back to article Air France compensates 170kg passenger

Air France has been ordered to compensate a 170kg* citizen of the land of liberté, égalité, fraternité after forcing him to stump up for an extra seat on a flight from New Delhi to Paris, AFP reports. Jean-Jacques Jauffret, 43, described himself as "deeply humiliated" when airline staff intercepted him at New Delhi airport as …


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  1. Mark Daniels

    People of Kilo's.......

    If I go over my allowance for luggage, I will be charged.

    More luggage, more money.

    You can see where I'm going with this...........

    There is a serious point here though as well.

    The Gov' are trying to force airlines to pay a 'green tax' per plane, the airlines want 'per person'. Either way, prices go up.

    More mass carried means more fuel spent, meaning more tax.

    Will fat people [sorry, people with extra mass ] have to pay the extra ? Probably not.

    Should they ?

    Of course.

    More mass = more fuel = more 'greenhouse stuff' = more tax.

    Simple equation.

    Result : fat man goes on diet = saves money on sh1te food = gets healthy = lives longer = saves money on flights

    Seems like one of those fabled 'win win's' to me............


    ps : and yes I know i know, personal choice, blah blah blah. I'm all for personal choice, but sometimes you have to PAY for those choices.

  2. John

    What about the other guy?

    Does anybody think of the poor guy that has to sit beside this fella on a flight from India to France? 8 Hours on a plane is uncomfortable enough without having to wedge yourself between this guy and the window.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In completely agreement with Mark Daniels

    I put my foot in it a few friday pub lunchs ago. The food was late so we'd moved onto our second pints and the discussion turned to flying, I started a small rant about why should I have to pay for extra luggage when I only weight 12 stone, and someone that weights 20 stone gets to go on for the same price (I might have said something along the lines of "some fat bast that weghts 20 stone...".

    The only problem being the MD sitting next to me, who at a rough estimate probably weights bang on 20 stone. There was an awkward silence until someone cherped in saying maybe pick a larger weight next time. Doh!

    Oh well, I stand by my statement.

  4. Jason Clery
    Paris Hilton

    pay for mass

    Under those circumstances, people of lesser mass should pay less. What do you base the base mass on? 107kg for person and luggage? it means women who weigh less, but have heaps more luggage will not get the excess baggage charge.

  5. Edwin

    Tough issue

    I think this is a tough one. Airline seats are a given size, and most people fit comfortably within that size (leaving discussions of seat pitch aside). Ticket prices are (in a convoluted way) based on filling those seats with paying bodies.

    I like the approach Southwest Airlines has: if you're too big and the flight is full, you can either pay for an extra seat or take the next flight.

    In any case, obesity is a growing problem, and as it grows (ha ha) more people won't fit in that standard size. So airlines have a choice:

    - bigger seats (=more expensive tickets)

    - allocate an extra seat for large people (=more expensive tickets)

    - charge large passengers extra (seems to = discrimination)

    We should get over the whole 'discrimination' thing. If you have a doctor's note indicating a medical condition, then the airline should stump up for the extra seat. If you're just fat, pay for the extra seat (50%?). It used to be that obesity was a medical condition, but now it's becoming a lifestyle choice - and that means the individual is accountable.

    If I ever have to sit next to a pax who can't get the armrest down again, I'm going to go postal.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He's 170kg, goes out in public- of course he's humiliated. So would most of us be!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    To all you fattys

    Valuable lesson here dont fly economy then. Fly business or more and to top it off you get a 3 course meal so you can add a couple of extra ounces as well, bonus!

  8. Rich Silver badge

    I don't blame them!

    I don't blame the airline for charging more.

    If the guy is so large that he effectively renders the sea next to him useless then why should the airline pay for the possible lost sale of a seat?

    And if they DID sell the seat, then who the hell would want to spend a an entire flight crammed into half a seat? They would be well within their rights to complain.

    I really hate the way "fat" is becoming "normal". It's NOT "normal" and there is no reason why us thinnies should suffer as a result. There was something on telly a while ago; some guy trying campaigning to make all public toilets extra-large so that fat people could use them more easily. Firstly, it's not the answer! Secondly, why should I, as a thinnie, have to put up with using a ludicrously comedy-sized toilet?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just weight

    I'm silly tall- over 2 metres- and the legroom in cattle class doesn't work for me.

    If airlines are able to charge people for being too large to sit in a standard seat, can they charge me extra for needing more legroom?

    Or, does the french decision mean I have to have a free upgrade to first class?

    If so, a beer to the first person who provides me a link to a site that proves this.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think we should know the full story here... Did the fat (guy with extra mass) guy ask for extra space? If yes, of course he must pay for it!!! C'mon, do you expect to ensure a free seat on a plane for free??? Should I ask Air France to dismount the seat in front of me just because I have long legs? If you don't fit in a normal seat you should

    - Pay for the extra space, or

    - stay at home, or

    - get a private jet

  11. PJH

    Re: Not just weight

    AC: If airlines are able to charge people for being too large to sit in a standard seat, can they charge me extra for needing more legroom?

    Do they charge you for asking for a seat by an emergency exit? Can you 'book' one in advance? Have you tried?

  12. Rob Crawford
    IT Angle

    Another question

    Was the person originally booked to sit beside the big guy forced to wait till the next flight to get to Paris ?

    Or would he be able to claim compensation for several hours of being sweated upon by Mr Jr black hole

    I for one would not like to be kicked off because some lard boy wanted to squeeze himself onboard.

