Passengers happily ensconced in their seat are fun to watch during boarding. When an obviously obese person trundles down the aisle, a look of abject terror will momentarily cross their face. You can almost see the internal mantra of “Please walk past, please walk past!” reflected in their wide eyed stare. The barely concealed fear remains in their eyes until, with a sigh of relief, the rotund fellow traveller moves on.

The fear is real as being stuck beside a fuller figured person in economy class can make for a difficult flight. The question has come up from time to time – should an obese person be charged for an extra seat? Here are some of the arguments I have read over the years on online forums, both for and against.

Hell Yes, An Obese Person Should Pay For Two Seats!

Forget extension seat belts, if you are going to overflow the seat, buy a second seat. It’s only polite for fellow passengers plus it will be more comfortable for you as you will have more space. Besides, if you’re big it’s clearly your own fault for over eating so why should others suffer from your lack of self control? Invading someone else’s personal space thanks to your own choices is just not on!

No, Seats Are Sold Per Person So Why Discriminate?

It’s rare that a person is so big that they encroach on others space, so on those rare occasions people should just suck up any discomfort and deal with it. The person could be suffering from a medical or mental issue that has resulted in weight gain and who are you to judge another human being? Extension seat belts are available to ensure that larger people are safely strapped in. They are probably embarrassed to be trying to fit into the seat in the first place so why ruin their day by being rude?

Who Is To Blame?

Economics are to blame. Seats on aircraft are increasingly slim in order to fit more people in and make more money for the airline. With a Western population that is growing in size, it is counter intuitive to keep reducing passenger space. However, as people have an insatiable appetite for low fares, there really is no alternative. So, the market is ultimately to blame for this situation.

One example is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which is advertised as having one of the most comfortable experiences in the air. The two Japanese airlines, launch customer ANA and Japan Air Lines have economy class configured as intended with 8 seats abreast. Virtually all others have decided to squeeze in 9 seats abreast meaning narrower seats. Not much of a dream once economics are involved, is it?

Overall Thoughts

Personally, I think people should not be required to buy an extra seat as I feel that is discriminatory. People too large for one seat should be provided with a second seat at no additional cost. If someone boards a flight and is too big for one seat, another passenger could be moved to provide the extra space.

What is your opinion on this matter? Should obese people be obliged to buy two seats? Should just one seat be okay? Please feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading!

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Featured image by Gus Ruballo via Unsplash.