it has to be that way. the craft is designed for x number of folks so they can evacuate in y time. If you take up more than the number on inches the engineer 30 years ago planned on per person when desigining the seats and exits then you must buy two seats so the plane is not over loaded and too crowded to exit FAST if needed. w/r robert
Obviously I disagree! Airlines are squeezing their seats smaller and smaller--it's laughable that they care about anyone's comfort or safety, when they make their seats more and more uncomfortable and tight even for those of so-called "normal" weight. And the way they choose to pick out certain passengers is arbitrary and cruel.
You'd still have to be fairly large for this to be an issue in which case you should expect this. The seats may be slightly smaller but 'oversized' people can still fit in with out too much fuss.If I'm squished in a seat next to someone fat I wouldn't be happy about it.
Robert, airplane seats are 17 inches across on average for economy class. How many people do you know who are only 17 inches across? That is only a 36 inch hip circumference. I argue that the decreasing pitch (legroom) between seats poses a bigger emergency exit problem since it requires people to slide into their seats sideways. Besides which the odds of needing to make an emergency exit are very low.
Saying it's about evacuation is totally disingenuous. It's about money. They want to pack as many seats onto a plane as possible. And since we live in a totally fat-hating culture, making fat folks pay more is seen as an acceptable solution.
Thanks Olivia and Lisa!And FYI, I've started to get a number of extremely hateful anti-fat comments on this post which I am not allowing to go through. There's a difference between making an argument about airline policies and fat-bashing, and if you are just commenting in order to express your personal disgust/hatred of fat people, said comment will be rejected. Just saying.
Needless to say, Kevin Smith kicking Southwest's butt pleased me well.
Olivia, a 17 inch diameter is about 53 inches in circumference. A 36 inch waist is about 11 inches in diameter; this is more than enough space for someone of average weight. Hell, someone who's moderately over-weight could still fit into the seat.Also, there's an easy solution to all of this. Pay extra for first class. The reason they fit so many people into economy class (note "economy" here) is to keep costs down. How many people would be able to pay first class just so everyone can be comfortable, and how many of you would be pissed at this increase in price?
Brendan, Olivia was talking about HIP circumference, not WAIST circumference. Big difference! And who can afford to fly first class?! Why should standard seats be so small that many people cannot fit into them?Before I was pregnant I was by no means considered to be "overweight" or plus-size (I wore size Small or Medium women's clothes) but I certainly found many airline seats uncomfortably narrow.
Mikhaela, that's my point entirely. The planes have to have small seats to keep prices down. If they made more room, everyone would be paying much higher to fly, even in economy class. Also, could you explain the difference between hip and waist circumference?
There is a big difference betweeen the hips and the waist, maybe more so for women! And hip circumference is what matters in terms of comfort. The waist is much higher up--for example, a woman wearing size Medium in clothing might have a 29-inch waist, and 40-inch hips. Like so: size chart
Mikhaela, thanks for pointing out the difference between waist and hip circumference. And I also appreciate you making this a safe space to discuss the airline policies without letting it turn into a fat bigotry sing-a-long. :)
I think at this point, in this and a few other countries, the norm is larger than it used to be. What really gets me is the approach to this appears to be lots more hate towards people that are overweight and, like airlines, doing the exact opposite of accommodating that reality. It's like people, including the government, think the right approach is to shame everyone skinny again. Which is never, ever gonna work.
To the anonymous person who just tried to leave a comment comparing "fatties" to people who choose not to bathe--again, this is my blog, and I reserve the right to reject any comments that are just out and out fat hatred. Especially anonymous ones.
Okay so you rejected my last comment because you don't like my comparison of fat people to people who don't bathe. How is that "fat hate"? I'm comparing personally indulgent lifestyles that infringe on others' comfort and well-being. Please, if you don't even have the courage to post thought out counter-arguments, then no, you really shouldn't be running a blog in the first place.I'm not being libelous or slandering, I'm adding to the discussion of fat rights that you brought up. Please grow up.
