How Obese is acceptable?

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This topic contains 91 replies, has 38 voices, and was last updated by  kathy lewis 28 Apr 2019
at 10:49

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  • K1ngston

    Firstly let me say I am no twiggy by any stretch but had a really uncomfortable experience recently and would appreciate all your views.

    My husband and I were travelling to the UK from our new home in Phuket and actually the best deal both cost wise and time wise was with Cathay! As I am a lifetime Gold on BA (Yayy) I thought this was the best route to take. The flight was in Y as there was only one seat in PE (our preferred mode of travel) and we decided that we would travel in the same cabin

    My husband prefers a window seat on a long haul flight and my preference is the aisle so we knew we would be separated by someone sitting in the middle seat and as we had boarded first we were getting settled when this huge ( and I am underestimating) guy waddled up and I knew almost immediately that he was destined to sit between us! I have to say I was quite rude when he asked me to get up and I suggested he had to be joking that there was no chance he was going to fit into the middle seat!

    Anyway he laughed it off and even apologised for being so large and started to squeeze himself into the seat, which was impossible. I told the Stewardess who couldn’t do anything about it as the flight was full and said that we ( he) would have to manage. He found the best way was to put up the seat divider between me then his bulk almost fell onto my side of the seat… Now those who know me, will also know my patience is not what it used to be and I told him repeatedly to move over from my seat but he physically couldn’t.

    The flight was relatively quick for those that know the HKG-LHR route at 11 hours but for me it was the longest 11 hours and he kept also getting up to stretch that bulk of course disturbing both my husband and I

    I guess my question is, should Cathay or indeed any airline when seeing the size of a passenger insist that he/she pays for 2 seats ( he certainly used them both) and if there is no space bump them from a flight as a risk as he would go nowhere quickly in the event of an emergency?

    My husband is a Cardio Thoracic ICU nurse and was very polite ( far more than I ) in telling him that he was a heart attack waiting to happen and this is also a concern should or if that were to happen how would anyone be able to deal with that?

    Your thoughts welcome


    It’s a very subjective matter, but if we are talking travelling only then i would say that if any bodily part involuntary encroaches into my paid for area or onto a shared space such as an isle then that person is too big to travel in 1 seat and should either be moved or not allowed to board. Their lifestyle choice, because in 95% of the time that’s what it is, should not affect my comfort. Same goes for the muscle-bound jerks. If you choose to make your biceps and thigh muscles so big you can’t fit in the seat, then don’t sit next to me!

    I almost always use to fly SH (up to 4 hours) in Y, this is one of the reasons I have started to pay more for PE or J, either being rammed into a seat next to someone twice my size or the frankly disgusting behaviour of other passengers. It’s still the same in PE and Y, just that there is more of a DMZ between them and I

    To answer your question, yes they should pay for 2 seats.


    About 3 years ago, my partner and I were on a SH flight of approx 2 hours. I was in 2A and she sat in 2C, in row 3 were 4 people who were obviously not going to a weight-watchers conference,(nothern humour), unfortunately the passengers in the aisle seats also overflowed, for want of a better word, into the aisle so much so that it was almost impossible for cabin crew to get a trolley past them. The flight was full so there was no chance of anyone moving.

    After much coming and going the situation eventually sorted itself out. The 2 passengers looked on it as a humerous incident, stating that they weren’t used to flying on such a small aircraft. However, in an emergency I would question whether they themselves were a danger not only to themselves but also to their fellow passengers.

    A few days later I saw the same member of cabin crew at LGW, and mentioned the incident to her, she stated that unfortunately it was becoming a bit of an issue.


    Should the airlines have a size gauge for SLF in the same way that they do for CBBG?

    The answer is probably yes. Oversized passengers are a danger and a nuisance to themselves and others, and any arguments as to whether it’s their fault or not are irrelevant.

    The argument comes afterwards, in determining whether they should be charged extra or not, but my view is that they should be allocated an extra, or a larger, seat.

    Tom Otley

    For previous comments on this….

