk pilots, yet wish to ignore proper accommodations for people of size while charging double to big/bigger people. We are a cruel and unusual society.

  96. furby December 3, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    brianch, you can clearly see him sitting on the armrest

  97. lofa December 3, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    no wonder why more and more people are just driving instead of flying. Just to avoid garbage like this.

  98. Ed Coyne December 3, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    “Fat acceptance” gone insane.

    If I’m ever put in this situation (of being the middle seat guy), you can be certain that it will make the news. I’ll have no problem telling the guy that he’s a fat f**k and that he needs to take a bus or a train or be shipped by a freight company.

    Letting yourself become this fat is clearly an abuse of humanhood.

  99. John December 3, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Maybe I’m the only one here but I can see a lot of free seats, even right behind him. So instead of letting him sit on two seats in the row behind him the sit him where he is shown on the picture? I set it’s set up to feed the trolls, especially the media, who make fun of fat people.

  100. Xnuiem December 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    We have daily crashes? Whoa, the media needs to get on that, I dont remember seeing a crash yesterday. And if I recall, the NW flight that did overshoot, landed without incident. Take deep breathes and repeat after me: “I will ride the train from now on”.

  101. Builder Bob December 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Speaking of going to the bathroom. Whenever I see a person of this girth, I wonder – HOW DO THEY WIPE THEMSELVES WHEN THEY DO GO TO THE BATHROOM. Think about it.

  102. fix it airlines December 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    There is a “bigger” issue here, pardon the pun. I am 6’6″ and 300 pounds I have a 58 inch chest and a 40 in waist. I am not obese. I travel often. It is ridiculous the size of the seats. I try constantly to get exit rows and bulkhead seats and they are often taken by what many of you are calling “normal” people who have no need for the extra leg room. First I can assure you if you want a quick exit I will provide it because I will rip that 35lb door off quickly! Although my waist fits ok in my seat my upper body always “spills” over to others seats, how do I fix this? Answer I CAN’T! Now how about some bench seating or size requirements for the extra leg room seats. It is a fact that people are getting larger,(not just obese) But, larger how many of you have noticed the 13, 14, 15 year old boys who are 6 foot and up. Airlines will need to get a clue and start making some seats larger, we should not have to pay more for these seats, just enforce that the people who sit n these seats really do need it, if the flight does not have as many large passengers than guess what you little people can have them like a first class upgrade, good for you. I try to help those who are next to me by leaning forward very uncomfortable on long flights and almost impossible if not in exit row. Airlines quit being greedy I would pay a little extra to have a bigger seat,(not first class prices ridiculous!) I have to pay extra for my suits and clothes because it takes more fabric so I would pay the little extra. Now fix it airlines!

  103. Judy December 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    I too know this individual and I happen to know he purchased an extra $700 ticket out of consideration for other passengers. However, the arm rest would not lift up and he was forced to overhang the aisle, causing considerable discomfort and embarrassment for him on a 7 hour transatlantic flight.

  104. viv555 December 3, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    I’m a journalist working on this topic and I had a chance to read everyone’s comments. I was hoping that the guy who is friend’s with this person in the picture might pass on my email because I would like to interview him on this topic.

  105. fix it airlines December 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    WOW! So ironic that you leave a harsh comment like this but yet you use the Pink Ribbon of Breast cancer. LOL I hope you do not have to have a breast removed then your perfect self will not be able to go swimming because of the insensitive people pointing and staring about your missing breast. Oh wait I guess that is different, right?
    99.9% of people? Where do you get your statistics? I agree with safety issues, they should be addressed, but to keep people from flying in the meantime, (maybe to go for healthcare?) is wrong.

  106. fix it airlines December 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    If the seats are full for the bench seats or bigger seats then you would just book a different flight time. It is a easy fix if they just take the information at booking time and if they have connecting flights than they would know how to book the next flight. I would take a flight several hours later for the larger seat.

  107. fix it airlines December 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    You are ridiculous. Like the way you treat others with hatred and ridicule while using the pink ribbon for breast cancer. LOL. Hope that you are not mistreated if you end up losing a breast. 99.9% where do you get your stats? People are getting larger every year, (not just fatter but LARGER) Safety is a concern and that should be addressed. but, to keep them from flying?(what if they are going for healthcare). Get off your high horse and use the compassion you have for breast cancer for others

  108. Brother December 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    Hey, assholes!! Take a deep breath and get a life. The plane was not in flight. If you look you can see the overhead bins open and people still getting on the plane. I know the guy in the picture. He is my brother. He told me that he was waiting for the window passenger to come down the aisle and take the seat. When the plane was filled and the door closed, he took his seat and flew like every other passenger. Kiernan, did your flight attendant source tell you that? Probably not. Why ruin a sensation story with the facts. There so few groups we can hate now adays. Seems all we’re left with in this country to sterotype are the obese, Muslims, and celebrities. Thank God my brother isn’t a famous Muslim or you’d be able to score a hat trick of hate!

  109. Chaz December 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    Wow. Reading through all the comments was a great way to pass some time at work.

    I want to empathize with those who are irate at people insulting/discriminating against the large man in the picture. However, I just can’t.

    More often than not, especially in America, obesity is not a disease. It is a byproduct of laziness and ignorance. Most people are too lazy to commit to proper diet and/or exercise. All sorts of excuses come into play.

    Yes, the very obese ones probably have worse genetics. Growing up I had a high bodyfat % but you couldn’t tell, because I had skinny limbs, and a lanky frame. Yet I had a nice pot belly to go with it. Others store fat in different areas.

    However I wised up, learned about proper nutrition, started eating better, and picked up weight lifting paired with cardio. it was a long process, but I am actually proud of my body.

    If people would take the time to learn about what is actually healthy, adn not look for keywords plastered on the side of commercial products in the grocery store (news flash: You can still get fat eating fat free foods) then alot of this “epidemic” could solve itself.

    Yes, some people do have actually, legitimate reasons as to their obesity. Thyroid issues, diabetes, etc etc. However, you can get treatments for those, and coupled with proper diet/exercise, you can still be quite slim. I’ve personally had friends with these various issues. It takes more effort on their part, but they do it. A friend just recently has an extremely underactive thyroid. She has prescriptions to help with that, and exercises like a mad woman. She has a mediocre diet, and has managed to drop her weight from near 200lbs to just over 150lbs within the last year. It isn’t impossible, it is just a matter of motivation, determination, and most importantly, education.

  110. Lee Kushnir December 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    This is Lee Kushnir from Fox News Channel in NYC. I was hoping to to talk to anyone who may have been on the flight, or know the passenger, the cameraperson, etc. There are so many questions about this story. Please email me at, and we will be in touch. Thank you.

  111. Anthony December 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

    If you take up two seats, you should pay for 2 tickets…..simple as that….now let’s not get into the argument that “it’s not their fault they’re that big”…..because then that would lead to all types of stupid rules and regulations on overweight passengers…..let’s just keep this simple….no discrimination….just business ethics and common sense

  112. verbatim December 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Safety on several levels is the most important issue. In an emergency, this guy would be a huge safety risk for himself and others. In the long run, this guy’s health is also obviously at risk.

  113. Anonymous December 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    GUESS WHAT?? This guy DID pay for an extra seat in consideration for the other passengers! The armrest would not go up! He did not complain–just “ate” the extra $700.00 for the extra seat. He also had to sit this way for 7 hours on a transatlantic flight!!!! He is the sweetest, kindest, most gentle man you would ever meet!!!!

  114. Wan´t my seat to myself December 3, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    Of course you have drunk people next to you all the time when you fly. That´s the only way to cope with having a fat ass next to you when you fly unless you have stronger drugs to resort to. Next time I am cursed with a fat person next to me I will refuse the seat. Leaning in an awquard position for hours gave me back problems last time it happened. I cannot plan to have a fat person next to me. You know you are fat and should be required to plan accordingly when flying.

  115. George December 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Why are there multiple versions of the same comment?

  116. Nikki December 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm #


    As a practicing registered nurse, I can safely say that only a small percentage of obese Americans suffer from metabolic diseases that cause extreme weight gain. Obesity doesn’t necessarily mean a person is 500 pounds. It is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2. Most people suffering from obesity can change their circumstances by simply exercising and eating proper foods. The majority of obesity cases result from lack of exercise and overeating, whether by emotional insecurities or laziness to fix nutritious meals at home and opting for fast food instead. So unless you have a metabolic disorder that prevents you from losing weight, there is no excuse to pack on the pounds to that extreme.

    As for the overweight passenger on this flight – SAFETY! The one thing that stands out most from nursing school (and that is observed in daily practice as a nurse) is ensuring patient safety. The airlines are not ensuring passenger safety by allowing this passenger to spill over into the aisle. And what happens in the event of a disaster? How will other passengers be able to exit? I doubt this man can even fit through the emergency exit doors. Airlines should be concerned, not accommodating, when it comes to such a lack of respect for others, which is what obesity really is.

  117. viv555 December 3, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Well would your brother be at all interested in sharing his story with a news outlet and getting the facts straight? As you can tell this is getting a lot of attention. I included my email in an earlier post please feel free to pass it on.

  118. anna December 3, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    yeah, you go ahead & do that by golly! show everyone how a stupid a*s would handle the situation.

  119. Richard Romano December 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    I have to laugh at some of the comments — so the airline and other passengers must accommodate this guy?

    How about this porker shed a couple of hundred pounds? Do you really believe all people his size have an intractable medical condition?

    Personal responsibility never seems to be a requirement — it’s political correctness run amok.

  120. angry guy December 3, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    why is everyone slagging this guy,

    yeh he is big but is the problen not that they need to give us bigger seats,

    i remeber not that long ago ppl dying becouse the seat wher so small,, that being you are sitting in small space and cant get the blood moving in your body causing blood clots.

    whenever i travel on public transport no matter wetjher its a bus, train, or flying bus becouse thats all they are,, we get riped off stop slagging the guy or big ppl lets get bigger seats for all and they shulde sell extra large seats as well becouse im shure the larger men and women would pay as anyone iv met thats of bigger bones ;-) is ushaly very nice and wouldent want to put anyone in uncomfy disposition ..

    i think i no this guy and if it is him he aint as big as the picture makes out .

  121. AZTraveler December 3, 2009 at 11:15 pm #

    Southwest did the same “bump and pay” travel interuption with me a few years ago. In fact before the flight I overheard the “OSP” say that he wanted to find the biggest person on the plane so he could get the additional seat. Two OSP’s sit in a three seat row taking up all three seats. Neither one of the super sized flyers were asked to take another flight. I was bumped and given a $150.00 voucher but no f/c. Some larger passingers are aware of how the system works and will take advantage of the wimpy airline policies where there are no assigned seats. I never did use the voucher but I certainly remembered the flying experience. Thank you for flying Southwest -

  122. Marco December 4, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    reply to Anon 12/3 at 5:16

    Your comment is at odds with what other people (who likewise claim firsthand knowledge) have said about this incident. They said this person chose not to buy an extra ticket, and furthermore, many people have said that this was NOT a trans-Atlantic flight. To be honest, I can’t imagine a ticket for a transAtlantic flight costing only $700.

  123. Mobties December 4, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    He should be made to buy carbohydrate credits.

  124. smergels December 4, 2009 at 3:47 am #

    The fact that some of the overhead compartments are open with nobody standing in front of them should be an indication that the plane was still on the ground. No way in hell a plane would take off with a person halfway hanging over into the aisle.

  125. Luke December 4, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    This situation is real, whether this photo is real or not. In March, I flew from Detroit to Tokyo on a NWA flight in coach. I had a woman sitting next to me that 300+ pounds. For 13 hours I was pinned against the side of the plane. She needed two seats. What made me irrate was she fed 1/2 the flight. There were no conseqences for her actions.

  126. Anonymous December 4, 2009 at 4:34 am #

    Economy class seats are simply too small. I frequently fly 12+ hour flights between Asia and the U.S., and prefer aisle seats because they make me feel less cramped and claustrophobic. I’ve had large people take up my space, which was unpleasant. But even normal sized people in the middle or window seat necessitate my standing up and getting out of my seat to let them by when they go to the bathroom or whatever. If I sit in a window seat, I have to make the middle and aisle seat passengers stand up and/or exit their seats to let me by. The situation is worsened if the people in the row in front all have their seat backs tilted backwards. I am not obese or overly tall. I think that airlines design the seats with the idea that the average passenger is 5’2″ and weighs one hundred pounds. BTW, I have two artificial hips, and really don’t like jumping up and down every hour or so because someone in my row has a small bladder. Let’s face it, economy class is one of the Circles of Hell that Dante neglected to write about.

  127. Lanky December 4, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    This pic was photoshopped and the joke’s on us. Anyone who has flown coach knows it’d be impossible for a man that size to even walk through the aisle let alone wedge his legs between his seat and the one in front of him. Take a better good look. He must be 7 feet tall besides being fat! A slim man that size wouldn’t have the leg room. Another reason it’s a fake is aisle armrests are fixed. You cannot move them up or down. That means he’s sitting with the armrest between the crack of his ass which I doubt is real.

  128. Some Guy December 4, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    They should have given him a nice, big space in the cargo hold.

  129. Susie December 4, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    For those of you who think larger people should all go first class, I have to say, being one, that first class seats are often MORE uncomfortable for larger people. They often come with “walls” between the seats full of tables/electronics, etc., that never go up, so they are much more constraining and difficult to exit from than tourist seats. Personally I always get an aisle seat, where I can for most of the flight overflow in that direction if necessary. As for getting two seats, I tried sitting in the middle of two seats once, briefly—extremely uncomfortable even with the seatbacks up as the armrest goes back only as far as the front edge of the cushioning, so when you lean back and the cushioning compresses the armrest doesn’t.
    My current favorite is Southwest, as I make sure to be an early boarder. That way no one has to sit next to me unless the plane is completely full. Also, many SW planes have aisle arms that can be raised during flight, making it easy to slide somewhat into the aisle (not like the guy in the picture, but enough to not inconvenience my seatmate). And yes, I’m dieting, exercising, etc., but as anyone who has done it knows, it is very hard to do as the body really resists losing weight and fights to regain it. I was once thin with ease…would love to be again.

  130. anon December 4, 2009 at 5:17 am #

    Translatlantic flights can cost as low as $450. $700 is perfectly usual.

  131. Ela December 4, 2009 at 5:45 am #

    What amazes me about all these comments is the unkindness and lack of civility many of the “fat critics” are showing. All the “lardass” and “you fat disgusting pig” comments are really telling.

    Why on earth would you treat another human being with such venom? What entitles you to talk to other people in such a cruel, thoughtless, nasty way?

    I’m appalled that people seem to think it’s okay to treat fat people, or ANY people, in that way. That kind of writing really reveals a lot about the people posting it, and it’s not pretty.

    I’m a normal sized person, but I’d rather weigh 500 lbs than have the cancer of the soul that some of you have.

  132. Jack December 4, 2009 at 5:47 am #

    The big guy is sitting on the arm of the seat so that puts him about seven inches higher than he actually would sit, if he could sit in the seat.
    Perhaps he hoped to wait to see if there was an empty seat in the plane, so that he could have two seats.
    Some people are fat because they eat too much. Some because they have badly regulated hormone systems. Some because they are getting too many female pseudo-hormones from plastics. Some because they have cellular systems made for light oils, like fish and coconut and are being fed beef fat and cottonseed oil.
    This guy is naturally big, even before he put on any weight.
    He should have been moved to a seat with the best emergency exit for someone his size. That’s common sense.
    I’d vote for airlines selling tickets to humans and having provisions for heavy people, disabled people and infants. Why should people be subjected to a screaming baby for hours, even if the parents pay for a seat.

  133. hmm December 4, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    Yes, obesity is a bonafide disease. However, alcoholism is a disease too. Both have very simple solutions which require an enormous amount of discipline and hard work by the sufferer. The fact of the matter is, though, that is is the responsibility of everyone to take care of themselves. To simply say that 99% of diets don’t work fails to explain why, and I’m fairly sure it’s because those people don’t have the self control or motivation to see the diets through or find an option that works for them. In any case, there is no good reason why the rest of the paying customers should have to suffer.

  134. Better than You December 4, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    Ah, the comment section. A place where the lowest and most moronic of society can come together to share in their collective ignorance, cowardice, and cruelty.

  135. Harriet Katz December 4, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    This debate angers me. I bought 2 seats for a heavy relative who was traveling with me. The airline dummy who made the doubleseat reservation apparently did not know that the friggin’ armrest between the 2 seats did not come up. So my relative sat jammed into one seat, while I paid for the vacant second seat. When we changed planes in Chicago the airheads at the counter said “Well there is nothing we can do about a seat that has already been booked”. This added debate caused embarrassment for the heavy person. Fortunately there was a decent male flight attendent who overhead the conversation at the desk, exercised some initiative and found someone on the connecting flight, in an area where the armrests did go up, to switch seats with us.So while this debate rages, maybe someone could tell the airlines to train their personnel as to the nature of their different planes.

  136. Dan December 4, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    This has been a really interesting read. I’ve ended up on a completely different side of this argument then when I first saw the picture.

    The real issue here is not obvious, but a few posts have been close to the point. The thing is, the airlines don’t lose as much money as you might think from the added weight of baggage or large persons. The added revenue, however, from a few more seats will make the business model much more profitable, even if every once in a while people complain or get moved and cost the company a voucher or two.

    12″ Seats are good for business when succeeding is determined by how many people you can cram on a flight. The worst part of all of this is that the airlines duck the issue in cases where the airline is completely full: at some times a large passenger will have to accept an aisle seat even if he/she wants to upgrade / pay extra.

    There should also be more thought to the placement of large passengers with regards to safety.

    I understand the argument that you should have to pay for using more space / weight on the aircraft. However, the argument that this is similar to ordering 2 happy meals to satisfy a large appetite misses the point that they don’t call over the nearest 150 people and point out that you eat more than them. Humiliation as part of the cost of doing business was out of style a while ago last I checked.

    It doesn’t have to be this way, but the airlines have bet that no one will care enough that they’ll need to change anything. I think most large people probably do try to upgrade, but we’ve all seen how effective these companies are at filling the flights to capacity.

    As much as I’d like to see it, I don’t see things changing much soon.

  137. cag December 4, 2009 at 7:15 am #

    I’m really saddened by these comments. Do you all realize how vicious you sound? My husband is 6’2″, not overweight, but big. We always try to make sure that I’m between him and anyone else, but the seats are so narrow that he does “spill over” with his shoulders and elbows. The population is getting both bigger and taller. Why are we angry at the victims when we should be angry at the airlines?

  138. Tom December 4, 2009 at 7:19 am #

    Obesity is not a disability. Disease, maybe, but a disability, no. No morbidly obese person would be so without the caloric intake to maintain or increase their weight. The safety of the other passengers is more important than anyone’s feelings. Where’s the justice for the person who pays, fits in the seat but has the other person all over them? I’m tall and all flights suck, but I don’t stick my legs into the aisle or into the space of my fellow passenger because of my “disability”. Maybe obese people would work a little harder to be less so if they actually had to pay for it – double airline fare or an additional premium for their health insurance for the myriad chronic diseases they’ll have that everyone else pays for. As far as airlines afraid of lawsuits, blame the idiot juries, 1/3 of those who serve are guaranteed to be obese here in the US. As far as the employees being clueless and unhelpful to those who are willing to do the right thing, how is that different from most employees at virtually any company you deal with? Airlines are especially problematic because they have a captive audience and customers are sheep. Buy your tickets and hope for the best folks because nobody cares about anyone but themselves.

  139. Carlos December 4, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I guess there was no room on hold-5!!

    That guy is supposed to go as cargo.

    What if he needs to go to the bathroom?

    The airline lost money for that passenger; not only they had to take more fuel but they couldn’t get the trolley with the beverages past that row!

    New York

  140. Nat December 4, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    I agree with all the safety and comfort issues wholeheartedly. What I can’t stand is all the hate.

    Yeah, I’m overweight, just tipping into the obese category, but I’m not an apologist. It is tremendously unhealthy and I am not happy with my weight. What gets me is the people who always get on a forum like this and spouting c**p about how easy it is to lose weight. “Just stop eating so much!” D’oh! Why didn’t I think of that? Must be stupid as well as fat. If losing weight is so easy why do we have an obesity epidemic?

    I have only gained the weight in the last few years, I had some things going on that made me depressed. I took the productive root and ate. I’m not proud of it. I used to work out every day. I was super fit. Now I’m trying to lose weight, but it isn’t easy because the PSYCHOLOGICAL issues are still there. Stop acting like fools and realise that people don’t choose this and they certainly don’t like it. If it was so damned easy why are there so many new diet books?

    The fat person on the plane is far embarrassed than you. By all means have this debate, and I do think people should pay more if they need two seats, but why be nasty, ill-informed and immature?

  141. anon December 4, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    I was on a flight next to a really fat lady and there simply was not enough room for me to sit comfortably. She was spilling into my seat. I paid for a full seat and did not have one. Thankfully I was moved after many complaints.

    I tried to be nice to the lady. I don’t fault her. Still, I think that if you need more than one seat it is not discrimination to be required to pay for more than one.

  142. TimmyGeithner December 4, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    No problem, the government will start a program. For people over 250 lb, we’ll buy an extra seat on US. What’s the big deal? We’ll charge up the Fed credit as much as we can so that our kids pay it off.

    (I do hope those young people don’t begin to favor euthanasia. Anyway, it won’t affect me, just the stupid little people who chose to build things instead of working for the financial industry.)

    Good luck everyone!

  143. Mitch December 4, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Like some, I think this is a very serious debate. Its importance has relevance not only for the airline industry but also for related situations where pre-proportioned accommodations are made, as some already referenced – theater, cinema, stadiums… perhaps even beds… as well health, insurance, etc…

    When I first saw and read the caption, I must admit that I too sided with the majority of people and had a more sophomoric emotional reaction. I then reflected on situations where I felt I was the victim of “overage” and felt a bit vindicated – despite it being someone else.