    Though I wouldn't complain too much about an upgrade to business class.

  13. Bill Fresher


    If fatties shouldn't be expected to pay for extra room then neither should tallies (especially since a person has absolutely no choice in being tall).

  14. Greg


    "Under those circumstances, people of lesser mass should pay less. What do you base the base mass on? 107kg for person and luggage? it means women who weigh less, but have heaps more luggage will not get the excess baggage charge."

    Exactly! Women carry more baggage, but weigh less, so it balances out. It's a perfect system!

    Though I shouldn't really be chirping up in its favour. While I'm not really overweight and even my small beer belly is decreasing, I still manage to weigh 16 stone! Big around the shoulders, honest guv.

  15. Paul

    Ideal weight + luggage

    For people who can still comfortably sit in one seat...

    Use ideal weight for the height of the passenger and take this off their actual weight. this is then their 'body luggage' which should be added to the weight of their checked in luggage AND their carry on luggage and they would have to pay extra if over a given weight.*

    For people who cannot sit comfortably in one seat but don't want to pay for two:

    Put them all on the same row and see how they like it!!

    (* hopefully ryan air are not reading this as they are always on the lookout for a new way to get more money from their passengers!!)

  16. Chris Morrison
    Paris Hilton


    Did anyone see Can Fat Teens Hunt? on BBC3 the other night. Best piece of reality TV I have ever seen (wouldn't be hard seen I hate the genre)

    Seems vaguely related to this topic as they would have needed huge seats to fly to borneo!

    It is a quality series and I expect to be tuned in every Tuesday night for the forseeable future!

    I chose Paris for my icon as if she only had half a seat because a fatty was beside her I would offer her a seat on my knee for the whole flight.


  17. Joe Stalin

    Holy Crap

    Ok, the jubs conversion was nice, but had to convert to old money to get my head around this 26.75 stone or 375 pounds or 2.4 of me.

    Sorry, but if I was Air France I would have banned him form the flight on medical ground unless he had special insurance in case of the aircraft having to make an unexpected landing due to him having DVT or a heart attack due to low cabin pressure. I think airlines should offer a ticket base on a total weight allowance, you and your luggage, weight = fuel:fuel = money dead easy.

  18. Richard

    missing the point

    While I agree with a lot of the comments that people who weigh more should pay more (a combined person+luggage allowance sounds fair to me), the guy here was entitled to compensation.

    The airline should be up-front about it's policy, and the staff should have been more discreet.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    As I weigh about 70 Kilos (11 Stone in real measurements :p ) Does that mean I can take an extra 100kg in luggage? Definately not. If everyone was to do that the plane wouldn't get off the ground, if it did it would crash soon after. As for 'Does it carry people or kilos?' it carries kilos. Just classing that mass as a person does not reduce the weight. The heavier the aircraft the more fuel is required to generate the thrust required to get it off the ground and keep it in the air. Given that it costs more to get a fat person in the air, they should be required to pay more especially if they need to take up 2 seats. I wouldn't be happy to find I had paid for my seat and then end up not being able to sit in it without being pressed up against rolls of blubber.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That (f)attitude is so annoying.

    Ok in this instance there was fault with Air France's lack of tact. They'd have been much better pulling the chap aside privately and explaining things, and offering him the choices as described above - either take the next flight or pay for another seat.

    But in general you seen examples of this attitude "I'm enormously overweight but it's not my fault" - people who are well aware that companies have to make special arrangements to accomodate their size, but feel they are somehow owed that.

    It's not your fault? What, you just tripped and fell on a load of burgers?* Sorry mate but if you can't fit into a normal sized seat then you need to do something about it or accept the 'humiliation'.

    *Yes I know that for some people there are medical reasons for their obesity that are genuinely not their fault, but I don't think that applies to any more than a small percentage, and am not willing to let that spoil a good rant!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stick em all together

    I say stick all the fatties together on the same row

    It would probably be best for the pilot if this was somewhere near the middle :)

  22. Andy

    Let he who is without sin....

    I feel sorry for anyone sitting next to someone who doesn't fit the seat and I am a self confessed fatist. However, there is a general point here somewhere.

    The 170kg passenger is too large. Anonymous "Not Just Weight" is over 2m tall - he has leg room problems. I am 65cm wide at the shoulder (I am a swimmer) - I'm too wide for the 42cm wide seats. I sat next to an 8 year old on a recent flight who had serious impulse control issues. I regularly end up sitting next to businessmen with serious post-prandial flatulence (low cabin pressure has a lot to answer for). While travelling to Spain on business I got stuck with a bunch of Neandertals going to watch England play France (average blood alcohol about the same as their IQs). Finally, on one particularly memorable occasion the lady next to me gave everyone a free demonstration of the behaviour of colostomy bags at altitude.

    Which of these people would you charge extra because of the inconvenience they cause to other passengers?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great idea ...

    Having been the unfortunate skinny person sat next to the unfortunate guy with extra mass on a long flight back from the states in October, I have to say that I totally agree with charging people for an extra seat if they don't fit in one.

    It is really not comfortable for either the person challenged in the mass department or those sat next them. I don't think that it's discrimination, it's just common bloody sense.

  24. Tom


    The thing that shocks me here is that he was allowed to pay for the seat next to him.

    I've tried on many flights to pay for the seat next to me so I have somewhere to put my laptop and peanuts. It hasn't worked yet!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Health and Safety...