Mikhaela, thanks for keeping this a place where any kind of prejudice, including fat hate, is not tolerated.As for the issue at hand, I am one of the people that probably doesn't fit into one seat (I am not sure since I haven't been flying for a few years). Personally, I would be willing to pay an extra fee for a wider seat - but I cannot afford paying for two seats or a first class ticket nor do I think it is fair that I should pay that much more since in the case of booking two seats the price of a ticket is not only about the space you take up, it is also about service etc. and in the case of booking a first class seat I don't want the extra service that goes with it. Also, right now there is NO WAY for me to determine if I REALLY need a second seat other than trying it out on the plane. If airlines come up with policies like that they also should give passengers an easy way to determine if they need an extra seat prior to booking and apply their policy consistently (which they don't at this moment). In addition, it is not as if a too small seat only is uncomfortable for the person in the next seat. A seat that is too small (be it in movie theatre, restaurant, or plane) hurts like hell after a while. Also, contrary to the stereotype, fat people are usually quite aware that a lot of people are grossed out by our bodies - so how much fun do you think it is being in close physical contact with a stranger that might or might not be fatphobic?And to the other Anonymous - being fat is not a lifestyle. It may be partially caused by a lifestyle, but there are plenty of other factors that play a role.
Brendan: 17 in diameter might be 52 in circumference, however its misleading. Our bodies are not circles. My hips width is abut 15 and my circumference is 38 not 46. Regardless, just measure how wide your widest part is in a straight line.Airlines could put in wider seats, and raise the prices for everyone due to less capacity.RE: 'for some people its not a lifestyle' give it a rest, it's a poor excuse for most people and valid for a very small minority. 60% of Americans are overweight in the last 35 years. Some new disease suddenly appear?RE: fat hating culture. Along with alcoholic hating culture, drug addict hating culture, homelessness hating culture....hmmm all bad choices?Is alcoholism/addiction a disease. A disease you can control though, much like obesity.SOLUTION: In economy how about "would you prefer a standard or "comfort seat" Instead of 3 seats in a row, have 2 for part of the plane or 4 instead of 5 and charge more for these seats. 25-33% premium on regular seat price.Is this discriminatory...no, not by the UN definition of discrimination. Its a business making money. Just like insurance companies charging me extra because I smoke.
"RE: 'for some people its not a lifestyle' give it a rest, it's a poor excuse for most people and valid for a very small minority. 60% of Americans are overweight in the last 35 years. Some new disease suddenly appear?"Average weight has increased in the last decades, true, but so has average height (though to a lesser degree), yet I don't see anyone suggesting that people have become taller due "lifestyle factors". It depends a bit on your definition of "lifestyle", though - if you are talking about relatively freely chosen behaviors as opposed to living in a certain environment than there is plenty of evidence that there are other factors than lifestyle at work. If you take all aspects of a person's life into account, however, including environmental ones that cannot be influenced by the individual, than the increase in average weight could be said to be a result of a "lifestyle". I have often heard the argument that there has to be a chosen lifestyle at work making people fat, otherwise there wouldn't be any thin people left. I have also heard the argument that being fat cannot be genetic, because the gene pool doesn't change fast enough to explain changes in weight. What people forget is that a genotype can lead to a dramatically different phenotype due to a change in environment while the same does not need to be true for another genotype (i.e., genetics and environment interact). Individuals with one genetic make-up might get fat while individuals with another genetic make-up don't although both groups live in the same environment and engage in the same behaviors. Also, there might not be a "new disease" around making people fat, but there are other things around now that have been shown to make people fat that weren't around a few decades ago (and that have little to do with food and exercise) - one example is the widespread use of antidepressants, many of which can lead to weight gain. Also, while you apparantly think it nonsensical, rates of certain diseases CAN change over time (for example, due to a change in environment) - so it is at least theoretically possible that there are more people with diseases like hypothyroidism which can cause weigh gain.Also, I am confused about what you meant to say with your second sentence (I suppose there is a typo in it). There have always been fat people, though there are more of us nowadays. Still even IF you want to argue that fat people are "responsible" for their own fatness and should therefore pay more for flying the current state of affairs is unacceptable. As I said above, airlines' policies are neither consistently applied nor fair (since a fat person will have to pay for two tickets while actually only using part of what they paid for). Again, I could live with an additional fee - but having to pay twice as much as a thin passenger is not justified.