    In addition, as I began to read- i did share some similar emotions in a light way… However, as I continued to read, I became a bit more compassionate and felt a little ashamed at my initial reactions. This compassion developed not only from reading the postings of those who defended the larger sized man and other obese people, but from the number of purely cruel, mean-spirited, off the wall, non constructive, irrelevant, assumption-based, misinformed, and at times illiterate ( concepts more than grammar) comments and postings. To me, the postings who show respect, have factual information, and expand the conversation, regardless of which side they represent- are the ones that help us to find understanding and resolution.

    Some examples of the comments I liked included citing real statistics on obesity not those who just threw out crazy numbers, those who talked about the reason airlines havent kept pace with the changing shape of america, talked about airlines being a business but also a common good regulated by the government and those who showed respect.

    But some comments were just plain dumb- and they existed on both sides of the debate.

    Where are the constructive ideas about working to find a solution? I like the bench seat idea but i might still agree that a higher rate be charged. For extra leg room or for extra weight luggage- extra costs are incurred. Perhaps, at least domestically, the development of high-speed rail transportation, where weight and size are not nearly as limiting of factor as on an airlines bottom-line, could facilitate the creation of more accommodating seats for larger, taller, heavier people as well as though with special needs.

    I rarely if ever read a blog, but when I do, I read them to get a pulse of the public and more importantly to learn perspectives I previously did not know- on both sides of the issue. I hope if i come back this site I will find less sensational reactions and more informative conversation.

    But what I take away from the postings… is that this is an important debate I will want to know more about- but from a more informed group. …That I should have more compassion myself… that an equally if not more important debate should be how to help those who are obese.

  144. Beret babe December 4, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    The airline is at fault if they allowed this guy to stay in the aisle seat. He’s at fault for his body size. No one on that plane should pay for his lifestyle choices.

    The mean comments are animated, but we are entitled to our frustration. Some of us are sick of accommodating people of adult years who will not exercise maturity in their lives.

    The drunken passenger might be able to remain restrained until he gets on the plane – so we can’t anticipate that. Crying babies? On a plane, they are annoying, but, may I remind you, each of us was a baby at one time. I imagine parents can’t anticipate how a baby will respond to flying. But this guy was fat when he got on the plane.

    You say he’s a nice man? Wait a minute, how nice is he if he makes us look at him; we cannot be expected to engage in denial just because that would spare his feelings. He’s not being nice or fair to the other people in his health plan. He’s not being nice or fair to the other passengers on this flight.

    He’s willing to pay more for the seat? Is he willing to demonstrate the discipline to stick with a weight-loss and exercise plan if he’s so conscientious and kind? Kind? How can he be kind to other people if he’s so abusive to himself?

  145. leah December 4, 2009 at 8:43 am #

    hey y’all guess what? if the plane catches fire or crashes, you’re gonna have lots bigger (hah) things to worry about. AND! if the dude bought two seats, how would that make it safer except that it would allow everyone else to run past him…while he sits there, denied a right to seeking his own survival? seriously, your concerns for safety seem like just an excuse to vent about fat people.

    also…my loved ones and I are all quite fit, but I would imagine that the discomfort that you feel during the hours of your flight pales in comparison to the physical problems and emotion pain that might easily accompany living in a body that size and being judged so harshly by strangers like you.

    have a little compassion and stop whining. maybe then you would have time to volunteer, help others get fit and have access to/afford healthy food, therapy, and education.

    America’s problem is not that people are fat, it’s the causes behind that and the results of it. It’s that it’s cheapest to eat junk, fastest after double shift min wage jobs to get fast food, and easiest for the rest to sit around scoffing at photos…

    but hey, that’s an opinion, and I’m just an ignorant Texan who uses “y’all”…just in case you ran out of things to judge.

    @ Ela 6:31: thanks for your comments

  146. Kat December 4, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Here is the bottom line, as I see it. I don’t care how big someone is. I don’t care if they pay double or fly for free. But when I pay for a plane ticket, I buy (rent) the seat and the space under the seat in front of me. I should get to use that–not have someone in my space. However the airlines work that out is fine with me. It’s not fine if they put somebody in half the space I paid for, whether that is an overweight passenger next to me, or somebody who wants to hold their child on their lap, but stick the kid’s head or feet into my seat.

  147. anon December 4, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Moose can’t even keep his answers consistent :p
    Doubt many people will read down this far, there are a LOT of comments and many people won’t have the patience. I know it’s a very harsh attitude to take, but I have very little sympathy for this situation. The guy in the middle seat should not have been asked to get off the plane, and I hope his compensation was suitably hefty (pun), the large fellow was inconsiderate not to plan ahead since even if, as someone else has suggested, he had never been on an aeroplane before, any contact with public transport (train, bus, tram, whatever you like) should have prepared him for the eventuality that he would simply be too big. You should notice that I have played this one out with his condition being treated as a given and not made any reference to him losing weight, so you’d better not bring your ever-changing statistics on diets into this if you reply.
    As a severely underweight individual, with a medical condition which makes me unable to gain weight no matter what I try, I am sick and tired of a world which caters so copiously to a group of people who are the cause of their own problem

  148. Paul Sundin December 4, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I’m large. Yes, obese. Not in the league of the guy depicted, but big enough to have experienced a measure of his discomfort. However, there comes a point where the line must be drawn. Does this guy even have a seat belt on? Would seat belt extensions be safe? Has he exceeded the weight rating of the hardware which fastens the seat to the floor? Forget evacuation, he’s blocking the aisle for passenger access to restrooms, F/A access to service passengers, etcetera, etc…. It seems clear that this guy doesn’t belong on a commercial airplane, even in a bench seat!

    Let’s set aside the argument of how one gets where I am. As a plus-size member of humanity, I know there are certain activities in which I can no longer participate. It’s not a matter of people tolerating me (sorry, Moose, I disagree with your assessment on that point, at least). It’s a matter of practicality. As much as I enjoy rock climbing (at one time I was quite good,) scaling granite is no longer an option for me. I may one day regain that ability, but for now, I need to be realistic.

    The concept of “equal access” is admirable, but at some point we must accept that society cannot grant it without some restriction. Most would agree that it was a good move to allow girls to play Little League baseball. But does anyone expect the League to accomodate blind children? Or paraplegics? It’s a harsh reality, but there are some things everyone can’t do. Sorry, that’s life. And at some point, we need to be able to say, “No sir, you may NOT fly with us – this just isn’t going to work.”

  149. lisa December 4, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    New airline opening now: Pay-By-The-Pound-”We’ll get ya there if we can get in the air!”

  150. laurie December 4, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    If I were that big I would want to be comfortable, heck, I want to be comfortable always. Folks should be accomodated, seats should be offered, no matter how tall or how wide. I have a VERY TALL Uncle that has to have leg room, he requests this and offers to pay extra, anyone that can’t look in the mirror and not see that they have a special issue may just need someone to tell them that they do and if that requires them to pay extra so be it. Why should I suffer because I take care of my self, or because I can’t keep weight on? As for the baby thing, well Sooner or later most of us have children and there is a chnace that as a parent you may just find your self there, the death of a love one may just make you have top take that baby on a plane no matter how much you don’t want. Maybe that frazzled parent might like a word of encouragement, kindness or a potty break. So stop whinning about that on.

  151. Janie 614 December 4, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    It looks as if the entire row behind him is empty, they could have safely moved him there. Perhaps there should be special pricing for 1½ seats. A coach economy first-class size seat so to speak.
    I feel sad for this man.

  152. Gruntled December 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    I feel for the guy next to him, who got off, but I also feel badly for who was sitting behind him. Wedged into planes like that, it’s horrendous when the person in front leans back and crushes your knees. It must have been excruciating for whoever was behind this man.

  153. Jeff December 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    I try to be open minded about things like people being overweight, but one does have to take into account the “personal safety” issue when it involves public transportation. In the picture one can plainly see that the aisle is blocked, and it almost looks like a in-flight safety violation ooccured ?!?

    If a passenger can’t stuff their carry on into the overhead or under the seat, what usually happens ? The luggage goes into the belly of the plane !

    If a paying passenger suddenly discovers they NEED two seats for the plane ride ? Then they should exit the plane, get reimbursed and the airline should assist the individual in getting another flight if possible…

    Also: The the people at the ticket counter should be more AWARE of the possibilities of this event occuring since more and more people are finding themselves in the “obese category”…

    The airline industry needs to get together and come up with a solution, change the regulations, ENFORCE the saftey rules once passengers get aboard (IE- carry on luggage), and /or have a couple of BIGGER seats available (in reserve) that can be used for alittle extra $$…

  154. Adam Tinworth December 4, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    The volume of comments has lead to a delay in comment posting, which means some people have submitted their comments several times over. We’ve made some back-end changes to help deal with this.

  155. lee December 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Over Thanksgiving holiday I had the misfortune of being stuck between TWO very large women (300+ pounds). The flight was full so there were no seats to swap. These two women were friends who obviously booked two seats leaving the middle one open in hopes that no one would sit there. To make matters worse, both had serious body odor. I was completely squished between them with no room. One of them also ate take out that really smelled badly! I couldn’t stand because we had very strong winds in the East that produced terrible turbulent’s forcing us all to have to stay belted in our seats the entire flight!. I am not happy with this as I paid for a full seat, not half of one. If you are obese then pay for two seats, and don’t take half of mine!

  156. Sheila December 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    they pay for a seat, they should be given a seat, even if a larger (two) seat must be made available…in other words, the obese passenger should be GIVEN a larger space into which to sit without impinging on other passangers…the airlines objections have nothing to do with safety, its economic for them…

  157. mary December 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Hey Nikki the nurse, I was just wondering if you know anyone who has a non working thyroid? my mom does and she is over weight. She has been on medication for over three years and it still does not function. Since there is nothing she can do to make it start working do you still feel she can loose weight or do you think she enjoys all you ignorant people staring and making your ignorant comments. Before you make judgements abouy people maybe , just maybe you should look at yourselves. If some is obese or handicapped they still are people with feelings and deserve the same as the rest of us. As for buying two seats because of your weight how about charging you people extra for being the insensitive assholes you are. yeah lets charge more for stupidity rather than weight. I hope you never have any medical problems in life because god forbid you dont look bad.

  158. paula December 4, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    weight is weight. just like carry on it needs to be able to fit in a compartment. If your @$$ can’t be fitted into the seat you must buy 2. if you have overweight baggage you must pay. weight cost airlines $ to transport; therefore you paymore.
    It is also a safety issue. I want to get by this person easily? can he fit thru the exitdoor and onto a slide? can he put his head between his knees and assume the crash position? Does he jepordize the safety of the person next to him during turbulance? can a seat belt fit him? these questions are not of prejudice they are of reality. Flying is not some right we are all given due justice to have; it is a convienience and luxury.

  159. genie December 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    I cannot BELIEVE this man was allowed to fly! If he was sitting between me and the closest exit, I would have raised a ruckus because he is CLEARLY a danger in an emergency.

    If I pay for a seat on a plane, I am entitled to ALL OF MY SEAT. Because someone is large does NOT GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO ANY PART OF MY SEAT.

    TO those who scream ‘discrimination’, you have the option of buying a larger seat to accomodate your size in first class, OR buying two in coach. If you cannot fit in coach with the armrest DOWN, too bad, fly up front or pay more in coach. Its YOUR size that is the problem. You do NOT have the right to endanger any other passenger’s life because of your obesity.

    I weigh 125 pounds, and was charged 50 bucks for a bag which was 2 pounds over the limit, meaning my bag AND I weighed 177 pounds. Meanwhile, an obese person weighing about 400 pounds and their bag fly FREE. THIS IS ABSURD. Accomodating the obese by allowing them to take over adjacent seats and having no overweight charges is an outrage.

    When passengers start refusing to put up the armrest and suffer because of this ‘accomodation’, it will stop. The arilines are putting the rest of us IN DANGER by allowing situations like the above.

  160. Whitepants December 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    I’ve never had a weight problem so I may not be able to identify with those who do ! But I absolutely support their right to fly like anyone else. Also airlines, I believe, are first and foremost a “buisness” which means they put in as many small space saving seats as they can to hold as many passangers as possible to make the most profit. But to potentially charge more for a large passenger to sit in those small seats, in my opinion, is discrimination and should NOT be tolerated. Airlines should be required to accomodate ALL passengers. Just as Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to end racial discrimination perhaps overweight people should refuse to give up or pay more for THEIR seats to end “weight discrimination” !

  161. Colin December 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm #


    As a normal sized passenger who has had to pay for $400 for Oxygen on a flight from Houston to London Heathrow, I think your reasoning is completely ridiculous. The $400 covered 2 Metres of tubing that connected to the overhead Oxygen manifold of a 747-400 and a mask and before you say that I must have done it myself, I don’t smoke.

    Airlines can charge whatever they want when they want. If the guy is as large as he looks then he should certainly pay for two seats. He certainly didn’t get that way by living on only bread and water.

  162. fix it airlines December 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    NO EXIT ROW SEATS OR BULKHEAD SEATS FOR PEOPLE UNDER 6FOOT TALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU LITTLE PEOPLE DO NOT NEED THE EXTRA LEG ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!Even on flights that do not have reservations make a place for you to mark your height on the booking and DO NOT LET LITTLE PEOPLE IN THESE SEATS!!

  163. cindy December 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    The airlines need to stop being so cheap and make bigger seats those seats are way to small even for a normal person not comfortable at all i think they should be wider and more leg room for taller people.
    we work pay taxes and maintain airlines salary and we should have a say on how we should have a say

  164. fix it airlines December 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    hey Genie, how do you determine overweight? should everyone be weighed before they get on and get a bmi test done? Hope you make it! I am 6’6″, 58 inch chest and 40 inch waist, 22inch arms. AM I OVERWEIGHT IN YOUR BOOK? Should I have to pay extra just because I have good genes and am not lilliputian size? The size of seats have gotten smaller and smaller. For your information you cannot always book a seat in first class they are often already booked. How do you book two tickets if they have already filled the flight and there is only a few seats left and you cannot get two seats together? It is the airlines fault for making seats smaller and smaller when society is getting larger. Just make seats bigger and charge a little extra. So then what? get over yourself.

  165. Stan December 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    I once had a flight from Orlando to L.A. at a window seat. The passenger in the middle seat was a woman who weighed a good 300 pounds. The arm rests on each side had to be in the up position for her to be seated. The flight attendant assisted her into this seat instructing me to slide over a bit more toward the window which was impossible. I spent the whole fully booked flight pressed against the wall barely able to breathe. I asked to be moved to another seat and was told that the flight was full with no available seating. They seemed to be more sympathetic to the overweight person next to me. It seemed to me at the time that this woman should have been removed from the flight because there was no available seat for her excess flab. In this day and age of the skinny seats on planes there is no excuse for not asking excessively overweight people to pay for the extra seat or to have an area of wider seats especially for overweight people.

  166. Clark December 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    To “Big Moose” and all the other large fliers who think “normal” sized people are insensitive to their plight, I say baloney. As a 6’4”, 190 lb person with about 9% body fat, I’m anything but fat, but I also have problems with airline seats. My butt fits just fine but my knees are always in my face and my shoulders need every bit of my “assigned” space. Because of that, I always try to get an aisle seat, so I can sit at an angle and stretch my legs into the aisle when possible. When an over-sized person is in an adjacent seat, my discomfort is multiplied. However, my discomfort is my own and my size does not put others at risk. Smaller passengers pay for ALL of their seats and should be just as vocal about getting what they paid for as over-sized passengers are about their comfort.
    You can see from the pic that other passengers are still boarding and the pic may not accurately reflect the actual in-flight condition but the big guy is obviously wedged into that seat, pushing the seat back into the row behind him (probably couldn’t put the seat in the “upright” position for take-off and landing, which also jeopardizes those in the row behind) and no one else on his row is going to be able to leave their seat for any reason during that flight (he looks like he is taller than he really is because he is sitting on huge thighs, as well). Where the hell is the aisle-side arm rest on his seat (may explain why he is not sitting all the way down in his seat)? On most, if not all, airlines, the aisle-side seat arm rest does not fold up. There’s no way he is going to get into a restroom, even if he could get to it during the flight.
    But the real issue here is the safety of other passengers. It does not matter how many seats this guy pays for, he could never fit through an emergency exit so, in an emergency, he would have to exit from the main or rear cabin door, neither of which he is anywhere close to, so he could not get to them in an emergency without putting all behind him at risk and may not even be able to get out of his seat. He is blocking half the aisle, so that crew members and others cannot pass and a cart will not fit by him. Also, is there a “load-limit” on airline seats? Is he stressing the seat beyond design parameters? The list of problems caused by this guy’s presence just goes on and on.
    My take on this is that, at the very least, he should have to pay for a first class seat. Flying is a privilege, not a right, and the airline has a greater responsibility to the safety and comfort of all the other passengers than to the one person the plane was obviously not designed to accommodate. Whatever happened to “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? Never mind, I’ll answer that: Attorneys and the “Persons With Disabilities Act”. According to that Fed legislation, anyone is disabled who believes themselves to be disabled and no one can discriminate against them.

  167. Don Powley December 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    I use to fly all the time but now we drive almost every where we go. This is one of the reason infact the main we do not fly much. If a person makes a choice to be fat why should I have to be the one to suffer for it. If your ass won’t fit in one seat then you should have to pay for two.

  168. Mistress of the Obvious December 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I for one do not feel bad for this guy… most overwieght people are in that condition from poor eating/health habits. If this guy is part of the very small precentage of the obese who really have “galndular problems” or something similar, then I apologize. Most likley, however, he is just a fat @ss.

    Political correctness gone terribly wrong…

    What about the majority on the plane who are not fat and who have to deal with this guy (saftey issues, sitting next to him, having to get around him to go to the bathroom, having to wait while he gets situated in his seat, etc.)?

    If a person is elderly, disabled, etc. of course we need to have compassion and patience. If someone can’t put down the Burger King or get their @ss on a treadmill, I personally don’t care about their “feelings”. If the airlines are not going to charge him an extra seat, I want to bring on as much carry on luggage as I like at no extra charge!

  169. Dianne Marks December 4, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    It might be one of our old TWA 757′s

  170. Pam December 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    I say if you are a larger than average person you should NOT pay extra, unless you have the family with the screaming baby to pay extra, for the annoying screaming. The women that smells like she took a bath in cologe to pay extra, because she is killing my allergies. The guy that is snoring and drooling because he is loud and the drooling could be a danger if he has H1N1.

    OK big news flash, there will always be issues we have with each other, so how do we deal with that when we fly. Who has the authority to police how and who flys, because of behaviors or habits?

  171. LJO December 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Just like luggage, passengers should be restricted according to their volume – size and weight combined.

    If the seats are designed for up to 7 feet in height and 250 pounds, then passengers larger than that should pay for super-sized seats before boarding.

    Everyone should step on a scale and have their luggage as well as their bodies measured. I am willing to bet this action alone would be the best motivator for reducing obesity in the middle (traveling) class.

    The super-sized seats could be scattered randomly throughout the aircraft so location discrimination is not occuring. Marketing studies can be conducted to find out what percentage of travelers are grossly obese and design adjustments made accordingly.

    Also, some travelers with infants/children might want to super-size for the extra comfort of elbow room, too.

  172. Alex December 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    I got upgrade to first class having been sat next to a fat guy, they put me next to tiger woods

    he touched me here, and here, and here

    I would rather take the fat guy

  173. wayne thompson December 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    The airlines are afraid of lawsuits from fat people? Stick on of those grossly obese people next to me and have their fat spilling into the seat I paid for and I’ll show you a lawsuit.
    That guy has got a lot of nerve to even get on an airplane, and the airline personel that let him on? What a bunch of gutless whimps.!!!

  174. priya December 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    Just like airlines provide bassinets on first come first serve policy for babies, they need to provide (more expensive but less than the price of two tickets) XL sized seats for the first few ‘obese’ ppl too. The rest can buy two seats if they want to travel…This option would be easier on both the parties involved.
    Plus the XL seats need to be positioned such that there is no compromise on safety for the other passengers..

  175. Kathleen Russo December 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    I admit to a prejudice against obese human beings! If the world has decided that alcoholism is a disease and a stint in rehab might help, then let’s put these people in rehab where they can shut their mouths……I’m tired of hearing about their discrimination!

    I am 5’7″ and 110 lbs! Even with all my luggage I would not weigh as much in the photo and yet I am charged for my bags due to the excess fuel that excess weight causes.

    Can you imagine, in an emergency evacuation trying to get this man out of the plane? What if you were behind him…….even Captain Sully couldn’t keep that plane afloat!

    It’s purely a matter of calories in and calories out! Perhaps a nice place in cargo where my dog flies would be appropriate for someone who has such a lack of concern for the safety of others and his own personal health!

    I would file reverse discrimination; but I don’t think it would fly…………the fat get too much sympathy because they are in the majority. Let’s stop with the PC “obese” and call it like it is!

  176. Toilet Maker Employee December 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    To the person that knows this man. I am pretty sure I also know who he is. I’m not going to say specifics however I am curious. Is he Sweedish and does he live in the Upper Midwest… Possible Wisconsin? I think I used to work with him. My name may give it away.

  177. Tom December 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm #


    I don’t think anyone would deny your concerns about the issues you bring up nor the importance of them as well, but to deny this is as much a safety concern, is to say that you would be comfortable having this man in front of you trying to squeeze out the emergency exit and down the slide as a ball of fire was singeing your a**.

    Seriously, it’s time for some rigorous standards be put in place by the FAA and IATA, period.

  178. Mary December 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    If it were not for the overweight what would the ‘healthy’ people have to be proud of? Obviously, not being kind, compassionate human beings. Grow up! What if this guy was a Center for a National Championship college football team? Would you be criticizing his eating and exercise habits?

  179. AJ December 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    I really don’t think this photo was altered…if the seat looks different, it’s because it’s trying to support more than double what it was designed to.

  180. Bubbles December 4, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    If we have to keep aisles clear of bags, why is a person allowed to block pathways. Seems to me this is a violation of FAA regulations.