    We are not allowed to weigh people and charge them based on weight, even then it would have to be done via height vs weight, which for some people although extremely healthy is in their disadvantage, Rugby players etc (in reference to the guy that was originally kept out of NZ).

    But what about the H&S aspect of this? We are only allowed bags of certain size to make sure they don't crush our skulls as they come flying out of the overhead hold. But what about trying to escape the aeroplane in an emergency when the seat next to you is blocked by one of these obese death traps? They could cause your death... and many others on the flight... I think if you are too big to get out of an emergency exit and your BMI is too high, you are not safe to travel. No extra charges, just full stop not allowed to fly.

    Or make special "Fat man seats", with a big sign saying "FAT PERSON SEAT" above. Then charge extra for it... if they chose to sit in this seat, they cannot complain about being humiliated.

  26. Mark York
    Black Helicopters

    Having been the unfortunate skinny person sat next to the unfortunate guy with extra mass

    I have been the unfortunate skinny person sat between two very obese middle aged American females on a centre aisle seat on a 13 hour overnight flight back to the UK.

    Not one of my more pleasant flight experiences, especially when coupled with the pain of the inflight movie The Wild Wild West.

    I now book my seats in advance.

  27. Paul

    I have a better Idea.

    Avoid flying all togeather.

    1) Flying is horible. You wait for 4 hours in an airport, being herded around, poked, prodded, zaped, and having to take your shoes off, just to get on a plane for an hour to end up sitting next to someone fat, smelly, boring or with ADHD, and go through the same thing at the other end.

    2) If you look even slightly foreign you may be shot (I think the increase in high SPF sun cream sales is nothing to do with skin cancer, just people not wanting to be shot in Heathrow)

    3) If you NEED to fly somewhere the chances are the wildlife will be out to get you there, and if not you are in the US, where the people are out to get you. The only place that you will miss out on is Canada.

    Its much nicer in the EU to go by train or Car.

  28. Anonymous John

    Sounds like a vicious circle to me.

    Paying for two seats entitles him to two meals. Which will make him even more gravitationally challenged.

    Can we have a fat bastard icon please?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Your second paragraph describes one of the reasons why I no longer fly - there are too many annoying people flying these days. If I have to fly - and I have not done so now for 3 years - I scrimp and save for business class - cheap flights IMO are a bad thing in so many ways...

  30. Anonymous Coward


    I think it was Dennis Leary who said he likes sitting next to fat people on planes. If the plane went down he'd be wielding a knife with menace in his eyes to ward off the other hungry survivors a la' the film 'Alive' - this ones mine!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why is it that everyone here assumes that the man must be fat because he eats too much? There are enough medical conditions that cause things like water retention (which means you balloon up and add the weight of all the water you retain to your weight). That does not mean you're obese. Take cortisone or other steroids designed to alleviate one medical condition for a few years and see how YOU like YOUR weight gain.

    A colleague has had a hormonal condition for the last 15 years which also sent his weight through the roof after an operation, even though he ate a calorie-controlled diet as per a dietician, and exercised vigorously (and hell, he runs around more than any of us 'lesser' people). Only a specialist clinic eventually cottoned on to his condition and fixed the problem with a drug cocktail that's had him shed the better part of 70 pounds in the last few months.

    So please. Spare us the doughnuts and crisps comments. Besides, it was more Air France's lack of tact that's the problem. I have to say though, I have never had an issue with Air France's manners, either in respect to myself or to more... how shall we say... corpulent members of society.

    I was on a flight from Washington DC in September where a rather large woman and her companion showed up. They were booked into Premium Economy because of her girth (and the aisles in Economy were way too narrow for her), and I am sure she knows that as well as everyone else did.

    I've sat next to big people in Economy before, and I commiserate with those who are sat next to them, so it's not like I don't understand the reasons why a second seat would be necessary. If a doctor's certificate pointing out a medical condition is presented, then the airline should stump up for the seat, everything else, the passenger should be prepared to pay for a second seat, or upgrade to Business or First where there is no more problem.

    I'm staying anonymous for business reasons.

  32. Adrian Tritschler

    Something needs doing with the airlines, this is ridiculous!

    My wife weighs 51kg, I way 76kg. We pay the same for tickets for a single seat, if either one of us is 1kg over-weight with our luggage we're gouged massive amounts of money in "excess baggage" as the airlines claim "it costs money to lift the weight". Yet 120kg+ people happily pay the same for a ticket and get the same luggage allowance.

    The ticket price should be for a single seat plus a total of 100kg, if you and your luggage is over, you pay a per-kilo charge.

  33. James Bassett
    Thumb Down

    It's complex

    As others have mentioned, it's a complex issue that isn't helped by "If they weigh over X kilo's then charge them more". There are plenty of people who weigh huge amounts who are not overweight. Each member of the England Rugby team weighs well over 100KG. I dare any of you to walk up to one of them and call them "Fatty".

    Are we going to start "Taxing" people based on their genes (and I'm not talking the a**holes who say they are 20 stone overweight because of a "genetic disorder"; I'm talking someone who is 2.2m tall, weighs 130KG and hasn't an ounce of fat on them)? In which case, do we tax parents of kids with low IQ's more because they are going to require more teaching? Or parents of kids with High IQ's come to that. What about those with DNA pre-disposed to heart conditions or cancer?

    Absolute weights are as meaningless as the BMI system. As I say, it's complex but to those suggesting "I only weigh 12 stone so I don't see why I should pay the same as someone who weighs 18 stone" I ask do you really want a world in which people who aren't exactly average pay more? Should light people get a discount? Should we have a check-in system with laser measurement to get the exact volume of all passengers and charge everyone accordingly? How far are you prepared to take it?

