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Author Topic: Southwest charges double for "large passengers"...  (Read 3702 times)
bitsmart
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« on: June 20, 2002, 07:16:46 »

I remember a stand-up comedian doing a really funny bit about those little prop planes. He's getting on one and a very portly woman is asked how much she weighs, as they need to 'balance the plane', and she obviously understates. So the comedian says 'oh great, now I gotta say I weigh like 300 so we don't crash and die.'
 
No but seriously, this policy sounds like major BS to me.

quote:
"The policy is really to ensure the comfort of all passengers, said Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman. Complaints from people of size have been rare, she said. Most complaints have come from people who felt discomforted by sitting next to larger passengers."


What about on a bus, a train, a park bench? Why not start discriminating obese people everywhere, to 'ensure the comfort of all'? Gimme a break.

The reason why those people don't fit well in the first place is because they try to cram as many seats in as possible, without giving thought to the larger people, so they can save MONEY. MONEY. The plague that's choking us all to death. Anybody who's ridden in coach knows what I'm talking about, and the solution is not to charge more money to larger people, but to correct the original error of making the seats to small to increase profit, which would cost them more money, and of course they won't do so. In the end, the customer is not right, again, and greed triumphs once more.

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WalkerInTheWoods
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2002, 10:22:42 »

I agree they should fix the problem, not just try to make more money. They need bigger seats. Something I find interesting, and it could just be the wording, but it does say they will have to pay for another seat, but it does not say they will be getting another seat. So will they be paying for another seat but still just be using one? Is this just something so the airline can make more money? It is all about the money. That is all it is about these days. Screw the customers and take their money.

 
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2002, 10:22:42 »

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Ashfo
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2002, 05:35:21 »

Heh, sorry... I disagree.

Fat people should pay for two seats if they can't comfortably fit in one. Have you ever sat next to a very obese person? It completely ruins the flight and is extremely uncomfy. You yell and scream of discrimination - what about the discrimination of blacks in African countries? Discrimination of our fellow human beings who are starving and drinking water muddier than that in our toilets (before and after..)? Discrimination is everywhere in much larger doses than this, if you even count this as discrimination, which I dont.

Now someone who is 7 foot should be allowed a seat in higher roofed areas (eg upstairs, if there is one), but those who are fat should simply make themselves un-fat or pay the consequences. Don't start screaming about the "X-factor" gene that people cant control and which makes people fat - it hasn't been proved and I'm sure anyone who truly wants to lose weight can. Hey, look at Clay Henry!

btw, whoever posted about park seats or whatever..... jeez. Thats an absurd analogy. Airlines are out to make a profit and have a resposibility to ensure other passangers have comfortable flights.

For the person who was complaining about seat size - poo! You realise the smaller seats are actually subsidised by those in business class? You have an option - go for a cheap seat, get what you pay for, or pay more and get a larger seat. You expect airlines to start running at a loss so you're comfy? Unlikely Smiley

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WalkerInTheWoods
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2002, 09:40:10 »

Good points, Ashfo. The whole gene thing should not be used as an excuse reguardless if it is real or not. The gene cannot make people obese, more inclined to be but not uncontrolable. Currently 60% (YES 60%!) of Americans are obese. Several decades ago this number was much, much lower. Why? Because of how we all choose to live. If it is a gene then it would mean that all the fat people have been reproducing a lot more than the thinner people. That does not make much sense to me, not that obese people would not reproduce but that it would be that big of a difference.

I think the problem will be in deciding needs a second seat and who does not. I would not want to be the person to say, "Excuse me sir but your butt is way too big, you are going to have to purchase another seat."

On the radio someone wrote in a said that since her two young children can both fit in one seat can she just purchase one seat for both of them?

Is it right or not, I do not know. But I do not think it is going to solve a lot of the problem. And it does seem to be somewhat money motivated, which I guess if you are a business that is what you are looking for.

 
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2002, 14:07:12 »

Recently someone tried to guess my weight and was off by thirty pounds on the light side. I have been trying to gain weight for years. It really does not seem to be a matter of deciding to be heavier and then doing it. People have told me it is the same way with losing weight. In order to be helpful, I have been given advice like "stop walking" and "drink lots of beer". These don't sound very healthy to me. I have wanted to suggest to people that they walk everywhere they go and take stimulants to lose weight, but that is probably just as much an oversimplification.


 
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2002, 14:07:12 »



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bitsmart
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2002, 04:19:00 »

Ashfo: I realize that obesity is unhealthy, and I never mentioned anything about genes. I just think the airlines created their own problem. Discrimination is everywhere in this world, discrimination of all different kinds. People come in all sizes regardless of whether they overeat or not, and the seats you find in coach class do NOT respect that. They are intentionally small to fit more people into the plane, so the airline can save money. Unfortunately, people who are larger than average are the ones who are paying for this. The analogy to the bus/train/park bench was to illustrate what this new policy would mean if everyone decided that one seat SHOULD fit all, and yet this is not the reality of the world -- regardless of the unhealthy nature of obesity.

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distant bell
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2002, 05:02:04 »

I think you are beeing overly critical to the airline companys.
After all, one could se it like this to, the smal seats are an atempt
to keep the prices down. They donīt build small seats to be nasty.
Itīs just a way to keep the prices at a level that people can afford.
If the seats would be bigger the prices would get higer!
You get what you pay for... and flying is by no means cheap!