  181. Anne King December 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Instead of insulting people, help your brother get some
    help or you will lose him sooner than need be. He really is gargantuan. How about a stomach reduction?? I worked with a man whose wife was so large, she couldn’t sit in a normal-sized chair. She had her stomach stapled and lost so much weight, you wouldn’t recognize her. Now that’s doing something for yourself. How about South Beach diet?? It’s recommended for morbidly obese teens because it’s not so harsh and is doable. Making excuses for your brother is counter productive. I’ve known many obese people in my life, including my mother, and those that really cared about themselves did something about it!! GO HELP YOUR BROTHER!!

  182. Sis December 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    I used to be a 300 pound person who had to fly. I was jammed into seats most of the time. I think that looking at the people of todays world and the airlines wanting to keep flights as full as possible…and not wanting to discriminate against anyone…that they would make at least the back row of their seats double wide for either people who are very large, handicapped or with a child…. Gee wouldnt that be an easy solution to the problem!
    Not all Obese people are obese from lack of self care… some actually have MEDICAL conditions which cause their obesity… wake up america… no matter what we look like on the outside .. we are all human beings with FEELINGS on the inside…

  183. John T. December 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    These people should not be allowed to fly. They need to be at a gym losing 95% of thaty fat!

  184. VirginiaMom December 4, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I’ve been on 2 flights recently where the girth of the overweight passenger in the adjoining seat spilled over into my seating area and made me physcially uncomfortable during my flight as a result. I complained to the airline (a U.S. domestic carrier) on their on-line feedback form, but never heard back from the company. Next time, I’m going to raise a stink with the FA inside the airplane before we leave the gate, because it’s simply not fair to us height-weight proportionate passengers that we have to put up with this.

  185. Harley Man December 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    The lardass should have taken the Circus Train with the rest of the elephants .

  186. Casey December 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Obesity is a certified disability in many states, and airlines are by law required to serve passengers with any physical or mental disability that doesn’t cause a threat to other passengers. In this case, the problem was properly resolved by rebooking and compensating the man next to him. You have the right to request a different seat if you’re uncomfortable with the passengers nearby; you do NOT have the right to kick them off the plane.

    Derrie-Air does not exist. Get over it.

  187. Ryan December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    Why do we have to show any respect to someone who chooses to treat themselves with none by choosing to eat themselves into an early grave? He should apply for the Biggest Loser. Those slobs are able to lose weight, learn self control, and go on to live healthy lives. He can too.

  188. Laura Campbell December 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Obesity is covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act, therefore the airlines should have to accomdate them as they must accommodate a person in a wheelchair, period.

    Why is it that we have no problem accepting the fact that some people can eat like a horse, 3000 to 5000 calories a day, never exercise and not gain weight, we envy them and say, “Oh, what a high metabolism they have,”

    But we fail to acknowledge that there are those out there with such a low metabolism, that their bodies comvert whatever they eat to fat.

    This is a holdover from the time when food was in scarce supply and only those with a low metabolism would survive.

    Now, these people, who probably saved our species at one time, because they could survive on what little food was available, are now despised.

  189. Jennifer December 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    This is a serious issue regardless of political correctness. As flight attendants, we have to deal with many issues. Yes, some of us don’t handle things well. Most of us try our best. For handicapped individuals, there are special briefings given so these indiviuals know what to do in an emergency. There are guidelines set for nearly everything….except this.
    Being overweight, is no laughing matter. However, “Marco” gave a good analogy of cost for product use. It is true, if you need to use more than your alloted space….pay for it.
    Everyone needs to remember, it is not your right to get everything you are feel entitled to when flying. We are not federally subsidized. Yes, many airlines have taken bail out money….but we are not subsidized. In this economy, (actually since 9/11) passengers don’t want to pay what it really costs for their tickets. Do you all know that your airline tickets cost you a significant amount less than in the 80′s? Why? Consumers demand it. But you will pay $4.00 for a gallon of gas or $4.00 for a cup of coffee. Hence,the cost of baggage and snacks. You asked for low prices…you got them. Now everyone is outraged at checked bag fees. When did the airlines become the only business that shouldn’t be profitable? I don’t hear people SCREAMING at the HUGE profits of the oil companies.
    Some of you crack me up. You have such a sense of entitlement. You want it all and you know it all….just because you are you. Well, you don’t. If you use it, you have to pay, one way or the other.
    I feel sorry for the large people. I really do. But, facts are facts. If you don’t fit, you do have choices. Don’t fly, buy a second seat, hope that the plane is empty. Everyone who buys a ticket has a right to a full seat!
    For all of you who can’t keep from name calling. Shame on you! When people ask you what is wrong with America…. you can say, “I am”. When we stopped being polite and respectful in this nation, we began to fall. It’s very sad.
    For you non-Americans who feel the need to belittle us because of who we are, look in your own backyards before you criticize us. When you live in a perfect society, go ahead and throw those stones. Otherwise, keep quiet.
    When we all take responsibility for ourselves and do what is right, these stupid debates would end and more interesting ones would begin.
    To the grammer expert, sorry. I do write terribily. But I make darn good points! :)
    One last suggestion….next time you fly, stow you bags properly, keep your seatbelt fastened when the sign is one, turn off your electronic device when told to, introduce yourself to you neighbor, and lastly, smile at your flight attendant. We’ve had a hard day! :)

  190. Chelsea December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    Ok well clearly this is a HUGE issue (every possible pun intended) for this many people to comment on. And I really just have a few things to add. This is clearly just another proof on how we Americans like to push blame instead of accepting responsibility, and tiptoe around the issues to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Who gave the term fat such a negative connotation? Fat is a substance. A noun. And those who retain too much know they do and they know alllllll the things they can do to remove it. But we make excuses, I’m too busy it’s too hard I’m comfortable w myself. Whatever whovares? Everyone has the right to be the size they want. HOWEVER! One of our core fundamentals is infringing on the rights of others! Um… Hi. As said before, I have the right to be able to fly in my own seat w/out someone else’s body all over me, he has the obligation to those around him to do what is necessary to ensure his safety and comfort as well as the safety and comfort to those around him. I’m not dying bc this guy thinks it’s not fair he has to buy 2 seats. Sooo not worth my life. Ex: man who took off his sneakers sitting next to me from Portland, ME to ATL!!! Gross!

    I work at a children’s shoe store and there are special case kids who have extremely different sized feet and we have a policy where they buy the 2 proper sizes and get a discount on the 2nd. Bc we are a business and can’t just give them a free pair, but it’s not their fault either. Yes being fat is a disease IN SOME, but it’s fixable. Just be responsible for yourself and it will even out. Fat fat fat fat fat. Trust me, say any word enough times and it loses all meaning. Just ask Tommy Boy.

  191. Clemdane December 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    He is sitting on the armrest because his butt can’t fit down into the seat. That makes him look taller than he is. Nothing mysterious about that. And there are people out of their seats in the background, so it was obviously not during takeoff or landing. That means the people sitting behind him are probably in the bathroom or walking down the aisle.

  192. Clemdane December 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    They can cater to him with two seats. It’s not “catering” to someone if they use half of someone else’s seat that they paid for. Bottom line is you have to pay for the space you use.

  193. cindy December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    I am average size person who has had a few unpleasant experiences with extremely overweight people sitting next to me. It will ruin your flight. One time I was unable to sit in my assigned seat due to the fact an extremely overweight passenger was in it and unable to move to her assigned seat by the window. I then had to crawl over this person, with the other passengers watching me, and sit in the seat by the windower cramped. I was unable to use the restroom during the flight. For me to do that I would, once again, have to crawl over her in front of everyone. I know she was embarrased but so was I. Why she booked a window seat knowing she wasn’t going to be able to sit in it is beyond me. It was the worst flight I’ve ever been on. There are other times where people have overflowed into my space and had their sweat run on me. It’s a no win situation for all involved.

  194. Clemdane December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Because the people in the seats behind him were up in light for the bathroom??

  195. rickieroni December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    I think that the seats ought to be may larger to fit just ordinary size people. There is not enough leg room for people 5’6 or over and if people weigh more that a buck o five there still is not enough room they act like people are still the size of children. why squeeze three people in a row why not make it a two seater and give people the room they need to stretch. Especially for a ride of an hour or more. Just because it may be faster does not mean it ought to be uncomfortable. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be that big. But I am saying is the seats are uncomfortable anyway.

  196. Anonymous December 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    I agree with the person who recommended the airlines to install larger seats in the back rows to accommodate larger people, parents with children, maybe a handicapped person who has to have their oxygen with them, for any one with “special” needs. The airlines are not going to lose a “significant” amount of money by maybe cutting out a few seats in the rear of the plane. I know many larger people and most of them can’t do much about their weight. Most people cannot afford to buy 2 tickets at the rates they charge for most tickets. I don’t feel they should be punished by this. God does not punish us because of our “differences” so what gives “man” the right to do it?

  197. Jay December 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Sorry Moose…but you are an idiot. And an idiot without self control.

    Tell ya what, too expensive to pay for 2 seats?? Here is a quick solution. If you know you are going to be flying….cut your caloric content for a couple weeks to save the money for the extra ticket.

    As somebody who is an expert on diet on and exercise, I know what it takes to maintain that kind of mass. And food is not free.

    Your utter lack of control is what has placed you where you are. Either pay for two seats, fit into one, or don’t fly….it’s that simple.

    Yeah, I’m sure it does suck to get on a plane and know that nobody wants to sit by you. But it must not suck enough for you to do something about it.

    As somebody who has dealt with my own demons over my life, I’m sick and tired of every time somebody has a difficult obstacle…it gets labeled as a “disease”: or a “disability”.

    Man up and quit being a lazy ass.

  198. Clemdane December 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    Tolerance? Tolerance is letting someone taking more than their fair share? PAY FOR THE SPACE YOU USE. PERIOD.

  199. F December 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    1st off, why does the bigger gentleman have to have a flatulence issue? Really!? Yes the gentleman in the picture is larger than most, but trust he is dealing with enough issues as it is, without having to deal with everyone else around him having issues with his weight. Yes, he’s overweight, yes, he has a problem and yes, he’s taking up way too much room in the aisle, but cut the gentleman some slack and stop making fun of him. And yes, that is precisely what is being done. This isn’t so much about airline safety, or comfort, it’s another opportunity for someone who already sticks out like a sore thumb, be made a spectacle of and better yet, ridiculed. This issue should be handled with sensitivity and class and this article and picture have completely buried the class. Do I think a person this size should buy two seats, yes! Do I think the seats should both be regular price, no! I think the 2nd seat should be discounted tremendously. Why? Trust, this obese person is suffering enough dealing with his own demons, but to make him pay oodles extra because he is not 110lbs and 5’4”. I don’t think so. Yes, everyone should be comfortable, but no one should be ridiculed and shame on the stewardess for taking us back years on overweight discrimination. And just in case you are wondering, I fit in airline seats properly. FYI!

  200. Weight discrimination? Seriously? December 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    “Do you have ANY glimmer of thought to how this large person is actually feeling right now?”

    Better question: do I care?

    Answer: I do not.

    “Do you know what it’s like to step on to a plane and have EVERY SINGLE PERSON on that plane look at with a look on their face that says, “GOD! I hope that person isn’t sitting next to me!”?”

    No. I’m not a disgusting fatbody. Lose some damn weight, fatty.

    “Do you think he really wants to inconvenience anybody else?”

    I think he must, or he’d have lost the weight, bought an additional ticket, or not flown.

    “Who’s fault is it that he is inconveniencing the passenger next to him”

    His own, and only his own. Period.

    “if you don’t assume ugly things, like gluttony, as being the cause of his condition?”

    Right. It’s Not His Fault. Those cheeseburgers forced their way into his mouth. Listen here, fatty: you eat less, you’ll get skinnier. Promise.

    “Could that fault be the airlines fault?”

    Not even in the slightest.

    “Do you know of anyone who could afford to buy two tickets – especially on international flights?”

    Guess he should stay home, then. Does he NEED to travel? By plane? Then lose the weight.

    “Do you know how uncomfortable it is to sit in two seats at the same time with the arm rest jammed into your back or your side? They don’t fold all the way into the back of the chair.”

    Wah fatty. Lose the weight.

    “I sit next to people who stink, next to drunks and loud obnoxious people all the time who make me really uncomfortable. Should they have to pay for an extra seat?”

    I’ve got no problem with making people bathe before boarding. I sat next to a smoker not too long ago that made me gag. Unacceptable.

    “Maybe we should put mothers with screaming babies in the toilets with the doors closed for the flight.”

    I’m all for that.

    “Should people in wheelchairs have to pay extra for the services given to them?”

    Paralyzed people don’t choose paralysis. You’ve CHOSEN to be fat. Quit eating so much.

    “It is rarely gluttony.”

    It’s always gluttony, one way or another. Quit eating so much.

    “There are many metabolic emotional and addictive issues.”

    So? Quit eating so much.

    “Obesity is a disease.”

    Bullshit. It’s a character flaw.

    “It is currently the most common and debilitating disease in the US and we treat it’s victims like pariahs.”

    Because they’re weak and taking up half our seats.

    “Weight discrimination is the most common form of open discrimination in the world today. Everyone seems to think it shocking to slam a door on a person in a wheelchair, yet think it’s funny and a license to be rude when a fat person falls and hurts himself when his chair collapses from under him.”

    Because it IS funny. You chose to be that fat. Don’t cry that we don’t respect your decision.

    Quit flying.

    “Airlines should provide one or two bench seats rows to cater to passengers of ALL sizes.”

    Or you should lose the weight.

    “One ticket should apply to any passenger, no matter that passengers age, handicap, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference or size. That is what’s fair”

    I’m with you until the end. The seat is a fixed size. It’s not FAIR that you seem to think you’re entitled to half my seat. Lose weight or I will ask to be moved and you’d better pray they move me or I will make that flight into the worst nightmare of your obese life.

    “- and yes – you have to put up with it.”

    See above. You’ll get to tolerate me ‘accidentally’ jabbing you with a pen, spitting on you as I talk, spilling hot coffee on you, dropping my laptop on your head from the overhead (more than once)…the list goes on, and on, and on. I will make flying such misery for you that you’ll think twice about flying fat again. Promise.

    “Airlines have to deal with it. It’s called TOLERANCE.”

    Tolerance does not include the infliction of physical discomfort on others. That’s called ‘torture’. Or, under your fat-addled thought process, you’ll get to tolerate the treatment I’ll be inflicting on you, above.

    “We seem to have forgotten it in today’s self centered society.”

    Well, I can think of one fatty that certainly has, anyway.

  201. txav8r December 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I think it’s an F-100 and pre-9/11 when things like this were overlooked. The passenger should have never been boarded unless he paid for 2 seats. Someone wasn’t thinking at the gate or on-board. I’m sure the media, for lack of nothing to do will have a field day with this one.

  202. bem179 December 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Have we all forgotten why airline seats have shrunken to only accomodate stick people??? The more seats they can squeeze in, the more fares they can charge! At 135 pounds, even I feel like a scrunched up burrito in these seats. To look down the isle of any plane, you would think all America weighs 115 pounds per person! I don’t remember people having problems back when you could actually relax during a plane ride; you were comfortable and your personal space was not invaded. The airlines have made that impossible now. Flying is not for comfort, it’s for carting a pack of sardines from point A to Point B; nevermind how unconfortable they may be; not the airline’s problem. So don’t make the heavy people the BAD GUYS in this scenario, put blame where blame goes. The only folks who should be having problems sitting are those that are clinically morbidly obese! Not your normal chunky person, or pregnant woman, etc.; please, please don’t lose sight of the fact that we are all supposed to be different shapes and sizes as a human race!!! Airlines DID lose sight of that human factor!!! It’s high time they’re reminded of that fact!

  203. LOU December 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    Isn’t there a “FREIGHT” section for this kind of weighty issue?

  204. Anonymous December 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    1. Airlines should install ‘larger’ seats, benches, or whatever, in the back 2 rows of the plane for those who are seat-size challenged, as someone else suggested.
    2. Responsibility for determining seat configuration should be that of the checkin agent, TSA and/or gate agent. FAs should focus on their tasks, not moving folks. Airline checkin or gate persons should have the right to move people around if there’s a safety issue, whether it be because of age, handicap, size, or whatever.
    3. If a seat-size challenged person is erroneously placed in front of the back 2 rows, he/she should be moved to the back rows.
    4. If a passenger is having a problem because of another passenger taking up the space then the larger person should be placed in the back rows or placed in the window and aisle seats and charged something for that second seat.
    5. The passenger who is having a problem should be moved up in front or wherever is possible so they are not pushed out of their seat.
    6. Extra fees shouldn’t be charged based on number of them but on weight/size of the person and his/her luggage. I’m sure some fair equation can be worked out. It’s the total weight of a person and his/her luggage that is a drag on weight, not just the bags.
    7. Airlines who attempt to reasonably accommodate the ‘disabled’ obese persons won’t have a legal problem = and providing larger seats or the bench idea in the back should suffice.

  205. viv December 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    If I were claustrophobic (anxiety disorder) and medically required an extra space to keep me from having panic attacks, I would expect to pay for that extra seat.

    How is this guy any different? Buying an extra seat isn’t reflective of moral judgment. It’s something he needs but that most other people do not, so others shouldn’t have to subsidize the cost (emotional, physical, monetary) of that extra seat.

  206. Chris December 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    PC crap aside, let’s be honest, not 1 in 1000 people would offer to sit next to this fat guy. His weight is his choice not a handicap, morbidly obese people should loose the weight or be prepared to pay for two seats, its just that simple…

  207. Rae December 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    From Clark: “Flying is a privilege, not a right, and the airline has a greater responsibility to the safety and comfort of all the other passengers than to the one person the plane was obviously not designed to accommodate.”

    I beg to differ sir. Flying is a business. And we, the customers, no matter what our size, have been treated like crap for way too long. We are herded like cattle into seats that are too close to the ones in front of us. It takes an act of God to be able to get into the bathroom without hitting someone with the door by accident in the process. There is no luxury or cache to flying like there used to be. I wish we could make all airlines stop and take notice of how poor their service really is. We, as customers, would take other options if they were available, but there isn’t one at this time. I know there are trains and buses, but time is money too these days.

    What airlines needs to start doing is treating their customers like human beings. Let’s see more seat room, both to the side and in front. Let’s see planes leaving and arriving on time. Let’s see planes that are delayed allowing their passengers back off the aircraft if it will be longer than two hours. Let’s see airlines realize that even though they have the monopoly on quick transportation to major cities, they recognize they are ultimately in the service industry and as such should treat their customers with human decency!!

  208. an December 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    A person of this enornous size should have to pay for two seats. Politically correct or not. Would you want to be sat next to him/her?

  209. anon December 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Great suggestion! waist size limitations/weight size limitations for one seat required!

  210. Ben December 4, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    Forget the people who are worried about the guy next to him.. How about the people near the bathroom after he “takes care of business”.

  211. anon December 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    Those of you arguing that obesity is a medical condition or disease seem to be suggesting that this would make it wrong to treat the obese any differently from anyone else.

    So it’s OK for people with leprosy or H1N1 to sit next to you, right?

  212. Cassie December 4, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    I think it’s fake (the picture)

  213. Keifer December 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Obesity costs American taxpayers millions of dollars in health care annually. Our government taxes and fines problematic situations/people regularly: smokers, polluters, speeders, etc. Why not tax obese people? If you allow yourself to become obese, you must pay. It is not discriminatory by any means. Stop the madness: if you cannot fit safely into one seat, you are required to buy two (or three). No ridiculous assertions of discrimination. The days of political correctness are coming to an end. Most of us are fed up with the nonsense. Charge more for tickets, keep people unfit for travel grounded, and provide the level of excellence with which this industry was once known. Flying is a privilege, not a right. Take a Japanese or German airline – they set the bar for service, comfort, and reliability. If we (Americans) are so great, why have we fallen behind in just about every industry, especially service? Standards. It’s what used to set us apart. Let’s recapture the lead.

  214. BL December 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    If one CANNOT fit entirely into a seat without occuping the aisle and /next seat, then yes, they should have to PURCHASE 2 seats!

  215. Kelley A Jones December 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    This is the best solution I’ve seen/heard so far!

  216. P December 4, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Does anyone know a date on this photo? As in, when was it actually taken?

  217. Cassie December 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    My girlfriend and myself are large women. We were taking a trip and decided rather than possibly not fit into the airline seats, we would just buy 3 – get in the 3 across section and lift the two center seat arms. It was rather expensive. As it turned out, we fit just fine- snug, but able to fit within the seat and buckle the belt without an extender (Southwest Airlines – great!). So she had the window seat, I was on the aisle and our ‘junk’ was spread out in the middle seat. The flight was booked to capacity and some skinny assed blonde woman stopped by me and asked if I could let her by to sit in the middle seat, I said no. She looked at me very surprised like – and I said ‘maam, we paid $600 for that seat – and if I want to strap in my sandwich, thats my decision. But you aren’t sitting there’. She stormed off with a dirty look. I laughed my fat ass off.

  218. Vianney Hartvisen December 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    As an obese person, I feel the need to chime in on this issue.

    1. Diabetes and Glandular problems are treatable conditions. So saying you are fat do to those issues doesn’t hold water. (If you can’t afford the meds, drug companies give them for free to low income people)

    2. Pay for the space you use. Airlines aren’t fair about their policies, tough. The other passengers paid for their space, next time are you gonna slip them half the cost of their ticket so you can use half their space? Perhaps you should consider it.

    3.Feel bad cuz people call you fatty or don’t appear to be joyful at the prospect of giving half of their EXPENSIVE area over to you? Grow some thicker skin. I once had a drunk, that I cut off because he was intoxicated, say I needed to be cut off of food. Was he saying something that wasn’t the truth? Hello YOU’RE FAT deal with it.

