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'Person Of Size' Angry About Need For Spill-Over Ticket
Sacramento Bee via Scripps Howard ^ | June 18, 2002 | Bob Shallit

Posted on 06/17/2002 5:13:16 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest

As a professional services executive for a software company, Steve McAllister travels a lot. The resident of the California foothills figures he's accumulated a couple million frequent flier miles and flown on Southwest Airlines at least 100 times.

But he never before experienced what happened a week ago. And he was hopping mad.

While buying a ticket for a Southwest flight from Sacramento to Burbank, Calif., he was told he'd need to buy an extra ticket.

The reason? He's what the airline calls "a person of size" - the PC term, evidently, for someone so large he may need more than one seat.

McAllister is, in fact, a big man - 6 feet 2 inches, 350 pounds. But the former college football player says he's never been accused of taking up more than a single seat on a flight.

"To be honest, I was really outraged," McAllister says of the request for double payment. Eventually, after some heated words, he was allowed to get a single ticket but only because the Southwest people were a little premature in enforcing a new policy.

As of June 26, large customers will have to pay the extra fare - but can seek reimbursement if it turns out the flight has unoccupied seats. In the past, ticket agents had the option of charging big people for an extra seat when a flight was fully booked. But they apparently didn't do it very often.

So how do the agents determine if a customer is likely to exceed his allotted space? It's a judgment call, says airlines spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger.

It is, she acknowledges, "a very delicate situation."


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 06/17/2002 5:13:17 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Looks like the airlines are desperate to sell tickets.
2 posted on 06/17/2002 5:14:11 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
LOL! This is too funny.
3 posted on 06/17/2002 5:15:56 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Jorge
It's not THAT funny. Have you ever been seated next to a double-wide on a flight? Makes me claustrophobic - not to mention that I'm then paying for less than a full seat since the out-sized one takes up some of my space.
4 posted on 06/17/2002 5:18:05 PM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
A few weeks back I saw a guy who actually had to force his butt to fit between the armrests. That was bad enough, but his seatmate was a rather burly guy as well.

That musta been one uncomfortable ride....

5 posted on 06/17/2002 5:18:17 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
You haven't lived until you've been placed between two of these 350 pounders on a long trip.
6 posted on 06/17/2002 5:18:42 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Wait a minute - "person of size?" I'm offended! I'm a person of size, too - small and skinny is a size too. We have just as much right to use the "person of size" sobriquet as weight-challenged lardbuckets. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

I'm suing.

7 posted on 06/17/2002 5:18:53 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
If the airlines are going to do this (and I wish they would - I fly several times a month and get tired of being squeezed by "people of size"), then they'd better also not put another customer in the "extra" seat.
8 posted on 06/17/2002 5:19:16 PM PDT by Endeavor
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
You must have never had to sit beside one of these oversized folks or.............. you ARE one. This is an idea whos time has come.
9 posted on 06/17/2002 5:19:25 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Person of size? Is it me, or are we all "of size"?
10 posted on 06/17/2002 5:21:54 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Hell's donkeys! I'm a short thin dude and I find airplane seats cramped.

I can't imagine what torture it must be for the big sized folks and now they want them to pay double?

11 posted on 06/17/2002 5:22:42 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: Ditter
I avoid flying because, knowing my luck, I would get stuck beside one of these blimps who brought his own salami.
12 posted on 06/17/2002 5:22:49 PM PDT by nonliberal
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To: Billthedrill
I guess Hillary would be known as a Person of Thighs.
13 posted on 06/17/2002 5:24:04 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: Paul Atreides
I'm thinking "person of fries" is appropriate for Bill Clinton
14 posted on 06/17/2002 5:26:11 PM PDT by spycatcher
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
They should have spillover test seats, just like they have test frames for carry on luggage. Then the determination would be objective.
15 posted on 06/17/2002 5:26:58 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
You know those things they make you place your carry on in to see if it fits the "size" requirements before you board...I can't wait until they have one that they measure people's butts with...too funny.

Actually, I have had to sit next to people whose largesse pokes through the space under the arm rest. They always pretend not to notice that they are spilling over into your seat, and squashing you.

16 posted on 06/17/2002 5:28:04 PM PDT by sockmonkey
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To: r9etb
It always happens to me too!

It doesn't matter who I fly with, They always put me between the two biggest guys on the plane. (I'm 6' 0" 260 lbs.)

17 posted on 06/17/2002 5:28:19 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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To: spycatcher
Or, person of lies.
18 posted on 06/17/2002 5:29:00 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: Honcho Bongs
I agree with you, and I agree with the new policy.

