Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ripped from the Headlines

United Air to charge obese double on full flights

LOS ANGELES — United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp, will require obese passengers bumped from full flights to purchase two seats on a subsequent flight, matching the policy of some other carriers.

The change brings the Chicago-based in line with eight other airlines including Continental, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest, United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said on Wednesday.

"Last year we had 700 complaints from passengers who had to share their seats," she said.

Under the new policy, obese passengers -- defined as unable to lower the arm rest and buckle a seat belt with one extension belt -- will still be reaccommodated, at no extra charge, to two empty seats if there is space available.

If, however, the airplane is full, they will be bumped from the flight and may have to purchase a second ticket, at the same price as the original fare, Urbanski said.

If the bumped passenger chooses to cancel the trip, the ticket will be refunded with no additional charge.

The policy is effective immediately.

This sparked an office debate. I'm no longer in the office at this late hour, but I'm still thinking about it. It seems to me that unless the airline requires you to sign something as you buy your tickets declaring you accept the possibility that your fat ass may get bumped, there would be no way to avoid a lawsuit.

My issue with this new policy is not so much that it is or is not'll recall my flight to Atlanta in issue surrounds the actual implementation of the policy. How will this work?

Say you're of the 300 pound variety and you have a job interview across the country that you have to be there for the next day. Or your Great Aunt Maude has kicked it and the funeral is in 24 hours. OR, you purchased - with legal tender - a fucking plane ticket with the expectation that it will aid in transporting you from point A to point B at the time agreed upon at point of sale. Say one or all of these things applied - and the flight is full - and you're sitting there, uncomfortable, getting the evil eye from the yoga-obsessed hippie ho in the seat next to you and pissed that they don't offer peanuts anymore. The in-flight movie is that mall cop one with that guy from that UPS show. And you're going somewhere awful, like Topeka.

Then the stewardess (yes...stewardess) comes up to you and KICKS YOU OFF THE FLIGHT because you're fat. She does this telling you that you can re-book a later flight for twice the price.

Tell me...what would YOU do?

Condi loves you. 'Nighty night.

21 keep(s) me blogging:

Robert the Skeptic said...

What would I do??... Rely on America's Railroads, that's what! - Hauling heavy freight since 1789.

Actually, Ricky Gervais alrady covered this very subject exceedingly well. Here's the link:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Yeah, the railroads are great! What was the name of that film where Ernest Borgnine played the guard trying to kick that hobo Lee Marvin off the train? Serves him right for trying to sneak a ride without a ticket. Why don't you have a railroad adventure and blog about it?

CTJen said...

This is part of the reason I am boycotting air travel. The skies are no longer friendly. I also refuse to participate in their theater of the absurd "security".

Amtrak, here I come! Whoo-whooo!!!

d said...

i'd buy a jet pack... or a cape. in fact, i may anyway, because it just sounds like fun.

erin said...

I'd eat her right up. Stewardesses are delicious with cilantro and lime!

Sarah said...

It's a toughie. I have nothing to contribute, but this. If a fatty is sitting next to me on my flight to New York next month I'll strike up a conversation about it.

Rachel said...

Whaa? You're asking me to think? This shall not be stood for!

I'd probably accept my lot in life, and depart the plane with the stewardess's head in my mouth and a cloud of colon gas in the hippie-ho's face.

Oh, and I would demand my damn peanuts!

kara said...

dad - he does cover the fairness aspect, but not the actual implementation of of the policy and how it would work. it was funny, though.

goranas - i've taken many train adventures. some were good, some were boring and some were not so good or boring.

CTJen - yeah, but here on the west coast the Amtrack train lines are poorly funded an always late. pain in the big fat arse.

d - i support you in this endeavor.

erin - not too chewy?

sarah - i look forward to your scientific findings.

rachel - but would you actually accept it? once you're on the plane, luggage stowed and you're seated?

Robert the Skeptic said...

It's not a disease, is it!

The Future said...

Maybe I've flown more than others but if you are so fat, for whatever reason, you can't get into a single airplane seat even with a seat belt extension, why should you expect to be able to sit in and pay for just one seat? Are you saying these people don't know they're fat so they should be accommodated with whatever they need at the expense of everyone else? Or, are you saying they should be allowed to slop their fat over the top of the innocent who just happened to have the misfortune of buying the stinking seat next to theirs? How is this any different than not letting smokers smoke on the plane and blow smoke in your face, even though they have a disease and are addicted to cigies? Just because they're fat, they need to be treated differently; baloney, if they are the size of two people, they should pay the same price as two people. My thinking's not aligned with yours. Can you tell?

yinyang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yinyang said...

I agree with this post:

F.U.nitedAnd if I ever got kicked off a plane, I would raise hell about it.

(That deleted comment was me. Damn formatting; grumble grumble.)

yinyang said...

And it doesn't even matter, 'cause the formatting's still messed up.

More grumble grumble.

Stinkypaw said...

That's a tough one... I know for having been seated next to a very large man once, that I was royally upset: the seats are not that wide to start with and he was well over my side, it was uncomfortable and embarassing (for both is us I'd say), so if they're "that big", they should buy 2 seats - I would.

I'd hate to be kicked off the flight though... so, I'm starting a diet right this moment!!!

kara said...

mum - we just debated this over the phone so re-comment

yinyang - i agree to a point. the fact of the matter is, when someone's fatness spills over into my seat so i'm smooshed, they may be as uncomfortable as i am...but i'm not the one causing it. you know?

still - they haven't thought out the logistics of this policy at all...and that's the debate i'm after.

and yes, something's been up with the comment formatting lately.

stinkypaw - i didn't mean to instill fear! besides, i'm sure you're safe from a bumping.

that sounded wrong.

The Future said...

I just think you're barking up the wrong tree. The news story indicated many other airlines already have this policy in place, have obviously ironed out the details so it's nothing new and I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill, (snicker, snicker).

Mary Witzl said...

I once had to sit next to someone who was overflowing her seat on a flıght from Tokyo to L.A. I started off feeling sorry for her, but ended up feeling sorrier for myself -- especially when she fell asleep and leaned on me.

But I would HATE being a stewardess who had to implement this policy.

Woozie said...

I would probably feel like shit, be very angry, hate myself, and maybe--just maybe--take it upon myself to slim down a bit. I've never had the misfortune of sitting next to someone spilling over the armrests but I would be pretty damn upset about it. And if I were the spilee, in retrospect I would certainly understand my yoga-obsessed hippy's distaste for sitting next to me.

Susie Q said...

See here's the problem. Why does the poor, underpaid, over worked "hostess", "stewardess", or what ever the crap they are called today, have to be the ones to make the call? Shouldn't this be handled WELL before the flight is ready to take off? I'm thinking a "can you fit through here" spot right next to the "does your carry on luggage fit in here" spot. You know what I mean? Take care of this before the boom-bada-boom dude is spilling his blub into your lap.
The smell is an entirely different nightmare. My condolences.

Twinkie said...

I have to agree with The Future.

kara said...

future - they have the charging of an extra seat in place. i don't know if they do the 'booting from the flight' bit.

mary - it would not be worth the perks, no.

woozie - ok, that's the politically correct answer. now what would you REALLY do?

sue - exactly. they need to find a way to implement it BEFORE they get on the damn plane. maybe even before they get to the airport.

twinkie - agreeing with my mother will only encourage her.