  219. Chris @ American Airlines December 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    We are currently in the process of looking into this situation – because of that, we don’t have anything to add beyond that. But for your general knowledge, we do have a policy (below) that tries to be flexible for passengers of size. Certainly no passenger would ever be allowed to fly on American Airlines in any way that obstructs the aisles of the aircraft, and all passengers must be properly seat-belted – part of the FAA rules cited below. It is very obvious in the photo that the aircraft is not inflight at the time the photo was taken – other passengers are still boarding and several overhead bins are still open.

    Policies for Larger Passengers:
    Basically, it says that we do not always or routinely charge for an extra seat unless there are simply no other options. Our people are trained to work with customers to try and accommodate ALL passengers onboard. Often, pending how full the flight is, we can get everyone taken care of. In some cases, we cannot, so we book the person on another flight or in some cases, depending on the customer’s schedule needs, we do book and charge for two seats, but certainly not all the time. We train our people to try and find another solution if at all possible.

    We understand everyone’s concern about seating issues related to larger passengers. We recognize that passengers come in all shapes and sizes and we do our very best to provide a comfortable ride for everyone aboard. When faced with a seating issue which requires our attention, our airport and inflight personnel have guidelines they follow to assist them in reasonably resolving the matter to everyone’s satisfaction. Each situation is handled individually on a case-by-case basis with utmost professionalism and discretion.

    All passengers must use FAA required restraint devices. No aisle may be blocked by any passenger or bags in case of an emergency.

  220. Twiggy December 4, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    “I don’t see what about this. It’s just a large person on an aircraft. Nothing to say, let him live.”

    Oh, so if you were on this a/c, there was an emergency and the individual concerned were blocking the exit routes, you’d just hold your hands up and say, “It’s okay, let him live”? How very altruistic of you. I wonder if your fellow passengers would be as willing to put their lives at risk.

    I completely agree! and why make the skinnier passenger buy 2 seats with the option of getting a rebate on one?? make the fatass buy two since he/she’s gonna be taking it up anyways!

  221. Beth December 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    I am not thin, but this is not fair.
    We are told to keep the aisles clear, and we do.
    How is this acceptable?
    How is this safe?
    How does this person fit into the bathroom, when it is near impossible for the normal average sized person?
    Maybe the airlines could have a few special sized seats for these folks if required somewhere on the plane.
    What happens if this person loses his balance? This is a lot of weight to move if something happens to him or he has a misfortunate accident on board.
    So every time the carts come through, where does he move to?
    The man next to him paid his fair, we are not comfy as it is, let alone having to deal with this?
    Hey if you want to be this big, then pay more for 2 seats.
    I don’t think we should have to miserable because you don’t want to diet or have your thyroid checked.
    I don’t think weighing in is fair either…that could be degrading.
    This situation is bad enough

  222. Anon December 4, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    He’s blocking the aisle! How can that be safe or acceptable? He really needs two seats. What was AA thinking when they allowed this? It’s not an issue of discrimination – it’s one of common sense and safety! Give me a break! P.S. I’m overweight myself and I can sympathize but this is absolutely absurd!

  223. Anonymous December 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    I believe that the laws in the US currently do not have disability-style protections for passengers of size on flights (i.e. there hasn’t been wording put in place by the FAA or DOT that would indicate that the airlines need to accomodate passengers of size in any sensitive way.)

    I believe that the FAA and DOT have taken the approach that the square footage on an airplane interior is the ‘property’ of the airline and they may ‘rent’ it in any manner they deem fit (with obvious exceptions for passengers with disabilities and federal marshalls and the such.)

    The laws are different however in Canada, so carriers that fly to destinations in Canada would have to comply with those differences.

  224. Meeche December 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    He;s definitely too fat to fly. It’s time obese people realized that the rest of the world doesn’t have to put up with their fat. The airlines make you pay for every pound over that your suitcase weighs so why should this obese guy get off free – either buy two seats or pay for every extra pound just like a piece of baggage. I wouldn’t want to sit next to this guy or try to pass him in the aisle. This guy made an uncomfortable trip for all those around him and the stewardess. He dhould not have been allowed on the plane and if he sat next6 to me, I would demand a different seat.

  225. Kieran Daly (the blog owner) December 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    …and so after 16 days, 100,000 or so page views, and 220 comments, American Airlines feels the urge to respond. By saying that they, errmm, are trying to find out what happened. I am truly surprised by that because when I visited them at DFW HQ a couple of years ago they had just appointed someone to handle bloggers full time. Perhaps he’s not there anymore, and perhaps he should be. Imagine if this had been Southwest.

  226. Atlflier December 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    The size restrictions that apply to carry-on BAGS should also apply to BUTTS! Having flown next to a person who took up all of his seat and half of mine, I know it is uncomfortable for both.

    If a passenger’s behind is bigger than one seat, that passenger should pay for more than one seat.

  227. Mitch December 4, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Like some, I think this is a very serious debate. Its importance has relevance not only for the airline industry but also for related situations where pre-proportioned accommodations are made, as some already referenced – theater, cinema, stadiums… perhaps even beds… as well health, insurance, etc…

    When I first saw and read the caption, I must admit that I too sided with the majority of people and had a more sophomoric emotional reaction. I then reflected on situations where I felt I was the victim of “overage” and felt a bit vindicated – despite it being someone else. However, as I continued to read, I became a bit more compassionate and felt a little ashamed at my initial reactions. This compassion developed not only from reading the postings of those who defended the larger sized man and other obese people, but from the number of purely cruel, mean-spirited, off the wall, non constructive, irrelevant, assumption-based, misinformed, and at times illiterate ( concepts more than grammar) comments and postings. To me, the postings who show respect, have factual information, and expand the conversation, regardless of which side they represent- are the ones that help us to find understanding and resolution. Some examples of the comments I liked included citing real statistics on obesity not those who just threw out crazy numbers, those who talked about the reason airlines havent kept pace with the changing shape of america, talked about airlines being a business but also a common good regulated by the government and those who showed respect. But some comments were just plain dumb- and they existed on both sides of the debate.

    Where are the constructive ideas about working to find a solution? I like the bench seat idea but i might still agree that a higher rate be charged. For extra leg room or for extra weight luggage- extra costs are incurred. Perhaps, at least domestically, the development of high-speed rail transportation, where weight and size are not nearly as limiting of factor as on an airlines bottom-line, could facilitate the creation of more accommodating seats for larger, taller, heavier people as well as those with special needs.

    I rarely if ever read a blog, but when I do, I read them to get a pulse of the public and more importantly to learn perspectives I previously did not know- on both sides of the issue. I hope if i come back this site I will find less sensational reactions and more informative conversation. But what I take away from the postings… is that this is an important debate I will want to know more about- but from a more informed group. …That I should have more compassion myself… that an equally if not more important debate should be how to help those who are obese.

  228. William Joseph December 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    I have gotten stuck next to an obese person in the past. Certainly, I feel compassion for this man. However, his enormous size is HIS problem, and not the airlines’ or other passengers.

    By all means, if you take up two seats you must be required to reserve and pay for two seats.

    The dangerous situation this man creates by his enormous size is a whole different matter. Should he even be allowed to fly? Would he not be more comfortable in a car?

  229. Cj December 4, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    Feh. Airlines should put wide seats on planes to accommodate for persons of size?

    The world doesn’t revolve around persons of size. If this guy PAID for two seats, he should be assigned two ADJACENT seats. If the flight is full, put him on a later flight with room, or take a volunteer and compensate them.

    It isn’t rocket science.

    I’ve had to sit next to large people before from coast to coast, and was able to manage (and the large person was in the middle!). The person in the window seat and I both took turns “waiting in line” for the rest rooms. It wasn’t something we discussed, but was rather an unspoken but agreeable solution which worked for everyone and saved the large woman any further embarrassment. I don’t know what we would have done however, if we’d have run into some severe turbulence.

    And let’s not blow this out of proportion (pun intended). How many of you are actually going to encounter this every time you fly?

    The truth of this picture probably differs wildly from some of the assumptions being made here. Don’t jump to conclusions, people, you’ll break your legs.

  230. anonymous December 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    The person in the photo was a co-worker of mine. He passed away in June. He always flew American Airlines, other co-workers have called me, they recognized him also. He was a great person, well known and respected in the food industry. I thank God that he has passed away and is not here to be subject to the pain and humiliation that would be generated from your article and or photo. I hope his wife and sons do not see your article. I fly every week for business, and I sit next to obese people many times. I can’t imagine what it “feels “like for them to be judged and ridiculed by others. No I’m not overweight; I fit well within by seat on the plane. Everyone has to go to work and for many of us, we get to work by flying, people can’t just quit their jobs because their weight gets out of control. What has happened to our compassion for other humans? Maybe people should try taking a look at people for who they are as a person. I would rather sit next to an obese person than an arrogant loud mouth on their phone.

  231. JTM December 4, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    “Obesity is covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act, therefore the airlines should have to accomdate them as they must accommodate a person in a wheelchair, period.”

    Nope. Wrong in two ways. First, only obesity caused by an underlying disorder is covered and, second, business need only make reasonable accommodations.

  232. KL December 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    To the person that wrote the post about the man having passed away in June. Please contact me urgently.

  233. KL December 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm #

    Anonymous, contact me at

  234. patti December 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    Not to mention the plane has a wieght capacity. Look everyone feels for over wieght people, they stopped smoking on airlines and they kick unruley children off , if you can not fit in single seat it is only fair that you purchase two. Airline might consider giving second seat half off.

  235. bajeha December 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    I am appalled at some of the cruel and ignorant comments being posted here. Why do people think it’s okay to ridicule someone they don’t know and whose personal story is unknown to them? How would you feel if this happened to you or a loved one?

    I empathize with the large gentleman in the photo. He has been subjected to an unauthorized invasion of his privacy that has been posted on a public forum. He knows perfectly well that he is larger than the average person and doesn’t need more public reminders. He probably suffers daily from the pitying looks, cruel words and crude gestures directed his way. Now this. IMO it is shameful.

    Unfortunately, this man cannot please his critics by instantly shrinking inches from his height; nor can he simply remove his girth like a jacket for their approval. He may have legitimate health issues and/or physical disabilities that prevent him from maintaining a normal weight. But what do you or any of us really know?

    Until more is known about this gentleman — or better yet, from him — I strongly suggest that everyone leave him out of the discussion. He didn’t ask for this attention and does not deserve the sophomoric bullying he has been subjected to.

    Instead, let us use this forum to call on the FAA and U.S. airline industry to abide by the American Disabilities Act rules that already exist for the proper handling of physically, mentally and emotionally challenged passengers. Many here may not be aware that U.S. commercial carriers are subject to hefty FAA fines for failing to do so.

    At the same time, let us also insist that airlines allow airport and in-flight employees to use their experience, discretion and best judgment in assisting customers who are inconvenienced by oversized passengers not covered by ADA regulations. Most employees work hard to do right by them but all too often cannot. (Keep reading.)

    Does your airline reservation, ticket or boarding pass record your height or weight? That’s why ground or in-flight employees may not know some passengers are too large for their seats until they’re at the gate or on the plane; then they have to improve solutions. These days, airline staff reductions, tight schedules, full flights and time constraints allow employees little time to handle these situations as they would like to make everyone happy.

    So, please focus your attention, comments and suggestions on the problem of accommodating oversized passengers — not on the man in the photograph. IMO he’s been hurt enough.

  236. Jim December 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    This whole thing is ridiculous in my opinion…In all my life…and I have flown substantially…I have seldom seen a 100% booked flight….I really don’t see the problem at all unless the over averaged sized person wants a seat on a booked 100% flight…If that is the case kindly tell him he will have to be seated on a stand-by basis to allow him an extra seat…..WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH THAT?…OKAY…CHARGE HIM FOR HIS BAGGAGE YOU IDIOTS..DON’T FEED HIM…WHAT DO YOU WANT?

  237. Jim December 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    There actually seems to be at least two empty seats directly behind him…What’s with that? Maybe children….
    Okay let’s get down on children….They have to pay more than they should because they take up less than a whole seat….why not charge them 1/2 and make them sit together????? Let’s get on this one next…what a serious malfunction we face
    How about rebating people who have less baggage?
    How about rebating people who don’t want free drinks or don’t use the restroom?
    People….what happened to important issues?

  238. bajeha December 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    I am appalled at some of the cruel and ignorant comments being posted here. Why do people think it’s okay to ridicule someone they don’t know and whose personal story is unknown to them? How would you feel if this happened to you or a loved one?

    I empathize with the gentleman in the photo. He has been subjected to an unauthorized invasion of his privacy that has been posted on a public forum. He knows perfectly well that he is larger than the average person and doesn’t need any reminders. He probably suffers daily from the pitying looks, cruel words and crude gestures directed his way. Now this. IMO it is shameful.

    Unfortunately, this man cannot please his critics by instantly shrinking inches from his girth; nor can he simply remove it like a jacket for their approval. He may have legitimate health issues and/or ADA-covered disabilities that prevent him from maintaining a normal weight. But what do you or any of us really know?

    Until more is known about this gentleman — or better yet, from him — I strongly suggest that everyone leave him out of the discussion. He didn’t ask for this attention and does not deserve the sophomoric bullying he is being subjected to.

    Instead, let us use this forum to call on the FAA and U.S. airline industry to abide by the American Disabilities Act regulations that provide for the proper handling of physically, mentally and emotionally challenged passengers. Many here may not be aware that U.S. commercial carriers are subject to hefty FAA fines for failing to do so.

    At the same time, let us also insist that airlines provide guidelines for airport and in-flight employees to exercise their experience, discretion and best judgment in assisting customers who are inconvenienced by oversized passengers not covered by ADA. Most employees work hard to do right by them but all too often cannot do so. (Keep reading.)

    Does your airline reservation, ticket or boarding pass record your height or weight? That’s why ground or in-flight employees don’t know some passengers are too big for their seats until they’re at the gate or on the plane; then they have to improvise solutions. These days, airline staffing reductions, tight schedules, full flights and time constraints allow them little time to handle these situations the right or best way for everyone.

    So, please focus your attention, comments and suggestions on the best ways to accommodate oversized passengers — not on the man in the photograph. IMO he’s been hurt enough.

  239. JTM December 4, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    IANAL, but I play one on the internet. And I can also use teh google. There have already been enough cases to see exactly how this will go: the offer to allow the passenger to buy two seats will be seen as a reasonable accommodation in those cases where the passenger actually meets the definition of disabled.

    Second line of evidence for the above (albeit quite indirect): do you really think that airlines didn’t run their policy past a whole lot of lawyers before implementing it? Seriously.

    But asking obese people to buy two seats isn’t the issue. The question is how airlines will identify those who will be asked to buy two seats. How will they prevent the situation where the problem isn’t detected until the passenger is on the plane? How will they decide – when they screw up and an obese person with one seat gets on a full plane – who gets kicked off? Those are the only issue left to be decided. This whole ADA thing is a red herring.

  240. Tbear December 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    With most of the country being obese, they should make bigger seats. Even a smaller size person do not find the seats comfortable.

  241. Skinny Mike December 4, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

    For years I had to fly. I would sit down in my window seat watching the passengers board freating if that giant woman or mother with a crying baby was going to sit in the seat next to me. I hate flying. Anything worse than this was when there was a delay in taking off or waiting to leave the jet. I recall very clearly that once the delay was 4 hours. I had to sit next to this enormous woman that smelled and kept pushing her arm into the side of my chest … for 4 hours. I almost went crazy. This is why I will never fly again.

  242. Brianna December 4, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    This photo looks altered to me. The large person in the photo looks to be about 7-8 feet tall. While I realize this is physically possible it look doubtful to me and the guy is not wearing a seat beat. There are extenders. And my understanding is that all passengers MUST have thier seat belt on while seated…

    I think the agent who sold him the ticket is also at fault. They should have set him up with two seats. And as this size person is extreamly rare I think it should be free. Sigh.

    Big people have the right to fly and the AIRLINE is obligated to make sure everyone is resaonably comfortable.

    I am reminded of the guy who had a dead woman put into the seat next to him in first class.

  243. Noah R-S December 4, 2009 at 11:36 pm #

    This photo was not taken by a flight attendant.

    It was taken by my good friend’s friend (from his camera phone) on a flight in mid-November. My friend emailed it to me and I posted the original pic on my Facebook profile on Nov 19th and it has since circulated the web.

    Here’s the proof:

  244. Kitty December 4, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    Give him a parachute and drop him over the nearest fat farm!

  245. rosey December 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    Someone should drop you over a “Get a Brain Here” farm, you don’t have one. You hurt people feelings with comments like that, do you not have a brain or an education. I am not a large person by any means, but I do have compasion for them. They have enough problems without everyone judging them. Put yourself in their position and you’d probably be the first one complaining if you were charged a double fee. The airlines need to accomidate everyone, large, small, tall, short, etc., there are all types of people in the world and if they need to install larger seats for these people, then they need to do it and stop complaining. They are people like you and me and there is not need for this. If you ever become overweight, You will certainly know where these people are, I’ve been there, and fortunately, no longer are there, but it is not easy to loose weight and some people cannot, I was fornuate but still no reason to do this to them.

  246. JR December 4, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    Everythings seems to annoy this author, not only obsese passengers but screaming babies???
    Every individual has a right to live as they choose.
    While it may be fair to charge an obese person for two seats so be it. However, do you suggest that
    children be gagged?

    It is part of life and you should get one.

    Check into charter flights. I am sure you will find something else to annoy you.

  247. Compassionate Soul December 5, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    I fly a lot, and I can clearly tell that this picture is deceiving. The passenger in question is not sitting in his seat, he is in the process of either getting back into the seat or getting out of the seat. If you look at all the passengers around him, they are all looking left out the left side of the airplane, apparently to look at something the Captain probably pointed out. More than likely the gentlemen had gotten up to look out the left side or to go to the bathroom, and was probably in the process of sitting back down.
    What I find repulsive is that the airline employee sought out an opportunity to further humiliate this man. Shameful!

  248. Raphaella December 5, 2009 at 12:19 am #

    It is illegal in the USA to discriminate against anyone. Why don’t you walk a mile in their shoes first. They may have a medical condition that is not their choice. How do you know if they have a brain tumor causing the obesity or another condition.
    Only a non American corporation that does not follow American law would even consider this action.

  249. Jon A. Holmquist December 5, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Wow! A lot of people weighed (yuk) in on this issue. I admit I didn’t read them all so maybe this was covered.
    Lets say there was a big convention in San Antonio. By BIG, I mean the folks were all the size of the guy in the picture.
    A whole plane load of BIG people tried to board the same plane. What would that airline do in that situation. Surely the plane couldn’t get off the ground. Would they have to make special arrangements to seat everyone that they sold “one” ticket too?
    Just wondering. Jon at Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening.

  250. brianguy December 5, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    “”This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it’s a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines.”

    He or she lied. Simply blowing up the image shows the top 2 inches of the seat back “disappeared” in the Photoshopping hack on this picture. If you’re going to fake a photo, at least try doing a decent job if it.”

    you’re not particularly astute are you. he’s squeezed so tightly into the seat, the top “roll” of the headrest has been compressed beneath him.

    yes, the seat underneath is indeed screaming out for relief in more ways than one.

  251. amanda December 5, 2009 at 1:08 am #


    you seem like a nice guy honestly. and you are right that today’s society is self centered, but i think regarding obese people on flights they are the ones who are self centered.

    first of all, don’t go on a diet. go on a lifestyle change. (maybe this is what you meant)

    second of all, you said that you need a month to recuperate form long flights. what about people who are going on business trips and need to feel their best the day after? should they suffer with stiff necks? what about spinal or neck conditions they have that aren’t invisible and what if the attendants just think they are lying to get out of sitting next to a fat person. what about people who are going on vacation? should their vacations be ruined due to stiff necks and bruising? maybe you don’t want to pay for an extra seat, but people who sit next to obese people don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on their vacations.

    fourth of all, most people who are obese aren’t this way “rarely” because of gluttony. quite the opposite. stop making excuses.

  252. brianguy December 5, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    the appropriate response would have been, “oh yeah? what’s your handicap?”

    I would’ve paid $5 to hear her answer to that! and to all the commentors acting like this guy is the NORM (for better or worse), c’mon this guy is 4 or 5 standard deviations from the average, so it’s nowhere near the norm.

    people have to take better personal responsibility for themselves. airlines also have to have common sense when it comes to these passengers, meaning don’t inconvenience or endanger anyone else too unfortunate to be trapped on the same plane with them. too fat to fly (yes there really is such a thing, look at the people on Maury or Oprah who are 700 lbs and trapped in their apartments and have to cut them out)?? then stay on the ground!

  253. brianguy December 5, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    the correct response would have been “what’s your handicap?”.

    I would have paid $5 to hear the answer to that one!

    clearly people need to take personal responsibility, as well as airlines not inconveniencing (within reason) or endangering (at all) anyone else simply for being unfortunate enough to be on the same flight as someone who requires special treatment.

    this guy was clearly NOT the norm, so anyone commenting that he is, for better or worse needs their head examined. he’s a good 4-5 standard deviations from average which is statistically not normal.

    but bottom line if you’re too fat to fly, stay on the ground.

  254. brianguy December 5, 2009 at 1:24 am #

    it’s not blurred, it’s pressed down under his huge weight. DUH? why does everyone have the same stupid “Photoshop” cookie cutter response. use your brains for once.

  255. brianguy December 5, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    B.S***** Judy.

    it was already mentioned the guy in the middle seat was moved to a different flight. this “large” guy had 2 seats so he didn’t have to “overhang” anything. have proof or don’t expect us to believe any of it.

  256. Henry December 5, 2009 at 2:50 am #

    I agree that a second seat should be purchased if you cannot fit in one. That being said I would be concerned if a surcharge or fat tax was charged. My concern would be who decide what size is the cut off. Some people think a size 14 woman is really fat. Others might say a size 26. When my sister was a size 6 she was once told she was fat by a foreign exchange student. He told her by standards in his country she was large that most women in his country were a 2 or smaller. So who regulates at what point we pay more? And does the person who wants to lean on you while sleeping pay more?