  34. Anonymous Coward

    The upside of fat people

    As a person of normal height (6'8", over 2m), living in a world of rather stubby people....

    I once managed to be subjected to a very public tirade from an airport manager, who screamed that she needed medical proof that I was tall. The height details in my passport were insufficient evidence, as was the fact that I towered above her and everyone else on the flight, and the fact that the whole departure lounge were laughing. She just kept screaming 'I need proof that you are tall, you have no proof, how do I know you are tall', over and over again. (?)

    I would have found it funnier except she put me off the flight.

    Oh, my point. I once spent a long flight in a draughty plane being kept nicely warm by the larger Caribbean lady sitting next to, and on top of, me. Think I would have died of cold if she'd been any thinner. She also fed me cakes and rum throughout the flight. That's real service.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Chris Morrison

    As the legend once said

    "You're not retaining water, you're retaining chips"

    Billy Connely

  37. Kevin Peacock

    What about generally big people?

    I'm 6'3, have a 50" chest, and yes I'm a *bit* overweight, but not excessively so. I go to the gym regularly and do weights, so I'm very broad, reasonably fit, and carry my weight well.

    Due to legroom, the people sitting in front of me cannot recline their chairs as my knees are invariably wedged against the. For the people next to me, I usually sit with shoulders almost touching.

    Not pleasant for anyone, least of all me.

    And people believe that I should pay more for this level of discomfort???

    Even if I lost that weight, my chest and shoulder measurements are going to be about the same, and therefore my impact on the people in front of and next to me will be the same, and my discomfort will be the same.

    I think a point has been missed that people are getting bigger all-round - not just in weight, but in height too. I really don't agree with the sentiments that larger than average people should pay more. Not everyone is large because they eat too much. Some are large because they are tall, naturally broad shouldered, go to the gym, etc.

    I'd much rather see plane seating plans revised to take account of a physically bigger population.

  38. Anonymous Coward


    The French being rude? Surely not.

  39. horrors of tesco

    He's fat, he must eat 12 meals a day...

    Some of you make me sick with your comments.

    You see someone fat and you automatically think that they are eating loads, thanks to programmes like "Inside Britains Fattest Man" that show someone eating 5-6 takeaway meals a day.

    I am 6ft6in tall, and up until a few years ago I weighed in at 23 stone, which makes me obese in BMI terms but I was far from obesity...

    I had a car accident 2 years ago, which meant that I was on tablets for the best part of a year. In that time, despite not eating more, in fact eating a lot less than I had previously I managed to gain 6 stones in weight, about a month after stopping the tablets my weight levelled out and since then I have been unable to lose any despite a calorie controlled diet and regular exercise.

    On an average day I eat:

    Breakfast: an apple and an orange.

    Lunch: A sandwich (2 pieces of wholemeal bread, thinly spread butter, chicken or ham)

    Dinner: usually meat with some kind of vegetables and potatoes.

    Drinks: nothing sugary, normally water during the day and sugar-free lemonade in the evenings.

    So where is all my extra weight coming from? My doctor blames overeating, refers me to a dietician, who tracks my eating over 2 weeks before stating that I am not overeating, refers me to the doctor (rinse and repeat).

    People don't judge people for their race or disability, so don't judge someone that is overweight, you don't know the circumstances behind it.

  40. Bill Fresher

    @Adrian Tritschler

    I agree. At the very least they should have cheaper little seats for short skinny people.

  41. Shaun


    If airlines were to adopt a Person weight + Luggage Weight = Price policy, then surely that would eventually mean that fat people would simply leave their luggage at home. Holidays would be ruined by the sight of fat people bathing in their opaque pants, or worse having to sit next to a fat naked bloke on the plane!!!!!!!!!

    I say we ship all the fatties out to Japan, and let the "Research Ships" deal with them.............

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a problem with choice here

    I sympathise with the very tall people who have posted here. I am only 6'-1" tall and often have trouble fitting in to standard airline seats, especially budget airlines. I wedge myself in at the start and can't really move much for the whole flight. I can't imagine what it would be like if I was a few inches taller.

    With budget airlines there is no choice of a larger seat as they are all one class. With traditional airlines there is a choice, but only if you have deep pockets, you can pay a LOT extra to have a seat with masses of legroom and presumably better meals and service. I often wish the airlines would seize the obvious business opportunity of providing just slightly larger seats for a reasonable price premium - no need to have so much space (wasted) for the first or business class seat pitch. I would pay this.

    And I agree with the comments about being the poor sap stuck next to some passenger suffering from cake retention. OK maybe a few of these are fat for medical reasons, but the majority are just greedy pigs with no self-restraint.

  43. Anonymous Coward


    If you're in my seat because you're spilling over the arm rest then that part of your body is forfeit. Biro + blank canvas baby!

  44. Chris Cooper


    I'm another one "above 2m" (just how many of us are there these days?).

    To answer your questions about emergency exits, "do they charge you?"- I've had BA try, unsuccessfully, on a couple of occasions but nobody else (and I try to avoid BA if I can - service with a snarl). And "can you book an emergency exit seat?" - in my experience, never, and I've tried. Any flight covered by FAA regs forbids it - you have to show up at check-in before they are allowed to allocate you one (something about you satisfying them that you are both fit and happy to operate the exit in an emergency). I have yet to find any seat selection page on any airline's booking website that gives you the option - and requests made when booking by phone or face-to-face always meet with some variant of "we can't do that".

