On my flight to the Bahamas I was on a small jet. The plane had two seats, an aisle, and two more seats. You could not put your carry- on bag above your head. You had to check your bag and they would give it to you when you land. The seats in coach class have been downsized over the years as American human beings have been supersizing themselves. Even for an average sized human being coach class is not exactly a pleasant experience. I sat next to a very large woman who was overflowing the boundaries of her seat. The arm rest was up and she was bursting into my seat. She needed a seatbelt extender. In between her legs was a large bag which she would occasionally reach into causing her to hit me with her arm. I was not happy. She did apologize. I said it’s ok. What am I going to say? I am sure she is self-conscious about her size and the situation. I am not going to further embarrass her. There was no place else to go on the flight so I just sucked it up. I could only imagine how bad it would have been for a human being who was larger than me.

Southwest Airlines, which was not the airline I was flying, seems to have a fix. Maybe. They are allowing plus sized people to buy an extra seat and then get a refund for the extra seat. So they get two seats for the price of one. As you can imagine this has many plus sized people very happy.

I am not so sure this is a great thing. We know airlines have decreased the number of flights and so many flights are packed as it is. With people getting two seats for the price of one it would seem this would decrease the number of available seats and raise the prices of tickets for everyone. Also, there are stories of people who have booked seats but who have been bumped and not gotten on the flight because Southwest chose to accommodate the larger person. So now I miss my flight because someone else essentially gets a free seat and tough luck for me even though I paid for my seat? That does not seem fair.

It can easily be argued South West’s heart is in the right place but when less seats are available we all pay the price. I think the best solution is airlines be forced to increase the size of seats in coach. Some may argue the government should not interfere in private business. I hear that argument, but tax payers are constantly bailing out the airlines when they are in trouble with our tax dollars. In effect, even though we don’t own stock necessarily in the airline I could argue we are shareholders. We constantly bail out the airlines and all we get for our money is worse and worse experience. I think we are all entitled to a better flying experience and we shouldn’t have to eat ourselves unhealthy to achieved it.


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