Flight attendant photographs obese passenger / safety hazard

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.


Airlines losing less of our baggage – for the wrong reasons

Here is (what should be) a great piece of news from the aviation world – domestic US carriers are losing fewer of our bags.

A staggering 1.3 million bags were not lost when compared to statistics from the previous year.

Normally, airlines would have a good reason to be proud of this result. It could be because they are paying more attention to their baggage procedures, or simply that their staff are learning to be more respectful of our belongings, but sadly, the reason they are losing less luggage has a far more logical explanation.

People are not checking as many bags.

The airlines, in their infinite wisdom decided that checking a bag is a luxury that should be sold to us, in addition to our ticket fee.

Too many passengers refuse to pay this fee, so as more people drag all their luggage on board the plane, fewer bags have to be placed in the baggage hold. It all makes perfect sense.

American Airlines was the clear winner with a 26% improvement over 2007. But of course, American Airlines was also the first of the major carriers to introduce the pay-to-check baggage scheme.

Eventually, the whole thing will probably come back and bite the airlines in the ass. As more people carry more stuff on to the plane, departure times will get delayed, flight attendants will have to spend more time finding space for bags that don’t fit in the overhead compartment, and passengers will still get their bags checked for free when the crew have to do a gate check for any bags that can’t be stored in the cabin.