Man Endures Seven-Hour Flight While Standing, Obese Passenger Took Up His Seat
In the past year or so, several airlines have made headlines for insisting obese passengers buy two seats to accommodate their size and avoid infringing on the space occupied by others. Some people say the practice is unfair, but Arthur Berkowitz likely isn’t one of them.
On a recent US Airlines flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia, he was forced to stand for the entire seven-hour trip when he was seated next to a man who took up not only his own seat, but half of Berkowitz’s as well. The flight was completely full, meaning there was nowhere left to go.
Although he notified the flight attendants, he said, “They were sympathetic, but could not do anything. No other seats existed on the plane. They would not permit me to sit in their jump seats, and fully acknowledged the mistake by their gate agent, in allowing this individual on the plane without requiring him to purchase and occupy two seats.”
As a result: “I didn’t fly from Alaska to Philadelphia… I stood.”
In addition to the physical discomfort, there were safety issues as well. Obviously a standing passenger can’t be buckled in for take-off and landing — a violation of FAA rules.
Berkowitz complained to US Air later and even got a consumer advocate involved, but the most either of them could get was an apology and the promise of a $200 voucher — a quarter of what Berkowitz says he paid for his original ticket.