Some airlines refer to overweight passengers as “passengers of size” where the medical community might refer to them as “obese” or even “morbidly obese”.
Most obese passengers who squeeze themselves in coach seating are extremely uncomfortable – and so are the passengers who are seated next to them. It is not necessarily the weight of the obese passenger that causes the problem but how that weight is distributed.
Obese passengers are not discriminated against when they fly first class. The seats are larger and the rows are further apart in first class. In this situation, a slender person pays the same fare as the obese person and all first class passengers enjoy the comfort provided in first class seating.
If you are obese but not as fortunate to be able to afford first class seating you might be required to buy two seats when seated in coach.
For years the airlines have been reducing the size of seats in coach. In addition, they have been reducing the space between rows in an effort to maximize the number of seats in coach class. During the same period the prevalence of obesity in the U. S. continues to increase at an alarming rate.
I would like to offer a possible solution that might reduce the financial burden on coach passengers who do not “fit” in a coach seat. This solution would not decrease airline revenues yet it would result in providing more comfort for the obese passengers as well as the passengers seated next to them.
Many airlines have three adjoining seats on each side of the aircraft, i.e. A, B, & C on one side and D, E, and F on the other. Where that configuration exists, the airlines could replace two rows with two larger seats on each side of the aircraft, i.e. A & B on one side and E & F on the other. The fare of these seats could be priced 150% of the existing configuration. If the A, B, and C were $300.00 each for a total of $900.00, the reconfigured larger seats would be $450.00 each for a total of $900.00. The seats would be 50% larger and would result in more comfort while at the same time not causing “obese” passengers to pay double.
If the configuration on other airplanes is two seats near the windows and five seats in the center, the five center seats could be replaced by three larger seats. The original five seats, priced at $300 per seat for a total of $1,500.00 would be replaced by three seats at $500.00 each for the same total of $1,500.00. Again, this would be less than a customer purchasing two seats for $600.00.
The airlines could also sell these larger coach seats at a premium price to passengers who are not “passengers of size” but wish to simply pay extra for a more comfortable larger seat.