And for the record: I am not for hating drug addicts or alcoholics either. These are diseases that might have something to do with choice, yet there are (once more) other factors at play, such as genetics. Not everyone who gets drunk regularly has the same likelihood to develop full-fledged alcoholism. Also, contrary to popular opinion hating people does very little to motivate them to make positive changes in their lives. On the other hand, I am all for discouraging drug consumption and/ or excessive alcohol consumption. (I am also for encouraging regular exercise and healthy eating by the way - as are a lot of other fat people I know. I even - gasp! - exercise regularly and do my best to eat well.) Yet, the comparison between addictions and fatness is invalid to begin with. Obesity is not an addiction. It is not an eating disorder either - though it can be caused by an eatig disorder, but as I said above, there are other factors. And do I really have to get into the strange idea that homelessness is the result of bad choices in most cases?
"SOLUTION: In economy how about "would you prefer a standard or "comfort seat" Instead of 3 seats in a row, have 2 for part of the plane or 4 instead of 5 and charge more for these seats. 25-33% premium on regular seat price."This would be an acceptable solution in my opinion. (Sorry for posting three times in a row, Mikhaela... I apparantly click "publish" too fast.)
RE: As I said above, airlines' policies are neither consistently applied nor fair (since a fat person will have to pay for two tickets while actually only using part of what they paid for). Again, I could live with an additional fee - but having to pay twice as much as a thin passenger is not justified.Yes it is because each seat is a a binary option. If you use up 1 and 1/3 seats the airline does not have 2/3 of a seat left. By using 1/3 of that seat you have taken away the airline's ability to put anyone in that seat. By that logic, I should be paying less because I'm skinny enough to not take up the entire width of the seat.As for the actual issue: here is why it is completely justified to make people who require more than the given width of a seat to pay for a second one. *important* BECAUSE YOUR TICKET IS PAYING FOR THE 17 INCHES OF SPACE THEY GIVE YOU, NOT THE ACTUAL RIDEif the ticket was for "a plane flight from point A to point B" then they would not be justified in double charging you because you paid for one flight and that's all you require... BUTwhen you buy a ticket for a plane ride you are, legally, paying for a space on the plane equal to the width of one seat as well baggage storage and any included service for the duration of the flight from point A to point B. If you require 2 such spaces then you have to pay for 2 such spaces.
hello mikhaela,thanks for the reply. I think the crew is rather concerned about thier safety. remember the pilot is the closest to scene of the accident and just might want the crew and passangers able to leave in a hurry. Anybody got data on the seat size change over time from the union or transportation board?w/r Robert
Brendan, most human beings are not perfectly round. Therefore you cannot apply the pi*diameter formula to them. Most people are wider than side-to-side than they are thick front-to-back. A 17-inch hip width would correspond to a hip measurement of about 36-40 inches depending on the person's shape. That is not particularly large.
Just blame everything on the government. Our nutrition facts is based on an unproven lipid hypothesis with no real independent studies. If we all cooked like we used to and fried things in lard instead of the processed vegetable oils, everything would be peachy. Almost everything "heart healthy" isn't. And the obesity "epidemic" will just get worst. High fructose corn syrup?! Whoever invented that... Anyways. Eat meat. Monounsaturated fats are great for you. Improves your mood as well, since you know, your brain and nervous system is made from the stuff... Did you know that fructose and sucrose(half fructose anyway) specifically targets your belly, and the stubborn fat that comes with it. Stop drinking soda, and you'll have a slimmer midsection in no time. As far as airlines go, planes have been built like that since forever. Not their fault that people got fatter. If you can't fit and have to raise the armrest, so be it. It'll cost you that second seat though.
So here is the deal on airplane seats in economy class, at the prices most of us are willing to pay, they cannot afford to have large seats. Part of this is the mismanagement of the airline business. (side note - as a whole the airline industry has basically broken even over the last 50 or 60 years of its existence). Part of this is that those planes are expensive to build and expensive to fly.If you want cheap, you will have small seats. If you're too big for a small seat, you should buy more space or not fly. This is not anti-fat, this is basic fairness. Why should you be allowed to crowd into my space and add to my discomfort? I paid for my space.