    Mind you, I've found most airlines very accommodating when I show up at check-in. On a number of occasions this has included free upgrades :-)

  45. Jack Harrer

    Waist size

    And maybe we should go for simplest solution of all: check the waist size?

    And tax only people who are too big to fit in a seat. Simple, isn't it?

    Put a sample seat next to check in desk and check - if they fit, fine. If not - pay extra and get a first class.

  46. Luiz Abdala

    So, that´s why Airbus A380 was built!

    Don´t you get it? Airbus designed a new über-large airplane so they could carry all large people (both fat and tall) in ultra-wide comfortable seats.

    In my family we have plenty of those, and we almost really bought a second seat beside us once, so it would go empty, so we could travel more comfortably. Perhaps on this route they were not planning to use this model of airplane; now they are.

    Perhaps now he will consider buying two seats everytime, in any company, so he won´t feel humiliated again. If I was that big, I would for sure. Perhaps he will fly with Air France everytime now, always carrying a copy of the law suit with him, and showing it in the counter when buying a ticket, because I am sure that will happen again, no matter the airiline.

    On the other hand, the available room in any airplane is ludicrous, and the 170kg passenger really deserved compensation for that misfortunate event.

    Or you can always chart an Antonov 225.

  47. spezzer

    whats the problem?

    I dont know what all the fuzz is about - the airlines ALREADY charge less for smaller people - you know the ones - theyre called children. All the airlines have to do is introduce another category - Chlidren, Adults and Pie-Eaters. See - that was easy!

  48. Colin Millar
    Thumb Down

    Why only pick on fatties

    Why not people with BO or who wear perfume you don't like, criers, coughers, sneezers, snorers and farters - whining kids, chatty kids, bouncy kids - people who talk a lot, people who talk with annoying mannerisms.

    FFS - if you are concerned to any degree about your personal comfort zone WTF are you doing travelling cattle class.

    Airline seat sizes are a commercial decision based on numbers of units that can be sold. The size and layout is arbitrary as far as human needs are concerned except that some generic human shaped thing that fits a marketers perception of average circa 1970 can fit in the space.

    The whingers here seem to be saying that people who don't fit the airline standard mold should have to face up that artificial-commercial reality. Maybe it would be better if anyone who wants to travel on public transport faced up to the real-human reality that everyone is different.

    Me - I go everywhere by car

  49. Mark Daniels

    The man was fat.............

    To all of you out there who are complaining about 'assuming' he was fat. Well, read the article.

    "" deployed "wrapping tape" to measure his circumference in front of other passengers. ""

    Do you do that with tall thin 'HEAVY' people. No.

    Long legs ?




    Fat people.


    Sorry about this, but he was fat. simple as that.

  50. Joe Cooper


    "it means women who weigh less"

    Over there maybe but in America, women usually weigh more.

  51. Nick Galloway

    Ban the fatty

    I would be kicking up all hell if the bloke was sitting next to me on the flight, shoehorned into a single seat. If the bloke doesn't want to pay double for being more than double the average body mass (and size more than likely) then he might get a rude shock if he was told he couldn't fly at all. Maybe the middle ground is give him an extra seat and make him pay excess baggage. At 170 kg the bloke should be in a hospital getting treatment, not buggering up other people's flying experiences!

  52. Anonymous Coward

    @Stick em all together

    According the the DHL flight load planners at the EMA hub, The most efficient flying angle is 3 Deg nose up so I would imagine they should be near the tail end rather than the middle, depening on other pax wieght

  53. Joe Cooper


    Just because there are heavy people who aren't fat doesn't make the kilogram pricing a bad idea.

    Bringing in the BMI to just ticket prices ~would~ be discrimination.

    If weight is really the problem than there's no reason a 100 kg rugby player would get special treatment.

    Unless you really do just hate fat people?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leg room (@Chris Cooper)

    Not sure if this still applies, but I think you might have shot yourself in the foot Chris. When I travelled a lot, I always travelled BA precisely because I can book the emergency exit seat in advance (using online check in). You just have to know which seat it is for the plane you are on, which you can find on the web easily enough.

  55. Bill Fresher

    Back off

    I'm 6 ft 10 and weigh 31 stone. No fat at all - I do a lot of weight lifting.

    If I'm spilling over into your seat all I'd like to know is, what you gonna do about it?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just complain

    Camera phone + chutzpah -> cash back

    I worked for a CIO who travelled London to New York frequently. He would book business class and encourage larger gentlemen to sit next to him before take off. He would take a picture of the person overhanging his seat and email it to the airline for a refund. For about 3 months he travelled business class virtually free.

    Eventually, the airline got wise and started saying "10% of your seat was occupied by the other person" and refunding only 10% of his ticket. A good wheeze though, especially if you can spend the flight in the on board bar.

  57. Stewart Cunningham

    @horrors of tesco

    Some people are obviously taking the piss a little here. But why do their comments make you sick? Surely you must be aware that you are in the minority. The vast majority of overwieght people i know have been and always will be self confessed muffin addicts...

    What it comes down to is "in an ideal world" who should be penalised:

    1. those whos personal space infringes on others in a tin can that both parties chose to fly in.

    2. or those who are having their personal space infringed upon in a tin can that both parties chose to fly in.

