Delta passenger gets half of a seat

Overweight airline passengers are a tricky issue. Some airlines stipulate that extra large passengers must pay more, sometimes even the price of two tickets, as they take up additional space. This obviously leads to a mess of questions regarding discrimination and customer service. Recently the Canadian Transport Authority mandated that national carriers were not allowed to institute a “fat surcharge.” Yet these kinds of decisions don’t do much to quell a complicated situation. Take the recent case of Julie from Henderson, Nevada.

Julie wrote in to MSNBC‘s Travel Troubleshooter with a complicated query. On a Delta flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta, Julie was placed next to a very large woman, who was filling up not only her own space, but also half of Julie’s. Much to Julie’s dismay, there was no extra room in first class or in the rest of the plane. The flight attendant’s solution? “Find a cute boy or girl” and sit in their lap.

As ridiculous as that statement probably sounds, Julie’s predicament is not uncommon, and when planes are fully booked there are not any simple solutions. When she emailed Delta to complain about paying for a whole seat and only getting half of one, they politely responded by thanking her for the input but that the airline could not do anything about it. I personally would feel pretty frustrated if I paid for a full price ticket and then had to squeeze myself into half of a seat; a lot of people would.

Should Delta be held responsible? What do you think the solution to the complicated question of overweight travelers in the sky is?