Ah! Joy Of A Large Airplane Seat…


I feel uncomfortable/cramped in the economy class seats while travelling by air. I have always wondered how those who enjoy a larger girth than mine manage to squeeze into the narrow seats.

So it is heartening to hear that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada. More here…

The case has been going on in other courts for the past few months. For an earlier report please click here…

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.

  • http://mehwtf.wordpress.com/ admiral.naismith

    Wow. That picture is just…wow. I’m not sure two seats would be enough…

  • adelinesdad

    I have also wondered the same. I work with someone quite large that sometimes travels, but of course I never asked him how he does it.

    Hmm… I wonder how they are going to determine who is “large enough of girth” to warrant two seats for the price of one. I can imagine some who are somewhat husky might try to take advantage of the system. Are there going to do something similar to carry-on luggage measurements:

    “If you can fit in this box, you only get one seat. Sorry”

  • NordicAngst

    I have no idea how someone can have a “right” to multiple seats for free. If they use more space they should pay for more space if the airline sees fit to charge. The court is overstepping it’s bounds here.

  • http://greendreams.wordpress.com GreenDreams

    I want two seats for one. I’m starting my new french fry and ice cream diet now….

  • kritt11

    I sat next to someone once who took up 2/3 of both seats with the arm rest up, on a nonstop flight to Florida (I was crammed in by the window).

    At the time I would have been quite happy if he had been charged for 2 seats or at least 1 1/3 and my rate reduced by a third. It was quite hot and I couldn’t move for the entire 2 1/2 hours.

    Maybe if people paid for the room they actually used, we would not be paying the airlines $25 extra to check our luggage.

  • DaveA

    I agree, I think this is ridiculous. So overweight people have more rights than us thin folk? Hey, I would like two seats for the price of one too, that would make fligths quite comfy.

  • StockBoySF

    Oh, great. Now we have a “skinny tax”.

    Airlines have costs to cover and, quite frankly, flying weight (luggage or human) requires fuel, which requires money. So if the airlines want to cover their costs (and they can’t do it by charging for extra seats for large people) then the skinny tax is the extra money everyone else has to pay so the airlines can give free seats to large people.

  • adelinesdad

    My initial reaction was similar to most of the comments here. However, I can see the other side of the story. We do this often in other places in our society. In movie theaters there is a spot set aside for wheel-chair access. It takes up room that could otherwise be used for seats, and more often than not those spots end up empty anyway. So the movie theater is losing money to accommodate the disabled. But its arguable whether the obese should be put into the same category as the disabled, but its a similar concept. Should we charge disabled people more to go to the movies?

    Also, if we take the logic of show of you to its logical conclusion, we should weight people before they board the plane and charge them relatively, since heavy people use more fuel to transport. It is the nature of doing business that you might make more money off some people than others. So airlines might lose money because they have to give obese people two seats. So what? They are under no obligation to make sure they profit off of each person equally.

    Thirdly, if it makes the rest of us a bit more comfortable, I have no problem paying a bit extra to subsidize the large people, if the other option is having them buy one seat which makes them and everyone else uncomfortable. The fat people didn’t decide how big to make the seats: that was airlines decision. If they decided to only make them big enough for 98% of the people who need to fly, then perhaps they should make accommodations for the people they chose to exclude.

    My main issue is how to implement it. Do you have a weight cutoff, or do you have a big box as I jokingly alluded to earlier? How do you prevent it being abused?

  • IdontKnowIfIllFit

    Well, I understand both sides. I am plus sized and scared to death to fly just because I dont know if I will fit in the seat. My daughter thinks I am looney, but this is a traumatic fear that keeps me from visiting family. my butt fits in stadium and movie theater seats but quite honestly I am broad shouldered. This may seem funny to some but it truly is life hindering for me