I think charging people more money based on the amount of your service they take is perfectly reasonably. If I want to eat a large pizza the pizza parlor has every right to charge me more than someone who only wants a small pizza. In the same way, if you take up two seats they have every right to charge you for two seats.Re: "bigotry": bigotry is being intolerant of other opinions, not other lifestyles. Merely viewing some lifestyles as inferior to others doesn't make you a bigot - if I don't like, for example, people who smoke in public places, this isn't bigotry because it was a choice they made, not something they were born with.Yes, some people have a genetic predisposition to being overweight. But no, this doesn't mean some effort wouldn't keep them reasonably thin. In the mean time, they require more from the airline services and they will continue to be charged more for it.Re: the original cartoon: I don't really have a problem with this idea. Perhaps you thought it was a clever reductio ad absurdum, but it's not absurd to me. If I needed two seats I'd either pay for them or not fly. Complaining about discrimination in this case, where there clearly isn't any, only serves to make people less attentive when you might actually have a point.
This idea that people are predisposed to being "overweight" is blown way out of proportion. I'm a body builder, and at 250 lbs, I definitely have a genetic predisposition to size and muscle mass gain- however if I didn't act on this, I wouldn't be the weight I am. Just because it may be easier for someone to become overweight, doesn't make it some immutable fact int their life. Disregarding claims of safety for a moment, everyone in the economy class paid for a certain amount of seating. If another passenger begins to infringe upon your allotted seating- in this case by being a certain size, then they are taking away a service you paid for, and the airlines have every right to ask that passenger to either fix the problem (which in the case of weight can't be completed before takeoff) or remove them from the plane. Is that harsh, maybe; but it's also fair to the other passengers. Believe me, I have been moved on flights because there isn't enough room- but I understood that risk when I went onto the airplane- specifically because of my size.
The people who share there dislike of fat people are those same people who share their dislike of anybody who they consider inferior whether intellectually or physically, They attempt to dehumanize others through Deindividuation of there membership of there inner circle "thin beautiful people" of course when we judge others especially those of us who are visually noticeable! were able to dismiss our own socially negative traits, you smoke! you drink! your lascivious! Yes? then why don't you stop? why don't you control your actions your over indulgences? its your social and moral obligation is it not to ensure you don't infringe on others? fat peoples air quality! health! nostrils! or the reduction of alcoholically fueled social disturbance, personal abuse and the disrespect and humiliation of your sexual it's!i don't stop eating what i like for the same reasons you don't stop your individual vises! because its easier said than done isn't it? or more to the point why should i? so i encroach a little less on your personal space? in probably the only area you yourself don't indulge upon! maybe i should eat less and start smoking or bar brawling? in the words of T. E. Lawrence : happiness is a byproduct of indulgence. if being fat makes me a social pariah so be it its a lesser evil than those more acceptable qualities i damage myself with my weight you damage others with your smoke and excessive drinking! but lets thank god when your not in the immediate act of your own indulgences you don't have any residual visual indicators that you might just not be perfect! like a 44inch waist! and for the record i neither smell of body oder of stale cigarettes or beer.The above is a little inflammatory yes? just a little bit emotional? i apologize for my dramatization. but we should all remember 1 basic human truth perfection is for the gods understanding humility and equality should be emulate by us mere mortals. cost versus benefit is a daily equation, and unfortunately airline seats fall under this remit! as they banned smoking on flights, I'm quite willing for them to ban airline food for the sake of equality with my smoking friends and then maybe the money airlines spend on the provision of crap food and the money saved on cigarette smoke damage can go towards more comfortable seats for all of us :)Rolly
If Alfred Hitchock were alive, I'm sure he'd absolutely love this. It reminds me of a opening for an episode where he talked about teaching an exercise class, where he instructed a skeleton puppet through some calisthenics. I forgot what episode it was or I'd link to the YouTube of it. It was pretty funny, Alfred was saying how everyone wishes they looked so fit and trim as the skeleton.
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