    This is not an ideal world and everyone knows that regardless of the pricing policy of excess weight (personal + luggage) the airlines would just pocket the money and still cram the rest of us in like sardines

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    A barrier just before the check in desks with a gap that is the exact width of the seat for that class. If you can't get through the gap, you can't check in.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Back off

    >If I'm spilling over into your seat all I'd like to know

    >is, what you gonna do about it?

    What a twat.

  60. Andy Worth

    Tough call

    Don't get me wrong, my brother is quite a big chap and really doesn't eat excessively so I know it's not always a matter of choice, but then how do you solve the problem? I've been stuck next to very large people before when flying and it ruins your whole flight as you can't for one second get comfortable. The problem is that there's no easy answer.

    Sure you could say "well it's -insert fat persons name here- own fault" and charge them extra but then it's not always something they can do anything about. Also where do you stop? You'd have a have a sliding scale of just HOW unpleasant a passenger would be to sit next to (based on size, smell, voice, habits etc) to decide who and what extra to charge, and it's just too complicated.

    We could demand that seats are made bigger, but then they'd get less on the plane and ALL of us would pay more for our seats.

    They could ban excessively annoying passengers (who cause major inconvenience to others by one means or another) but judging by the people I've seen on planes, it'd seriously cut business and therefore raise prices again.

    I think the simplest and only workable solution is to admit that if we want to fly, we're pretty much screwed with whatever we're lumped with. Sucks eh?

  61. Chris Bradshaw

    a solution?

    The airlines could have a row of seats that were a little wider, for heavier-built people, and a row with more legroom, for tall people. Probably, if you wanted to get one of these seats, you would need to be measured for it (otherwise everyone will want them...).

    Given that on almost every flight a few seats are empty, the actual cost to the airlines of losing a seat is very low - look at the frequent flyer programs where they say that the marginal cost of filling a seat is tiny... The cost should be the same - the airlines don't charge differently for bulkhead seats, exit rows, or the slightly thinner seats at the back of a 747...

    And the larger people would presumably be more tolerant of being next to other larger people...

  62. Chris

    pay extra

    Okay so i am fat... partly coz of my diet party through dna... If airlines force me to pay extra will they force you lot to pay extra for being English? I mean the majority of responses came from people who were being extremely bigot...

    And then you are surprised why the home nations don't like you...

  63. This post has been deleted by its author

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fat Genes

    Starving people, never fat are they?

  65. Eddy Ito

    I say

    do it all democratically. Take a vote of find out who wants to sit next to the bloke and if "no thanks" is unanimous then charge for an extra seat. This can, and should, be extended to cover babies, small children, sickly looking folk or anything else. Even the Croatian footballers, with their troglav sized todgers would be treated fairly with the only problem, as I see it, if Paris Hilton is on the same flight.

    No no, that one isn't mine, that's Ms. Hilton's coat.

  66. jim

    I vote for Air France and Common Sense!

    What did the Obese idiot expect! Lose some weight. calories + No excercise = Fat barsteward! :) Fetch teh packing tape and Humiliate them all thin! lol

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Re:force you lot to pay extra for being English?

    Are we allowed racism on here now? Or is it only allowed for fatties?

    (yeah, I know, your DNA - Didn't Need Another [cake])

    >And then you are surprised why the home nations don't like you...

    We're not surprised, there's a reason that the English didn't get an independence vote y'know.

  68. Bill Fresher

    Ignore the little people

    Ain't it funny that the little people are so angry that a large person didn't have to pay more than them to travel. If this were to happen then I think it would only be fair if large people got larger salaries.

    Why are most angry people small? Because if God had made them large they'd be causing carnage.

  69. Marco

    Re: Back off

    "I'm 6 ft 10 and weigh 31 stone. No fat at all - I do a lot of weight lifting.

    If I'm spilling over into your seat all I'd like to know is, what you gonna do about it?"

    Mr. Fresher, as a trained and slim martial arts expert I would apply the law of mass and inertia, hit you three times in the solar plexus before you batted an eyelid and then move your unconcious lump into a position of my liking.

    And to all those who would like obese to be charged per kilo: I demand that those of you who can't stop talking are charged per word, those of you who have no eating manners are charged per times your mouth was open while chewing and those of you who frequently climb over me to go to the lavatory are charged per liters of urine.

  70. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    Weigh more, pay more

    "Weigh more, pay more" is a simplistic scheme which assumes that the mass of the vehicle is negligible compared to the mass of the passengers. Unfortunately, this is very rarely the case.

    An *unladen* Boeing 747 weighs nearly 175 000kg and can seat up to 500 people. For the mass of the passengers to exceed the mass of the plane, each person would have to weigh over 350kg.

    So he's only just halfway there. (And you're all being ripped off with your "excess baggage" charges. Research what the plane weighed, and claim a refund based on the fact that the charge was out of proportion to the cost incurred. It works when banks charge you £20 for going into the red by a few pence.)

    Meanwhile, has anyone considered the possibility that it may not be that we're all getting fatter; just that airlines &c are trying to pack too many people into too small a space to save a few quid?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A simple solution would be to divide the plane in sections. The doorways get progressively smaller and the sections get cheaper the further in you can get.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy two seats - check in once - airlines sells 2nd seat for "no show"

    You have to enter passport details for each passenger when you book transatlantic flights these days - how do you buy a 2nd seat?

  73. Lance McGrath

    Actually, they do charge extra for exit rows

    A couple of short responses to what I've read (and for the record, I'm a tall but fairly slim man, inclined to say that I really large people should pay extra - you ain't gonna please everyone).

