Friday, April 17, 2009

United to Charge Overweight Passengers for Additional Seat

Effective April 15, United Airlines will enforce a new policy adopted earlier this year. If a passenger cannot fit into a single seat, buckle their seatbelt, even with a seatback extender, or put the seat's armrest down, that passenger "must either purchase a ticket for an additional seat, or purchase an upgrade to a cabin with seats that address the above-listed scenarios," United Airlines wrote on its Web site. If the passenger doesn't agree to purchase the extra seat, he/she will not be allowed to board the plane. The only exception is couples flying together who can fit into adjoining seats.

Some suggest that this is discrimination. United insisted it was simply acting on the 700-plus complaints it received last year about obese travelers "infringing" on their neighbors' space. The policy applies to all tickets purchased on or after March 4 for travel after April 15.

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