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.


SkyMall Monday: Waistband Stretcher

Here at the SkyMall Monday world headquarters, we eat a lot. Moderation is a four-letter word, as far as I’m concerned. How can anyone expect me to eat responsibly with all these zig-zagging brownies and giant cupcakes laying around? So, as you can imagine, I’m not exactly in bikini shape this summer. Which is fine, since I’m a dude, but it also means that I’m not in old-timey bathing suit shape either. Sadly, I’ll have to avoid the beach and stay fully clothed this summer. But what if my clothes don’t fit anymore? I mean, I’ve eaten a lot of those giant cupcakes. I can’t afford a whole new wardrobe. You may be surprised to learn that writing SkyMall Monday is not exactly the most lucrative endeavor. Basically, I get paid with SkyMall gift cards which I use to purchase more giant cupcake pans. So, how can I make my clothes fit without changing my lifestyle and becoming healthy? Well, I could always force my pants to fit with the Waistband Stretcher!

Now, instead of dieting, exercising, sleeping well and abstaining for alcohol, I can just stretch my pants out until they fit around my robust, girthy torso. I can continue to shovel heaping amounts of homemade donuts into my gullet comforted by the knowledge that my pants are always a quick stretch away from allowing blood flow to my lower extremities. My genitalia have never been more excited!

Don’t believe my excited genitalia? Fine, don’t take their word for it. But you have to trust the product description:

When your waistband feels too snug, reach for the Waistband Stretcher. You don’t have to get rid of your favorite jeans, skirts or slacks thanks to this simple waist-band stretching device that lets you add from 1-5 inches (depending on size of garment) to the waist of cotton pants, skirts, and shorts. Just moisten the garment’s waistband, insert the waistband stretcher, extend the garment to the desired size and let dry – voila, a more comfortable fit!

Of course, once the cupcakes and donuts induce the heart attack that I have scheduled for July, I’m certain to lose a few pounds in the hospital. Comas will do that. I’m sure that there’s a reverse setting on the Waistband Stretcher and I’ll get those 1-5 inches back in no time. Voila, waistband shrunk! No? You can’t unstretch a waistband? Well, back to my diet of choice then.

United airlines “fat passenger” policy prompts plenty of backlash

On Wednesday, I posted about the new United Airlines policy for charging “passengers of size” for 2 seats, if they are unable to fit in one seat or use a single seatbelt extender.

Now, whether this new money maker is a good idea or not, is besides the point, at least for United, because the PR backlash is already starting to hurt them and has forced them to change the wording in their rules.

The AAPR (not to be confused with the AARP) is the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, and they claim that charging large passengers is just another way for the airline to make even more money. Instead of changing the rules, they say the airlines should change their seats.

“They’re at it again,” said Brandon M. Macsata , Executive Director of AAPR, of the airline industry. “United is now the latest airline to shelve customer service standards in search for higher profits, while claiming that the new policy is to ‘protect’ other passengers. At issue should not be the size of any passenger, but rather why the airlines continue to pack coach passengers like sardines into the cabin.”

I completely agree – airline seats in coach are too small, but in an industry where competition is fierce, packing more people in your already cramped planes is one of the few ways they can still make money.

And to be honest, the policy isn’t really after “large” passengers, it is for “really really large” passengers. If you need more than one seatbelt extender, and/or need more than one seat, then you do need to pay for it, especially if you are going to be an inconvenience to the passengers next to you.

As much as I’d love to see modernized (larger) coach seats, it’s going to take a miracle for the airlines to invest in the back of the cabin. Remember, these are companies that don’t even have the money to hand out free pretzels.

Still, it is nice to see an organization protect the rights of the airline passenger. To learn more about how the AAPR is helping us, check out their site.

United Airlines to charge obese passengers for the extra space

United Airlines just announced their plans to charge obese passengers for the extra seat they take up on their planes.

They are not the first airline to do this, and most likely won’t be the last. That said, their definition of obese means that readers with a bit of a beer belly won’t have to worry too much.

Only passengers who need more than one seat belt extender, or who can not sit in their seat with the arm rests down will have to pay.

That probably means less than half a percentage of their passengers. I’m a big guy myself, but I have no problem using the regular seatbelt, plus I can easily keep the armrests down without bothering the passenger next to me.

The extra charge will be for a second seat, and on aircraft without a spare seat, the “passenger of size” will have to wait for the next flight.

The new rules will be enforced by the gate agents, which is probably going to lead to nothing but trouble for the airline, and I suspect they will be in court with a large passenger defending this new rule pretty soon.

Their official policy can be found here.

Jetstar charges passengers by the pound

The debate has gone on for years. Larger people have had to deal with shrinking plane seats. We all complain, with the svelte arguing that the not-so-trim should have to purchase an extra seat. I have to be honest, here. I believe that you should pay for what you consume. If you take two seats pay for them. Apparently, low-cost Australian airline Jetstar agrees, with much more zeal than I would have ever imagined.

For some, airfare must be purchased by the pound … and I’m not talking about the British currency.

Samantha Scafe, a 350 pound transgender passenger on Jetstar, was forced to pay for a second seat “for other people’s comfort” after twice being assured that this would not be necessary. Jetstar later apologized for the debacle, saying that it doesn’t provide overweight customers with “two-for-one deals.”

Obviously, she’s filing a lawsuit over this.

Now, let’s give Jetstar credit for follow-through. Not only do they offend a passenger, but the two seats they gave her had a slight problem: they were separated by the aisle. If she occupied them, she’d have had the flight attendants all over her for not getting out of the way of the drink cart!

These women should’ve been charged for their “crimes”!

[Via news.com.au, Blackbook]