Lately the news has been covering controversy around 'guests of size' on airlines, and the inconsistent rules about who is required to purchase an extra seat when flying.
Jaelynn Chaney, an 'advocate for people of all sizes and abilities' has started a petition demanding the FAA protect 'plus sized' passengers, by making rules around providing comfortable seats, working to eliminate discrimination, and refunding people who were forced to purchase a second seat.
In this post on Reddit, user Own_Sun774 shares his story about uncomfortable airline travel. He writes:
I'm gonna start with saying I am a rather big guy myself. I work out a lot and generally tall (205cm). Compared to me my fiancée Sarah is literally tiny and I can easily let her sit on my shoulders for the entire concert.
Because of my height we usually try to travel in business, however Sarah had a family emergency and there was no business class, so we opted out for economy seats with extra leg room for 8 hour flight.
Now the window seat was occupied by a passenger who happened to be overweight. I'm really not the one to judge as I was there myself. So Sarah sat in the middle seat while I took the aisle.
After the take off Sarah started to behave strangely. Usually she barely gets up on a flight and falls asleep, but this time she would constantly (every 10 minutes) get up for a walk and 'to stretch her legs'. About an hour into the flight I have asked her what's wrong and she confessed she was feeling claustrophobic and very squished in her seat. I have suggested we can swap seats and she agreed.
When I took her seat I could tell the man in a window seat wasn't comfortable as he had to stop leaning into the middle seat, since I take significantly more space compared to Sarah. About half way through the flight he has started complaining he is not comfortable and asking me to change seats with Sarah, who was deeply asleep by then due to all the stress.
I have refused and suggested if he is not comfortable sitting in one seat he should buy 2 seats next time. The guy has tried to call a flight attendant and complain but she told him the same thing.
At the end of the flight the guy called me an a**hole and cursed me out. I don't think I did anything wrong here, however we just got back home and my mum also thinks I behaved like an a**hole.
INFO: Well this entirely depends upon if you spread into his seat area too (I'm talking arm rest and shoulder and sides).
Own_Sun774 OP responded:
Armrest had to be lifted as otherwise he wouldn't fit into the seat.
What were your assigned seats? 2 over-sized people next to each other on a flight is not ideal, regardless of whether either 'should have bought 2 seats'. Were you originally meant to be the middle? Could a flight attendant have helped?
It sounds like the guy was an ass for asking your partner to move back into the seat, but escalating and telling someone they 'should have bought two seats' is completely unnecessary. Booking two seats together on a flight is usually incredibly expensive due to the extra cost of reserving a seat, not to mention it might not have even been possible if the seats were all booked.
This kind of reads kind a stereotypical 'large people are bad and shouldn't fly' post
Own_Sun774 OP responded:
As it was a family emergency, we had to book the first flight available where business has been sold out (our jobs allow to afford it and I realise with my height and build business is more suitable due to larger personal seats and more space).
Due to this we got premium economy seats as the airline calls them, that give extra leg room so both me and Sarah can stretch a bit (she gets occasional knee pain from an old sport injury).
I have chosen to be on the aisle seat so I can have a bit more wiggle room and stretch my legs in the corridor when empty and if the space between the seats is too small for me to fit in and we also paid extra for the seats and to be next to each other.
Now Sarah is usually asleep most of the time on my shoulder and doesn't really have a problem with people taking some of her seat as she remembers the times I was significantly heavier (500+lbs). But in this case she was almost squishing into me and was pretty much on my seat, barely heaving space for herself.
I would say the plane was about 80-85% full as I could see singular empty seats that remained empty.
NTA as long as you weren’t being insulting when you told him that. Funny how he insisted on making your gf uncomfortable in order to gain his comfort.
Dude just wanted to touch a woman. NTA, OP. Glad you switched seats.
NTA. If he could “stop leaning into the middle seat” for you, he should’ve done the same for your fiancée.
OP is not only NTA, but actually pretty awesome for sticking up for his fiancée. We read about alot of sh**ty relationships here, so it’s refreshing to read this one.
I once pretended to fall asleep on a guy who kept leaning my way, putting his feet/knees into my space, etc. and then “accidentally” drooled on him. When I “woke up” suddenly he was capable of staying in his own space.