But what about passengers who have thyroid disorders that cause them to gain weight — or some other serious health issue?On a broader level, is it fair or logical for the airlines to keep shrinking airplane seats even though more than one-third of American adults are now obese?If you can’t buckle your seatbelt (with an extension if necessary) and fit into a seat with the armrests down — and without encroaching “significantly” on the adjacent space — you must purchase an additional seat or pay for an upgrade to a roomier seat on United.
Over the years, some of these questions have moved out of the realm of the rhetorical — though there have been very few cases where the airlines’ policies have been tested or disputed in public (not surprisingly, due to the very sensitive nature of the issue).Most big folks have simply taken the abuse, or made their case without going too public.“If you are unable to sit in your seat without encroaching into the seat next to you while the armrest is down, please ask the agent if they can reseat you next to an empty seat,” the airline says on its website.You can also pay to upgrade to first or business class.Some airlines will offer a discount on the second seat or refund the cost if the plane isn’t full, but in many cases obese passengers simply have to pay twice the price as other fliers.
Obesity is a hot-button topic, and many will argue that some big folks simply need to pare back on the super-size fries.
Airline Travel Information By: Janet Ambrose The links to the airlines listed below will lead you to the specific page on that airlines website explaining their policies for travelers with disabilities or special needs.
(These are not just general links to the airlines homepage.) There is an exciting new service available for disabled air travelers - Mobility Air Transport.
American requires passengers to purchase a second seat if they need a seatbelt extension and their body “extends more than 1 inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest.” The airline recommends that you buy both seats during your original booking (at the same rate).
If you don’t book two seats in advance, you will be responsible for any fare difference on a second seat purchased the day of your flight.
Passengers can also wait until the day of their flight to speak with a customer service person at the gate, who will give them a complimentary additional seat if it’s available.