    The fattest person I have ever sat next to…

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    I genuinely cannot believe what I have just read.
    This is possibly the worst waste of words I have ever seen on the forum.
    A bigger person is not necessarily the result of someone who over eats.
    They could be big due to a medical condition.It is not for you to judge.
    If yourselves were so concerned for your comfort, why did your husband HAVE to have a window ?Why not let the bigger gent have the window and yourselves could have had a middle and aisle ?
    Telling a larger passenger “they must be joking if they will fit into the seat” and ” you are a heart attack waiting to happen” is downright rude.
    I sense that you feel entitled and anyone who doesn’t fit into your view of perfection is immediately treated with contempt.
    As for your husband being a medical professional – I’d hate to go see him if I had any issues.
    Disgraceful behaviour.
    Next time book on a flight where it’s just two seats. I recommend the A330 or A340 for yourselves.

    7 users thanked author for this post.


    I agree. did he complain that you and your husband were chatting across him with each other? Trust me, I’ve been in that situation (the middle between a couple who find that their preference for specific seats is more important than sitting next one another for 11 hours) and it’s not fun being the rose between the two thorns. Chatting; passing books, chargers, etc; showing something out of the window.

    If you don’t like each other enough for one of you to give up your precious seat preference, then your issues go beyond being judgmental of and rude to other passengers.

    4 users thanked author for this post.


    Reduced aircraft seat pitch increases passenger stress, muscle pain, and many other undesired situations

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    You sound like one utterly horrible, ignorant and rude individual if I’m honest. Would you have made a similar post if it was someone of an ethnic or religious background you didn’t particularly take to?

    Stop being tight and book business or first if you don’t want to sit with the wretches!

    Suggest you scroll down the forum and little and read the thread entitled “forget your manners?”

    4 users thanked author for this post.


    You sound like one utterly horrible, ignorant and rude individual if I’m honest. Would you have made a similar post if it was someone of an ethnic or religious background you didn’t particularly take to?

    Stop being tight and book business or first if you don’t want to sit with the wretches!

    Suggest you scroll down the forum and little and read the thread entitled “forget your manners?”

    whilst i am not the OP i agree with the point made. Ethnicity, cultural, racial, religious belief, sexual orientation, favorite colour or how someone voted on brexit does not infringe on my own personal space or comfort, so no, they would not bother me. Would i have said something, probably not, being British i am adept at “tutting”, huffing and elbow use


    Until you are put into that position, you wouldn’t know what its like.

    The problem is, in the UK, the rules favour the obese passenger:

    In the USA, the rules follow discrimination i.e. you are discriminating against me because I am obese.

    If a passenger can only fit into a seat by raising the seat divider (armrest) and the body is so large it ‘spills’ into the next seat, I too fall into the category that I would say something.

    This has nothing to do with being rude, not accepting large people, not wishing to sit with the “wretches” or indeed why someone is obese – but as an obese passenger is highly unlikely to buy a mini car, adequate airplane seating should be considered by all passengers.

    I am also presuming the OP meant “obese” and not just fat. Perhaps google obese passengers and look at some of the pictures and then confirm you would be happy to be squeezed for 12 hours. I know I wouldn’t and it has absolutely nothing to do with me being rude, selfish, uncaring etc – it’s to do with I paid for a seat, thank you, I would not like to share it.


    I was flying BA in Y+ maybe 2 years ago (overinight longhaul) and on boarding it was obvious the plane looked full. I had an aisle seat but a PAX was seated next to me who literally overflowed into my seat. Their Shoulders and biceps were so large that I could not really sit into the full of my seat. Also note in BA Y+ there is a fixed arm rest (almost a shell seat) so even buying 2 seats would not work.

    I queried with the Pursar if there was any where to move to. She said the flight was full in Y,Y+ and J but would see what as possible. She asked me to remain there for the meal service and would come back on dimming the cabin lights. She came back after the meal service and brought me into F. She was then able to move the other PAX into my old seat hence ensuring a more comfortable journey for all concerned.

    Jon M

    Simple. That armrest stays down. It’s a safety requirement for take-off and landing. If they can’t physically sit in their seat then it then becomes a safety problem for them and the cabin crew to deal with.

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    No doubt this would only get worse with the number of airlines charging for seat allocation!


    I think it’s quite straightforward-as a number of posters have said. If the passenger is so large that he or she encroaches on the next passenger’s space- eg by bring unable to fit in the seat with the armrests down, a requirement for take off or landing-the larger bodied passenger has to be re-seated or off-loaded. That isn’t discriminatory, it’s simply the application of airline safety law. We don’t need to get into any discussion about causes of obesity or otherwise.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
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