Plus-Sized Woman Shames Passengers Who Moved Seats To Have More Room On Flight

A 19 year old woman flying from Las Vegas to New York was assigned a middle seat, and reports she was between two larger passengers who didn’t “fit comfortably into their seats.” She reports their shoulders and thighs were “on top of” hers. And after an hour and a half of this she got up and discretely asked a flight attendant if she could change to an open seat in another row?

She felt awkward moving her bag from underneath the seat in front of her, but thought the ordeal was over when she moved a few rows back. However at the end of the flight when she deplaned, she found the woman who had been sitting next to her waiting for her at the gate:

She essentially told me that I had embarrassed her and the other man and that traveling while plus-sized is hard enough without “people treating fatness like a contagious disease”. She also said that I made it a public demonstration to everyone that plus sized passengers are an “inconvenience” and opened the door to fatphobia on flights.

Now the passenger who moved to give herself more room feels bad, and wonders whether she should have “just stuck it out” and been uncomfortable to preserve her seat opponent’s feelings?

AITA for embarrassing a plus sized passenger on a flight?
by u/throwawayonaplane in AmItheAsshole

This is absurd. As a general rule the best course of action is always to secure the most personal space possible on a plane within airline rules. This woman didn’t even just move to an empty seat on her own going rogue, she was invited to move by a flight attendant. She did nothing wrong.

And it is always your responsibility to buy the space you need for yourself under standard circumstances on a plane, whether that’s a first class seat or a second coach seat for an empty middle. If you fit in a standard coach seat, great. If you don’t, you need to secure enough space so that you don’t inconvenience other passengers. I like the long-time Southwest policy of refunding the second seat to a passenger who purchased it because of their size if the flight winds up less than full.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is the natural progression of the theory that everyone MUST be given special treatment so they don’t get offended. Amusement parks restrict overweight people from rides for safety reasons, how is this any different?

  2. I have been stuck between two very obese people on a 4 hour flight. The plane was full so I couldn’t change seats. They both hung over on to my shoulders and arms. I was stuck and couldn’t move. Horrible. I put my headphones on and went to sleep. I had to laugh and said “if we crash, I am protected by two large pillows. It is a problem. When boarding Southwest, I loaded with the disabled (back surgery with full brace and walker) and had to wait for 12 very obese people to board first. I guess SW thought the easier seats to get out of seats should be given to obese people over truly disabled people.

  3. once on a flt from SLC to Denver. Short 1hr flt. Was last to get on the plane. No assigned seats. Walk the entire lenght of plane to the last row which had only 2 seats a side not 3. Sitting in the window seat was a 400-500lb man. He spilled more than half way into the last remaining seat. The flight attendent saw the situation, and ran to the cockpit. Never to return. I saw my options.
    Get off the plane and pay for hotel room and another flight, or suck it up. Since the steward never returned, I took the jump seat in the galley.

  4. I came here to say exactly what sunshine else said, airlines should be “encouraged” to make some “plus-sized” seats available in the less expensive areas of the plane, i.e. 2 seats where there would normally be 3 seats., and designate those for plus-sized individuals. I realize that they would probably charge more for those seats, but they could be done like bullhead seats, etc, and just charge an additional fee.

  5. First off, the opening of the story states the young woman approached the flight atfendznt, not the other way around as the writer says later.

    Either way, it’s time that seat costs be fairly charged based on weight, not simple units. All air freight is charged by weight. To me it makes great sense

  6. Tickets should be priced by weight classes. People are high maintenance cargo, everything below is charged by weight. I’ve been weighed boarding helicopters. Airspace in my seat area should work just like airspace for country’s, you occupy my airspace without my consent then I should be granted some form of compensation since I paid for the entire seat.

    It is not okay for someone to drape their layers over to tops of my arms.

  7. I was on a flight with my husband, he was on the aisle and I had the middle. LARGE MAN came to take the window. When the man sat, not only did he take the armrest, but half of my seat, he was basically on top of my left leg, and shoulder. My husband lifted the armrest so that I could be smashed against him instead of the stranger. I should not be charged the same for my seat when he got a seat and a half and I got half a seat.

  8. I have to notice most people agree with the fact that there should be a charge for using more space than the allocated seat, or even that airlines should provide larger seats to accommodate plus size people.
    We have to assume that if a person needs the extra seat space weather it be 2 normal seats or a custom made seat the price they pay should be double the normal seat price.
    The reason I see for this is that, if for 2 normal seats the airline has got to make the same price for both seats. if there was a custom aisle, 1 large and 1 standard, they would still pay double as the same issue is the space the large seat takes, removes 1 standard seat. This pricing would also make it fair on other passengers.
    Then there is the problem of how many custom seats should they fit? 1, 3 or any number.
    the seats in first class are usually bigger so that is an option for oversized, but also comes at a higher price.
    The problem is definitely not the other passengers fault, and no passenger should be forced to sit next to an oversized person that was spilling into their seat.
    If a person joining a flight is causing problems, shouting, swearing, drunk and they are effecting other customers they would be removed from the flight. Sorry but I see no difference.
    As someone else mentioned above, maybe a persons weight should be taken at time of booking, this could be done only for people over a certain weight, are you over 14stone? (for example) if so what is your weight. oversized people saying this is all unfair must agree that it’s no more unfair than kicking the drunk or abusive person off the plane.

  9. @Mark Walters. You should know what happens when you assume. There is a big difference in a person causing a disturbance on a plane and one being overweight. I agree with a previous post that said if the airlines hadn’t shrunk all the seats and crammed everyone into a smaller space maybe we wouldn’t be having this problem. I would like to see everyone have more room in economy. We are not sardines. Something else that would be nice is the ones that can’t transfer from their wheelchair to a plane seat is to have a couple of empty spaces in the first row aisle spaces where they could stay in their wheelchair and roll right in.

  10. Another excuse to invoke a “phobic” claim. She wasn’t afraid of anything, she just wanted to be comfortable in the seat that she paid for.

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