AirTran Airways announced on Thursday that they will soon be implementing a “customer of size” policy which requires that customers who can’t fit into a single seat with the armrest down buy another seat.
The policy comes after the company was purchased by Southwest Airlines which already had the policy in place for all coach passengers.
According to reports the new policy will go live in March.
A spokesperson for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance says of the policy, “we are paying customers” while adding that fat people feel “embarrassed and humiliated” when they are told a second seat needs to be purchased to continue on their flight.
According to the association the issue is that staff are left to decide which passengers are too big for a single seat while a clear enforcement policy is not in place.
Southwest is quick to point out that they offer refunds on the cost of the second seat if the flight doesn’t oversell, a policy that will be kept in place at AirTran.
As someone who has had to fly next to a morbidly obese person on a five hour flight I personally have to applaud AirTran for ensuring the comfort of their skinnier passengers. I don’t see this policy as “fat discrimination” I see it as a natural extension of an airlines business plan which is to sell each customer at a “per seat” pricing structure, if you can’t fit in one seat you buy a second one, case closed.
Do you believe that a person who requires two seats should have to pay for a second seat to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone else aboard the flight?