    First, airline seat prices are based just on number of seats per plane but also upon mass. More seats = more revenue, but more mass = more costs (fuel). Keep that in mind for your arguments.

    Second, to Mr. Bradshaw: actually, some airlines DO charge more for things like exit rows. Check United's Economy Plus seats. I was shocked the first time I was told I couldn't have an exit row unless I wanted to pay more!

  74. Blubster


    According to Einstein, mass and energy are interchangeable so it follows that people of more mass contain more kinetic energy thus adding to the forward velocity of the aircraft so REDUCING fuel consumption.

    I know, I'll get my coat.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does this work?

    I'm 6'3", under 200cm. When I try to book in advance, I sometimes see that the exit seats are already taken when booking opens. And when I enter the airplane, I see that the exit seats are taken by a couple of short runts.

    There must be some other process by which these people are getting priority. I am an infrequent flier, so I don't know how it works, but I am curious?

  76. John A Blackley

    @Re:force you lot to pay extra for being English?

    JonB - "are we allowed racism on here now?"

    Have been for yonks, mate. I'm simply shocked by the absence of "If it weren't for America there'd be no obesity" posts.

  77. Matt Horrocks

    Full flight?

    "He was then told that since the flight was full, he'd have to pay for the seat next to him to ensure some breathing space."

    If it was full, then there wouldn't be an empty seat next to him for him to pay for... unless they booted someone off.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Well, it seems to be all about volume really. If plane seating plans only take general ergonomics into account (as in: cater for 95% of the population still using planes) then there'll always be the 'happy few' exceptions.

    Two ways to solve that:

    1) A "freak" department (great for seating families with babies too ^^), catering for the 5% that fall outside the generally expected population

    2) A more flexible way of rearranging seats on the fly in case a sudden surge of exceptions decides to go airborne.

    With pre-check ins (through Internet) being used more and more, it should become more easy to get volumetric data on the passenger population way in advance. That data could be used to determine whether a comfortable flight for all passengers can still be guaranteed (or denying ppl seats when the freak department has already been filled up is in order XD)

    And yes, I think paying for the fuel needed to move you from A to B is only fair. An airliner is not public transportation so if they need more fuel to get you there, you pay more (simple as that).

  79. Chris Miller

    @How does this work?

    "When I try to book in advance, I sometimes see that the exit seats are already taken when booking opens."

    Frequent flyers (e.g. BA Silver & Gold) can book seats in advance of the general public. BA Club members can choose a preferred location (aisle, window), which will be allocated automatically at booking (if available).

    As has already been pointed out, FAA/CAA regs require those occupying seats by emergency exits to be fit enough to open the door - so no children, obese, disabled or excessively aged persons *should* be allowed to occupy them. If you see this happening, you can complain to the cabin crew and, if necessary, the relevant authority.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about the weight....

    Charging more by weight makes no sense. I don't get annoyed by someone heavy and tall sitting next to me on a plance. I'm annoyed by the person who can't keep thier mass on their own side of the arm rest. I don't care how big you are as long as you don't invade my turf....perhaps airline issued girdles would be a way to go!

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Fresher

    I would quietly take the steward(ess) to one side and report your suspicious moslem rantings, and the fact that I saw you talking with middle eastern characters outside the airport. I would repeat the service at the destination airport with the immigration officials.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    exit rows

    Tiger Airways lets you book emergency exit row seats for SGD25, see but the T&Cs include the following:

    "Passengers selecting to sit in the seats adjacent to the aircraft emergency exits are required by law and safety regulations to meet certain criteria. Passengers must be willing to help open the exit in the event of an evacuation. They must be fit and able-bodied, over the age of 15, have weight in proportion to height and be able to understand the safety briefing which will be given in English on board the flight.

    Please note that some emergency exit seats onboard our aircraft cannot be reclined as they would obstruct access to the exit.

    Seat requests may be altered at check-in or on board if passengers do not meet these criteria. If you, or members of your party, are moved because you do not meet the stated standard safety criteria then you will not be offered a refund of Seat Selector fees. "

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We just have to make the metal detectors more narrow! As long as the things haven't change too much since my childhood, then just touching the sides is enough to set them off, even with not metal. This would lead to wide people earning cavity searches as they went through over and over setting off the detector each time. Maybe that would convince them to drive or lose some weight.

  84. Glyn Thomas

    monet grabbers

    So the french airline told him the flight was full, so he would have to buy a seat...

    If the flight was really full, there would not have been a spare seat. But "hand over some cash, and your girth can spill over into the empty space that we have NOT been able to sell to a fellow passenger by the time we are checking everyone in" would sound like they were just after the cash...

    To the people who are 'shocked' about having to pay a little extra for an exit seat: if you don't want to pay big money for a flight you go economy. Generally they pack hundreds of people into this section and give them no space to put their legs out comfortably in front of them, but hey you get to travel thousands of miles for a few hundred pounds, which is cheaper and easier than other ways of travelling so those hundreds of people put up with it.

    Now tell the hundreds of people that there's a row of seats in their section with masses of legroom and would they like it? 90% of people would say yes? So basically hundreds of people would like the exit seats each flight and there are only a few seats, so I would be much more shocked if they *didn't* try to charge a premium for it. In fact if they publicised it and auctioned them off every flight, the premium would probably be around the same as the entire economy ticket cost, ie people are willing to pay about double for a "premium economy" seat which is same cattle service but more legroom.