  257. mmooler December 5, 2009 at 3:03 am #

    Ya know- I have to tell you I’m not sure what is worse-idiots like you or just plain mean people (see MANY above). What has this country come to? There really is no empathy anymore or graceful people left. Look at Orson Welles- a very large man who carried a sense of grace along with his weight…we are ALL different which makes us American or more importantly World citizens. Unfortunate circumstances require all of us to work together to come to intelligent decisions..its what makes CIVTAs work!

    I am astounded at your imbecellic answer. Life goes on just try to be nice for a change huh?

  258. Jauharah December 5, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    It would be discriminatory for any airline or ticket agent to suggest or insist that an obese passenger purchase two seats since the same suggestion or demand would not be made to all passengers. The airline industry (like all others) is not concerned about passenger comfort nor safety; if they were then the cost of tickets wouldn’t be see high; there wouldn’t be extra fees for everything; and they wouldn’t cram the largest number of seats into the smallest possible space. Seats being so close together does not provide comfort for anyone so the real solution would be larger seats with sufficient space in between. This way an airline would be assured that each flight would actually be full and if passengers can actually fly in comfort rather than misery it might actually boost sales as people feel valued and thus increase profits which is any business’ goal.

  259. ArmyWife12607 December 5, 2009 at 4:50 am #

    Well I have went down and read the majority of these comments and I’ll be upfront, yes some ppl have disabilities that make them gain weight for ex. a thyroid problem. But 20 years ago Obesity wasn’t an issue, We now have dollar menus on just about every fast food chain there is, I think thats the problem. If ppl would eat healthier foods and exercise and quit being a couch potato there wouldn’t be this problem, Obese ppl should be charged more. if they can afford to eat that much food i think it would be no problem for them to afford an extra seat, Why should we be uncomfortable sitting next to someone, how would we get by them to use the restroom or evacuate the plan in an emergency. Its ridiculous t call obesity a disease, that’s just a way to make obese ppl ignore the real problem. Its not discriminatory either. If they are a risk to the flight, thats definitely not a flight I want to be on.

  260. Anon December 5, 2009 at 5:40 am #

    Wrong Raphaella, it is only illegal to discriminate against “protected classes”. Weight-challenged is not one of them.

  261. Joy December 5, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    No, not a fake. The guy’s body is pulling down the cushion so that’s why it looks distorted. And really, ever been on a plane? A lot of the seats look a little worn.

  262. E N December 5, 2009 at 6:14 am #

    Don’t think the plane is in flight as people seem to still be loading. The large gentleman seems to be on the armrest visiting with one of his employees. The 2 empty seats behind them are vacant. My son buys two seats when he travels. Our family goes back several generations of rather large people. Should you see him on a flight visit with him rather than judge him, he’s a fantastic person. Thank you.

  263. Joy December 5, 2009 at 6:30 am #

    actually no…. if the airline charged him for two seats, it would not be discriminating against him, he has an ass that doesn’t fit in one. He weighs as much as two or three people. For HIS safety, and the safety of others he needs to be in two seats. Actually, by letting this man fly, he endangers everyone’s lives on that plane. If they had an emergency landing and he got stuck in an emergency exit, many live could perish, and just waiting for him to get out of the plane could kill many. AA is afraid of lawsuits, that’s why they let him fly. Well they need to consider the amount of lawsuits that would occur if a whole bunch of people died because of his presence on the plane!

  264. AJ December 5, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    I see most people are right on here about: making larger people buy 2 seats no questions asked,or if they tell the airlines they only need one and Lie to the airlines, I hope the airlines have they right to make the larger people buy another seat or make them re-scedule them on a less full plane,and how does the f/a walk by with the cart of “giveaways”,and even now when I fly i still worry if im taking too much room I know I fit perfectly in one seat.I don’t want to be RUDE and take someone else’s seat.

  265. Joy December 5, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Moose I know that obesity for many people is not easy to overcome, but that’s really not the issue here, your health problems are your own, and the other passengers are not responsible for your health issues. And to be honest, most people don’t want to know what your health problems are. The KEY issues are these: Public safety and consideration for other people’s rights.

    RE: PUBLIC SAFETY is the most important. A guy this large, or a guy your size or larger is a safety hazard on a plane. This guy is obviously spilling into the aisle, and so passengers can’t move easily down the aisle nor can the carts get through. If there was an emergency landing and evacuation, many people could very well die because he was blocking the aisle or even worse could die if he, in a panic, got stuck, like a cork in a bottle, in a emergency exit. Anyone behind him would be doomed. So would he. So would YOU. As far as I’m concerned if someone is this fat they shouldn’t fly. At the very least they should be in biz or first class so they can get out through the front DOOR.

    RE: Consideration of other people’s rights. Plenty on this thread have talked about having to sit next to someone this fat and getting bruised or injured by having to be cramped against an armrest or something. Your rights stop when your body starts touching mine without invitation. There’s hardly enough personal body space in a plane as it is, and if you spill over into three seats where I’m sitting, I’m going to be horrified, and not have a good flight, and you have violated my personal space, as well as causing me personal injury. In this case you have violated my rights. Completely violated them.

    I smoke, but I don’t smoke in the house or in public places, I find a place outside to smoke so I don’t pollute other people’s air. Yes it’s an addiction, I don’t like it, but I try to be considerate. People who are morbidly obese need to be hypersensitive to the fact that they shouldn’t be spilling into other people’s space since they obviously can’t just be fat “outside”. So they should buy two tickets or if they are that bad off, three.

    Ya it sucks to be you if you are that fat, Moose, and i’m sorry it sucks to be you. But why inflict that extra you on everyone else? Where do you find it “OK” to invade other people’s personal space with your sheer girth? Pay for the extra seat while you try to figure out how in the hell you are going to get your weight to a sane level. And don’t drink that soda, it’s probably more responsible for your weight problem than anything else. I’m not skinny, but I only take one seat with my less than petite behind. And I don’t smoke around people either. Oh, and don’t you dare take my one armrest with your extra body.

    People want to have their own space, you have to let them have it, especially when you are in a metal tube in the air.

    To the airlines, you think it would be bad to be sued by one fat person on a plane? Try thinking about the lawsuits if multiple people died because a fat person got stuck in an escape hatch.

  266. lainie December 5, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Shame on any one who believes this, there is always more to a person being overweight than they are greedy or lazy, it’s the same as when someone is so skinny u fear for their lives. Theres a problem so dont punish the person with the problem. To chare them more is the same as not likeing someone because the color of their skin isnt the same has yours prejudice is prejudice not matter what shape or color. to charege an overweight person more is dowen right wrong its as wrong as charging someone more because they have different beliefs then you. I can tell you when i was very skinny people picked on me all of the time, and now that I am overweight from illness again I get looked at funny, so I feel to punish someone for their weight is just as wrong as punishing someone because they have a different religion or color. I am ashamed of the way the world is going there is no more compassion or sense of right or wrong only what pleases ourselves. Remember life is what happens while we make plans and I am quite certain no one woke up one morning and said I am going to make myself obese. maybe if we tried to put ourselves in another persons shoes we would be more compassionate towards others and not be bullies and pickl on people who are different then us. signed a former skinny not a fatty

  267. bigdaddyjey December 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    I think the flight attendant should be fired the picture is a sham. The flight didn’t depart like this notice the people standing in the aisle and did anyone notice the two empty seats behind him maybe those are his seats.AA might be on their way to a lwasuit because the flight attendant thought it was funny to pick on the obese fellow and now is trying to cover his or her tracks. Great customer training AA!!!!!!!

  268. JTM December 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    “It would be discriminatory for any airline or ticket agent to suggest or insist that an obese passenger purchase two seats since the same suggestion or demand would not be made to all passengers.”

    Nope. It would be discriminatory if the airline refused to fly the person at all. But that isn’t what they are planning to do (and what others are already doing). They are planning to require that passengers buy enough room to fit in their seat. Sort of like how UPS and FedEx ask you to pay more for heavier packages and/or how large articles of clothing often cost more than the identical item in a smaller size. (Or, maybe, you would consider that to be discriminatory, as well. One should not underestimate the ability of humans to be offended.)

    Yes, there are other businesses that do not adjust fees to the size of the job to be done. Most barber shops have a flat fee; they don’t adjust the fee to the amount of hair a person has. But the amount of hair that one person has doesn’t really affect the other customers directly. This is different.

    More generally, many of the posts on here that are arguing against requiring large people to buy two seats are focused on the perceived unfairness to the large person. You need to spend as much time thinking about the actual unfairness to those seated adjacent to the large person in a single seat. This is why I, for one, would not use BMI to decide this issue. The issue isn’t whether the passenger is obese. The issue is whether the person will fit in their seat.

  269. genie December 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    This is a SAFETY ISSUE, people. That man is BLOCKING THE AISLE and in the event of an emergency, would ENDANGER OTHERS due to his SIZE. NO ONE has the RIGHT to do that, PERIOD.

    This man KNOWS he will not fit into an airline seat, yet he obviously CHOSE to pay for only one seat OR to fly in first class. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

    You do NOT have the ‘right’ to fly if you endanger others OR if your size encroaches on someone else’s seat.

    You ALREADY have the option of purchasing LARGER SEATS to accomodate your size in FIRST CLASS. If you do NOT, that is YOUR CHOICE.

    These things are NOT discrimination. Like an amusement park who refuses to allow huge people to board rides, its a simple issue of SAFETY.

    This is not a perfect world. WE ALL KNOW IF WE CAN FIT INTO ONE SEAT BEFORE WE GET ON A PLANE. If you are TOO LARGE to fit in ONE SEAT with the armrests DOWN, then you need to buy two seats or fly up front.

    The airlines need to stop these people from boarding BEFORE they get on the plane. It is absurd that this man was allowed to board and then the flight attendents get stuck with the problem.

    At some point in the future, passengers are going to revolt and refuse to allow a situation like this to go unaddressed.

    We all have freedom of choice, if we choose to fly, we pay for the space we need. If we don’t want to, we can take another method of transporation.

    We do NOT have the right to endanger others because of our choices.

  270. Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    I flew a United flight out of Seattle to SFO and they clearly state on their website that if you need to purchase an extra seat because of your size you must do so. I believe it is an FAA requirement now to avoid the very thing in this photo – blocking an aisle and the possibility of making another paying customer uncomfortable. A musician had been made to buy another adjoining seat or he was not boarding the plane, he complained loudly the entire flight and one of his band mates told him to be quiet, and if he wasn’t such a glutton he wouldn’t have to pay for 2 seats. The rest of the flyers within earshot laughed because there was no way this man would have fit in one seat and he was much smaller than the massive sized man in this photo – this man is nothing more than a danger to other passengers and shouldn’t be flying. I don’t want to die because he eats enough to get to be that size. His choice but don’t risk others lives, in this case it was the gate employees who made a huge mistake.

  271. JTM December 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    “At some point in the future, passengers are going to revolt and refuse to allow a situation like this to go unaddressed.”

    One problem with this, even if I have some sympathy for the idea. It’s a federal crime to interfere with a flight attendant (49 U.S.C. § 46504). And the law is vague enough that many people will back off before the problem is fixed.

  272. Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    Can this gentleman exit through the over wing emergency exit? Do you think the FAA should make this a requirement? I would guess larger people would start complaining to the manufacturers about the size of over wing emergency exits. Even an Airbus 380 would pose an issue.

    Amusement parks have limitations, “you must be this tall to ride” for the riders safety and others. Why cant airplanes? Change it to “You can not be this wide”, for example. If the Baggage is too large to fit in the overhead bin, it must be checked. (a limitation)

    If an emergency egress was to be executed, and he had to go in to the inflatable raft, do you think that much weight concentrated in one area would be an issue? Do you think the raft would at some point take on water? If a boat were to rescue the people in the raft, do you think he would be able to “stand up” or be able to crawl to a ladder or even make his way up a ladder. Think of a coast guard helicopter rescue, I doubt he would be able to fit in the rescue cage.

    How about those inflatable life vests, do you think it even has a chance? Will the strap make it around his waist?

    These are all Safety issues. Something that should be considered, they are safety issue to himself and other.

    Thank You,

    A Concerned Pilot

  273. J/C December 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    I don’t understand why people that are large should have to pay for 2 seats. Some people CANNOT help the size they are, and an airline should be accommodating for their customers/passengers. Yes, the man should have had a second seat, but instead of paying for 2 seats, why can’t they give him a 2 seats for a premium instead of the cost of 2? It’s not that hard for them to do it. And technically, they won’t be counting a “loss” based on the number of people filling seats. I mean, there’s no reason for someone larger to be FORCED to pay for 2 seats just for 1 person.

  274. Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Why charge for 2 tickets? I say charge by the pound. Passengers would declare their expected personal/luggage weight at ticket purchase to be verified with price adjustments at check in. I weigh less than 120 lbs with a BMI of 20. When checking in recently for a cross country flight my single piece of luggage was 5 lbs overweight (for a grand total of 175 lbs) and an additional fee of $50. When I boarded, I discovered I was seated between 2 individuals, each weighing 350-450 lbs (excluding luggage), who paid the same ticket price as me, occupied a portion of my seat (and the aisle), aggravated my orthopedic problems, effectively trapped me for 6 hours and jeopardized my chances of survival in an evacuation. The F/As appeared not to notice. Most goods are priced based on the seller’s costs – jet fuel driven by cargo weight, in this case. Why not charge a base price for the first combined human/luggage 250 lbs and an incremental amount for excess weight. The incremental price would include the cost of a second seat (or extra large seat) as well as leg room, fuel, specially modified wheel chairs, stretchers, and seat belt extensions and health risks associated with these passengers. This would be a public health benefit to encourage healthy lifestyles, as well as a way for airlines to cover costs without compromising passenger safety and comfort.

  275. Betsy December 5, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    First of all, I think the people who have made such tasteless, horrendous comments should hope that they never have to endure such cruelty. It amazes me how many people can dish it out. But could you take it? Doubtful.
    Secondly, to the people who claim they were on this flight, I’m pretty sure you weren’t. I know who this man is. Honestly. He is my dad. And the man next to him is a good family friend. Not only did my dad buy a second seat, his friend did not take another flight. And he wasn’t being inconsiderate of the safety of others. This picture was taken during the boarding process (as was mentioned in several earlier comments). He wasn’t even completely seated at this point.
    As far as his weight goes, it has been an issue for a number of years. He does not like being the weight he is, and has been trying for a very long time to do something about it. He has tried countless diets. He goes to the gym, but due to poor mobility, he mostly does water aerobics. He has been to weight-loss clinics. He isn’t a candidate for weight-loss surgery. He is not lazy. It isn’t merely an issue of over-eating. He just can’t keep the weight off. And, yes, it is his problem and shouldn’t be yours. Just as your stupidity and ignorance is your problem and shouldn’t be anyone else’s.
    Many people have posted comments about how he should have been considerate enough to buy a second seat (which, as I mentioned, he did), take a cargo flight, or simply not fly. Trust me, I see your point. But to the people, who said those things in a rude way, and to the ones who simply felt the need to post pointless “fat” comments, I would like those people, as well as people like them, to be considerate enough to think before they comment. This situation has obviously upset not only my dad, but our family as a whole. I imagine that your family is upset any time it is pointed out how much of a Neanderthal you are. (For those of you that are clearly too dumb for words, a Neanderthal is someone who suggests a caveman in mentality – among other things.)
    There are so many other things going on in the world that are way more important. Move on to the next subject and let us move on with our lives.

  276. viv555 December 5, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    There are many people posting about your father, claiming all sorts of things. As I stated earlier I would like the opportunity for an interview with your father to address this topic and his case more specifically to get the truth out there. Please have him or yourself contact me so we can discuss this further.

  277. Betsy December 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    As I said, we just want to move on from this. He’s not the only obese man who choses to fly. Why is he the only one to be turned into a news story?

  278. Jacques December 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    It’s not that this “passenger” is not a human being, it’s that he’s about three human beings.

    There is now an airline that flies just dogs, so that man’s best friend doesn’t have to ride in cargo. God bless ‘em. Let’s have an airline schedule flights for those “special” passengers, with seats and accommodations, and jumbo size meals for just those who make life miserable for those sitting next to them. And special “family flights”, say three a day for families with small children. No more red-eyes on “Screaming Baby Airlines”? I am your customer for life.

  279. Jacques December 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    No, you’re right, they’re not different. I am sick to death of flying on “Screaming Baby Airlines”.

    There is now an actual airline that exists to fly dogs so that the dogs don’t have to fly cargo. If screaming children aren’t for some reason flying in the cargo space, then for G-d’s sake, schedule regular flights for families with young children so they can all suffer together without inflicting their “precious treasures” on the rest of us.

  280. Jacques December 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Bite me.

    When I have to pay for baggage that is “overweight” you want a free ride? Fuel costs money. How is it the airline’s fault because you take up two seats, or squeeze into one, which means I don’t have an arm rest, use my laptop or otherwise can’t use the space that I paid for? No, I don’t

    Do you know how uncomfortable it is to sit in two seats at the same time with the arm rest jammed into your back or your side? They don’t fold all the way into the back of the chair.

    That’s the point! I don’t know, and you shouldn’t either!

    And, BTW, yes:

    Maybe we should put mothers with screaming babies in the toilets with the doors closed for the flight.

    I would pay extra for an airline who would have regular flights scheduled for people who wanted to fly somewhere where I could sit in comfort and quiet. Flying is stressful enough without having to deal with other peoples fat or screaming babies.

  281. Jacques December 5, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Thank you!

    I am a short person, well 5’5″, and I don’t insist that the NBA lower the hoop for me or my brethren.

    P.S. My sister and BIL rock climb, I’ve never understood the appeal, but if you want it, I hope you will be climbing again. G-d Bless.

  282. Anonymous December 5, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Honestly, I am a large person I found this blog posting because I was trying desperately to find out the policy of American airlines and how I might book a second seat.. and this is what comes up.. after some additional searching I was able to find the directions to give my travel agent to book the extra seat on their travel agency support site- but never a clear policy that I could read.. (actually the article about this blog was much more helpful)

    I find it really awful that this guy’s picture was taken and posted on the web when the policy is not clear and difficult to book when you want to do the right thing..Most people will be willing to be fair when they can… (I live in fear of someone saying something to me) I agree it should not have been left to the flight attendant to deal with.. In fact, while they get flack for it, I think southwest has a very clear and fair policy.. and its readily available.

    I think the posting of this to a blog does show some lack of compassion on the part the flight attendant.. I understand she or he is frustrated with policies.. but does it need to be at the expense of this guy? Its a tough spot to be in.. I know to be considering this.. I must finance it myself – and in arranging it.. I was worried it might effect my job and future travel involved opportunities.

  283. TraciJo67 December 6, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    I think that the FA who took this picture invaded the passenger’s right to privacy and should be fired for her lack of discretion.

  284. MrEguy December 6, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    I examined the photo at very close magnification.
    It is absolutely not faked. The creases and shadows on the back of the big man’s shirt show that. The seat-back is also slightly bent to the left from his weight.
    The big man is sitting on top of the aisle-side arm rest, which is also why his head is leaning slightly toward the windows.
    There are no open seats in that row; the window seat is occupied as well; I can see the newspaper that passenger is holding up to read.

    A quick example about charging by size & weight:

    When you’re shipping a package at the post office, there are set fees with specific length and girth limitations–and you pay accordingly. When people fly on airplanes, we are simply human cargo. Airlines are selling a specific size and space for a passenger, at a set price, with specific limitations.

  285. mike December 6, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    Simple solution……

    You make a booth down by the ticketing counter that you must fit inside of or you have to buy two seats. Just like the box for your carry on bag.

  286. JTM December 6, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    “I don’t understand why people that are large should have to pay for 2 seats.”

    It’s really simple: because they don’t fit in one.

    If that’s too complicated for you, then try it in reverse: why should the person next to the large passenger have to pay for a whole seat when they won’t get to use all of it?

  287. cindy December 6, 2009 at 1:23 am #

    I think the airlines are missing a marketing opportunity here….a couple of oversized seats in coach, without the amenities of first class–at a premium.
    Large people do not want to inconvenience you. They would gladly pay more to
    not spill over on you.
    While paying for two seats is expensive on most flights, and has the discomfort of
    an armrest in the back, why not have the option of purchasing larger seats on
    each flight?
    Perhaps 1/2 again as wide for approximately 1/2 the average fare??

    Why not try to accommodate these unfortunate souls, make it a marketing tool, and ease the fears of those who may be unwittingly placed next to them?

    Can anyone say compassion and tolerance AND common sense??!!

  288. J/C December 6, 2009 at 1:27 am #

    Apparently you missed the point of what I was saying. You especially must have not read any further than the FIRST sentence. Many large people cannot help their size, because it is GENETIC. Why force people who have a genetic issue to PAY for TWO seats. That’s why I suggested a PREMIUM, where you get the second seat at a discounted price. I’m shocked and appalled at your lack of understanding. I’m not a big guy, but I can sympathize with them because I know how it feels. I’ve lost some weight, but heft is biologically a PROBLEM in my family that we cannot fully control. I gain weight considerably, even when I’m ON a diet. And to the people that want to fly comfortable and in peace and quiet: it’s called FLY FIRST CLASS. Spend the money, quit your whining and complaining. Or spend the money, and order some cheese for your whine.

    I’m truly disappointed and have an extreme lack of faith in humanity. Instead of worrying about yourself, try worrying about others and helping them. I’m involved in my community here, and I especially help and care for those less fortunate than me. I don’t have much, but by hell, I’ll still give someone the shirt off my back if it is needed.

    The entire debacle is moot. So he’s a big guy. So he’s taking up some room. But, the sad thing is, you as well as every other detractor, have no idea what it is like to be pushed and prodded by the masses because they aren’t like “everyone else”. If more people took the time to solve the problem and be less greedy or especially less selfish, a lot of bad things would no longer occur.

    So, from the absolute bottom of my heart, I would just love to say: QUIT YOUR GOD-FORSAKEN BITCHING and GET WITH THE PROGRAM.