But I just think of the "person of size" being forced to pay for TWO seats...and I just have to laugh.
Maybe they should load them on the plane with a cargo net.

19 posted on 06/17/2002 5:29:33 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: HiTech RedNeck
They should have spillover test seats, just like they have test frames for carry on luggage.

Darn, I typed so slow that you beat me to it. Maybe we should start a company that manufactures them, and sell these to all the airlines.

20 posted on 06/17/2002 5:30:43 PM PDT by sockmonkey
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To: alaskanfan
I guess now, people will feel discriminated against for having to shop in the Big and Tall or Plus Size clothing sections.
21 posted on 06/17/2002 5:31:03 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: sockmonkey
You know those things they make you place your carry on in to see if it fits the "size" requirements before you board...I can't wait until they have one that they measure people's butts with...too funny.

They have something like that at Six Flags - one of the ride seats mounted outside the ride so you can see if you'll fit before you go.

22 posted on 06/17/2002 5:31:06 PM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: all
I sympathize with all you flyers, but this happened to me at a theater(to see We Were Soldiers).
I got there early to get a good seat and the theater filled up rapidly...my luck, there was an empty seat next to me...you guessed it, I spent the next two hours leaning on my right side with no place to move!
23 posted on 06/17/2002 5:37:44 PM PDT by mystery-ak
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
the only fair way to do this is to charge by the pound
24 posted on 06/17/2002 5:38:52 PM PDT by ghost of nixon
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To: Paul Atreides
We should demand reperations!!!!
25 posted on 06/17/2002 5:39:04 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Seems to me they could avoid offending anybody (too seriously anyway) by just having 'weight classes'. After all, isn't weight of the plane directly correlated to fuel usage, and hence, profit loss? Just have three classes: under 100, 100-250, and 250+. And they can pick some weight/height ratio limit that determines whether you have to pay for the adjacent seat or not. At least it's more dignified than having your ass measured!
26 posted on 06/17/2002 5:40:11 PM PDT by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: sockmonkey
Actually, I have had to sit next to people whose largesse pokes through the space under the arm rest. They always pretend not to notice that they are spilling over into your seat, and squashing you.

That's a new one for me, but I'll tell you - I'm getting awfully tired of elbow-wrestling over the armrest with some fool who's convinced that he's sitting in front of the tube in his La-Z-Boy at home. The last jack*ss I had that happen with waited until I reached for my drink from the stewardess and practically glued his elbow in place. And then he took his shoes off. That SOB.

27 posted on 06/17/2002 5:40:23 PM PDT by general_re
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To: sockmonkey
Actually, I have had to sit next to people whose largesse pokes through the space under the arm rest.

You win the Tactful Expression of the Day award! Too funny!
28 posted on 06/17/2002 5:40:40 PM PDT by Xenalyte
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Isn't this just a logical extension of the bag limit?
29 posted on 06/17/2002 5:42:08 PM PDT by ellery
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
You are dicriminating against me because of my genetic inheritence!!!!
30 posted on 06/17/2002 5:42:55 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. There is already one that hit the news here in Canada from some woman of size claiming discrimination from the airlines for making her pay for two seats.
31 posted on 06/17/2002 5:43:41 PM PDT by xp38
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
I meant to say that the three different classes would each get one seat, but pay different ticket prices. If you reduce the issue to something abstract and justifiable, such as weight vs. fuel usage, it is less offensive to the paying customer. What's more, it makes sense. Children pay less at fast food restaurants. Why? Because they get less food. That, and they're loss leaders, i.e., they get the parent(s) in the store, where they too may buy food. That's the whole logic behind the 'kids stay free' or '1/2 price' things you see. People are more likely to travel with that sit-on-lap baby if the baby doesn't cost anything. But that's a different issue.

The point is, the airlines are trying to maximize profit. Period. Telling people they're too fat for one seat is effective IF people do not use that as a reason to shun your airline in the future. Therefore, it may make more sense to choose the more tactful, quantifiable route I described, or not implement it at all. Sometimes, enforcing a rule that gets you more money in theory, backfires because it drives away the customers.

32 posted on 06/17/2002 5:47:00 PM PDT by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: alaskanfan
Al Sharpton would get a double-settlement.
33 posted on 06/17/2002 5:47:11 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: xp38
Hear! Hear! I would not be charged because of ass size (28 inch waist) but because of chest size(xxxl).

Those airline seats are made for marvin milktoast.

