A photograph posted on a travel blog showing an obese man spilling out of his airplane seat and blocking the aisle has reignited the debate over whether extremely overweight passengers should be allowed to fly if they don't pay for a second seat. Federal aviation authorities investigated and said the man in the photo was allowed to fly after American Airlines gave him an entire row, with three seats. Should morbidly obese travelers be treated differently by airlines? (Watch a report about the picture of an obese man aboard a flight)
Fat people should buy two seats: "THIS is why people are anti-fat people," says conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel in her blog. "It’s also why humane airlines force fat people to buy two tickets." When obese passengers can't fit in a single seat, they ruin the flight for the poor, squeezed passengers around them -- and keep people from safely getting off the plane in an emergency.
"THIS is why humane airlines make fat people buy two tix"
Obese passengers are no safety threat: The picture of this extra-large passenger sure got people riled up, says Bill Sanderson in the New York Post, but the pilot clearly couldn't take off like that. The crew made room for the man and took off safely. The fact is, "overweight and obese passengers have not factored in any commercial plane crashes" -- so they're probably no more a threat to safety than children or the elderly.
"Should this man be able to fly on a plane?"
Airlines should make seats bigger: The airlines are the ones packing passengers in like sardines, says Amar Toor in Switched. Faced with tough times, the companies are making seats smaller even as Americans grow larger. The airlines might get away with sacrificing passenger comfort to weather the "business slump" -- but there's no excuse for compromising safety.
"Airplane photo reveals disturbing reality for large passengers"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
Subscribe to the Week