    On the same basis they could auction off the seats that weren't next to fat people, snorers, sneezers, kids, smellies, boring people, talkative people, or the seats where you got a nice view out of the window, or the seats where you could stretch a leg out into the aisle and easily go to the toilet without having to wake up the other passengers, or the seats next to hot chicks...

    They could but they don't - because they've worked out the total average amount of cash that they need to collect from economy customers over a year, and they know its a number everyone will pay and take their chances, because business class costs a grand or more and we'd rather not pay that if we can help it. But to charge £50 for an exit seat is a pretty easy admin procedure so they might as well do that one.

  85. Jon Tocker

    @Back off By Bill Fresher

    Posted Friday 23rd November 2007 13:33 GMT:

    "I'm 6 ft 10 and weigh 31 stone. No fat at all - I do a lot of weight lifting.

    If I'm spilling over into your seat all I'd like to know is, what you gonna do about it?"

    Well, I would politely ask you to shift your mass so you do not infringe on my seating space and expect that, as a reasonable person, you would do so.

    Am I, at 5'7" and around 172 pounds (12st 4lb), supposed to be intimidated by the fact you're a 31-stone (434lb) over-muscled mountain? Are you inferring that I should fear repercussions for making a reasonable request and that you would happily use your "superior" mass, size and musculature to enforce your "right" to spill over into the seat I paid an obscene amount of hard-earned cash for?

    On a crowded plane.

    In front of witnesses.

    Go for it! I'll tell you politely to move - and reiterate not so politely if you tell me to "get fucked". You can then decide whether to be reasonable and move over or be a twat and attempt to use physical means to assert your "territory".

    If you do the latter, since I am lacking Marco's martial Arts skills, I will ensure everyone in the cabin is well aware of the altercation, knee or punch you good and hard in the "family jewels" and then ensure you're escorted off the plane in custody for assault while I get let off for self-defence.

    Honestly. If you're going to say "I can do what I like because I 'm bigger and stronger", have the intelligence to realise it means jack shit in real life when you potentially have a cabin-full of witnesses who can say "Yeah, the little guy asked the big guy nicely if he'd please move over and the big guy tried to beat him up."

    Better pray we're not on a flight to any Arab countries if you pull that crap - I hear their prisons aren't very nice...

  86. Mr P Hilton
    Paris Hilton

    I'll bet............

    ......that if Mr Lardy-Arse was going to be sitting next to Paris he wouldn't object to paying the extra money.

    Sorry. Thought Paris needed another mention since she doesn't get the exposure on this site that she deserves.


  87. Tricia Pulley
    Thumb Down

    Oh COME ON!

    Sheesh! What insanely insulting and juvenile comments. The point is that the airline HUMILIATED this poor person. That kind of treatment of a customer is NEVER alright. The world still sees it as *okay* to discriminate against 2 groups of people, and even encourages it... those 2 groups are left-handed people and the obese. Sometimes being obese is a choice and sometimes it is not - a dear relative of mine is obese because of medications she needs to save her life, not because of what she chooses to put in her mouth. So unless you have walked a mile in that person's shoes, shut it.

  88. Mr P Hilton

    A mile................

    "So unless you have walked a mile in that person's shoes, shut it."

    How big are these shoes exactly?

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is up with STONES?

    LOL! I know how to convert KG to LB but you brits are so weird with your STONES... now I had to learn a new conversion. Looks like I weigh... 22 stones. I'm certifiably fat, it's true. I also fly a lot and have not been charged extra or discriminated against due to my weight. I used to fly twice a week on the same plane - there were about 8 regulars that took that same flight every time and about 10 or 12 seats total on the plane. Nobody cared what the assigned seating was, generally. One day we had a newcomer who looked at his ticket, then stared down at me and demanded, "My ticket says 3B!" I was too humiliated to admit to him that 3B was the only seat on the plane that had a seatbelt long enough to fit me, so I just moved and let his scrawny ass sit in his assigned seat. I weighed 17 stone at the time.

    When Gwyneth Paltrow was making the movie Shallow Hal she spent some time in the fat suit they made for her. She was shocked that people treated her very differently - they were either rude or simply didn't see her.

    Wrap your brain around this: has someone ever been mean to you simply because you are tall, or blonde? Not just mean, but have they dogged you, beaten you, threatened you, done everything possible to make your life miserable and cause you to fail at work, school or some other pursuit? That's what it is like to be fat. There was never a shortage of such fat-haters around me. When I was 14 I finally got down to 135 lbs. and a size 6/8 (that's like 9.6 stone - I'm getting good at this) at 5' 5" tall. Out I went in my skinny jeans and a size small T-shirt and some random teenagers walked by me shouting obscenities (relating to being fat). It was at that point that I figured, "If all this exercise and dieting got me to this size & weight and they STILL think I'm fat, then screw it. This is too painful to maintain only to still be going through that."

    So if someone comes up to me and blurts out, "You're fat!" I answer them, "No shit?!" Don'tcha just love people with a talent for stating the obvious? The next time YOU have the urge to insult someone for being fat take a moment and ask yourself whether THEIR BODY is any of YOUR business.

  90. Tricia Pulley

    A mile

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Then, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    374 lbs

    I expect they will be doing this and many other revenue enhancing things at most airlines they were never very profitable to begin with, but with all the bottle necks from increased security, and higher than hell fuel cost, all of them are at risk of going under. Due to circumstances beyond our control flying sucks worse than before. Being fat is a horrible bitch I am fat and I suffer every day for it I walk to work I starve myself silly but the older I get the slower it gets, flying is the least of my worries (sudden death overshadows it).

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