  289. Seth December 6, 2009 at 2:40 am #

    I think extremely thin people should have to pay for 2 seats. They’re to blame!

  290. Fat People Eat Too Much December 6, 2009 at 3:46 am #

    Moose… you need to shut up, put down the twinkie and buy that extra seat, fatty.

    The proportion of medical disorder related obesity cases in the U.S. is microscopic compared to the number of fatties like yourself whining about being discriminated against.

    You’re fat – you did it to yourself. Don’t try to claim medical issues because I can tell you just eat too much simply from the way you write.

  291. Fat People Eat Too Much December 6, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    Moose – any competent health care provider will tell you that diets don’t work.

    Stop making excuses for your obesity.

    It takes a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not a diet to lose weight. You need to slowly train yourself to eat less and move more. It takes discipline and hard work if you’ve been a lazy fat ass your whole life.

    No fad diet is going to make you magically thin.

    If you’ve been on “every diet known to man”, you’re evidently looking for some magical get thin quick fix that is NOT going to happen.

    Learn some discipline, fat ass. Eat less – Move move.
    If you’re a giant hambeast, expect it to take some number of YEARS to slim down.

  292. Fat People Eat Too Much December 6, 2009 at 4:27 am #

    Pam, you must be fat. You certainly sound like a bitter fatty.

  293. bulshit! December 6, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Hey, fixitairlines,
    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at 6’6″ and 300 lbs, you meet the clinical definition of obesity (BMI over 30), and are pushing morbid obesity (BMI over 35). Your BMI is 34.7.

  294. Yelmik December 6, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    If you pay 400 bucks for a 20″ seat that’s 20 bucks an inch. If some slob takes 4″ of your seat than you are entitled to an $80 refund. And, if necesary, use the courts to get it.

    Keep your camera handy.

  295. genie December 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Regarding passengers revolting and refusing to fly, this has ALREADY happened with unruly passengers and other passengers refusing to fly because of that one passenger. That passenger was ultimately removed.

    If I was on this flight you can BET I would’ve made an issue of it with the FA’s. CLEARLY this man was endagering everyone else, and I would have filed a complaint with the FAA, which the airlines don’t like. If more people did this in such cases, the airlines would stop trying to avoid the problem and DO something about it.

    Like another passenger said, put a seat in the boarding area and for those in question, have them sit in it. If they don’t fit, they either buy two tickets or they don’t board.

    For those of you who keep saying ‘the airlines should have bigger seats’, they ALREADY DO in first class. If you don’t want to pay more for those bigger seats or buy two in coach, that is YOUR PROBLEM, not mine. The airlines are in business to MAKE MONEY and stay in business, if you don’t like it, take another form of transporation. Nobody is forcing you to fly.

    The rest of us who are inconvenienced and ENDANGERED by these huge people who refuse to take responsibility are TIRED of it.

  296. Ancient Brit December 6, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    As I understand it, the airlines do NOT sell you a seat – they simply contract to ferry you from A to B. They’ll do their best to accommodate you on the flight you request, but if they can’t, you’ll get bumped and have to lump it.

    On that basis, asking someone to buy two seats is probably not lawful and could be challenged since the contract is not for a seat but for a journey.

    It is also the airlines’ responsibility to ensure safety, not the passengers’.

    If you want to be certain that you never have to sit next to someone overweight, then don’t fly, and don’t use the bus or the train. Then you’ll have no reason to whine.

  297. Allen December 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    “Unless airlines go back to higher ticket prices and stop the “volume travel” mentality, they will eventually collapse and go bankrupt.” – FA

    That is not true. Even in today’s tough economy there are some airlines making money with this model. The model is not the problem.

  298. Anon December 6, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    1) He’s obviously sitting on the armrest. So the photo is not Photoshopped.

    2) Does AA even have a 757 in their fleet? Most of what they fly are those ancient Douglas Death Tubes.

    3) You can’t legally charge a person for 2 seats. It’s against the ADA.

    4) I’d have some sympathy for these airlines if they hadn’t all (the domestic ones, at any rate) gone to this seating system by which everybody on the plane is uncomfortable just so the airline can squeeze in a few more seats. I’m not huge like this guy and even I have a hard time fitting in a coach seat. I’m forced to lurch my shoulders forward and sit perfectly still because my legs are so long I can barely squeeze into the seat. God help me if the guy in front of me decides to recline his seat.

    5) I saw this quote in another post: “How about those inflatable life vests, do you think it even has a chance? Will the strap make it around his waist?

    These are all Safety issues. Something that should be considered, they are safety issue to himself and other.

    Thank You,

    A Concerned Pilot”

    Ironically, if the plane landed in water, this guy would be the safest person on the entire plane. Fat floats, and he’s covered in layers of it. He wouldn’t even need a life jacket. He could just lie on his back and hang out.

  299. Stephen December 6, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    Yup. I swear everytime I scroll through comments on any site it will be my last. Not all a-holes here though. I couldn’t agree with you comment more and I would kick back a beer with Moose and Marco any day. Thoughtful, reasonable and smart guys. I was on a flight where a large young woman come on board and her seat was next to mine. She was so apologetic and seemed so defeated after struggling down the aisle (gauntlet of a-holes) that I would have climbed into a cat carrier and tucked under the seat just to give her the space and relief. Poor kid. The flight attendant was awesome (Delta). With no fuss he went to the front of the plane and asked the other FTs to watch for the boarding passenger who was to be by the window. There were additional seats and the other passenger was very amicable and took another seat. All that was done without any embarrasment for the young woman. If I had to, I would have moved in a second to prevent her the humiliation but I am glad I didn’t. She was great. Funny and very smart. She is a human being and ought to be treated as such.

  300. Duncan December 6, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    The under laying problem is that the airline refuses to deal with the issue.. and once on the plane, any dealing of it in full view of the rest of the passengers causes huge amount of embaressment. Almost any mention of someones weight in public is just asking for the typical lawsuit due to distress.

    The airlines need to deal with this before a passenger sets foot on the plane. Although I honestly do not know how you would address someone without making them feel like crap and having them run to the nearest attorney.

    I also do not think enough is being discussed on the poor people who end up next to large people. I have read a lot of people saying suck it up and be nice. Why? why would I sit and be extremely uncomfortable for hours because of someone else? Many people are too embaressed to say anything and suffer. This is 100% the airlines fault for ignore the situation.

  301. Jack December 7, 2009 at 2:05 am #

    I think your name “playdumb” fits you to a “T”.

    …well maybe the guy next to the huge fat guy actually LIKES to be inconvenienced. Or maybe the fat guy tells great jokes and his neighbor will have a great flight..or maybe…

    Get real. How would YOU like it ?

  302. fix it airlines December 7, 2009 at 2:49 am #

    you are an idiot, clinically or not I bench 500 lbs and have 22 inch arms, I have more muscle than fat, muscle is heavier than fat so suck it.

  303. fix it airlines December 7, 2009 at 3:23 am #

    Maybe it should be spelled out for you clearly BS. BMI is a poor measure of health and fitness. Simply because BMI does NOT take into account body fat vs. lean tissue. Body builders and other athletes carry more lean body mass than the average person and will therefore be classified as overweight if BMI is used as the criteria for measurement. Someone could have a “healthy” BMI of 19 to 22 and yet have a dangerously high level of body fat (a “skinny fat person”). I do “spill” over into seats next to me, but, it is my delts, lats and arms I think in your case we would not have an issues sitting next to each other. I think it would be like tetris, your little 5’5″ shoe lift wearing self would fit just fine next to me.

  304. Ellis December 7, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    You are an idiot and your incessant babbling says nothing.

  305. John December 7, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    Don’t complain and say that the airlines should make bigger seats. A few years ago, American Airlines removed a few rows of seats so that people could have more leg room. With fewer seats available, they had to charge more to remain competitive. In the end, they found that people were not willing “rise up” to pay more money for more space.

    Also, when you purchase a ticket, you are also paying for a certain level of comfort. When you get a first class ticket, you pay for more comfort. When you pay for a coach ticket, you pay for less comfort, but you should still be entitled to that level of comfort, even if it hurts someones feelings.

  306. Ancient Brit December 7, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    To those who persist in claiming that morbid obesity is a personal choice: the world has moved on since you were at school.

    For example, even though it took a decade for most of the medical profession to come around, we now know that the majority of stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium (helicobacter pylorii), and the condition is inexpensively curable within two weeks. You also have to treat other family members too, to stop it from returning too quickly.

    We know that you cannot get Type 1 diabetes by eating too much sugar – in fact we thought we knew a whole lot more about types of diabetes (there are at least five recognised types) until it was discovered that severely obese people with Type 2 diabetes who got intestinal bypass surgery also miraculously “lost” their diabetes, often within hours of the surgery.

    And so to obesity. If you’re 15-25 lbs overweight, you have a poor lifestyle, probably with insufficient exercise and a bad diet. But if you’re 100+ lbs over your supposed ideal weight, then you have a disease process at work.

    Only now are we beginning to tease apart the different types of severe obesity. One type, for example, is associated with a much lower normal body temperature. Organic chemistry is very sensitive to ambient temperature, and metabolic cycles can be seriously affected. Another is associated with abnormally low levels of hormones involved in the satiety feedback mechanism. Yet another is associated with a mitochondrial defect. There’s mounting evidence that a big chunk is associated with a prior infection.

    For almost all cases, lowering food intake doesn’t even begin to lower weight until the daily caloric intake drops below around 600 – at which point, your organs begin to deteriorate if you keep it up for very long, and you’ll die.

    So the results look the same (being overweight) but the causes are many and varied.

    And the person suffering from the disease deserves your empathy, not your bigotry and pig-ignorant prejudice.

    Your pre-judgement of their issues without knowing any of the facts specific to their situation illustrates just what a shallow, superficial, unthinking, immature and ill-educated waste of space you really are.

  307. JackP December 7, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    tvnewswatch, Zippo lighters are not allowed by air transport period, due to the un-absorbed lighter fuel. Its not because a certain airport disagrees with it…….

    Lets just say he is lucky he is not flying in a Q400 or CRJ or even smaller aircraft where the seating is not big enough for even a normal person.

    It makes me laugh that certain airlines can charge passengers for an extra seat because they have a cello, but a obese person gets away with this…….. It may be cruel to say, but they are not considered the “normal sized person” so to say that because 31% of the american population is obese, and that the aircraft manufaturers are to blame for the poor design and not changing for Obese people, sadly comes directly from the requests by the actual airline itself to haul as many people on as possible…..
    Regardless of the 31%, or 3 out of every10 people is still not enough to grant a special type of aircraft. Nor would the passengers pay for an expensive ticket.

    Legal battles like what has been mentioned above ruin the airline industry! However staff, are not trained suffiently, to deal with an incident like this.

  308. Peter DC December 7, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    For airplane certification, the manufacturer has to do egress tests. Do these tests involve just fit slender people or are weight-challenged individuals used ? If not, why not ? What about the G-forces on the seat and seat tracks ? Imagine the Turkish crash in Amsterdam with this guy on board. I feel aircraft should, for safety reasons, be certified to a maximum passenger weight/size (maybe even one-seat/two-seat maxima). That way, passengers (on both sides of the scale) are certain about their security, and airlines shouldn’t fear litigation.

  309. Dopey December 7, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Hey, this is all good news to me! I was born a dwarf, so do I only have to pay half-price??

    If so, please respond and I will let the other six guys I live with know. Maybe we could all pay half-price, and then afford to pitch in and pay full price for Snow White….heigh-ho, heigh-ho!

  310. George December 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    An idea that could be adopted is this. Much like you have hand baggage templates to determine if you luggage is suitable for the cabin so too could you have seats at checkin to measure more generously proportioned people.

    Another idea would be to have a limited number of ‘fat’seats fitted to the aircraft which would accomodate these sort of people. These could be special seats designed to take a very high load, and would be priced according to how much space they took up. If someone can’t fit into the template then they have to buy a seat in this ‘class’.
    Obviously these seats could be prebooked as reqd.

    If done under the umbrella of safety, rather than just revenue collection then there should be no grounds for discrimination. Obviously to do this properly tests would have to be done to determine what would happen in a crash if a person was straddling 2 seats.

    As far as emergency egress goes, I know I wouldn’t have a problem getting out, I’d just climb over the seat, the adrenaline would help me acheive this, and no doubt the large person as well.

    Until non moveable armrests are installed on all coach seating positions you will continue to get situations like this.

  311. Ahmed Sultan, ITC December 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    If you take along bulky or damageable baggage, you may have to pay an additional fee. What would be the parallel situation for passengers? The given facts are that the passenger is bulky and his part of body protruding into the aisle is highly damageable by in-flight service carts.
    So, it is quite fair for that passenger to pay extra fee. He has to be charged for two seats as airlines are not selling partial seats so far.

  312. Joyce December 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    I am 5’5″ & 175 lbs which means I am overweight (obese?); I do not use the armrest so I won’t inconvenience people but I fit into the seat just fine. I have compassion for all God’s creatures however if a person cannot fit into one seat, purchase two..I have numerous medical issues, my asthma/allergies are aggravated by people who bathe in perfume/cologne but I am “not allowed” to complain about it; I have diabetes (genetic) & have to pee a lot so I always get an aisle seat so as not to make people get up so I can get by; I have heart disease (also genetic) & sometimes have to take a nitro cuz of the aggravation that occurs occasionally on flights but I don’t complain of that either..In my humble opinion, please have some compassion for that gentleman, don’t be an idiot & make all those hurtful comments; but people who don’t fit into one seat without using up other paying passengers space should be made to purchase another adjoining seat (which should be discounted) & this should be done when purchasing ticket…if not & the plane is full, said passenger should not be allowed to fly unless airline can find a volunteer to give up their seat & fly on a later flight…..thank you for listening & remember KARMA, which means “what goes around comes around” so be kind & gentle towards all….it will come back to you if not in this life in the next one……thanks

  313. JTM December 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Why force people with a genetic issue to pay for two seats, you ask.

    Um, maybe because they don’t fit in one and seats are sold in whole numbers.

    Thanks, by the way for the suggestion of reading your whole post. I did before and have again, but in neither case did it change anything. In return, maybe you could read all of mine. Please explain why other people should be injured by having people who don’t fit in their seat sitting next to them or – in the case of selling the second seat for less than usual, which would, in the end, raise the price of all seats – anywhere on the same plane.

  314. Good grief December 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    So I guess while your parents taught you to eat healthy, they forgot to teach you to spell. It’s “lose weight” not “loose.”

    I wouldn’t bother pointing out spelling errors in a comments section, but let this be a lesson to you that we all have our flaws and failings. Some folks have food issues, you have spelling issues. We’re all doing the best we can.

  315. Good grief December 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    So I guess when your parents were teaching you to eat healthy they forgot to teach you to spell. It’s “lose weight” not “loose.” Look it up if you need to.

    Let this be a lesson to you that we all have our flaws and failings. Some have food problems; you have spelling issues.

  316. Good grief December 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    So when your parents were teaching you to eat healthy they must have forgotten to teach you to spell. It’s “lose weight” not “loose.” Look it up.

    Let this be a lesson to you that we all have our flaws and failings; some people have food problems; you have spelling issues.

  317. Good grief December 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    My apologies for the triple post. I kept getting an error message and I don’t know how to delete! Some people have food issues, some have spelling issues, I have tech issues.

  318. Dave Akamatsu December 7, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Unfortunately, it will take the death of someone to implement a rule on this.

  319. J/C December 8, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Apparently you STILL haven’t gotten the point. Like I said previously, instead of paying the FULL price for two seats, they should be discounted (IE: A PREMIUM PRICE), it’s not like they are transporting two people, so why should they have to cover the cost of two people just for themselves. So, just how would selling the 2nd seat for a discount REALLY cause prices to rise? They wouldn’t. In an economical mindset (along with mathematics), your theory would create a recursive function, which means that the price on any given flight will start with $1, and end with a seat that costs several thousand $$$s. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. And if an airline could APPEASE both the “obese and overweight” customers, while at the same time appeasing the “normal” customers, that in itself would become a GREAT marketing ploy and advantage.

    Now, for more clarification: Is there ANY evidence that the guy next to the larger fellow is “injured”? No. So, don’t continue on with your assumption that he is.

    Let me put this into perspective for you a bit: I’m not a small guy. I’m not HUGE either. I weigh 225 lbs, and I’m 5’10″. Strictly speaking, based on many measurements, I am “overweight” or “obese”. However, those indexes are incorrect, especially due to my muscle mass, and body build. Now, I’ve flown many times, and several times I have sat next to someone much smaller than me, and in a seat that is much to small for me. However, the person next to me has always been considerate, and I have always (see: ALWAYS) been considerate of the other person, making sure that I am not taking up too much space, and making sure my neighbor is comfortable.

    So, it begs to question: why do we have to inconvenience so many people who actually have a GENETIC problem? Sure, it’s inconvenient for you if you sit next to someone like that, but how about try putting yourself into those shoes? How would YOU like to be the one that has to pay for the EXTRA seat, just so you won’t inconvenience someone else? Come on man, show some empathy. I guarantee you wouldn’t even like to pay THAT much just to fly.

  320. Dave December 8, 2009 at 3:04 am #

    Wow this is totally a fake. great publicity stunt.

    1) 2″ of the top of his seat are missing.

    2) The armrest is not flipped up. What, the armrest is in his ass?

    3) You can see through his left leg to the carpet on the floor ahead of him, in the row.

    Look– if this increases pressure on the obese to do something about their weight, and encourages airlines to charge premiums etc, then it’s a good thing, fake or not.

  321. Lindsay Tannock December 8, 2009 at 5:11 am #

    He should have been offered a business class seat only or first class on another flight. I have never seen such a thing anywhere. Well I guess it’s like they say “Only in America”

  322. Milena December 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi mad,

    You said you know the man in the photo. So, please tell me: is it only my impression, or is he extremely tall? I mean, most people are talking about his weight (and airplane safety issues related to his weight), but I have only one question: is there room for his legs in economy class? Because, in the photo, he seems to be extremely tall.

  323. Michael Wong December 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    Obese people have recently begin to really ramp up their entitlement demands, and have started suing people for discrimination even when that “discrimination” is quite reasonable.

    In the case of an airline, you’re not really paying for yourself. You’re paying for a seat. If you physically consume two seats, you should have to pay for two seats. That’s not unfair discrimination; it is discriminating based on the number of seats used, which is perfectly reasonable.

    If I got onto an airplane and insisted on keeping a bag in the seat next to me, the airline would insist that I pay for the second seat. No one would declare that they need to make “accomodations” for my psychological need to have a bag in the seat next to me.

    Frankly, obese people are becoming a bigger social problem all the time (no pun intended). Diabetes costs in Canada have increased by $10 billion since 1990, and the trend will only continue in future. They’re even bad for the environment: a 400 lb man will cause far more pollution than a 170 lb man, because more industrial and agricultural activity is required in order to feed him, transport him, etc.

  324. Curvy-girl December 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Mad, thank you for humanizing this issue and trying to put a face (so to speak) on this debate.

    I was disgusted by the cruelty and insensitivity shown by most other posters here. I think it’s ludicrous to expect a person that is not “average” to pay more when they have as much right to respect and comfort when they choose to fly.

    Maybe the (American) airlines should consider that just over 32% of adults residing in the US are considered “obese” and that maybe their policies and designs should change. My husband is 6ft and the ideal weight for his frame and, even he, complains about the seats being too small and cramped..which doesn’t bode well for the rest of us that have a bit of extra padding!

    Thank you again, and I hope your message has shamed enough of the previous posters into rethinking their treatment of those around them.

  325. curvy-girl December 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    gaaad…I would have paid good money to see the look on her face.

    Well done!

  326. Bjorgvinj Heidar December 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    ppl come in al shapes and sizes and some ppl have DNA that makes them skinny no mater how much they eat and some ppl have DNA that makes them fat no mater what diet they are on tho ofc some ppl are just fat cose they eat to much but most often they eat to much cose they feal bad cose they are fat so itst kinda a sirgle that gets in basic i feal most sorry for the Big man sitting ther..i can see clearly that he is trying his best not to cruss r make the felow pasenger at his right unconfterble..i can only inmagen what that poor Big man is fealing…

    My personal fealing is that we should not charge these ppl who are hurting (inside) for extra seat 2x charge for same serves as all else, thats not coreckt aproch if u ask me..what i think is that flyghtlines are supose to make seats specyaly for big ppl and those seats may cost a bit more but NOT duble the prize.. ayrelines should help these ppl not talk down to them or charge them for 2 seats and fyrst and formost HELP them cose what i belive is that it takes alot off curege to ewen bee shown outsite in that condision this Big man is a hero to me and the way the ayrline treated him is crule and also any one who says anyting bad about that person should think twice..becose i recon with bigger seats 4 bigger ppl this would not hapen
    I blame the Ayrline not the poor man who hapens to be “Big”

  327. Alli December 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Ok wow, I can’t reed more comments made it half the way through. Well the reason for charging for heavy luggage is because of the people that work there have to move them and put them on the plain. So if you make their job harder you should pay more, seems fair to my. Most the the comments I read were not discriminating against this particular person and his situation, but this idea in general. Big people should have the right of being comfortable on a flight and that only will only happen if they buy two seats or first class. Because it is insane for them to buy one seat and use half the seat of the person next to them. I’m tall 6ft4 so it can be very uncomfortable for my to travel in economic class but i do it and thats just something I have to live with. I’m from Iceland and I can tell you that if you would sue the Airline here you probably would not win… Sorry but the Judicial system in the States sucks…

  328. brian December 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    Oh please…there is no way this is a real photo. I used to be as large,if not larger than the guy in this photo and there is no way in hell I’d ever have been allowed to fly seated like that. Nor would I want to. I used to book a window seat and hope nobody would be seated next to me so I could raise the arm and have the extra room. Then I flew on a booked solid flight and it was not only uncomfortable for me shoe horned into the seat but the person next to me was not happy either. I switched to flying first class so I could fit in a seat and not have to worry about inconveniencing anyone else. I’m half the size I was 10 years ago and still fly first class because I got used to the perks.Board when I want,have a short first class check in and am one of the first off the plane on arrival. I flew coach 2 years ago for the first time in 15 years and it was so horrible I made sure I was upgraded for my return flight.

