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United: Pay Up, Fatties

By Prescott Carlson in News on Apr 15, 2009 8:36PM

Photo by polomex
Beleagured Chicago-based United Airlines instituted a new policy today aimed at overweight folks, saying that if you can't wedge yourself comfortably into a regular sized seat, they reserve the right to charge you for a second seat or an upgrade to a bigger business/first class seat. And if the flight is sold-out and there are no extra seats available, well then, tubby, you're going to get bumped from the flight. United joins other airlines with similar restrictions, including Southwest and their adroitly named "Customer of Size" policy.

The airline is putting the onus of determining if one is "of size" on the flight attendants (which should make for some fun confrontations trying to enforce this once the person has already boarded), with at least one person thinking that makes the policy too arbitrary:

"How do you eyeball someone and decide they're not going to fit?" said aviation consultant Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Co. "From a knees-to-seatback perspective, I don't fit. I'm 6'4". It's reached the point where it's essentially impossible to sit in coach and have the person in front of you recline."

What we want to know is, will Sandi Jackson fight for the rights of fat people in Chicago?