Seats getting smaller, people getting bigger.

23 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 18 Oct 2017

Total posts 4


I know this might be a touchy subject, but I'm sure its happening to more and more of us who fly on a frequent basis.

Are airlines doing anything to accomodate big people? And by big people I mean people who take up more then the seat that they are allocated. I have had to "share" my seat on more than a few occasions with big people, and it can be extremely uncomfortable for the person who can fit in their seat. First world problems...I guess.




Member since 04 May 2015

Total posts 58

I have absolutely no problem with 'oversize' people being charged for a second seat if they're not capable of remaining within the confines of their own seat.

After all, the passenger next to them paid for their entire seat... they didn't pay for 75% of a seat to give 25% to somebody else who spills over into it!

That doesn't stop the airlines handling the situation with grace, for instance (e.g. on flights with lighter loads, proactively moving larger flyers where there are pairs of spare seats at no charge), but personally speaking, on a full flight where the passenger has only booked one seat, unless the overweight passenger wants to personally compensate me for the portion of my space their gut is occupying, they can either purchase two seats or sit somewhere else where a pair of seats are available.

My calculation works like this: if I've paid $200 for a seat on flight, and some fatso has spilled into 15% of that space, they can pay me $30. Doesn't sound fair on the overweight person? Well neither is them taking over space that other people have rightly paid for when they're too cheap to buy a ticket suited to their needs.


Member since 31 Mar 2014

Total posts 264

I am a believer of larger people paying for a second seat or seat in a premium cabin. I also think local airlines need to be stricter with this. It really is unfair on other passengers who are seated next to someone that is clearly far too large for an economy seat.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 18 Oct 2017

Total posts 4

Its a tricky one, eh?

I have a potential solution to mitigate this:

While purchasing your ticket online you must enter your height/weight (bmi calculated/potential size mapped out). If your height and weight do not match up when you get to the airport counter/gate you will be slugged with a surcharge/forced purchase of an extra seat/loss of ticket.

You know how you have to put your carry-on luggage in that "cage" if its suspect over-size? Have the same thing but a dummy economy seat at the gate/counter to see if you are able to fit in the confines of an economy seat.

Its tough, but its fair.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 26 May 2014

Total posts 317

Scoot has a heading "extra cuddly guests", where they encourage booking 2 seats: "If you are a guest of size and do not feel comfy in a single seat, you can book 2 seats for yourself with advance adjacent seat assignments - the usual fare and seat allocation fees for 2 guests apply"

I recall also seeing that they could refuse boarding if a person was oversize and only booked one seat, but can't find that now. Maybe deemed not PC.

Last editedby GregXL at Oct 18, 2017, 04:25 PM.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Jan 2014

Total posts 288

It is my pet peeve, I can handle all sorts of things on planes, noisy people, pax with oversized cabin baggage, the talkers, the whingers, the recliners, the people that have to go to the toilet every 30 mins, but I can’t stand people spilling over into my seat space, whether it arms and shoulders or fat rolls squeezing under the arm rests, buy two seats or one at the front of the plane or airlines should provide a slide out screen which can be put up between the seats. After enduring back pain from sitting on a 4 hour DRW - BNE flight in an awkward angle leaning into the aisle from an overwheight person in the middle seat the airlines should be compelled to ensure a comfortable trip for all passengers.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 18 Jul 2015

Total posts 17

On a recent flight from NAN there were 3 pax in the middle section. Flight crew moved the Aussie from the middle to another seat and the 2 Fijians left were still touching! Just as well the flight wasn't full!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Jul 2016

Total posts 68

I think that these are all valid suggestions.

Airlines should be much stricter on these people as it is simply unfair for the person that has to deal with them.

In saying that, airline seats are not shrinking to an extent. The same seat width was found on the B707 when tourist class was introduced, so as far as seat width goes, I believe people have been getting bigger and seats are staying the same size. The only number that is shrinking is seat pitch. That is your legroom, and the seat cushions being replaced by slimmer slimline seats.

Well anyway, I do agree, overweight should have to somehow have to pay for more room, without having the seat next door having to suffer.


Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

Member since 11 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

I agree with most of the comments above that people who spill over to another seat should have to pay for the adjacent seat.

One of the strangest reasons I have been delayed before is that there were so many oversized people on a flight from London to Rome that there were not enough extension seat belts. It took 20-30 minutes to go and find more.

Maybe that is the way to determine if someone needs to pay for an adjacent seat. Do they fit in the seat belt and make the seat belts a suitable size

Last editedby JTG at Oct 19, 2017, 08:10 AM.


Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

Member since 31 Jan 2013

Total posts 38

It is certainly not ideal, and I have been on the receiving end of being seated to very large people who have spilled over. Not sure what a "good" solution is though. Weighing and size checking could be considered discriminatory. I think airlines would struggle with publicity over this if not handled properly considering the world population especially in richer developed countries has tilted over to the overweight demographic.

You see a lot of articles about how larger passengers were "humiliated" or "discriminated against" by the airlines, but you never read an article about someone who has had to endure hours of being squished into 50% of their seat.
Personally of course the wish list is that the airlines increase seat width and pitch, that will benefit everyone except the airlines. However 1. that is not likely to happen, 2. increasing seat width and pitch will only help to a certain degree as some passengers are that large that they require 1.5-2 seats to themselves, so a couple of inches isn't going to make much difference. I've actually seen one person struggle to fit into the SIA J class long haul seat, and that seat width is enormous.
Perhaps a solution is a couple of rows of extra wide seats in Y for larger passengers. Still problematic though, how does airline enforce without seeming like it is picking on someone?


Member since 17 Sep 2015

Total posts 73

It's a bit more than 'tilted over' to the 'overweight demographic.'

From what I read, two thirds of Australians are overweight (BMI greater than 25) or obese (BMI greater than 30.)


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 02 Feb 2015

Total posts 22

Different subject but I purchased a $2800 seat for the Singapore F1 GP last month and had someone who was so big that it was impossible to seat next to him for the two day program. What do we do in this day and age ???? Where possible I book business class seat or premium econ to guarantee a stress free flight. Love to know what airlines will do as this is a major headache for them ...


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 02 Feb 2015

Total posts 22

You guys should see that regional flights in wa for the miners. The seating had to be resized for an average body weight of 85Kgs. Doesnt sound much but not sure what the average KGs alloctaed to normal airlines is. Many miners are well over 100Kgs and many I work with are 140-150Kgs -- extender seat belts are more common than not !!!


Member since 16 May 2017

Total posts 1

One of the hazards of asking for exit rows especially the centre seat is that you can get stuck between 2 very large people.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 10 Dec 2016

Total posts 4

surely its a matter of safety as well, i had a "person of size" fall on me as he struggled to get into his seat. once in the seat irt was obvious that he was way too big for it. I asked the crew to move me to a seat with the room I paid for. With some difficulty they moved me but not before the guy got very upset that I didnt want to share my seat with him. our carry on baggage is checked all the time for size and weight, hows about we do the same with passengers !

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