  329. EC December 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Obesity and related medical problems are clearly a huge problem in the US. Though I understand the difficulty with weight loss and control, frankly there are effective treatments for these patients but often patients are unwilling to change their lifestyles, habits and can’t tackle their problems despite access to care.

    From a frequent fliers standpoint, I’m worried about safety and comfort. This man’s unlikely to be able to fit through a window exit and would block access to emergency exits in an event of an emergency for other passengers to the nearest exit. Obviously, the neighboring seatmate who paid for a certain amount of space and has every right to expect certain limited comforts of his/her seat.

    This passenger should be required to buy the amount of space that he needs, either two coach seats or the specially designed extra wide seats call first class seats. Similar to cellists who travel with their cello, they need to buy extra seats for their instruments.

    Obesity is certainly a physical disability, however, unlike other disabilities, it is fully treatable. But that’s up to the patient to do what they need to do.

  330. Mac December 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    The problem is not with the size of the passenger but with the airlines constantly installing smaller seats and shorter belts just to save money and create a situation that they can charge certain persons more money. Fat people and Christians are the only people it is acceptable to discriminate against these days.

  331. jvon December 10, 2009 at 7:00 am #

    I’m 6’3″. I have a BMI of 25, and I have trouble squeezing myself into airline seats in coach. More often than not I am left with a bruise on my left leg from the seat, and the only way I can sit in coach at all is on an aisle seat; my shoulders are actually wider than the seat. That’s not because of what I eat, it’s how God made me.

    That guy is unusually large, but I can sympathize with him. The seating in airplanes would be considered unacceptable anywhere else.

  332. Ed in NH December 10, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    He may be using a trick I discovered to survive a coach seat. Place all of my non-breakable carry on luggage and winter coat on the seat to raise the sitting level up and minimize the squeeze of the armrests. (Unless the center seat was empty I kept the armrest down to preserve the center passenger’s space. ) I never had enough appropriate carry on to get as high as he is sitting in the photo. (I need to travel with a laptop case and would not sit on my laptop computer.) A three or four inch pile to sit on increased comfort considerably.

    For most of my life, I was very heavy. 5 years ago I was 431 pounds. I am now 180 pounds.

    There was a very high cost of squeezing into a coach seat. Many times, I ended in the hospital for a week after the flight due to a blood clot in my leg (DVT) from the cramped seat. There is a high risk of a piece of the blood clot breaking off , passing through the heart and lodging in the lung. This is a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and is frequently fatal. I had one PE.

    Buying a second seat in coach meant traveling with the raised armrest sticking into my back for the whole flight. (Forget about reclining, the armrest sticks forward even with the seat full upright, at least it did with my weight pressing on the seatback cushions. ) From my personal experiment it did not eliminate the risk of a DVT.

    I discovered I did fit into the First Class seats on Airbus planes (but not Boeing First class seats). When I was on a Boeing airplane the First Class seats needed the, sit on the carry on luggage trick to be marginally tolerable. Airbus First Class seats were actually comfortable but I could not use the tray, which comes up from the armrest. My thighs were considerably above the level of the armrest so a tray would be at an angle not flat.

    Scheduling a flight was interesting bouncing between the schedule, the airline site identifying the type of plane on the route and the site listing seat dimensions for each airline’s version of each airplane model.

    The prices worked out for a trip from Manchester NH or Boston to Seattle at $300 for a coach seat $600 for 2 coach seats and $3000 for the first class seat. When the significant chance of a week in the hospital was factored in (and possibly missing whatever I was traveling to do) the First Class seat was cheap.

    My plans did not always work. When a weather delay caused a missed connection, to continue on the same day (and sometimes the next few days) I would lose the first class connection and have to take a single coach seat to complete my trip. On one connection I ended up with a DVT as a bonus and missed most of the conference I was scheduled to attend. I did have a couple of these continue in coach flights through hell where the person next to me in coach was even larger than I was. I really resented it when he/she would raise the arm rest and I put it back down and apologized and made the excuse that I didn’t want to encroach into their space and needed the arm rest to prevent that. None of them liked it but the arm rest stayed down.

    Remember the oversize person spilling over the aisle seat will cause the person in the middle seat to sit in an unusual position and probably not get up and walk the aisle. This increases the risk of a DVT for the middle seat passenger. There have been many reports of passengers in cramped coach seats getting DVTs and even PEs. I wonder how many of them were boxed in by oversize passengers next to them.

    I haven’t flown in the last 3 years, my travels have been within driving range. I am still 6′ 2″ so the coach seats are still tight and may still cause a DVT. When I do fly again, I am not sure what I will do: get two coach seats or continue flying First Class.

    A passenger who does not fit into a single seat should purchase two seats or if he/she fits a first class seat that person should purchase a first class seat.

    There are many activities I could not do at my high weigh. There are activities I can not do today due to my height. The rides at a theme park come to mind. I was not even in a gray area to get onto many of the rides when a Conference I attended had a night at Knotts Berry farm. I was too heavy, wide and even too tall for the safety equipment to work properly. There was a good reason not to allow me on the rides. There was no discrimination at the theme park or involved in an airline requiring anyone who can not fit into one seat to buy two to travel.

    I doubt that the man in the photo is safe. He is enough wider than I was that I am guessing he is well over 500 pounds. Are the airline seatbacks stressed to handle a 500+ pound passenger in heavy turbulence or will he plop into the lap of the people behind him?

    It is a totally different issue if the airline should make larger more comfortable seats. Many airline passengers claim they would pay more for larger seats or more leg room but the airlines sales experience is that low ticket price is more important to today’s flyers. Narrow seats with little leg room allows more seats and lower ticket prices. A few years back an airline ( American airlines I think) used leg room as a sales tool with ads about their removing rows of seats from all their planes and did not raise prices. Sales did not respond and they put the seats back. (This was pre-9/11 when planes were not consistently full.)

    Moose, consider gastric bypass surgery as an option. I did it three years ago I wish I had done it a decade earlier. It does not make maintaining a healthy weight easy but it does make it possible. 95 percent of diets fail and within 5 years all weight lost and more with diet alone. After gastric bypass well over 70% maintain a weight loss of about 60% of the excess weight for 10 years. Virtually all of the gastric bypass patients who continue to attend monthly support group meetings maintain their weight loss. I am in a group with people who have had bypass recently or as long as 15 years ago. All the members of my group who are 3 years or more out of surgery have lost ALL of our excess weight. My surgeon (and the other doctors in the Gastric Bypass program) would have considered getting me to and maintaining 240 pounds a major success. There are health benefits which start with losing and keeping off just 10% of one’s excess weight. Many if not most of the gastric bypass failures are the people who expect a quick fix and not a procedure which will enable them to maintain a healthy weight with diet and moderate exercise.

    To the “Just eat less” commenters: There is evidence that once one is morbidly obese there are hormonal changes which cause the body to consider the highest weight the set point and the body strives to return to that weight. While poor eating habits probably caused my obesity and certainly contributed to it, once I was morbidly obese the chances of diet and exercise alone working was slim. The morbidly obese people who have lost all their excess weight and kept it off with diet and exercise have to allow for several hours a day of strenuous exercise every day to maintain the weight loss. (This is a reason so many of the former contestants on “The Biggest Loser” have changed careers and are working as personal trainers. It allows them to spend all l day in the gym every work day.)

    To the “airlines should provide larger seats for the obese” commenters: The airlines do. Its called First Class. If you want a bigger seat you can buy a First Class seat.

    “Do you know what it’s like to step on to a plane and have EVERY SINGLE PERSON on that plane look at with a look on their face that says, “GOD! I hope that person isn’t sitting next to me!”?”
    Yes. And I felt exactly the same way when somebody like me boarded the plane.

  333. FRED STEMMING December 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm #


  334. PR December 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    This pile of blubber shouldn’t have been allowed on the flight in the first place. Imagine the commotion waddling down the isle getting to and from his seat – how about going to the toilet? Could the guy even fit? Can the fat slob even get out in an emergency? And how would his massive size affect the safety of others? Are those chairs designed to carry 500-800 lbs anyway? Would the chair break away in an emergency, endangering other passengers?

    Unfortunately, airlines will learn the hard way when some pathetic pile of blubber kills others simply by being so disgustingly large.

  335. ken December 10, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    Maybe it didnt disappear – maybe he ate it?

  336. NZ Flighty December 11, 2009 at 12:08 am #

    Charging for overweight bags has absolutely nothing to do with the baggage handlers carrying them.

    It all comes down to weight the airline has to fly around. More weight = more fuel = more cost. So this guy actually costs the airline a bucketload to fly. They probably loose money on him. And if they are a freight carrier also they cant carry freight if excess baggage is checked in as aircraft hve max takeoff weights etc.

    He is fat – get over it. Why should the airline and everyone else pay for it.

  337. Anonymous December 11, 2009 at 2:26 am #

    I’m tired of obese eating them selves to special privileges.

    I’m tired of seeing fat people at Disney riding those scooters all over the place and cutting in line because they are fat, not handicapped. If you can’t walk the park then you can’t go. End of story! And I don’t want to hear anything about handicap excuses either. If they wouldn’t eat like crap then they wouldn’t half 3/4 of the disease they have. Like diabetes, high BP, Cardiac issue, & etc.

    Now airplane issues… What are we going to accommodate them with bigger chairs and front of the cab section called First class for obese???

    What’s next? Let’s stop supporting all the people that put them selves in a bad situation and start helping the ones that do everything right from the start.l

  338. MsLOve December 11, 2009 at 3:12 am #

    I understand the embarresment a morbidly obese person may feel. I honestly do. But this isn’t about protecting someone’s feelings. This is about safety. I’m sorry. If you are THAT obese, you just CANNOT fit in 1 seat. Simple math. You are compromising the safety and lives of everyone else on that flight, if it were to crash (and evacuation was possible). I’m not jsut talking about being slow and not fitting through the E-exit. In a crash, you can go flying. Your 450lb body will weight MUCH more from the force. You will kill people with your body.

    And yes, on a less serious note….no one wants to be squashed in their seat because someone the size of 2 seats only bought 1, so they are exploding into yours. I’d be PO’d as heck if I got stuck like that. I paid hundreds of dollars only to have a 400lb person literally sitting on me? No thank you!! And why should the average sized person ahve to disrupt their whole life because a morbidly obese person didn’t buy 2 seats and the airline is too nervous to mention the elephant in the room (no pun intended)? Isn’t THAT discrimination??

    Oh and I’m not skinny! I’m about 30 pounds overweight. However, I fit in normal size seats and i’m not noticably obese (i’m actually just medically “overweight,” not obese). Ie. I still blend in. But I DO know how it feels to be embarressed for being fatter than you should be.

  339. Marie December 11, 2009 at 3:36 am #

    Find it odd….I mean I am a frequent flyer…and I have never been on a plane that would allow the plane to take off without a passenger buckled in…this picture looks fake to me.

  340. WEN December 11, 2009 at 3:36 am #


  341. Anonymous December 11, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    I’ve been 135 in my life and over 200 lbs in my life. The reason being, I ate too much! My weight goes up and down like a yo-yo but I have control of my body and what I put into it too, either stay at a weight of 135 or over 200 lbs. I paid extra money for the food to get that huge why wouldn’t I expect to pay extra money for the seat if my big butt can’t fit into just one. People are willing to pay for what they want without a problem and don’t question the price but it’s funny how they have more of a problem with the price of something when it’s really what they need…You pay twice as much for the clothes when your fat than skinny…and I’ve been both so I know. People that drive SUVs pay 3 times as much for gas because of the Size of the vehicle…HINT, HINT…Get The Picture!…Suck it up and Get over it!

  342. JPMCCOYUSA December 11, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    CHARGEING more has been in affect from the 70′s.if you can not fit in to one 12″ seat you pay more or you fry in first class were the seats are bigger.If you look at the Photo the skinny man could have taken the window seat instead of the center seat.Which is more then likely the case the larger man was asking the other guy to please move over. large people usually have a medical problem that make them as large as they are like congestive heart disease. So should they charge more for bulimia or for hypertension, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, bone cancer, for being under a doctors care for acne, alseres hypothyroid disease, hyperthyroid disease, liver or kidney disease,diabetes,any one with chemotherapy,most heart disease,or any other illness or affliction? Air line do not charge for a mother with a baby’s if she holds it in her arms.Or for woman who are pregnant. And Air line do not give a discount if you can fit two people in the same seat for people who have a weight problem that way less then 85 lbs or if two children can sit in one seat hell no they want to charge and charge and charge because people with health problems make it unsafe for travel. they were the ones that let the “911 terrorists” on board with metal knives. to me a terrorist is a bigger problem then a heavy large person on a Airbus, Airliner, Aircraft!!!!!! and why do they have to charge now for carry on bags or any bags . you have to pay more if you have luggage or a carry on like a purse or a small bag with clothes in case you bag gets lost. which happens most of the time anymore. If you feel unsafe flying with people who have medical conditions the take a bus or a boat. remember Rosie Grier was a large man and he helped catch a killer! Oh yes if heavy people pay double that goes for football linemen or any football player or a Boxer or many many so called athletes so I think you anti-fat people should shut up and get off the Airways it would make it a lot more pleasant for most everyone if you did. We would have larger more comfortable seats to sit in.Ilse would be a little wider and you just might get a little more for a in-flight snack then three peanut.or 1/3 of a can of soda for our pricey ticket.Go ahead and scream and holler GOD will hear you!!!!!!

  343. JPMCCOYUSA December 11, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    if I say that I do not like what the owner of this blog sight feels is the right oppinion it will get refused ADA will get in on this I am sure

  344. Manster December 11, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Don’t EVEN get me started.

    First off, if I was on that plane and if it even moved ONE FOOT away from the breezeway and taxied to the runway, I would have my lawyers suing American Airlines so fast it would make heir heads spin for endangering me and compromising my safety as FAA regulations clearly state that the aisles are NOT to be blocked on a passenger flight, especially during takeoffs and landings.

    And in any case, HE is a SAFETY HAZARD! He SHOULD pay for two seats, and if he or anyone else has a problem with it then take their happy overstuffed a$$e$ over to Greyhound and take a BUS!

  345. Shirley December 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    I’m sorry, but there is no way that this guy didn’t know that he needed at least two seats to fit. If he can’t afford to buy 2 seats (comment from earlier large person), then don’t fly. Your short comings aren’t my problem. And I agree, if you aren’t able to get off plane in an emergency, you are flying with a loaded gun as far as I’m concerned. Stop being so selfish and claiming discrimination.

  346. Michelle December 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    That photo is photoshopped, it’s so bloody obvious that I can’t believe you actually posted this.

  347. WeaselSpleen December 11, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    If you don’t want to fly on the same plane with this guy, get off your entitled ass and walk out. Problem solved.

    Fat people are all just lazy bums. I know it’s true, because a flight attendant told me. She told me while I was banging her hard. As you know, all flight attendants are just dirty sluts who will put out for anyone.

    See what I did there? Stereotyping is fun!

  348. Michael Wong December 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    Why are people saying that the picture must be fake because the plane wouldn’t take off in that state? How do you know it DID take off in that state? There’s nothing about the picture which tells you whether the plane was airborne.

    PS. Somebody E-mailed me after seeing my comment earlier and tried to equate my argument to the Nazi Holocaust. Yup, that’s right: charging fat people for the number of seats they physically consume is just like the gas chambers at Auschwitz! Clearly, some fat people have a serious problem with perspective.

  349. Kieran Daly (blog owner) December 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    No Michelle, it isn’t, as has now been well established. I don’t mind you having ill-informed opinions, but why do people like you have to express them so rudely? It’s just a casual chat on the web, chill.

  350. Steve van Cleeve December 17, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    so what’s the big deal?
    if you have a double siced fat ass like that,
    you take the space of two people.
    So you gotta pay double.
    That’s a matter of fact.

    stop whining fatsos and get real.

  351. JACKO December 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    I feel the airlines are nickeling and diming us enough. They squeeze too many seats on a plane and the seats are tiny and tooooo close to each other.
    Most Americans are not 5 feet tall and 100 pounds..
    I feel for the guy who is being humiliated because he wants to fly like the rest of us. Shame on the rest of you for those hurtful comments. The Airline should make more space and increase the size of the seats to accommadate the larger size passengers. They should be sued for discrimination if they force people to pay for 2 seats. They should also not overbook, cancel flights that are not full and they should stop forcing us to pay for checked and carry-on bags. They are all greedy. At the very least they should provide one or two special seats for those oversized passengers in coach anthey should allow at leastm one checked bag for free and 2 carry on bags for free.

  352. louis December 19, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    To the blog owner Kieran Daly,Iam like Michelle ( coment on Dec 11)Think that this picture is a photoshopped, I write you 2 emails because I know this person but we want to know what day, destination. and the flight number, when this picture was taking since you posted this picture you problably know that…or is a FAKE PICTURE …????????????

  353. jaro December 21, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    i personally have a big problem with this picture. im 6’5″ and weigh 185lbs, and my whole family is over weight or some may say obese. i chose to be active and watch what i eat so that im not over weight. i think its a life change that anyone with a strong enough will and enough determination can acheive. this is why inho i beleive that if you have the money to buy the amount of food that you consume then you have the money to purchase an extra seat. to everyone that is over wait listen up, if you want others to be considerate of your weight be considerate to them and dont try to pull this crap, you know damn well that you require 2 seats, so buy them. know and realize that you are over weight and you are an inconvenience to others. i would hate to be stuck on a flight for over an hour being cramped up next to an over weight person while paying the same price for the flight. mind you im 6’5″ so the seats are small enough as it is. i dont need some one of that size making it harder to sit coach.

  354. Viktor Huliganov January 21, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    What this guy needs isn’t swanning around America in planes. What this guy needs is to be given an order and taken off to a fat camp, put on 2400 calories a day and given exercise of 3800 calories a day, under medical supervision, in a controlled environment. He should be given lessons in healthy eating and healthy exercise and indoctrinated into looking after himself properly. Then a year or two later, once his life is saved and he can run a mile without corking it, he can be released with the continual threat that he’s back in the camp if he adds weight back on.

    And this should be paid for out of the guy’s future taxes that he will pay because his life has been saved.
    He will pay an extra 2% income tax for the special service he received.

  355. Alex January 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Im 6’4″ and weight 230 lbs. Im not fat but these seats are to small for me as it is. So what happens if you big but not overweight? Will I get charged too ?

    Slippery Sloap to go down, but I think it is neccessary.

  356. d January 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Would it be unreasonable to have 1-2 seats on the plane specifically designed for people with special needs?

    The Airlines have, in part, created this situation. Not everyone fits comfortably in their cramped little seats which become smaller by the day. In a society where everyone seems to be the same (or is trying to be the same), we forget that some people are different. And that is not a crime. It is in fact a crime to discriminate against them because they are different, especially when those differences are handicaps.

    And for those who think that obesity is purely the fault of the individual, it may be worthwhile to investigate some of the many deseases and conditions (genetic and non-genetic) which lead to uncontolled weight gain. Many who is obese are responsible for thier weight; at the same time, many are not. Neither’s life is made any easier by those who judge them because of their weight.

  357. David January 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Solution: It is unlawful to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person. It should be unlawful to sell food to a MOrbidly OBese (“MOBE”) person. You would have to walk over a scale at the grocery store checkout … right as you go to pay. This would prevent anyone from getting to this point to begin with. Problem solved, as well as costs of socialized health care that result from self-abuse through over-eating.

  358. Mr. X January 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    After the flight, Porky had to have that armrest surgically removed from his big 900 pound lard ass. Of course it took the surgical team a week to find it.

  359. George P. Burdell January 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    This photo doesn’t appear to be faked. Judging by the number of people standing up in the front of the cabin and number overheads open, it was taken while the aircraft was on the ground during the boarding process. The guy is straddling the arm of the seat and has no seatbelt on. The row he’s on is filled (someone is looking at a white paper or similar item in the window seat).
    What I don’t understand is why didn’t the F/A ask the passenger to be properly seated and buckle in so she could ascertain if that was possible. I’ve seen them ask large people to buckle up during boarding to make sure they could fit in the seat or required a belt extension. If he couldn’t, she should have communicated this to the lead F/A who should have contacted the gate staff to assist in resolving the issue and either got this guy seated or taken him off and put on another flight with empty seats. Whether the airline charges him for the extra space he consumes is a business decision. That’s what they’re selling is space in the cabin of an aircraft. You consume more than the normal allotment of space and it’s their right to charge you extra. No different than overweight, oversized baggage, kids in car seats, etc. The fares are based on space. In other words, X amount of cabin space divided by X seats = the fare per seat.
    Tall people have issues with seating space on the airlines and I haven’t heard of anyone causing a big stink because they couldn’t jam themselves into a seat with marginal seating pitch. It is what it is. A guy that size should have bought a first class ticket which would give him more room. If you’ve got issues like his, you can’t make a business liable for your problem.

  360. curmudgeoninchief January 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Moose et al.:

    When Moose buys patio furniture, does he get the plastic chairs that have a 250 lb weight limit (I have seen one of these fold up under a 270 lb man) or does he pay three times as much for steel frame chairs?
    When Moose buys a car, does he get a POS Toyota or Nissan beer can with bucket seats that fit one of his butt cheeks, or does he pay more for a big, American car or truck with bench seats?
    When Moose flies does he cough up extra money to accommodate his gross, ungainly body, or does he whine that the airline has to give him two seats for the price of one?

    Just thinking.

  361. Brad January 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    The airlines make you pay for baggage to fly now so it only makes sence to have overweight people pay for their extra baggage, have you ever had the experience of flying for 4 hrs next to someone that could not fit into two seats, I have, waited fours to pee.