34 posted on 06/17/2002 5:47:39 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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To: ghost of nixon
the only fair way to do this is to charge by the pound

But if you charge by the pound Democrats will pay more - they're denser than regular people.

35 posted on 06/17/2002 5:48:13 PM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Huh, his ticket was "supersized".

Now, will they serve him two meals? "I'm eating for two."

36 posted on 06/17/2002 5:49:36 PM PDT by csvset
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To: ellery
Isn't this just a logical extension of the bag limit?

No, I think it's more like a slot limit where you can take a certain size,but not bigger or smaller. But with airlines there is a money factor also. Babies under a certain age fly free, 'normal' (per averages that the seats were built for) size pays regular price, porkers 'super sized' flyers pay a premium.

;-)

37 posted on 06/17/2002 5:49:43 PM PDT by StriperSniper
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To: sockmonkey
Actually, I have had to sit next to people whose largesse pokes through the space under the arm rest.

Doesn't that make the armrest pop up?

-PJ

38 posted on 06/17/2002 5:50:10 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too
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To: Honcho Bongs
It's not THAT funny. Have you ever been seated next to a double-wide on a flight? Makes me claustrophobic - not to mention that I'm then paying for less than a full seat since the out-sized one takes up some of my space.

Worse yet is when that double-wide removes, or persuades you to remove, the chair arm that separates your seats - then that behemoth really spills over into your space. It's not a matter of claustrophobia, I'm getting crushed by their spill-over.

you'd think if they could afford that extra food, and the prices for extra-large clothes, that they could afford the price of the wider first class seating.

39 posted on 06/17/2002 5:52:11 PM PDT by DonQ
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To: alaskanfan
You are dicriminating against me because of my genetic inheritence!!!!

I assume you're just joking. The whole deal with equality is ridiculous in certain applications. Should we allow someone of Jerrold Nadler's size to be a jockey?

I have lost 70 pounds in the past 18 months. I don't have a point, just boasting. Man, it's been a tough eight months! I actually started this current weight loss effort when I was at 215 pounds, in mid-October. Now I'm 158, which is 70 pounds less than my all-time-high, which was right around the time Katherine Harris certified President Bush in mid-December of 2000.

But anyway, if it was a joke, it was funny. If it wasn't, then I apologize for any offense you may have taken.

40 posted on 06/17/2002 5:52:18 PM PDT by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
"And he was hopping mad."

I hope he wasn't hopping mad on the flight.

41 posted on 06/17/2002 5:53:14 PM PDT by TheLooseThread
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
I flew from Virginia to Texas one time on a cramped MD-80 and was seated next to a very big woman (I was in the window seat, and boy did I get an up-close view of the window). There were some guys who I worked with who were on the flight (we were going to a company function), and I ended up being the butt of several jokes when we arrived at our destination (no pun intended).
42 posted on 06/17/2002 5:53:58 PM PDT by flair2000
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Buncha skinny weasel whiners, next time I'll sit on ya instead of next to ya!
43 posted on 06/17/2002 5:54:08 PM PDT by Tony in Hawaii
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To: HiTech RedNeck
LOL!
44 posted on 06/17/2002 5:54:11 PM PDT by olivia3boys
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To: Honcho Bongs
Exactly! In my experience, the person next to me wouldn't fit in the seat with the arm rest down. I know the airlines are making their per person space smaller, but I resent not be able to use the space that I paid for!
45 posted on 06/17/2002 5:56:17 PM PDT by A Citizen Reporter
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
What would Nero Wolfe say?

Pfui!

46 posted on 06/17/2002 5:58:46 PM PDT by No Truce With Kings
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To: A Citizen Reporter
He should have been seated with his back to the cockpit door. Now that would stop any hijacker.
47 posted on 06/17/2002 5:59:14 PM PDT by Ron in Acreage
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To: LibKill
It has to be torture for huge fat people to fly. If I was one of them I'd already be buying an extra ticket without being told, in fact I know a 'large Marge' who does.
48 posted on 06/17/2002 5:59:53 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Honcho Bongs
I sat next to a "person of size" on a flight from Mexico. He literally slept on me for the whole trip. It was horrible.
49 posted on 06/17/2002 6:01:52 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: TrappedInLiberalHell
I've been discriminated against since I was in high school. My head was too big and they had to order a special helmet for me when I played high school football.

It's been the same every since, I'm a big man in a Marvin Milktoast world.

50 posted on 06/17/2002 6:02:56 PM PDT by alaskanfan
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