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WalkerInTheWoods
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2002, 12:36:33 »

What about the big muscle guys, like Arnald S. (not even going to try to spell his last name). They are not obese but still rather large and do not fit comfortably into those little seats. The airline should be more understanding of the different sizes people come in, but then again you do not have to fly. It is a business and they do it how they want. Unfortunately they all pretty much have the same size seats in them so there is little choice about such things. If you need more room then I guess you have to pay for it. But I must say I have seen rather large people who will not face reality and think they are thin and would put up a big fit about having to buy another seat. I feel sorry to the people who are going to have to put up with the angery customers.

 
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2002, 05:42:13 »

distant bell took some of my steam - they cram in seats so they can make more money, but the costs are also kept way down. Like I said, the economy seats are subsidised by the larger seats.

I don't think it's discrimination.... It's just fair. You're large, you buy two seats. It's not only for your own good, it's for those around you. If you want to travel more comfortably, buy a larger seat. It's a business, not a public service.

You could suggest all the seats be made bigger and the fare doubles. Personally I'd rather rough the trip and have several hundred (or thousand) dollars in my hand on arrival. Blah, I just cant see anything wrong with it Smiley

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Joe
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2002, 10:57:32 »

I am a bodybuilder and have a fairly large frame as well, and most forms of public travel are a problem for me. I sympathise with the airlines, and discomforted passengers (which includes me as well) and think that if someone can't fit a seatbelt around them, and they encroach on another seat's space, then they should pay for that seat. Although it's not mandatory here in Australia (at least I've never heard of it), every time I travel I have to hunch over and fold my arms and legs for the sake of the guy sitting next to me. Luckily it's usually only a 1.5hr commute, so the neck and back pain isn't too bad. I don't mind doing this, although it is a different story for many plus-sized passengers who can't squash body mass in. Sometimes it doesn't matter which way you cut it, coach-sized seats are there to pack $$$ into economy class.
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PeacefulWarrior
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2002, 22:29:23 »

My own thoughts on the subject are this:  build a row with larger seats and then charge a little extra for those.  Not a whole lot, but enough...or is that unreasonable?  If so, then don't charge extra for them...Glad I don't have to make the final decision about this.

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Ashfo
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2002, 05:54:41 »

Yep... Good idea PW...

But if you make these seats, say, business class size (like two to a row instead of three) with the same food as economy, and only a little more expensive (eg the two seats would cover the one other seat they take out - making then 1.5times more expensive than regular seats) many people would be interested in them. Are you going to tell someone whose smaller that they cant order one of those seats simply because they're smaller? Personally I think yes, thats fair, but judging on some of the replies in this thread it would be biased of many of you to say that that is not discrimination while vice versa is.

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alpha
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2002, 09:20:11 »

I feel that its not fair.For the  people who  cannot do anything about it.Ive known people like this.Who have thyroid problems.Im not sure if thats what its called.

They should have a rule.That if you have a medical illness and you cant do anything about it.If you have proof.You pay regular price and get an extra seat for free.But this would only happen in alphs world.

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PeacefulWarrior
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2002, 06:50:57 »

Plus size policy:

I recently heard that Southwest Airlines will be charging "large" people twice the fee for a seat on their flights.  What do you all think about this?  Have any of you ever been inconvienenced when an overweight person has sat by you?  I don't know what to think...shouldn't they just build a few rows with larger seats?  Someone on the radio said they shouldn't be charged more and should simply get a first class seat for free...I definetly don't agree with that.  Anyway, I just wonder what you all think about this....

The following is an article I got from CNN.COM regarding this issue:

(CNN) -- Southwest Airlines says it will begin enforcing a 22-year-old policy next week when it routinely charges large passengers for a second seat on its flights.

Starting June 26, Southwest passengers who are booked on full flights and need seat belt extensions, or whose bodies extend beyond the 18 3/4 inch cushions, will be required to purchase a second seat, said Christine Turneabe-Connelly, a Southwest spokeswoman.

"It's a policy that has been in place since 1980," Turneabe-Connelly said. "Over the years, we allowed some flexibility with the agents at the time of check-in. As of June 26, we will be consistent."

 
After examining the impact of the policy during the last few years, the airline's managers determined the flexibility created inconsistency and caused more stress for passengers and gate agents than it eliminated, Turneabe-Connelly said.

Gate agents might not have asked large passengers to purchase second seats on their outbound, partially-full Wednesday flight, but then those same people would get slammed with an extra fee on the overbooked Friday afternoon return flight.

Scenarios like that exacerbated tenuous interactions between employees and "people of size," Turneabe-Connelly said. "It's already a very difficult and sensitive issue to address."

All of Southwest's flights offer coach-sized seating. Business and first-class seats do not exist. And the "people of size" policy only applies to full flights where a larger person would not have access to an empty seat.

If a larger person required a second seat on an already full flight, then the flight would go into an oversell situation, and the crew would ask for volunteers to give up their seats, Turneabe-Connelly said.

The policy does not necessarily mean large people will pay double fares. If a person bought a ticket within the 14-day advance purchase window and knew they needed extra space, then that passenger would buy two tickets at that discounted fee.

However, if a person was buying a full-price ticket at the last minute for business or bereavement reasons, one seat would sell for the higher, walk-up fare, and the second one at the 14-day advance purchase price, Turneabe-Connelly said.

If a passenger buys a second seat and the plane is subsequently not full, passengers may get a refund. That too, Turneabe-Connelly said, has been the airline's policy since 1980.

The policy is really to ensure the comfort of all passengers, said Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman. Complaints from people of size have been rare, she said. Most complaints have come from people who felt discomforted by sitting next to larger passengers.

Courtesy of CNN.com

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We shall not cease from our exploration, and at the end of all our exploring, we shall arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
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