The Problem of Obese Passengers

All U.S. carriers are cash strapped and struggling to squeeze as many passengers as possible into each flight. However, the ranks of obese passengers have risen steadily in recent decades. United decided to adopt tougher policies after receiving more than 700 complaints last year from passengers who had a horrible flight because the person next to them was so fat they lopped over into their seat. U.S. airlines have rules for dealing with obese passengers in their contracts of carriage, which contains services and charges for flights. United, Delta, and American have all drafted stricter rules. Southwest Airlines requires any passenger who cannot comfortably lower their armrests to purchase tickets for two adjacent seats. With space in its aircraft cabins tight and passengers complaining about extra-large seatmates, United Airlines says it now will bump severely overweight passengers from sold-out flights.

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