United: Oversized flyers can't spill over, must buy 2 seats

It's a tough day to be a fatty: United Airlines will now require obese passengers to buy a second seat if they can't fit in the one provided. They join a growing group of airlines now requiring fat people to pay more to fly so other customers are more comfortable in the already cramped seats. [via cp]

How are they measuring one's fatness? If the passenger is "unable to use an extended seat belt, put their armrests down, and if they infringe on another guest's seat." In other words: If you ooze into your neighbor's lap, it's time to buy a second seat and be promptly embarrassed in front of an entire flight as they escort you away.

More from the LA Times:
As of Wednesday, passengers too large to fit comfortably in a coach seat may be required to buy a second ticket or upgrade to business class, where seats are larger -- if United's flight attendants can't find two open seats for them.

The carrier, whose parent company is Chicago-based UAL Corp., said it decided to adopt the tougher policy after receiving more than 700 complaints last year from passengers "who did not have a comfortable flight because the person next to them infringed on their seat," spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.
United isn't the only airline enforcing fat flier rules. Southwest and Continental enforce similar policies.

But is it fair to make the fattest Americans spend twice as much to fly? Slate suggests that planes create sections with slightly wider seats that could be purchased for less than buying two seperate seats. They argue that most obese passengers are only in need of a couple extra inches, not two full seats.

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