  362. Nina January 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    I don’t know why anyone would have to photoshop this as some posters here worry about. I’ve been on a number of flights with heavy breathing, sweating, fat people this size trying to fit into one seat unsuccessfully. This happens too regularly. I’m 5’11 and 220lbs, built like a rugby player and the seats can be snug but easily tolerated for a several hour flight. But to have somone “flowing” into my seat is totally unacceptable. I paid for my seat! If they want to flow lard into my seat, my space I paid for, they should pay for part of my ticket!! I don’t oooze into anyone elses seating area.

  363. Jim January 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Hey Moose…perhaps you should just lose some damn weight. Wow…now that’s a novel idea huh?

  364. Jason January 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    I just flew in last week from Hawaii–and I’m a big guy, but not as big as the gent in the photo…and let me tell you: airplanes are too small for people of this man’s girth. I think he should have to pay for 2 seats, as well as not block the aisle. That said, they need to make airplane seats larger–I mean, my biggest pet peeve is the leg room (or lack of it). Should I have to pay extra because I’m over 6 feet tall???

  365. 2ndltusmc January 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Listen up all of you fat bodies, get some aerobics and stop eating so much. I hear the same from all of you fat bodies, “I tried every diet out there, and nothing works” Well, push your fat ass away from the table and eat healthy. All I see is that they put that cheese burger and fries into their fat heads. Potato chips and anything else that has a high fat content. Hostess ho-hos, cookies,and you name it and they eat it. They are so lazy, they want easy answers for their fat. First of all, you made yourself this way, fat, so don’t blame anyone else. and please don’t call it a disease. It’s called STOP EATING YOURSELF TO DEATH!
    your the reason that our health care is costing so much. Over 180 Million people in the USA are FAT. That’s 2/3rd’s of our population. Get with the program fat asses, and do something about it, and stop complaining.

  366. Gerald V. Casale January 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    i don’t know what disgusts me more–fat people’s bodies or their selfish excuses to justify imposing themselves physically on others in tight spaces.

  367. Fat guy January 22, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    Yea, I’m one of those gross fat people. And you know what? I agree with you all about the rights of the small guy in the seat next to me. I simply book two seats and that’s that. I’m happier, the person in the third seat is friggen’ ecstatic not having a middle seat mate as I really only need about 1/4th of the extra seat.

    But what kills me the most? I get zero frequent flier miles for the extra seat. I bought the ticket, I should get the miles.

  368. Julie January 22, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    The topic of this discussion isn’t really about what people think of those who are overweight in general, and the difficulties that may entail; some commenters have done an incredibly disgusting job of handling that. That’s neither here nor there.

    Some of the discussion on paying for extra baggage vs. the heavier passengers and how it affects weight and balance is interesting and valid, as well as the obvious safety issue, but the real issue in this photo is the seating.

    If the airline is providing, for the cost of a ticket, transportation from point A to point B, then no one should have to pay for an extra ticket based on their weight or size. The charge is for mere transportation per person. If the airline is selling a seat from point A to point B, then a person who doesn’t fit into one would naturally have to purchase two. The charge is based per seating.

    No one should be uncomfortable after paying for a ticket, whether that means being too big for a seat, or sitting next to someone who is too large. If they are (as many have described above), clearly the airline is not handling their business of transporting people/selling seats correctly.

    People are getting bigger, and it’s not just in America. Theaters offer larger seats, bench seating, and other options for those that do not fit in a seat. Stores offer carts for those unable to walk around the store. Whatever you think of these accommodating changes isn’t the discussion here; what’s being debated is the fact that other industries and businesses have recognized the need to make changes for their customers based on this issue — why haven’t the airlines?

    If the population which is asking to be transported is growing larger, than the seats or seating configuration must be changed. Maybe it will be in bench-style seats in economy, or even an entire reconfiguration (I’ve seen illustrations of possible military-style bench seating configuration in future airplanes, albeit, a bit more comfortable) of the cabin. Granted, it is easier to sell individual seats for booking purposes. Nevertheless, if your customer base is changing, then your business model is changing.

    People aren’t getting smaller, either in weight or height, nor will they in the future. Obesity is found, generally, in developed and affluent nations, which is precisely the customer base of airlines. This is something that needs to be decided at the top of the airline (as far as policy is concerned), and not at the gate as a plane is being boarded.

  369. fearofflying January 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    If obesity is a disease, as someone earlier stated, does that mean that it is mostly Americans that ‘get’ the disease, since the majority of obese are Americans? I find that an absurd position.

    If obesity is caused by a verifiable medical condition which is being treated by a doctor, require a card issued stating that. Accommodate that person (and the few others on a given plane) with size 1-1/2 seats installed for the purpose well away from the exits. Otherwise, the obese person pays for two seats as there is no medical discrimination. And do not inconvenience (discriminate against) the adjacent passenger if the airline fails to require two seats.

  370. Richard DeWald January 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    I am the person in the picture.

    I was sitting on the armrest to make the man in the middle seat more comfortable while we waited to see if the row behind me was going to be unoccupied so I could move. It was, and I did move.

    I have since had bariatric surgery to treat my condition and I am no longer this size.

    The hatred in the comments in this blog is a minor irritant compared to the physical problems associated with my condition. If I had the choice to fly in bigger seats, I would. I never objected to paying for two seats when asked, and I only flew when it was absolutely necessary.

    The FA who took this picture should be ashamed, and from their anonymity it seems that they are.

  371. manster lies January 31, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    Manster, STFU, you would not have done a damn thing….and people that make this ‘my lawyers’ threat are the very ones that are so full of hot air….
    You don’t have a lawyer and if you had made a stink, your ass would have been the one at the gate looking stupid while talking to the Faa security….the bottom line is that it is up to the filght crew to decide if that person is a safety hazard and not your full of hot air ass.

    STFU, you would not have done sh!t

  372. Anonymous February 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Looks photoshopped to me.

  373. viv555 February 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    Hi Mr. DeWald,

    I am an AP for a national news program and we would like the opportunity to share your story with our viewers. There is more than one topic up for discussion that this picture brings up. Please email me if you are interested in telling your story.

    Kindest regards,


  374. Sharon February 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    First of all… My husband is the person sitting next to this rather large gentleman. It was not an American Airlines flight. It was Continental from Cozumel to Houston back in June 2009. We went on vacation and came home early. The man was in the process of sitting down. Of course he couldn’t put the tray down but he was not blocking the aisle. The stewards could move just fine down the aisle. My husband did have to all but sit in my lap the entire way home. The man was very sorry for the situation but what could he do? The plane was full.

    Again… Continental Flight from Cozumel to Houston in June 2009 (not American Airlines). I was the one at the window and my husband is the man sitting next to the overweight gentleman with a look of you have to be kidding. Who ever is giving you your information… it was incorrect. I have ticket stubs to prove I was on that flight…

  375. Xandra Hasegawa February 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Haha.. Some says the photo is Photoshopped! Lol at them.

  376. Airprincess February 15, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    After just watching the ABC News story regarding the “too fat to fly” passenger on Southwest Airlines that was kicked off an aircraft I was going to send in the picture posted on your site to make a comment. I AM a flight attendant and this picture WAS taken by an American Airlines Flight Attendant who is a friend of my brothers (who happens to be an elite member of the Admiral’s Club with American). My brother told the FA that his sister was a FA and she sent him this photo to show me. It is an FAA regulation that the main cabin door CANNOT be closed until ALL passengers are seated and ALL seatbelts are fastened. The AFT FA could not get the FWD FA to answer her call phone so she took this picture and ran to the front of the aircraft to tell the FWD (lead) FA NOT to close the door. She asked why not? The AFT FA showed her and the gate agent the picture on her phone and said..”this is WHY!”

    How all of this was settled was that American Airlines bought the gentleman in the center out of his seat giving the obese passenger 2 seats to sit in. It is outrageous for anyone of this size to be so arrogant to think they are going to fit in ANY airline seat. THEY SHOULD BE FORCED TO BUY TWO SEATS AT ALL TIMES – NO MATTER WHAT AIRLINE THEY CHOOSE.

    I am personally experienced in dealing with sensitive situation and it is all too frequent. My opinion is that if you can’t fit on a kitchen chair without hanging over the edges then you need to buy two seats on an aircraft.. period! All airlines have the RIGHT to remove passengers for not fitting in a seat properly unfortunately many do not exercise this legal right and the “next door neighbor” seated next to these obese passengers are the ones who suffer the most.

  377. Janika February 15, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Gee, I see empty seats for the tiny whiny complainer wanting a free ride….

  378. Crystal February 17, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    First, shame on the attendant who took this photo and published it on the web. I hope that this man finds himself a good attorney and sues both the airline and the flight attendant responsible for the picture.
    Second, as has been stated many times, the flight had not taken. Obviously passengers are still being boarded since there are so many people still in the aisle and overhead compartments are still open. It has been stated above that arrangments were made to ensure the safety of passengers (although we seem to have several people telling a different story).
    I am a large person, and when I fly I purchase two seats. I do my very best not to inconvenience or crowd anyone. Purchasing two seats does nothing for my comfort, because of the lump in the middle. If larger seats were available (without paying the unreasonable price of first class) I would pay extra for them.
    I would like to comment on a few of the things I have read, however. There are many, many reasons for obesity. Morbid obesity is rarely a simple problem of overeating. It is usually combined with, or the result of other health problems… be it physical or mental. In the age where food is loaded with preservatives, sugars, fats, etc… One needs a dietician’s license to understand it all. A lack of proper healthcare and increasing costs of healthy foods is another HUGE factor in the growing problem. So for those of you who say just stop eating … get a little education BEFORE passing judgement. If 30% of the population is obese, and more than 50% are overweight…the problem obviously runs a bit deeper than a simple lack of willpower.

  379. Randal W February 17, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    I looked around to look how much airfares were in previous times, and found this interesting article. Lets face it — this debate is more of same debate that has waged on since airline deregulation sailed through Congress onto the President’s desk in the 1978.

    This is not me speaking, the link below is where this narrative is found.

    Saying “I’m tired of crowded airplanes” without realizing that everything in it has a real cost — airlines are businesses or will go out of business without being profitable is like saying “I’m tired of hamburgers and want a great steak!” “But it has to be good and really cheap”. Google came up with the following article and the ad next to it said “Low fares and free bags!. Why? Low fares is what people want and “vote” for by buying tickets. (Thanks to link:
    for the following…)

    Also on top of all this people were smaller framed – even before the advent of health club membership.

    What Flying Was Like In The 1960s:

    I took my first commercial airline flight in the 1960′s, while still in high school. I’ve logged millions of miles since (according to my frequent flyer statements), and have really been struck by the dramatic changes in flying over the past 40 years or so. Here, before I forget them, are some of my more vivid memories of my earliest airline experiences.

    * Flying was expensive. For example: A round trip ticket between Cleveland and Washington D.C. was about $75. This doesn’t sound like a bad deal, until you adjust the fare for inflation: That’s over $400 in today’s dollars! By contrast, I recently paid less than $100 for a round trip between Cleveland and Washington on one of today’s low-cost deregulated carriers.

    * There was no point in shopping around for the best deal, because all airfares were controlled by regulation. If a roundtrip ticket between Cleveland and Washington was $75 on one airline, it was $75 on all the airlines.
    * Because it was so expensive, flying was rare, and it was an “event.” The expectation was that you would wear nice clothing onto the flight. Anyone who had strolled onto an airplane in the 1960′s or early 1970′s in a sweatsuit, or ragged jeans and a tee shirt, would have caused a major buzz among the passengers.
    * No security procedures of any consequence. You walked up to the ticket counter, bought your ticket, showed no identification, walked out unsupervised onto the tarmac, and climbed up the stairs and onto the plane. Meeting an arriving flight? Just stroll on over to the gate and greet them as they walk off the plane.
    * There were observation decks at many airports. With little concern about security, some airports allowed you to stroll outside, take a seat, and watch the airplanes come and go. On a warm summer night, it was actually rather pleasant.
    * No little television screens scattered throughout the airport to tell you where you where your flight was. There was only one big board in the main lobby, like a bus station. Forgot your gate? You had to go find the big board to look it up.
    * The vast majority of the passengers were businessmen. White male businessmen. Occasional families. Very few minorities, and virtually no women travelling independently.
    * The stewardesses were pretty young women in very short skirts. “We have the sexiest stewardesses” seemed to be a major advertising theme among the airlines. Their tiny skirts were designed to ride way up when they reached into the overhead compartments, or when they bent over to serve drinks to the passengers seated near the windows. This was intended no doubt for the entertainment of the largely male passengers.
    * Food and drinks were almost always served, no matter how short the flight. Because there was no price competition, the airlines had to compete based on service. It was amazing to watch the stewardesses hustle to serve everyone on a quick trip, while constantly tugging at their skirts to retain some modesty. Kind of like watching an episode of Fear Factor today.
    * Smoking was permitted anywhere on the airplane. Ashtrays were built into the armrests at every seat. In the late 1960′s I flew with two of my friends, and we all lit up cigars. (Dare I mention that we were all 17 years old at the time?) No one said anything, and I’m confident that anyone who did would have been shouted down by all the other passengers, especially the smokers.
    * No frequent flyer programs, although there were VIP clubs for some arbitrarily-selected customers. (Some allege that the “arbitrarily-selected customers” tended to be predominantly white and male, and that frequent flyer programs were created in 1981 so that the membership could be more open and standards more objective.)
    * No laptops, no cell phones. You had to make a beeline for the nearest pay phone to contact your office or family, often fighting off the other passengers who were struggling for access to the same phones.
    * They really had to instruct you on how to use the seat belts, because many cars didn’t have them and no one was using the ones they had.
    * You could buy life insurance at the airport! There were insurance dispensers: You filled out a form, inserted your coins (no credit cards, magnetic stripes, or bill scanners in those days), then got an insurance policy, which you then dropped into a nearby mailbox and sent to your family in a convenient prepaid envelope. If your flight crashed and you died, your family got some money. I’m not sure why these disappeared, but probably because flying got safer and people got more comfortable with air travel. (Thanks to “Fazookus” for sending a comment and reminding me of this.)

  380. kyle February 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm #


    please email me when you get a chance.

  381. Jack February 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    Yes, I have been asked once to give up my bulkhead seat for a fat person, I said no and continued reading. I do not care and I will not budge for a person who disrespects the rules of our society by being abnormal.

  382. sillyown February 25, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    An obese friend of ours is a severe diabetic. He told us that his insulin puts weight on him if he eats sugar. He eats TONS of it. He told us he likes everything fried, and prefers quanity to quality.

    Overweight people mow have options in surgery. It may not make you really thin, but it can surely help you lose weight.

    Obese people may not say they are obese when they purchase their ticket over the phone, and I don’t remember and option online that says “I’m obese”. I guess you could identify as needing assistance, and handicapped.

    This is a tough problem, but clearly the safety of everyone near this man, including the man are at risk of injury, and even death if there is a need to evacuate. I like the idea of a bench type seat, and also, obese people should be put in first class, and asked to perhaps pay a portion. That same friend always talks himself into 1st class when he flies.

    Yes the seats are a problem. I am tall, and also have a neck problem, so need to put my seat back. One time I put my seat back and the man behind me started screaming and cursing at me. He got up and would not sit down so the flight could take off. He should have been put off, and in today’s climate would have, but another man offered his seat. The man who had been behind me originally, found me at the baggage claim and started screaming and cursing at me. i had to get security to get him to leave me alone, and to escort me to my ride.

    This is all very tough, but while obese people are handicapped, I believe they play a role in getting themselves there. And yes, it’s an American problem. High Fructose corn syrup is not found in foods in many other countries. Our FDA allows ingredients in foods that other countries do not. How about supersize? Does McDonalds in France offer that!

    To our man on a diet, look into surgery. Maybe see a shrink. Try meds. It’s a food disorder. And while diets don’t work wel for me, i am only about 10 lbs overweight. i walk, eat healthy foods, and exercise.

  383. Bodank March 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    American Airlines is the worst air carrier in the business. This guy should have been sent via UPS or Federal express after he was loaded onto a pallet.

  384. jenny March 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    My family and I are all fairly small (all of the women are well under 5’4″ and 120 lbs, my dad is 5’9″ and very slim), but we still get monstrously stiff and cranky on flights. The seats just aren’t very comfortable! And we have been made terribly uncomfortable by other similarly proportioned people because they insist on tipping the seats into our faces (did I mention that we’re tiny, and so it’s more of an indicator of terrible seating design than anything else), or making a mess of the bathroom within the first five minutes of the flight, or continually harassing us and/or the flight attendant and/or other people on the plane for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Travel can bring wonderful experiences, but some of them are funnier in retrospect than at the time. If you really dislike planes but must travel on them, please consider taking a Benadryl (it will knock you right out, and is the same medicine in many over-the-counter sleep aids) before or on the flight, and moderate doses of Tylenol or Advil after the flight if you are so sore that it interferes with your required level of function. And then, please, for the sake of everyone around you, put a smile on your face and be glad that you are now able to move freely! Having endured a long, uncomfortable flight is no excuse for being rude!

  385. BK March 31, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    It is indeed unimaginable of how he was allowed on the plane. Although it may be against human right to disallow him to board the plane, I was thinking if this could cause some safety issue or hazard for the others passengers and crews. However, since the plane landed safely, I assume it was alright. Just pity the guy sitting besides and also sorry for the guy taking the flight; probably he wouldn’t not want to cause any inconvenience to others.

  386. Frequent flyer. May 31, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    One ass, one fare. Do not discriminate on basis of size.
    American Airlines handled the situation well. Hurray for them. I shall think kindly of them.

  387. anonymously July 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    I found it quite odd when I travelled in business and in row next to me was sitting normal sized business man but then there came this huge man to sit in the middle.,what happened then was that the normal sized person was placed to sit there where air hostesses are seated next to the door.I hope he got something back from the company..he had pay for it that he may travel comfortably anyways.

  388. Claudia September 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Believe it or not, on my last flight with Delta, the flight attendant was almost the size of the guy in your photo. An international flight for 14 hours, and every time she went through the aisle, she bumped on everybody sitting to left and right. I don’t want to discriminate, but I couldn’t believe that they let her do a job as a flight attendant being well over 200 pounds…

  389. Claudia September 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Believe it or not, on my last flight with Delta, the flight attendant was almost the size of the guy in your photo. An international flight for 14 hours, and every time she went through the aisle, she bumped on everybody sitting to left and right. I don’t want to discriminate, but I couldn’t believe that they let her do a job as a flight attendant being well over 200 pounds.

  390. Pebblesbambam23 September 28, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    I must that he is a large man, but if you ask me who the uncomfortable one would be I would have to say the obese man.
    Riding on a fight half out of your seat would be about unbearable. I am thin and if I was in the middle seat I would thank the man for being so considerate of me and riding so uncomfortably so I could be more comfortable.
    I have enough problems of my own than having to worry about other peoples problems if I ever have to deal with this issue on an airline then I will deal with it. Let the people on that flight work it out, sounds like people have to much time on their hands and have to worry about a problem that is not theirs to begin with.
    I just don’t like all the name calling it makes me sad to think people are so inconsiderate.You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Have some compassion for your fellow human race………no wonder we are always at war, we fight about things that don’t even concern us.

  391. Big October 20, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    Can he fit through the emergency exit? Assuming the airline can work out a way to avoid him sitting next to anyone, my real concern is safety during an evacuation, both for him (because other PAX may prevent him from plugging the exit) and for everyone else (if he does plug the exit). Can you imagine the press if this guy checked out 1/2 in the exit and 1/2 out, with a bunch of dead people in the plane lined up behind him?

  392. jennie November 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    why did you let this person sit down!!! I would have politely but firmly insisted to get the seat space I paid for. If you do that the flight attendants have no choice but to kick the fattie off the plane. Stick up for yourself!

  393. jennie November 26, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Let me point out that almost no one on this forum mocked or made fun of the obese man… the discussion was mainly about the rights of the non-obese fellow passenger and whether he should give up 50% or more of his paid for seat due to his fellow companion’s corpulence.

    Secondly let me point out that while this poor man may “suffer from obesity”; most of us suffer daily privations while we control what we eat and exercise (many times I would rather do something else or sit down and eat a piece of cake instead of salad!).

    Anyone and everyone can “suffer” obesity if they don’t restrain themselves in their daily lives.

    Why should those of us who suffer daily restraint, have to give up half of our paid seat fot those who don’t?

  394. jennie November 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    You have obviously never paid 500$ for a 5 hour flight and had to sit next to someone who spilled over onto your paid space, creating a risk in case of emergency and a real medical hazard (imagine trying to get up to stretch your legs or go to the toilet with a person this size next to you?).

  395. jennie November 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    I guess if you react that way your fat neighbor will get upgraded to business class. At least you will have your seat space. Believe me I will do the same as you, I won’t accept spillover (perhaps on a flight less than 1 hour long and even then probably not!)

  396. jennie November 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    what are you, stupid? The airplane has 2 limited resources: space and weight. If one person takes up twice as much as another, why should he not have to pay twice the price? You pay extra if your luggage is 1 pound overweight. You pay extra if your luggage is 1 inch over the regulatory size. Why should this person not have to pay extra?
    Should the maker of his car have to provide him with a double-large driver seat for free? Should the maker of his bed provide him with a king size instead of a twin for free?
    Turn on the light bulb!

  397. Denice November 30, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    I don’t think fatties, giants, cripples or retards should be allowed on planes EVER – they all might jeopardize the safety of the other people on a plane with their largeness, stupidity and handicaps. Also, it makes normal people think too hard about even the most simple issues involving a polite society.

    Also, there would be a lot more room for cool, normal people to sit on the plane, too. Only self-righteous and awesome people should be allowed to buy tickets to fly on planes. We should just make that a law, or something, because really – it’s a privilege to fly on a plane that you pay for the luxury of using.

    (By the way, I love how NO ONE showed a picture of themselves.)


  398. stanley web tasarım kursu teacher April 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    One ass, one fare. Do not discriminate on basis of size.
    American Airlines handled the situation well. Hurray for them. I shall think kindly of them

    i agree you!

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