The story behind this photo is that a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight pulled out her camera phone to show how airlines deal with the problem of obese passengers. As you can see, no amount of seat belt extenders is going to help this fellow “of size”.
The photo was sent to Kieran Daly at Flightglobal, and according to the source, it is 100% authentic. Commenters who were on the flight say the poor passenger in the middle was pulled from the flight, given a voucher for his inconvenience and put in first class on the next flight.
Several things come to mind when looking at this photo – first of all, nobody in front of this guy will be getting anything to drink, as there is no way the trolley will fit through that gap. Secondly, in the event of an emergency, I would not be surprised if this guy does not manage to fit through the emergency exit.
In my opinion, American Airlines should have denied the man boarding until he ponied up the cash for a second (or third) seat. Letting him board, and then forcing another passenger to be bumped is pretty unfair.