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Thread: Dilemma Revisited: Large Passengers on Planes

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    hellooooooo sher's Avatar
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    Dilemma Revisited: Large Passengers on Planes

    we discussed this a long time ago on a board far, far away: whether large passengers should have to purchase 2 seats on a plane and who should bear the cost. the reason i bring this back up is because i just read an article re: this very subject. i'll post it here. feel free to revisit the issue with me.

    from www.cnn.com

    Obese Passenger Squashes Woman on Plane

    LONDON, England -- A woman injured while squeezed next to an obese passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight has been given 13,000 ($20,000) by the airline.

    Barbara Hewson, 63, was offered damages by Virgin Atlantic after suffering a blood clot, torn leg muscles and sciatica following a flight to Los Angeles in January 2001, the UK's Press Association reported.

    She said the woman passenger was so large she had to sit with the arm rests up, but when she complained, the crew said there was nothing they could do as the plane was full.

    Hewson, of Swansea, Wales, who still has medical treatment, was quoted by PA on Monday as saying: "It was never about the money. No money would pay for you having sleepless nights with the pain."

    The freelance writer, who travelled with her husband Roy, 67, said she spent most of her holiday in bed. "It ruined the holiday. We went out very little."

    Hewson added that half-way through the flight the woman asked if she was okay, saying to her: "I'm sitting on your lap."

    "I had three sessions of sitting in the hostess seat and I stood for a little while," added Hewson.

    Virgin Atlantic said in a statement: "This was an unprecedented set of extremely unfortunate circumstances.

    "We have apologised to Mrs Hewson and offered her compensation, which she has accepted, and we are pleased that this has now reached a conclusion."

  2. #2
    It ain't easy being green Wayner's Avatar
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    I'm torn on this front. On one hand, I can see the argument against making someone pay for more than one seat; they are paying for a service, and they shouldn't be discriminated against based on their size.

    On the other hand, I can see the arguments for making someone pay for more than one seat. If you hire a moving company, they charge you if your stuff takes up more room. Also, a person that sits next to someone of extra-large size is tremendously inconvenienced, and in the case of the person in the article, actually injured. I once sat next to a woman that was pushing the limits of the seat. She was nice, and I felt badly for her; her leg kept squishing under the armrest and popping it up in the air. She would blush and apologize. Like I said, I felt badly for her, but I was pretty uncomfortable; being in the middle seat is bad enough under normal circumstances.

    I just wish the airlines had bigger seats and more leg room. At 6'3", if I don't get an exit row, I end up eating my knees. At least they're tastier than most of the airline food you get these days. )

  3. #3
    Princess
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    Agreed - it is a tough one. Maybe the airline company should simply give these people 2 seats (and we'll all share this cost)?

  4. #4
    It ain't easy being green Wayner's Avatar
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    Agreed - it is a tough one. Maybe the airline company should simply give these people 2 seats (and we'll all share this cost)?
    Now that I would have a problem with. Should those of us that are not extra-large be forced to help pay for those that are? If so, then why not have those of us that work hard help pay the way for those that are lazy. Or those of us that make more money pay some of the cost for those that make less. We could get into a whole "Atlas Shrugged" discussion here, for those of you who've read any Ayn Rand.

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    Sexy evil genius Paulie's Avatar
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    It is a difficult decision for airlines to make, but the seats on the airplanes are commodities. If your physical dimensions dictate that you require two of the airline's resources, then the airline has the right and the responsibility to charge for each one that will be utilized.
    When you're ten years old and a car drives by and splashes a puddle of water all over you, it's hard to decide if you should go to school like that or try to go home and change and probably be late. So while he was trying to decide, I drove by and splashed him again. - Jack Handey

    Read Paulie's Precaps for Survivor:Vanuatu: 1-2-3-4-5

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    Princess
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    Wayner - I'm from Sweden, and perhaps I see things a bit differently as I've been growing up in a society where indeed the rich(er) give a lot of money to the poor(er). For example healthcare and college is virtually free for every one.

    My reasoning on the seats was just that given the millions of flights, I don't believe that more than an infinitesimal part of those seats are occupied by large people, so the extra cost per person would perhaps be in the order of 25cents. Just my 2 cents ...

  7. #7
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I'm torn on this one too.
    I think a lot of it boils down to the airlines giving so little room in ecomony class that anyone who isn't "standard" size can be very uncomfortable.
    Removing a few seats would make everyone more comfortable, but would result in increased air fares.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  8. #8
    Sleeping with George W
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    I'm tall, not large, and I sure would love to have two seats too ... for free ... so I could stretch out and be comfortable. I'm sure a lot of mothers with babies would love a free seat for their kiddos too, instead of having to have them sit in their laps.

    I agree with Paulie. A seat is a commodity and if you need two, you should pay for two. It would be very unfair to just give obese people extra seats for free.

  9. #9
    It ain't easy being green Wayner's Avatar
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    Wayner - I'm from Sweden, and perhaps I see things a bit differently as I've been growing up in a society where indeed the rich(er) give a lot of money to the poor(er). For example healthcare and college is virtually free for every one.
    Good point, Modesty. We're all products of our society. Personally, I'm a Capitalist Pig despite growing up overseas.

  10. #10
    Sexy evil genius Paulie's Avatar
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    I'd go a bit farther on that one, Fluff. I submit that economy class is too cramped for anyone to be truly comfortable there. That being said, exacerbating the situation by cramming "non-standard-sized" people into a seat they need the Jaws of Life to get out of is irresponsible. Pulling seats and re-designing the economy sections would be a great idea, but as you say, all air travelers would pay for it. Since that will not happen, imposing the additional fee only on those individuals who require two seats makes sense to me.
    When you're ten years old and a car drives by and splashes a puddle of water all over you, it's hard to decide if you should go to school like that or try to go home and change and probably be late. So while he was trying to decide, I drove by and splashed him again. - Jack Handey

    Read Paulie's Precaps for Survivor:Vanuatu: 1-2-3-4-5

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